Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)

Have some old, sour kimchi you need to get rid of? Don’t throw it away- it’s perfect for making kimchi jjigae!

This iconic Korean stew is more than just a dish- it’s the heart & soul of Korean home cooking, where bold flavors come together in the most comforting way. 

It’s SUPER easy to make, but there is one key factor in making the best kimchi jjigae, which I will discuss later in this post. 

What is Kimchi Jjigae?

Kimchi Jjigae is a traditional Korean stew known for its robust and spicy flavors. It is a staple in Korean cuisine and is often considered a comfort food. The main ingredients include well-fermented kimchi, tender pork, anchovy stock, and tofu. 

It’s a popular choice for family meals and gatherings, and its preparation can vary from region to region or even from one household to another. The stew is often served piping hot and is enjoyed with a bowl of rice.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Its so easy! You don’t need that many ingredients, and it can be ready in 30 minutes.

  • Maintain your gut health! One small bowl of this recipe contains more than enough to meet the recommended daily dose of probiotics. Kimchi also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

  • It can be prepped and stored in the refrigerator for a few days and reheated for quick meals. 

 

  • It’s the one of BEST ways to get rid of your old, sour kimchi. The other dish I love making with well-fermented kimchi is kimchi jeon (kimchi pancake).

Ingredients 

  • Kimchi- the secret to good kimchi jjigae is all in the kimchi. It has to be well-fermented (old & sour), and it has to be really, REALLY good. I do not have a recipe for kimchi yet, but I am working on one! I will update this when I do. 

  • Kimchi brine– again, it must be well-fermented. It is difficult to make good kimchi jjigae without a good amount of brine, so keep this in mind when purchasing or making your own kimchi. 

  • Pork belly- pork and kimchi go together, they are so delicious! However, you can opt for spam, beef, or canned tuna instead. You can also make it without any meat if you prefer!

  • Anchovy stock- I use anchovy tablets and dissolve them in hot water. You can also use anchovy dashi bags. If you prefer to make it from scratch, you just need dried anchovies & dried kelp boiled in water for about 20 minutes. 
  • Tofu-  firm tofu cut into small pieces. This is traditionally added to kimchi jjigae, but in my opinion it’s an optional ingredient. My husband loves tofu so I always add it, but if I’m making it just for myself, I usually don’t add it. 

  • Gochugaru- this is optional- mostly for color, but if your kimchi is lacking in flavor then it can help a bit. 
  • Sugar- helps to balance the flavors, especially if your kimchi is overly sour.

  • Garlic & green onion– these are the only veggies you need to chop! 

About the kimchi

So here’s the deal. Kimchi jjigae is extremely easy to make, but it will only ever be as good as your kimchi! The key to making delicious kimchi jjigae is all in the kimchi you use.

It should be fully fermented. The older and more sour, the better. You also need lots of kimchi brine. 

If you try to make kimchi jjigae with fresh or un-fermented kimchi, it is not going to be good. Trust me on this! 

How to tell if your kimchi is well-fermented

If you’re not that familiar with the stages of fermentation in kimchi, here are some signs to tell if it is fermented enough:

  • It smells and tastes sour. Well-fermented kimchi is very sour, almost too sour for eating uncooked. Once kimchi gets to this stage, it is best to use it for cooking.

  • It looks almost translucent. When kimchi is very sour and old, it may keep its crunchy texture but it will appear more wilted, and almost look translucent. Fresh kimchi by comparison looks much more opaque, especially the white crunchy parts of the cabbage.

More easy soup recipes

If you like this recipe, try some of my other easy soup recipes on the blog! 

Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups chopped kimchi well-fermented
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 lb pork belly or beef, spam, canned tuna
  • 1/3 cup kimchi brine well-fermented
  • 3 cups anchovy stock
  • 1 tbsp gochugaru Korean red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 package firm tofu cut into squares
  • 2 green onions, chopped whites & greens separated

Instructions
 

  • Chop kimchi into bite sized pieces
  • Chop the green onions and separate the greens from the whites. The greens will be used for garnish while the whites will be cooked into the soup.
  • Prepare your anchovy stock. For ease and convenience, I use anchovy tablets dissolved in hot water. You may also use dashi bags, or make it from scratch by boiling water with dried anchovies and dried kelp for 20 minutes.
  • Add some neutral oil to a pot over medium high heat, then add the kimchi and garlic. Stir fry for a couple minutes.
  • Next add the pork belly and continue to stir fry for another couple of minutes.
  • Add the kimchi brine and just 1 cup of the anchovy stock. Mix to combine, then reduce the heat to medium and cover for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes add the rest of the anchovy stock, sugar, and gochugaru. Taste the soup and add salt to taste (I added a small pinch). Cover for 10 minutes.
  • Add the tofu and cover for another 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with green onions and thats it!
    Optional: drizzle a tiny bit of sesame oil if desired. I recommend 1/4 tsp (sesame oil is very strong in flavor, careful not to add too much).

*This post contains affiliate links to products that I actually use & recommend. I am not sponsored by these brands, but I do make a small commission from qualifying purchases made through these links.

This Post Has 100 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    5 stars
    So delicious 🙂 Perfect for a rainy day in LA. Thank you for making your recipes easy to follow <3

  2. @angela_hj

    5 stars
    delicious! thanks for the easy and simple recipe!

  3. Thuyvu D.

    5 stars
    Wow I’ve made a few different kimchi jigae recipe to date and this was definitely a standout to me. Theres such depth to the broth that makes a huge difference ! Love this recipe

  4. Emily

    5 stars
    Easy, yummy and heartwarming dish for cold (or even hot) weather! This recipe is easy to follow and quick to make!

  5. Anonymous

    5 stars
    I Love kimchi jigae and this is one of the best recipes I’ve tried out there!

  6. Amy Tam

    I love this recipe so much! I always order kimchi jigae whenever I crave Korean food. Now, I can make it at home. I’ve made it 3x since I found this recipe and it keeps getting better every single time. Of course, I still look at the recipe for proportions, but hopefully one day, I’ll be able to cook like a pro like you Stella!

  7. Abby

    5 stars
    I love your videos and Kimchi jigae is soo bomb!

  8. Susan

    5 stars
    Absolutely obsessed! I need this everyday. So delicious and easy to make.

  9. Anonymous

    5 stars
    This is honestly one of my favorite easy meals that I could eat every single day. I’ve been looking for recipes for different Korean stews and I always come back to this one. It’s a solid 10/10. I just wish I had a stone pot to cook in.

    Thanks for making it easy to follow. 🫶🏽🍲

  10. Priscila Rivas

    5 stars
    This soup is BOMB! We are a Mexican household who LOVES Korean food. I was nervous to try making this soup but Stella makes it so simple to follow. My kids and husband love when I make this!

  11. Takis Hidalgo

    5 stars
    This and the rest of your recipes are my “Korean mom” approved!!!!! Great recipes. Thank you for sharing them with us!!!

  12. Jenna

    5 stars
    Best use of my leftover kimchi!!
    So easy!
    Thank you!

  13. @zin.zma

    5 stars
    This recipe saved me from throwing away my kimchi and I love how the recipe is easy to follow

  14. @emoriola

    5 stars
    So delicious!! Such a great comfort food, I made it for my Korean girlfriend and she loves it so much

  15. Hiilani C.N

    5 stars
    The anchovy stock makes such a difference 🫶 thank you so so much for sharing!

  16. sunk1m54

    5 stars
    One of the best kimchee jjigae recipes online. Tasted just like the way my mom makes its.

    Thanks for your easy to execute Korean staples,

  17. Anonymous

    5 stars
    Love love loveeee this one! Quick and easy for date nights too!

  18. Patricia

    5 stars
    This is my fave at Korean restaurants. So glad to be able to replicate it at home.

  19. Scott

    5 stars
    What a brilliant way to utilize all of my kimchi. I am salivating over this. It looks easy enough to try with your well laid out instructions. Can you you do this with other meats or only pork belly?

  20. Tommy Duong

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! Very authentic Korean flavors

  21. mandy

    5 stars
    so delicious! the flavor is very rich and comforting, definitely my go to recipe!

