Korean Bean Sprout Soup (Kongnamul Guk)

Korean Bean Sprout Soup (Kongnamul Guk)

The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
76 Calories
4g Fat
8g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 76
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2030mg 88%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 12mg 62%
Calcium 27mg 2%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 201mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Korean bean sprout soup, which is both cheap and easy to make, has a light and refreshing flavor. It's made from simple ingredients: soybean sprouts, soy sauce, garlic, water, and seasonings.

Soybean sprouts are larger than the more commonly found mung bean sprouts. They're also more yellow in color (as opposed to green), and have a coarser texture. They're used in various dishes, including soups, stews, and spring rolls, in the various cuisines of east and southeast Asia.

Add a splash of red pepper flakes (kochukaru) to this soup to amplify the flavors. It's also an excellent option for a Korean dish that's vegetarian, since it doesn't make use of any meat-based broths.

Note that you can control the spice level of your soup by adding less or more of the red pepper flakes. If you like your soup particularly spicy, you even can add more red pepper powder—just use your own best judgment, knowing your tolerance for heat.


  • 3 cups soybean sprouts, washed and if desired, roots trimmed

  • 6 cups vegetable broth, or water

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 scallion, or 1 bunch chives, for garnish, optional

  • 1 tablespoon Korean red pepper powder, kochukaru, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Korean Bean Sprout Soup (Kongnamul Guk) ingredients

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  2. In a medium-sized pot, sauté garlic in soy sauce and sesame oil over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

    sauté garlic in soy sauce and sesame oil in a pot

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  3. Add water and bean sprouts and bring to a boil over high heat.

    water and bean sprouts added to the garlic in the pot

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  4. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, or until you can smell the strong odor of bean sprouts cooking.

    soup cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  5. If you're making the spicy version, add the red pepper powder 5 minutes before turning off the heat.

    soup and red peppers cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

  6. If you're using scallions or chives to garnish, then add to the pot at the end and then immediately take off the heat.

    Korean Bean Sprout Soup (Kongnamul Guk) in a pot

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger