Spicy Kimchi Stew (Kimchi Jjigae or Kimchi Chigae)

Kimchi stew sprinkled with scallions in bowls and rice served on the side

The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
316 Calories
19g Fat
8g Carbs
30g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 316
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 6g 29%
Cholesterol 78mg 26%
Sodium 875mg 38%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 4mg 18%
Calcium 201mg 15%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 540mg 11%
*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.)

Korea’s national dish, kimchi, is a spicy, pickled cabbage that is served as a condiment with almost every meal. Kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae or kimchi chigae) combines kimchi with other ingredients such as beef, onions, garlic, and tofu. It is meant to be eaten slowly, and it's served bubbling hot.

Fiery, hearty, and full of flavor, kimchi jjigae (pronounced kim-chee JEE-gei) is great for cold winter days, but Koreans can eat it anytime, anywhere. It's one of the most popular stews in Korea and is featured at many meals and in traditional restaurants. There's just one thing to keep in mind when you're planning to make kimchi jjigae—it is spicy. Really, really spicy. That's why it's served with a lot of white rice, to help balance out all that heat.


Click Play to See This Spicy Kimchi Jjigae Stew Come Together

"You'd never know by tasting it that this flavorful stew is made with just a few ingredients. Spicy, funky kimchi provides the most flavor, with a bit of onion, garlic, and beef providing the rest. It's very fast to make and the warmth of the spice makes it perfect for chilly nights." —Danielle Centoni

A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided

  • 3/4 pound beef (such as sirloin), thinly sliced

  • 2 cups kimchi (preferably with napa cabbage), roughly chopped

  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon gochujang, or Korean hot pepper paste

  • 1 tablespoon gochugaru, or Korean red chile flakes

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 3 cups water

  • 1/2 (14-ounce) block firm tofu, cubed

  • 2 scallions, chopped

  • Steamed rice, for serving, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for spicy kimchi stew recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  2. Place 1/2 tablespoon of the sesame oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat; once hot, add the beef and sauté for a few minutes.

    Sliced beef being stirred with a wooden spoon in a pot

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  3. Add kimchi to the pot and stir-fry for about 5 minutes.

    Kimchi and beef being stirred with a wooden spoon in the pot

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  4. Add the remaining oil, onion, garlic, gochujang, gochugaru, and soy sauce, mixing to combine. Pour the water into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

    Water and condiments added to kimchi stew in the pot

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  5. Cook for 10 minutes and add the tofu.

    Tofu cubes added to the kimchi stew in the pot

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  6. Continue cooking for another 10 to 20 minutes, adding the scallions at the very end.

    Scallions sprinkled over thickened kimchi stew with tofu

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai

  7. Serve the stew immediately, accompanied by steamed white rice if you like.

    Kimchi stew served in bowls with white rice on the side

    The Spruce Eats / Qi Ai


  • When choosing beef for this recipe, tenderloin is best, but you also can use tougher cuts like stew beef and simmer the stew longer.
  • Older kimchi will have a more pungent, richer flavor while younger kimchi may not, so use what you prefer.

Recipe Variations

  • Common vegetable additions include potatoes, zucchini, and mushrooms.
  • If you want a little extra bulk, consider adding glass noodles.
  • This recipe calls for using beef, but you can also incorporate pork or canned tuna. The types of pork that work best are bacon, pork belly, or Spam—just halve or omit the oil. If you're using canned tuna, add it along with the onion and garlic.

How to Store

  • Kimchi stew keeps well in the fridge, covered, for at least one week.
  • To freeze, transfer to airtight containers or freezer bags and freeze for two to three months.
  • If you intend to freeze leftovers of this stew, omit the tofu altogether or simply remove it before freezing, as it won't reheat well.

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