  22. Omar

    5 stars
    This hits all the right spots for a kimchi addict like myself. Thanks Stella

  23. Leila

    5 stars
    Easily one of the best kimchi stew recipes I have come across. So comforting and feels like home

    ❤️,

  24. @norwayy

    5 stars
    So delicious! This recipe is beloved in our household 🔥

  25. cemberzjoy

    5 stars
    I love kimchi and I was super excited to try this recipe. The kimchi lends a lot of spicy and full flavors to the pork and tofu. The broth created makes the tofu flavorful. I am not a huge tofu person but I loved it in this stew and will be making it again and again.

  26. Monica

    5 stars
    Kimchi Jjigae is def my go to for hangovers, rainy days or just any day. Loved this recipe and will be making it over and over again!

  27. chrysa_skarlatou (instagram)

    5 stars
    I really love this recipe, it is very flavourful 10/10 ❤️

  28. Austin Quinn

    5 stars
    Love this take on a classic dish! I always have leftover kimchi so this recipe has been a blessing to learn!

  29. Wonhee

    5 stars
    This is it- the complete comfort food. Seriously so delicious, it takes me back home. Thank you!

  30. @tiffanybarnes23

    5 stars
    It’s like my mom’s very comforting and delicious

  31. Christy

    5 stars
    Awesome 🤩, kimchi is one of my favourite comfort food, sometimes added them in any of my cooking, and this recipe definitely looks good 😊, thank you.

  32. Jennie Terning

    5 stars
    I just made this kimchi stew this weekend!! Absolutely LOVE this! My kids love it too. I am so grateful for your videos & recipes! I am a Korean adoptee and as an adult, learning more about all the delicious food from Korea.

  33. Esther B

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! I use it to finish up my kimchi on cold nights and with a lot of the veggies to make it different every time! Moreover I love that I can modify to make it my own depending on what I am feeling/have in ny fridge.

  34. Pascaline Tronche

    5 stars
    I make this recipe everyweek, I love it with a bowl of rice on the side !

  35. mselsaa

    5 stars
    This recipe is easy and it’s also delicious. That’s a huge plus and it’s perfect for those cold rainy days!

  36. Buiyah

    5 stars
    Best version I’ve tried so far!

  37. Michelle

    5 stars
    My bf and I loveeeee kimchi jjigae and we were so happy when you posted your recipe! This has been on rotation to get us through the cold weather! ☺️☺️

  38. Judy

    5 stars
    Kimchi soup is one of my favorite to go to soups. This recipe is one of the best and I love how detailed and easy the recipe was to follow.
    Thank you and keep posting more yummy recipes.

  39. Jessica

    5 stars
    One of my favorite recipes! I’ve made this once, and it is sooo good and easy!!! Definitely give it a try.

  40. Tara Jeter

    5 stars
    I looove Kimchi-Jjigae and this is such a good recipe. I only add some extra thai chili flakes to burn a lil more but I highly recommend making this, so much flavor! Especially with homeade kimchi!

  41. 5 stars
    The ultimate comfort food. One of my favorite food and recipe since it’s easy to make. The kind of food I want to cook whenever I’m tired from work and need something to eat. It’s also a perfect food during winter as the warm, sour, and spicy kimchi broth brings comfort to me, but I also eat this even if it’s summer season. Please continue to share your recipe to us Stella 🫶🏻🫰🏻 Thank you.

  42. 5 stars
    The ultimate comfort food. One of my favorite food and recipe since it’s easy to make. The kind of food I want to cook whenever I’m tired from work and need something to eat. It’s also a perfect food during winter as the warm, sour, and spicy kimchi broth brings comfort to me, but I also eat this even if it’s summer season. Please continue to share your recipe to us Stella 🫶🏻🫰🏻 Thank you.

  43. Audm_

    5 stars
    Can’t go wrong with this, esp with the anchovy stock.

  44. Nurian

    5 stars
    This was my very first korean dish made at home. I developed a love for korean tv shows and my mouth always watered by all the delicious food!!! So I ventured out to the Asian market and the rest is history. I know this recipe by heart and it’s so easy to make… i will try making kimchi next. 🫶🏼 im a foodie at heart!

