Korean Spicy Beef Soup (Yukaejang)

Korean Spicy Beef Soup (Yukaejang)

The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 2 hrs 15 mins
Total: 2 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
305 Calories
20g Fat
5g Carbs
26g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 305
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 142mg 47%
Sodium 189mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 26mg 129%
Calcium 104mg 8%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 363mg 8%
*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.)

Yukgaejang (sometimes spelled yookaejang) is a hearty Korean soup that warms you from your head to your toes. Full of meat and vegetables, it's fiery red, bold, and spicy. Yukgaejang is a one-pot meal that requires very little hands-on time, but tastes like you've spent all day making it.

Brisket serves as the protein for this soup as well as flavoring for the broth. For an extra kick of meaty flavor, use beef broth or bouillon. In terms of the other ingredients, some may be familiar to you, and others may not. You'll find gochugaru and gochujang in many well-stocked grocery stores, Asian markets, or online. If you've never worked with fernbrake, it's a dried seaweed often used in Korean cooking. That, too, can be found in Asian markets and online, but it's also not unusual for home cooks to substitute for something fresh and green, such as fiddlehead ferns, asparagus, spinach, or watercress. To make this a full meal, include the optional glass noodles, which are gluten-free.

"The soup is an entire meal in one pot. Completely satisfying and delicious! Use the entire gallon of water because some of it will evaporate as the brisket cooks. I simmered the dried fernbrake for 30 minutes, the let it sit 0ff-heat in the water until tender, about 15 minutes." —Diana Andrews

Korean Spicy Beef Soup (Yukaejang)/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 pound brisket

  • 4 quarts water

  • 2 bunches scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 cup bean sprouts

  • 3/4 cup dried fernbrake, gosari, or bracken fiddleheads, presoaked in boiling water

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons gochugaru, red pepper powder

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons gochujang, red pepper paste

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce, more to taste

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 1 cup cooked glass noodles, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for yukgaejang, Korean spicy beef soup

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  2. In a large pot, bring the brisket and the water to a boil.

    Brisket boiling in a pot

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot, and simmer until the meat is tender, skimming off the fat and foam.

    Spoon skimming fat off the top of the boiling water

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  4. Remove the meat from the broth but keep the broth in the pot.

    Cooked brisket removed from the pot

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  5. When it's cool enough to handle, hand-shred the beef with the grain (discard any gristle).

    Shredded beef in a bowl

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  6. In a large bowl, combine shredded beef with scallions, bean sprouts, and fernbrake.

    Shredded beef in a bowl with scallions and sprouts

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  7. Add the garlic, sesame oil, gochugaru, gochujang, soy sauce, and black pepper to the beef and toss to combine.

    Seasoned beef and vegetables in a bowl

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  8. Add the seasoned ingredients to the broth and bring to a boil.

    Soup boiling in a pot

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  9. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Adjust soup to taste with soy sauce if necessary.

    Adding soy sauce to the boiling soup

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  10. Swirl the beaten eggs into the soup while stirring continuously.

    Swirling the eggs into soup

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  11. Add noodles, if using, and remove from the heat. Divide between bowls and serve.

    Korean Spicy Beef Soup (Yukaejang) in a pot

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

Recipe Variations

  • For meatier flavor, replace half or all of the water with beef broth or add a couple of beef bouillon cubes or granules.
  • Red pepper powder and pepper paste add heat—adjust the amounts according to your level of heat tolerance.
  • If your soup isn't salty enough, add more soy sauce to taste.
  • Adding noodles to this soup turns it into a complete meal. You can also choose to serve it with freshly steamed rice.

How to Store and Freeze Yukaejang

  • This soup tastes even better the next day. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • This soup can also be frozen. After cooling, add the soup to an airtight container, leaving an inch of headspace. Freeze for up to three months and defrost in the fridge before reheating.