Doenjang Jjigae (Korean Soybean Paste Stew)

A staple Korean stew made with fermented soybean paste, doenjang! Learn a few basics to make this hearty Korean favorite the most authentic and delicious way. 
Doenjang jjigae (Korean soybean paste stew)
Doenjang jjigae (된장찌개) is a staple Korean stew made with doenjang (된장), fermented soybean paste. It is one of the most representative dishes of everyday home-cooked Korean meals. Depending on the other ingredients added, you can make endless variations of the stew. This recipe is made with fatty pork, which is the most common version.  

This recipe was originally posted in April 2010. I’ve updated it here with minor changes to the recipe and new photos.  

Doenjang is essential in Korean cuisine, and every Korean home has it all year round along with other staple condiments such as gochujang (fermented chili pepper paste). Its deep, rich flavor is created by several months of fermentation and aging. Doenjang is traditionally homemade, but there are many commercial brands available at Korean markets.  If you’re lucky, you may be able to find locally made home-style doenjang that’s sold at some Korean markets. 
Doenjang jjigae (Korean soybean paste stew)
Tofu is typically added along with some vegetables. For vegetables, I usually use Korean white radish (mu, 무), zucchini, onion, and fresh green and/or red chili pepper. It adds flavor and helps create a clean, refreshing broth. You can also add potatoes if you like slightly thicker stews. Mushrooms will be a good addition as well. 


Tips for delicious doenjang jjigae

By now, you know Korean home cooks save the water used to rinse rice (ssalddeumul, 쌀뜨물) and use it as a stew or soup base. The rice water adds starch to the stew and works as a binding agent between the soybean paste and the broth. It also enhances the flavor of the doenjang. If you didn’t have to make rice, or forgot to save the water, add a little bit of flour or rice powder to tap water.
Use a small amount of vinegar at the end to make doenjang jjigae even more delicious! It will brighten the doenjang taste in the stew.
This hearty stew is my husband’s all-time favorite meal and my go-to dish when I want to make a quick satisfying meal. The distinct aroma of sizzling doenjang makes my mouth water every time I make this dish!
Try these other variations

Seafood doenjang jjigae
Beef doenjang jjigae

Did you make and love this doenjang jjigae recipe? Please rate the recipe below in the recipe card or in the comment section! And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram! Stay in touch by following me on PinterestTwitterFacebook, and Instagram

Doenjang jjigae (Korean soybean paste stew)
Doenjang jjigae (Korean soybean paste stew)
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4.45 from 29 votes

Doenjang Jjigae (Korean Soybean Paste Stew)

A staple Korean stew made with fermented soybean paste (doenjang)
Servings: 2
Author: Hyosun


  • 3 ounces pork (preferably fatty pork) shoulder, or loin (or use beef, clams or shrimp if desired)
  • 9 ounces tofu
  • 1/2 medium zucchini
  • 2 ounces Korean radish (mu)
  • 1/4 medium onion
  • 1 chili pepper green or red
  • 1 scallion
  • 2 tablespoons Korean soybean paste doenjang
  • 1 teaspoon Korean chili pepper flakes (gochugaru) gochugaru
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups water see note
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar


  • Cut the tofu and zucchini into about 1-inch cubes. Cut the radish into thin small squares. Thinly slice the onion and pepper. Roughly chop the scallion. Slice the meat into thin strips.
    Doenjang jjigae (Korean soybean paste stew)
  • Preheat a small pot with a little bit of oil. Sauté the meat, soybean paste, and chili pepper flakes, over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
    Doenjang jjigae (Korean soybean paste stew)
  • Add the water (or anchovy broth) and stir well to dissolve the soy bean paste. Add the radish. Boil over medium high heat for 4 to 5 minutes.
    Doenjang jjigae (Korean soybean paste stew)
  • Add the onion, garlic, tofu, zucchini, and chili pepper. Boil for an additional 5 to 6 minutes. Throw in the scallion and add the vinegar with a minute or two remaining.
    Doenjang jjigae (Korean soybean paste stew)
  • Serve with rice while it is still bubbling from the heat.


Use the water used to rinse rice, ssalddeumul for jjigae/stew.  
Originally posted in April 2010 and updated here with an improved  recipe and new photos. 
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

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  1. Thank you for your website. I’ve been watching a lot of Korean series on Viki TV and have been craving Korean food. Yours is the third website I found for Korean food and by far the best. I’m amazed at how simple the recipes are and they are healthy. I’ve made this stew at least 8 times over the last month and shared it with my dentist (a Korean from LA) and she loved it.

  2. Teresa Hahm says

    5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe! The only modification I would add for myself is to stir fry the onions with the meat. Otherwise the texture is too hard and crunchy for me. But fabulous recipe! 🙂

  3. Hi, I wanted to make this in a few days and wanted to know what kind of vinegar you used? Do you use something like Mirin? Or is an apple cider vinegar okay?

