Gamjaguk (Potato Soup)

Gamjaguk (Korean Potato Soup)

This simple potato soup is one of my childhood favorite soups! Unlike Western style potato soups, which tend to be rich and creamy, Korean potato soup (gamjaguk, 감자국) is made in clear broth with bite sized potato pieces. Gamja (감자) means potato, and guk (국) is soup. There are many different ways to make gamjaguk, but this recipe is how my mother used to make it when we were growing up.

Made similar to muguk (무국), this soup uses a simple beef soup base. The thinly sliced beef is seasoned with soup soy sauce and sautéed before being boiled in water. The combination of the beef and Korean soup soy sauce creates a simple broth that works deliciously with the soft potato chunks. You can use a different broth such as anchovy broth if preferred.

My mother always added tofu and potato starch noodles (dangmyeon, 당면) to our potato soup, making the soup more filling and nutritionally balanced. You can, of course, skip either one or both. You can also add other vegetables such as onion and mushrooms, drizzle lightly beaten eggs over the soup at the end while boiling, or use some gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes) if you want to make it spicy.

Gamjaguk is decidedly child friendly, but it’s also a healthy, satisfying soup that anyone can enjoy on cold winter days or any time of the year!

Gamjaguk (Korean Potato Soup)

5 from 3 votes
Gamjaguk (Potato Soup)
Healthy, satisfying Korean potato soup with tofu and noodles!
Servings: 4
Author: Hyosun
  • 4 ounces beef stew meat
  • 1 tablespoon soup soy sauce
  • 12 to 14 ounces potatoes 2 or 3 medium
  • 8 ounces tofu
  • 3 ounces starch noodles soaked in warm water for 20 minutes
  • 2 scallions 1 if large
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Thinly slice the beef into short strips and mix with the soup soy sauce and garlic. Cut the potato in half lengthwise, and slice into half-moon shapes (about 1/3-inch thick). Slice the tofu into 1/2-inch thick pieces. Cut the scallions into 1-inch lengths.
    Gamjaguk (Korean potato soup)
  2. In a medium pot, sauté the beef until all the pieces turn brown.
    Gamjaguk (Korean potato soup)
  3. Pour in 6 cups of water, and bring it to a boil. Skim off the foam. Reduce the heat to medium high and continue to boil, covered, for 5 minutes.
    Gamjaguk (Korean potato soup)
  4. Add the potatoes, tofu, and salt (about 1 teaspoon) and pepper to taste. Bring it to a boil, and cook until potatoes are cooked, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the potato. Drop the the noodles and scallions in, and boil for an additional minute or two.
    Gamjaguk (Korean potato soup)

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  1. Is this soup something you would have as a side dish or as a main? I love potato so I cant wait to try it out =)

  2. Hello! I just have two questions! Is there a way I can make my own soy sauce for soups? I found it in my local Asian market but it was only available in a big bottle and quite expensive. Also, what kind of side dishes can I make to go with this soup?
    Thank you!

    • Hello Haley,
      I am not an expert but a native Korean, and could answer your first question. One could make soy sauce from cooked soy beans that have been fermented and aged properly, so it is really not practical for most folks nowadays. I suggest trying different supermarkets for smaller bottles — like 12 oz., or when visiting a korean or japanese restaurant asking for a packet — like the ketchup packets. This recipe calls for soup soy sauce, which is stronger/saltier than regular so add a bit more salt.

  3. Thank you for the really helpful information! I’m a Vietnamese student, studying in WA, truly love your recipes. I have a small question for this potato soup. You said beef stew meat but I don’t know which part of beef is the stew meat in? Can you please help answer? Thank you!

    • Leah Shofstahl says

      Hi, when I make soup I use whatever meat I can get cheapest. In the US stew meat is usually labeled as such. A lot of times I get what is on sale, any small piece of beef will work: sirloin, flat iron steak, ribeye, sometimes you will find meat already cut into thin strips and labeled as “stir fry beef”, this also works for soup. I’m not Hyosun, but I hope this helps! Korean soup is a wintertime lunch staple for me!

  4. Hi! it is ok to use ground beef instead of stew meat?

  5. My friends introduced me to this recipe and I loved it. Very delicious, especially with how low calorie it is! Great source of protein too. Thanks so much for sharing!