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If you crave Korean food, but don’t have access to a Korean restaurant then try out these 30 easy Korean recipes. While many of these dishes can be made in 20 minutes or less, some of them require several hours (or even days) in prep time.
Similar to other far-eastern foods, these Korean recipes will keep your belly full and pack a flavorful punch. Make sure you are familiar with basic pantry staples before you start, otherwise you might have a hard time following the instructions.
As a bonus, some of the vegan recipes in this article are perfect if you want to expand your list of vegetarian meal prep ideas.
Frequently Asked Questions about Korean Cuisine
Let’s start with some short answers to the most commonly asked questions.
How would you describe Korean cuisine?
Korean cuisine is similar to authentic Chinese food, but not to be confused with your average take-away. Korean cuisine uses lots of fermented or pickled stuff (not just kimchi) and vast quantities of vegetables. Foods tend to have a really strong flavor, but spicy dishes are generally not as spicy as you’re used to.
What are some famous Korean dishes?
The most recognizable Korean dishes are kimchi, bibimbap, bulgogi, japchae and soondae. You have also likely heard of Korean fried chicken or Korean BBQ in general, as they are prominently featured in restaurants and TV shows all over the world.
What are popular spices used in Korean cooking?
There are a few common ingredients featured in most Korean recipes. These include but are not limited to sesame oil, chili pepper paste (kochujang) and chili pepper flakes (kochukaru), doenjang or black bean paste, garlic, and ginger.
These spices and base ingredients ensure that most Korean foods are really flavorful and savory.
30 Easy Korean Recipes
Scroll below to see my list of some of the most amazing and authentic Korean recipes. I have divided them into three major groups: soups, vegan, and authentic.
8 Tasty Korean Soup Recipes
Let’s start off with a few Korean soup recipes. Check the list below and pick your favorite.
Korean radish tastes best during the fall or winter, which makes this a perfect feel-good soup for those chilly days. The base of this soup is beef stock, prepared by cutting the meat into very thin slices.
Soybean sprouts are one of the most widely used vegetables in the korean kitchen. The best part of this soup is that you don’t have to stick to one kind of broth in order to prepare it. Beef, anchovy or even plain water. Anything goes!
Similar to many other beef soups you need to cook this for several hours if you want it really tender. But don’t worry, it is not as time intensive as you’d think. And as a nice bonus, your whole house will smell like tasty soup!
Did you know that it is an old Korean tradition to eat rice cake soup on new years eve? I certainly didn’t. No one is really sure where the tradition comes from, but as long as this soup is as tasty as it looks I’m happy.
This one’s for you if you are looking for vegan Korean recipes. Even though this soup has an orange reddish hue it is not as spicy as it looks since the Korean pepper flakes used are not that hot.
As with most other korean recipes you might wonder if the ingredients are actually complex or not. It might be confusing, especially for a westerner not used to Korean names, but all ingredients in this soup are pantry staples.
This spicy stew is probably the king among easy Korean recipes. You can substitute many ingredients if you know your way around the Korean isle in your local market and it is very easy to make. Tastes really authentic as well!
Sorry if you are getting a tofu overload by now, but it is such an amazing ingredient! And since it originates from the far east it is no wonder that it is featured in many vegan Korean recipes. Make sure to use soft tofu, not silken tofu!
6 Amazing Vegan Korean Recipes
Looking for Korean Vegetarian Recipes? I’ll do you one better. The following recipes are all vegan, no meat or animal products in any of them.
Perfect weeknight dinner, and also great for meal prepping since lentils can be portioned out fairly easily. You need only 20 minutes of free time to cook this Korean bulgogi recipe, and if you don’t like mushrooms you can leave them out.
10. Korean BBQ Pizza
Okay, this might not be among the most authentic Korean recipes but if you want to eat pizza and are craving something Korean then you should still try it. A big bonus is that it is vegan, the recipe only calls for the famous Korean BBQ sauce for flavoring the dough.
You got me there for a minute, not gonna lie. I had to scroll halfway through the page as the author kept telling me to use sausages and bacon. On a vegan blog. Imagine my surprise. Obviously she wants you to use vegan bacon and vegan sausages, not sure why I thought otherwise.