  4. 5 stars
    Incredible! I added some enuki-mushrooms and soybeans for more texture (and better visuals). The more I ate the better it tasted haha. Suprised how much taste the soybean-paste had.

  5. Poorly written. Not for someone new to Korean cooking. Author does not give specificity of size of onion, zuchhini, moo and other ingredients. These add to imbalance of proportion of ingredients. Portion control not mentioned. Finally, author does not mention to taste amount of soy bean paste to be used for your liking. This one needs work.

  6. Instead of doenchang, can I use gochujang?

  7. Shasta Chung says

    5 stars
    Hello and thank you for this recipe. I’m making it right now but didn’t know where the vinegar is supposed to come in. I see 1 tsp vinegar but I don’t see where you added it. Was that a typo? I’ve never used vinegar before but my husband said my last batch was missing something so I thought maybe that. Please let me know. Thanks.

    • Oh so sorry about the late response. Hope it turned out well for you. I said in the body of the post “Use a small amount of vinegar at the end to make doenjang jjigae even more delicious! It will brighten the doenjang taste in the stew.” However, didn’t say anything about it in the recipe itself. It’s been added to the final step now. Thanks for catching that and for the great review!

  8. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh, made this tonight for the first time, and just wow! I use gochujang all the time after getting hooked on Korean food whilst on holiday, but never found a recipe for doenjang that appealed before. But this was so delicious, the broth I could drink!! 😀

    • Thank you, Stephanie! I’m glad to hear you tried doenjang jjigae for the first time and loved it! Hope it becomes your go-to stew as is in my house!

  9. I’ve tried several doenjang jjigae recipes, and the flavor palette on this one is my favorite! I just made it again with a dashi broth (rather than anchovy because I already had the materials lying around for that lol) and included potato and used shrimp instead of meat (added shrimp at the same time as the scallions).

    Delicious! My only question is whether you would recommend using coarse or fine gochugaru. I happen to have both and tend to use the coarse for pretty much everything, but I wasn’t sure if the fine would work better in a stew?

    • Thank you, Kelly! Happy to hear you like my recipe. I personally don’t think it matters in a stew. The fine gochugaru will make the stew look a bit cleaner.

  10. I made this today. And wow such a nice tasty stew. Easy to make too so this will be come my fav when I need comfort food in future. Thank you so much I love your blog and recipies.

    • That’s great! Glad to hear it’s going to be your fav. Thanks for using my recipe and coming by to give me the feedback!

  11. It is the first rainy week here in the mountains in California and I decided to make this for dinner last night. It was awesome. I made it exactly according to recipe and added potatoes. I used a red jalapeño pepper for the red chili and it was deliciously spicy with the addition of the gochugaru. So yummy. For the broth I boiled a couple pieces of dried kelp in rice water for 10 minutes like the recipe suggests. Absolutely delicious. Today I am making it again for a friend who is feeling sick. Thank you so much for the delicious recipes! 🙂

  12. Wow!!! Thank you. I’m a South African man, married to a Korean and living in S.Korea.
    What beautiful recipes from a pretty woman. Thank you so much! I’m really enjoying
    my self. God Bless!!!

  13. Angela Kahl says

    Man, I wish I’d found this earlier. XD I’ve been trying and failing to copy the doenjang jjigaes I find in restaurants around here, and this recipe looks like it would have been REALLY close.

    • It’s not too late! Hope you try it. Thanks, Angela!

      • Angela Kahl says

        I am totally going to try it, probably after next market day. But I’ve been failing my jjigaes for about eight months, much to the amusement of my coworkers. My hagwon’s chef is an AMAZING cook, but I don’t speak Korean well enough to ask her advice yet and she doesn’t speak English at all.

        This blog has saved my stomach since we moved to Changwon. Western ingredients are expensive out here. But I was already addicted to kimchi before we got here and fell in love with the rest of the cuisine within three days. So it all worked out well.

        I’m actually eating a vegetarian adaptation of the gamjaguk right now, with kkongnamulguk planned for sometime this week. We’ve already made tteokmanduguk a staple, especially during cold and flu season.

  14. Can this be made in the slow cooker?

    • Doenjang jjigae doesn’t take long to cook, so I am not sure if it’s a good candidate for cooking in the slow cooker. I am sure it can be done.

  15. I just made doenjang for the first time in a while .. but I have a quick question about how long I can keep the paste in the refrigerator for. I just opened a new container and I want to know how long it will be ok to consume. Thank you for this great recipe!

    • Doenjang paste lasts long, months or years for some of them. The commercial ones you buy in the market can get dried with the time, but won’t go bad. Thank you for trying my recipe!