  45. Alexis Cabero

    5 stars
    I definitely made this a part of my weekly rotation for dinner. So yum!

  46. Cynthia T.

    5 stars
    Followed this recipe and it was a hit! Love the simple recipes as I’m not the greatest cook. lol. Thank you!

  47. Shriti

    5 stars
    My favorite kimchi jiggae soup! It’s easy and so flavorful. My sister and I make this once a month!!

    Love all the cocktails too!!!!

  48. Sinji Pak

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! Classic Korean dish that has so much flavor and so comforting. Love it with either spam or pork.

  49. Judy

    5 stars
    I’ve made this a few times now but without the pork belly and it’s so good! I love it!

  50. Sally

    5 stars
    Easy and simple recipe! Turned out really good and love the idea of the broth tablets. I usually make mine without since I never store it in the house!

  51. Tuyet Ontiveros

    5 stars
    Love this Kimchi Jjigae recipe! It hits the spot every time!

  52. Daniel

    5 stars
    Love it gurl super authentic and delicious

  53. Pawee Akkharachotmongkhol

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! I made it for my family as a way to introduce them to Korean food and they absolutely loved it ¨̮

  54. Sanjuana

    5 stars
    Love all your recipes but Korean stews are my favorite, like this one 🤤

  55. @queeen.wasp

    5 stars
    Delicious! Beats paying $30+ for it one a week at bcd 😭😂 thanks for the recipe.

  56. Martin

    5 stars
    Kimchi stained my shirt but so worth it! Recipe was so easy to follow and it came out so delicious! The leftovers tasted even better the next day! Highly recommend!

  57. Amy

    5 stars
    I love kimchi jiggae but also love how detailed you are with your recipes!

  58. @anchauvi

    5 stars
    Delicious recipe and so easy to make! Great way to use up your leftover kimchi

  59. Thanh Huynh

    5 stars
    Had old, sour kimchi in my fridge and didn’t know what to do with it. So glad I found this recipe. So simple yet so good! Thank you for sharing 🫶🏼

  60. Anonymous

    5 stars
    Best comfort food & super easy to make!! :p

  61. Tammy

    5 stars
    Love this recipe. Tastes like the one my Mom use to make when I was growing up!

  62. Anonymous

    5 stars
    My son loves this recipe. It’s a winner for sure.

  63. Tiffany

    5 stars
    One of my fav recipes from you! Tried and truly so easy to make!

  64. Michelle

    5 stars
    This stew has been in my weekly rotation this winter and cannot be any easier to make with lots of flavor!

  65. CHANMEUY SAELEE

    5 stars
    Best recipe out there! I’ve tried multiple recieps and by far the most delicious one!

    1. Natalie Chavez

      5 stars
      Would always go to BCD and Kaju back home, this was and still is the most comforting meal. Since I moved, I couldn’t find a similar restaurant so now I make it at home! Delicious, comforting, and nostalgic.

  66. Ryan Wunder

    5 stars
    Perfect Recipe!!! 10/10 highly recommend!

  67. Trevor

    5 stars
    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
    I recently tried this Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew) recipe online, and it was absolutely phenomenal! The instructions were easy to follow, and the end result tasted just like the authentic dish I’ve had at restaurants. The flavors were bold and comforting, and it was the perfect balance of spicy and savory. I highly recommend giving this recipe a try if you’re craving a taste of Korean cuisine at home. It’s now a staple in my recipe collection! 🍲🌟

  68. Christine

    5 stars
    You have me convinced that I’ll be able to make tasty kimchi. I’ve only ever made this with store bought before. Can’t wait because this looks delicious!!

  69. Cher @cherbear808

    5 stars
    This is my favorite recipe! Easy to follow recipe! So yummy and comforting!

    1. jeffrey_s_lam

      5 stars
      Amazing recipe! I made this for my brothers and cousins and they loved it! I had to x3 the ingredients for everything and even did extra meat, tofu, and kimchi and it still turned out delicious!
      Thank you for the easy step by step recipe Stella!