This easy and filling dish is not only vegan, but gluten free and full of healthy veggies as well! If you like the taste of Korean BBQ but don’t want to eat meat then you can give it a shot. Total cooking time is only 20 minutes!
Japchae is a widely known and very popular Korean noodle dish that you can find at most Korean restaurants. Try this vegan version if you want to eat something cheap and healthy, with an authentic Korean twist.
It is not easy to pull off a vegan bibimbap, but this author has done it. The problem was that you need egg yolks, which are kinda hard to recreate, but nowadays there are good alternatives. Make sure you have some spare time as you’ll be cooking for over 2 hours!
15 Authentic Korean Recipes
I have selected only the most well known and authentic korean recipes for this part.
Did you know that there are dedicated Dak Galbi restaurants in Korea? Similar to Burger joints in the US you can order a wide variety of flavors and seasonings. Dak Galbi is essentially spicy chicken stir fry, oftentimes prepared in a cast iron pan.
Koreans love their rice cakes, and with good reason. It is the most popular street food over there. This recipe is a version that is a little bit more “saucy” then usual, so you might want to adjust the ingredients a little bit if you want it more dry.
Korean fried chicken is probably the most well known Korean dish in the west. These fried little bites pack a mean hot punch and are very tasty. You’ll want to set aside an hour and a half for cooking, but the list of ingredients is not too long.
This food is commonly used as an appetizer, since the bite sized nuggets are perfect for smaller serving sizes. You’ll want to make them out of chicken thighs as the fat content is higher and it won’t dry out as quickly as chicken breasts.
Originating from the author’s mother, kimbap is not among the easy Korean recipes. But the effort is worth it, since it is very versatile and perfect as a finger food. The uninitiated might think this is sushi, but there are some key differences even though they share similar looks.
Try this easy korean recipe if you want to impress someone on a special day. Even though the original version takes a long time to prepare, this recipe has some shortcuts and ideas to drastically reduce the cooking time to only 30 minutes total. Including prepwork!
This soup is made with shredded beef and is very hearty. As mentioned before, don’t worry about the spicyness, because this soup is much milder than the color would suggest. I moved this from the soup category because Yukgaejang is one of the most authentic Korean recipes.
How amazing can a bowl of rice be? If you think “not very much” then you are dead wrong. Koreans took it to the next level by adding marinated beef, fried eggs, and that wonderful red spicy bibimbap sauce. Make sure you try it!
Thick sauce and chewy noodles, simply heavenly! This dish is very inexpensive to make and so beloved in Seoul that they even have an unofficial “black day” to celebrate Jjajangmyeon. There is also a Chinese version of this dish, but the difference is the black bean sauce used.
One of my friends ate “raw” seaweed sheets straight out of the packaging but I never liked them to be honest. I might give this recipe a shot though, since this is not only a really cheap and healthy alternative to rice for weight loss, but you can also use it if you are looking for authentic Korean side dishes.
An interesting twist on the traditionally spicy version of Korean fried chicken. One of the most simple and easy Korean recipes since you’ll only need three key ingredients. Make sure to double fry the chicken wings for that extra crunch!
I have included a vegan version above, so it is only fair to add the original to the list of authentic korean recipes. You can cook this delicious dish in only 20 minutes, and the best part is that you’ll only need one single pan!
No list of authentic Korean recipes is complete without kimchi. You’ll most likely use it in many foods above, and you can obviously buy it from a store. But if you want to make your own, then try this recipe sourced from the granny of a professional chef.
Savory pancakes but unfortunately not vegetarian since you’ll need to add pork if you want something authentic. The recipe yields about 30 small pancakes, and it takes about 40 minutes to cook them (8 minutes each) depending on how large your pan is. Perfect for meal prepping by the way and one of the best Korean side dishes!
I’d definitely have trouble ordering this from a restaurant if english wasn’t allowed. This is a very popular side dish, typically served on top of a bowl of rice. Total prep time is an unbelievable 8 hours and 15 minutes, but you can leave it in the fridge for up to 1 week before serving.
Last but not least an authentic dish featuring shrimp, squid and clams. You can also prepare it in a vegan way if you leave out the seafood and use vegetable stock instead. Not sure why you’d call it a seafood pancake then, but hey, it’s something. Keep in mind that one pancake is fairly large, so you might want to share it with someone.