  16. Hi Hyosun, can we use ssamjang instead of doenjang?

    • Ssamjang is usually a mix of doenjang and gochujang and also seasoned slightly sweet with corn syrup or sugar. It will taste a little different but you can try it and see how you like it. I think it will be okay.

      • Tried this with ssamjang and it was actually very tasty! It’s not as great as the kimchi tofu stew, which I’ve made several times already (!) but still good.

        I absolutely LOVE, love, LOVE your blog. I’ve visited other blogs with Korean recipes and instructions, but yours is much more simple and not intimidating, which motivates me to try more recipes. Keep up the great blog!

  17. Hello! Thank you so much for posting this recipe. It was very easy to follow and so delicious! I had this stew for the first time when I visited my cousin in South Korea, and I love it. I’m so glad I can make it now. YUM!!

  18. Shaun Holyoak says

    I made this for the first time today and it was delicious!! The flavor is so interesting and complex and it was just the right amount of spicy. Thanks for all these amazing recipes! I’m completely obsessed.

  19. Hi, I’ve made this a couple of times and it’s great! This round I used beef instead of pork and the meat turns out a bit tough. Any tips on how to keep the beef soft?


  20. I love you site. Can you tell what brand of ttengchang you use? Thank-you.

    • Thank you, Josehpine! Right now I use Q-rapha brand which is a local brand in the Washington DC area. Before that I was using what my mother-in-law made at home. Try to look for locally made home-style doenjang your local Korean markets offer if possible. Otherwise, click on the Ingredients tab above and see the photo of one of the popular doenjang brands in Korea. Cheers!

  21. Hi! My grandma used to use this beef for dwenjang jjigae, it was sogogi but I don’t know what kind it is or the name and I can never find it in Hmart. It has bones in it too and they were bite size pieces. Could you have any idea what it could be? I know it’s not pork. Thanks!

    • Hi Dana – I’m sorry I have no idea what that is. Sometimes, Korean markets sell beef short ribs cut small. Or thin part of ox tail maybe?

  22. Marvin Knight says

    How do I subscribe to your blog

  23. Hi Hyosun, I am thinking of cooking this stew for a group of friends. Could you advise on how many this recipe serves? Also I only have small anchovies where I live, would you be able to let me know in weight how much I should use to make the broth? Thanks so much!

    • Hi amie – This recipe is about 2 – 3 servings. Use about 25 grams (a little less than 1 ounce) of anchovies. Hope this helps. Enjoy!

  24. I just made this and am about to eat it for lunch right now. Turned out really good. I’ve tried making doenjang jjigae w/ different brands and varying the amount of paste added to the stew, but your recipe is the one I like best so far. The broth tasted light and not too salty but somehow had depth to it. Maybe sauteing the doenjang made the difference. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    – Cam

  25. Thank you so much for the recipe 🙂
    I would like to ask, when using seafood, at what point should one add it? I want to use shrimp but they cook so fast so it feels like they should be added towards the end…

  26. Hello. I just made this for my mom to eat tomorrow and turned out amazing. Better than the version most restaurants here in San Diego make. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes.

    • Aww how nice! I’m sure your mom loved it. It probably was even better because it was made with love. Thanks!

  27. How well does this soup hold up? Can you store it or freeze it, or is it a hot off the stove soup?

    • Hyosun Ro says

      Sorry about the late reply. I’ve been out of town with limited internet access. Yes, it is a hot off the stove soup. But, it will store well in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. I wouldn’t recommend freezing. Thanks!

  28. Omg. It turned out so good! I have been trying so many different ways of making this but couldn’t quite capture the depth of flavor it needs to have. The key was in the anchovy broth, which I had been making the wrong way this whole time! The stew was deep while being 쉬원해. I am going to make a whole pot of anchovy broth!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your family recipe with us.

    • I’m very happy to hear that. Yes, Anchovy broth makes a big difference. Thank you for using my recipe and letting me know how it turned out for you.

  29. Honey Baby Yoo says

    Hi thank you for your recipe! What type or cut of pork and beef do you use? The pork photo looks on the fattier side….is it from a Korean market?

    • I usually use fatty cut of pork such as belly or shoulder, but it’s a matter of personal taste. Fat adds rich flavor though. I think the photo was pork belly from a Korean market. Beef chuck or any other cheap cut with some fat would be great for stews. I also updated the ingredient list to reflect this. Thanks!

  30. Thank you for sharing this wonderful and traditional stew!

  31. I just made this as a vegetarian version using only tofu and it tastes amazing! What a great recipe! Thank you so much for posting it.

  32. Anonymous says

    Hyosun, this is one of my favorite Korean dishes. Can you give me a recommendation for the brand(s) of Doenjang that you think are best?


  33. making this now!!! yum!!!!

  34. Thank you, Fern. You’re awesome!

  35. Hi Hyosun, I just made this last night and it’s super delicious! My husband said it tasted really authentic, and that we don’t have to eat at Korean restaurants anymore 🙂

  36. [email protected] – Thank you! Let me know how it turns out. Enjoy!

