Baechu Doenjang Guk (Soybean Paste Soup)

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Doenjang, fermented soybean paste, is a staple Korean condiment and used as a base for stew or soup. As with doenjang jjigae (stew version), doenjang guk (soup) is also one of the most representative Korean home cooked dishes. While the stew version is typically hearty, thick and pungent, the soup is light and mild and has more broth.
This doenjang based soup made with napa cabbage (baechu) is especially popular during late fall when napa cabbages are abundant. During kimjang season, Koreans make a large amount of kimchi for upcoming winter, so there are plenty of napa cabbages around. 
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Korean home cooks usually save the water used to rinse rice, ssalddeummul, and use it for this soup. The rice water adds starch to the soup and works as a binding agent between the soybean paste and the broth, while enhancing the flavor of the doenjang.

I’d like to add a little bit of gochujang (Korean red/hot pepper paste) to this soup to bring out the flavor of the doenjang without overpowering it. If you have this classic soup along with a bowl of rice and some kimchi, you have a meal – very satisfying one!

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Have you tried this napa cabbage soup recipe? Please rate the recipe below and leave a comment! Stay in touch by following me on YouTubePinterestTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.


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Baechu Doenjang Guk (Soybean Paste Soup with Napa Cabbage)

4.28 from 11 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Print Recipe


  • 1/4 head medium size napa cabbage about 1 pound
  • 4 cups anchovy broth* or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Korean soybean paste doenjang
  • 1 teaspoon Korean red pepper paste gochujang
  • 1 tablespoon soup soy sauce guk ganjang
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 scallions cut into 2 inch lengths
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Make anchovy broth by boiling, uncovered, about 12 medium size dried anchovies in 6 cups of water (or water used to rinse the rice) for 10 minutes. Fish out the anchovies and discard.
  • While the broth is being made, cut the cabbage into 2 to 3-inch pieces.
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  • Stir the soybean paste and red pepper paste in to the broth, or run them through a strainer in the broth. The latter process helps dissolve the pastes easier and catches any big chunks of beans remaining in the soy bean paste. Add the soup soy sauce to the broth.
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  • Add the cabbage, cover and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the cabbage becomes soft, 1o to 15 minutes. Add the scallions and garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add salt, if necessary, and pepper to taste.
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Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

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Recipe Rating



  1. Michelle Lee says

    5 stars
    I made this soup tonight and it came out delicious. Wish my parents were still around to see me making authentic home cooked Korean food!! They would have been very impressed. : )
    I am so happy that I stumbled on your website. I foresee bigger stretch pants shopping on the horizon in order to try out all your delicious recipes. Thanks!!

  2. Do you have a good recipe for Oogohji Tang? I think this is very similar but I’m not sure.

    Thank you!

    Btw you are my goto for all my korean food recipes. Everything I’ve made from tour recipes is the closest I can get to departed grandmother.

    • I know what you’re talking about. It’s one of my favorite soups. Yes, similar to this but not the same. I’ll add that to the to-do list. So happy to hear you find my recipes the closest to your grandmother. The best compliment a food blogger can get!

  3. Katie Sowers says

    This is my new favorite. I’ve tried using the doenjang in other soups, and didn’t seem to like it much. The combination and ratio of all your ingredients are like magic. 🙂 Thank you!!

  4. Sheila Brown says

    Hi – What a lovely soup. Please can you add a print and save button to this page? Thank you 🙂

  5. hi my name is james and i love korean food too. my parents are both korean and my grandmother used to makes out delicious korean food. even still she made us korean food teach us Gangwon Province cooking style . but i think for your soyben sprout soup i heard somepeople put dried seaweed instead of anchovies.

  6. Hi, can I replace anchovy broth with vegetable broth to make it vegan? Thank you very much and your recipe looks amazing.

  7. cooking.eating.carousing. says

    I made this comforting soup today. It’s winter here right now, and I think it’s best time to have this because chinese cabbage is in season, means I can really taste its sweetness.

  8. Made this today. It was delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipe.


  9. This soup is delicious and I love it. BTW, I would like to know aonori powder is made from what type of seaweed. I’m unable to find one over here in my country and would like to make from scratch. I searched in the net and one of the websites said use dried kombu.

  10. denise @ bread expectations says

    I’ve been on a Korean food bender these past few weeks LOL Delicious, spicy and such a pleasant way to lose weight! This soup will be going into my rotation. Thanks Hyosun 🙂

  11. 5 Star Foodie says

    What a delicious soup, I love napa cabbage, excellent!

  12. Hello Hyosun, thank you so much for your kind words when visiting my blog, I am so glad I’ve found yours. I read your “about” page and I am in awe of your catering skills, feeding 100 people is a mammoth task! I love Korean food but I know next to nothing about it, so I will definitely visit often to learn as much as I can 🙂

  13. I love doenjang jjigae in claypots. They are so tasty and comofrting when the weather is cold. Never thought of adding gochujang to it. I will have to cook this real soon. It looks so appetizing!

  14. The Cooking Photographer says

    Wow. I have so much to learn from you and your beautiful blog. I had to follow you!


  15. This looks so good, just the guk that my mom makes 🙂 I’ve been experimenting with korean cooking but haven’t made anything like this yet – I’m not sure my husband would eat it and I wouldn’t be able to finish it all by myself. I have been toeing over to the lesser known dishes though, so maybe soon!

  16. A little bit of everything says

    it’s always a pleasure to read about other countries cuisines. using the water the rice is washed in as a thickener is a great tip.
    the soup looks fantastic. thanks for sharing