Dak Gomtang (Korean Chicken Soup)

dak gomtang

Based on the lunar calendar, Koreans mark the hottest summer period with 3 distinct days – chobok (beginning), jungbok (middle) and malbok (end). On these days,Koreans traditionally eat samgyetang, ginseng chicken soup, which is believed to be an energy-boosting dish.

Today is malbok, and I realized I have not made this popular summer dish at all this summer. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any ginseng! I obviously couldn’t make ginseng chicken soup without ginseng. So, I decided to make another popular chicken soup, dak gomtang, instead. Gomtang generally refers to a soup made by simmering beef bones and meat for several hours. The result is a comforting milky broth with tender meat. Dak gomtang is a variation made with a whole chicken, but the chicken does not take as many hours to simmer. The key is to use a lot of garlic. Make this flavorful chicken soup and beat the heat the Korean way!

1 whole chicken (3 – 4 pounds)
10 – 12 garlic cloves
1 small piece ginger
1/2 medium onion
2 – 3 scallion white parts
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppers (optional)

10 cups of water

3 scallions, finely chopped to garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Place the cleaned chicken in a stock pot large enough to hold the chicken and 10 cups of water (6 – 8 quarts). Add the garlic, ginger, onion, scallions, optional peppers and 10 cups of water (or enough to cover the chicken).


Bring it to a boil over high heat. Skim off any foam on top. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for about 40 – 50 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken. Cut through the thickest part of the breast, with a knife, to see if the chicken is cooked and tender.

Turn the heat off and carefully remove the chicken. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat off the bones. Shred the meat into small bite size pieces. You can strain the broth, remove the excess fat and serve at this point. But, I put the bones back in the soup and simmer again for more flavorful broth.
 Optional Step: Put the bones back in the broth and simmer over medium low heat for an additional 30 minutes to an hour depending on how much time you have.


 Strain the broth and remove the excess fat. You can spoon off the fat, refrigerate the broth until the fat solidifies, or use a fat separator.



To serve, place some rice in a serving bowl, add chicken pieces, and then ladle the hot broth on top. Typically, chopped scallions, salt and pepper are served separately so each person can season to taste. Serve piping hot with kimchi.

Leave a Comment



  1. :O Wow~! Looks very delicious.

    Thank you so much for the recipe and the measurements. I look up recipes on Naver, but the problem is, the measurements on there is something like "300g of garlic", but what is 300 grams of garlic?

    Once again, thank you for this recipe. I will be making it tomorrow for a Sunday brunch.
  2. Thank you, Fin! I am happy to hear you will be making this today. It was delicious, and my family loved it. Enjoy!
  3. The soup sounds excellent, a beautiful shot of it.
  4. Thank you, Natasha!
  5. Wonderfully presented! I bet those are appetite boosting soup, I think I will love it.
  6. There's nothing tastier than a well done chicken soup in my opinion, and this looks perfect!
  7. Yummy Hyosun. I was tempted to buy the Korean stoneware (the one used to cook rice at Tofu house) yesterday at the Korean market. This soup will be great with the crusty rice cooked in the stoneware. :)
  8. loved the background to this soup - it's one of my fave korean soups and i never knew there was so much behind it!
  9. Hello! great recipe and yummy pictures, we would be glad if you could submit it to our site. Cheers :)
  10. myfudo, Peggy, Bee, and Janine - Thank you so much for visiting and leaving the nice words. I returned home this week from a trip not feeling well. So I just made this soup again for myself. It was delicious and comforting.
  11. I love ginseng tea, and i try drinking it every day, but never tried making ginseng soup! I love sound of this chicken soup, very delicious looking..presentation and your pictures just saying: make me soon!:))
  12. Hi Hyosan! I didn't know Korean also divides summer in three periods! I actually don't know if we have special food for each period like Korans do... I suddenly miss home thinking how wonderful to have such seasonal culture. =) I start to wonder if it's only Japanese that it's not common to use whole chicken! I barely see whole chicken in Japan, but it seems like Koreans makes chicken soup from scratch. This soup looks wonderful and I'm glad you continue keeping the culture.
  13. Sandra - Thank you for visiting again and for the nice words. We Koreans love our ginseng!

    Nami - Oh I did not know it's not common in Japan to use whole chicken. It's very common in Korea to cook and serve whole chicken. Thanks for the encouraging words.
  14. I love the photograph! I would love to eat this right now....
  15. Thanks, Soyeon! I know it would be nice to have a bowl of this soup on the days like today.
  16. I made dak gomtang today! I could only fit about 9 cups of water in my pot, because the chicken was a 5 pounder, but it was DELICIOUS! The garlic pretty much disintegrated into the broth (YUMMM!), and I chopped the onion up and put it back into the soup to give it a bit more texture. It was so flavorful, I ate three (small) bowls for lunch... OOPS! :)
  17. Great recipe. I enjoyed it a lot. Just like mom made.
  18. Anonymous says:
    I have made this recipe 5 times. I am in love with it.. definitely one of my favorites! My boyfriend is Korean and always requests it!
  19. I made this for dinner today. I made the extra step of simmering the bones for longer than an hour, the resulting broth was milky and comforting. Ate it with a condiment I mixed myself: 1 tbsp minced garlic + 1 tbsp soy sauce + 1 tsp black pepper. The garlic and soy sauce really complements the flavour if I may say so myself.
  20. I can't thank you enough Mrs. Ro. My korean mom didn't know how to cook korean food very well, ironically, so I never learned. Now I have 2 toddlers that prefer to eat asian food. Your online cookbook has been my go-to for delious korean home cooked food. I had this recipe in the slow cooker all night (having two toddlers make it very difficult to simmer soup). The soup came out great! I also was craving kongnamul guk and made that yesterday. I added thinly sliced seasoned beef for my picking meat-eating daughter. She loved it! I don't know if you have a tracking system to see how many people visit your site. I wanted to inform you that I use your recipes very often. I have yet to try them all but so far I/my family haven't been disappointed. Thank you again!
    • Hi Sarah - I am happy to hear you are learning Korean food through my blog. I'm also happy to hear you successfully made this soup in the slow cooker.I am sure other readers like to know that. I know konganul guk made with beef is good. I used to love that as a child too. Sounds like you are very good in cooking. Keep on cooking Korean food for your family, and thanks for using my recipes!
  21. Hi, A quick question- the recipe calls for 10 cups of water which is 2.5 quarts. In parenthesis you put 6-8 quarts. I am assuming just 10 cups??
  22. Hyosun Ro! Ha! I just caught my mistake... You meant a 6-8 quart pot! Silly... Thanks!!!
  23. this is the closest recipe i've found that resembles my harmony's dakgook (chicken soup!) growing up. thank you so much hyosun. this recipe takes me right back home and to my childhood days, and even though my grandma never taught me how, i feel like she's still here with me. what a great resource your blog is, for homemade korean food! very appreciated.
  24. HUYEN.VU says:
    I'm a vietnamese who love korea and its food culture. Thank you so much for the recipe. My grandma really loves it
  25. Wanting to know , if I add mushrooms to this, how long would they need to cook?