  37. That looks so simple and delicious! I have some doenjang at home but I didn’t know what to do with it, but now I do. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll try it out soon. And I love your blog too! 🙂

  38. Hyosun Ro says

    You can use silken tofu too, but the classic for this stew is firm tofu. Korean firm tofu usually has two types, “soft” for stews and “firm” for pan frying. But you can use either one with no significant difference in the results.It’s a matter of preference.

  39. is the tofu the silken or firm?

  40. Yi @ Yi Reservation says

    This looks so delicious! I recently made this with some watercress it was so good. Thanks for sharing.

  41. Thank you, mskutin! Seafood is common in doenjang jjigae too. I am glad it turned out well for you. Thanks for letting me know and Happy New Year!

  42. I make this a few days ago, instead of meat I place seafood with it. It came out really good too. I realize I forget to post a comment here. Sorry this comment is a little late, but still would like to let you know this is a great recipe. I enjoy all your recipe keep up with this page.

  43. Helena – Thank you very much for the nice words. It is really exciting to me to hear from someone like you who love Korean food and want to try my recipes. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  44. I was so excited when I found your blog last week. This will be my first recipe, the dish I always get at our favorite Korean restaurant here in Salt Lake. Thanks so much for all the recipes and advice. Your photos are beautiful.

  45. No, you don’t have to use meat in the seafood version, but you can if you want. It’s not uncommon to add meat to seafood doenjang jjigae. It’s a matter of preference. Regarding your second question, any type of seafood can be added. The typical ones are clams, mussels, shrimp, squid, and oysters. But you can use any one or combination of them. My family loves the seafood version too. Please let me know how it turns out for you. Thanks for trying my recipe.

  46. thanks for sharing this recipe! i actually would like to make the seafood version of this stew.. would i still use meat in the stew? also, wad kind of seafood can i include in?

    thanks for your help! 🙂


  47. Made the dish this past week, and I am with your husband on this one . . . I love it too. Never had a need to stock tofu but now plan on having it around just for this dish (as well as it being a great source of iron).

    Made it exact with potatoes and leftover chicken (goes great with the rice, so filling). I can see myself making this dish once every 3 months. Thank you for the fast reply and the recipe.

  48. Toni – Thank you for checking out my recipe.
    Regarding your questions, you do not need to press water out of tofu since it will be cooked in liquid anyway. You would want to remove excess water if, for example, it is to be pan fried in oil. If it is to be used in the drier dish such as Korean dumplings(mandu), you would need to squeeze out as much water as possible.

    Anchovy sauce is quite salty and pungent, so if you want to use it in this dish, use a small amount like one or two teaspoons, depending on how salty your Doenjang (fermented bean paste) is.

    Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions. I would also love to hear how it turns out for you if you make this dish.

  49. I was just looking around and had two questions regarding this recipe. I’m new to using tofu and wanted to know whether you need to pres it to remove excess moisture before using it in this dish?

    and also if your using salted anchovy sauce, how much do you use when making this dish? (bought the Korean sauce after checking out a different website but never got a chance to use it)

  50. Hyosun Ro says

    Thanks for checking out my blog! I love doenjang jjigae too. Hope one day your husband will acquire the taste and enjoy the aroma of doenjang.

  51. beyondkimchee says

    This is all Korean comfort food that I can’t live without although my hubby is not so fond of the smell. 😛
    Thanks for sharing. Looks great!

  52. Mi-ae, thanks for visiting and subscribing! Hope you try some of my recipes and let me know how they turn out for you.

  53. I really like your blog. Thank you. I’m subscribing to it now.

    Mi-ae Choi

  54. Thanks for the tips, I will eat anything good in Korea. So I’m open to any suggestions. Great websites, I will definitely make a lot of memos before I go.

    Thank God I have my mum to take me around. She’s Korean… She used to a pop singer in the 80’s. Shin Yu Giong. I don’t know if you’d know her. 🙂

  55. Thanks for stopping by. That’s nice you get to go to Korea! There are so many great places to eat everywhere. Try the places that specialize in a particular type of food, like stews (doenjang jjigae, sundubu (soft tofu) jjigae), Chuncheon dakgalbi (if you like chicken and spicy food), nakji bokkeum (stir-fried octopus), etc. Also, check out ZenKimchi Korean Food Journal and SeoulEats for English information about restaurants in Seoul. SeriousEats has a post on “Snapshots from South Korea” which has a lot of information too. Hope this helps. I will let you know if I can think of anything else before you leave.

  56. This will be one of my first thing to eat when I visit Korea.
    It’s been 15 years I haven’t been to Korea… and this June, I will be there.
    Any tips? Especially great places to eat?
    I am half Korean, and unfortunately forgot how to speak Korean since 8 years old…