  70. Sophie Ko

    5 stars
    My all time favorite Korean comfort food. It brings me joy whenever I eat this. Great job making it simple and easy to follow recipe!

  71. Jenny

    5 stars
    One of my absolute fav dishes & this recipe is so good!

  72. Dan

    5 stars
    Perfect! Like my mom’s!! Might be en be better…

  73. Callecka B.

    5 stars
    Can never go wrong with kimchi jjigae following your recipe!

  74. anonym0es

    5 stars
    This looks delicious!! And i love that you have pictures of the ingredients. It helps a lot!

  75. Katerina Kim (Sky_1804)

    5 stars
    Hi Stella, I’m Korean but from Central Asia. I chose this dish after visiting Korea for the very first time and followed your recipe. It was easy to make and I cannot describe how flavorful and delicious this dish was. I was so inspired that I even made my own kimchi. It tasted better even the next day. Thank you and I really appreciate you and everything you do.

  76. Tiffany

    5 stars
    This is my favorite recipe! I like to have a bowl of rice on the side to pour the leftover stew juice onto!

    1. Missy

      5 stars
      Kimchi Jigae! My favorite soup! This recipe was so easy to follow and was so yummy! Love watching you share your recipes! You share an excellent variety and of course my favorites are the Korean recipes since I’m also 1/2 Korean! Love that our food is appreciated by so many now!
      Keep them coming!

  77. Nico Banez

    5 stars
    Super easy recipe. And my wife loves it!

  78. @kkdough

    5 stars
    i make this to eat with my mom sometimes and she loves it. she doesn’t usually try things outside of cambodian cuisine but i got her to eat this and she craves it every now and then. 🙂

  79. Duc Bui

    5 stars
    As an avid follower and biggest fan of Stellanspice, I recently had the pleasure of trying out their Kimchi Jjigae recipe, and I must say, it was an absolute culinary masterpiece!

    This traditional Korean stew is bursting with robust and spicy flavors that truly tantalize the taste buds. The combination of well-fermented kimchi, tender pork, anchovy stock, and tofu creates a harmonious symphony of flavors that dance on the palate with each spoonful.

    What I particularly loved about this recipe is the attention to detail in balancing the flavors. The kimchi provided a delightful tanginess and depth of flavor, while the tender pork added a hearty and satisfying element to the stew. The anchovy stock infused the dish with a rich umami essence, elevating it to a whole new level of deliciousness.

    Moreover, the inclusion of tofu not only added a creamy texture but also served as a wonderful canvas for soaking up all the delicious flavors of the stew. Each bite was a delightful explosion of taste and texture, leaving me craving for more.

    As someone who enjoys experimenting with different recipes, I appreciate Stella’s dedication to authenticity while also providing a unique twist to this classic dish. Their Kimchi Jjigae recipe is a true testament to their culinary expertise and passion for sharing the joys of Korean cuisine with the world.

    Overall, I highly recommend trying out Stellanspice’s Kimchi Jjigae recipe for a heartwarming and soul-satisfying dining experience. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or someone looking to explore new flavors, this dish is sure to leave a lasting impression. Thank you Stella, for continuously inspiring and delighting your fans with your exceptional recipes!

  80. LaurenFalen

    5 stars
    I make this recipe so often! It’s delicious and easy

  81. t_is_my_name

    5 stars
    Stir frying the kimchi and pork makes such a difference.

  82. Dawui

    5 stars
    I used your recipe to make this kimchi jjigae and it was soooo good, even my bf loved it and he doesn’t eat soup much! Thank you!

  83. Ah.nhia

    5 stars
    I love love this soup!!!! It was so easy to make! I think I’m a pro now!

  84. AuJin Cha / @aujin.cha

    5 stars
    As a Korean-American, this is the staple and always a go too. Can never go wrong but this specific recipe warms my heart and soul.

  85. wheresmichii

    5 stars
    This is my go to on a rainy day!!! Super easy and customizable as well!

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Hi, I'm Stella!

I come from a multicultural background, and cooking has been one of the best ways for me to stay connected to my heritage. My recipes are tried and tested, many of them passed down through family. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!

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