Seolleongtang (Ox Bone Soup)

This post demystifies seolleongtang so you can make this restaurant favorite at home. A few dollars’ worth of beef bones make lots of rich and nourishing soup.

Boiling hot ox bone soup in an earthen ware

What is Seolleongtang 

Seolleongtang is a milky beef bone soup that’s made by boiling down ox leg bones for several hours until the broth becomes rich and creamy white. This broth is a staple in Korean households, especially during cold winter months. 

Legend has it that this soup was created because King Seonjong of the Joseon Dynasty wanted to feed a large number of people after an ancestral worship ritual involving a sacrificial cow. Let me tell you — the King had the right idea!

You can feed your whole family with a few dollars’ worth of beef bones and still have some leftover to freeze for later use. The broth is also great as a soup base for many other Korean soups such as tteokguk, mandugukdoenjangguk, and miyeokguk.

In this post, I’m going to demystify seolleongtang to convince you to make this restaurant favorite at home. Yes, it takes time, but most of it is stove time. You can do other things around the house while this is boiling away in the kitchen. The result is totally rewarding! 

Which ox bones to use

Ox marrow bones, called sagol (사골) , is most typically used to make this milky bone soup, but other parts such as knuckle bones (dogani, 도가니) and ox foot (ujok, 우족). I usually use a combination of two or three different parts of bones for a rich flavor. 

  1. Marrow bones, sagol (사골)  2. knuckle bones (dogani, 도가니) 3. foot (ujok, 우족)

3 different cow bones cut up

How to make seolleongtang

There are no hard and fast rules about how much bones or water you need to use or how long you should boil. A few pounds of bones go a long way, and you can use as much water as your pot can hold.

In making a Western-style beef stock or Vietnamese pho broth, the cooks aim for a clear, brown broth by simmering beef bones for many hours. In contrast, the goal of making Korean ox bone broth is to achieve a milky white broth.

What’s done differently? It’s the heat level! For a clear broth, the bones are gently simmered over low heat. Simmering, by definition, is cooking at the temperature below the boiling point with bubbles gently rising to the top. For a milky broth, you need to maintain a medium boil, not simmer, throughout the cooking time.

Boiling hot ox bone soup in an earthen ware

Tips for making Korean ox bone soup

Don’t throw the bones away after making the first batch of broth. Use them again to make another batch. The broth will be even milkier the second time around. I usually stop after the third batch.

It’s common to use aromatic vegetables, such as onion, garlic, and the white parts of large scallions. However, only using the bones will give you a stronger beefy flavor. It’s a matter of personal taste. Try both ways, and decide which way you like better.

How to serve seolleongtang

Seasoning is usually done at the table by adding sea salt. You’ll be surprised by how a little bit of salt brings out the complex flavor of the beef. The soup is also naturally nutty with a hint of sweetness. Delicious!

Korean milky bone soup with sliced beef and noodles

If you tried this recipe, please rate the recipe and let me know how it turned out in the comment section below.  Stay in touch by following me on YouTube, PinterestTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Boiling hot ox bone soup in an earthen ware
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5 from 1 vote

Seolleongtang (Ox bone soup)

This post demystifies seolleongtang so you can make this restaurant favorite at home. A few dollars’ worth of beef bones makes lots of rich and nourishing soup.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time5 hrs
Course: Main
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: beef, beef bones, beef brisket, bone both, knuckle bones, marrow bones, milky broth
Servings: 8
Author: Hyosun


  • 3 - 4 pounds beef marrow bones (sagol, 사골), cut up You can also use cow knuckles (도가니) and/or foot (우족)
  • 1 - 2 pounds beef brisket or shank meat

For serving:

  • cooked rice
  • cooked somyeon (or glasnoodles
  • thinly sliced meat, cooked with the bones
  • lots of chopped scallions
  • salt and pepper



  • Soak the bones in cold water to draw out as much blood as possible, about 1 hour (or longer if you have time). Rinse well and drain.
    Beef bones soaked in water
  • Soak the meat in another bowl to draw out as much blood as possible, about 1 hour. Drain. Keep it in the fridge until ready to use.
    Beef brisket being soaked in water


  • Add the bones to a large stockpot (preferably 8 quarts or largewith enough cold water to cover. Bring it to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, and boil for 5 minutes.
    Ox bones being boiled in a stock pot
  • Drain. Rinse the bones, and clean out the pot to remove any brown bits. Return the bones to the pot.
    parboiled beef bones in a pot


  • Fill up the pot with cold water, leaving a little room for boiling. Bring it to a boil over high heat, and reduce the heat to medium.
    Ox bones in a pot of water
  • Cover, and boil until the broth becomes rich and milky, about 5 hours (or longer if you have time). Adjust the heat a little, if necessary, to maintain a medium boil. (On my stove, this is somewhere between medium and medium low.) Add more water (boiling hot water to maintain the cooking temperature) to cover the bones, once or twice while boiling. (This photo was taken at the 3-hour point.)
    boiling beef bones in a stock poot
  • Add the soaked meat (and more water if needed to submerge the meat). Boil until the meat is tender, for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Remove the meat. Once cooled, thinly slice the meat to add to the soup when serving. Pour the broth through a colander into another pot or a large bowl to cool.
    beef brisket added to the bone broth

Optional step (highly recommended)

  • Fill up the pot with fresh water again. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium. Cover, and boil until the broth becomes rich and milky, 3 - 5 hours. Reduce the heat a little, as necessary, to maintain a moderate boil. Add more water if the liquid reduces too quickly while boiling. Pour the milky broth through a colander into the pot or large bowl that contains the first batch. You can repeat this one more time, if desired. Just mix them all at the end to even it out.
    Beef bones being boiled

Removing fat

  • You can use a fat separator to remove the fat, or keep it in the fridge (or out on the deck or balcony in the winteuntil the fat solidifies to spoon off the fat.
    Removing solidified fat from bone broth


  • To serve, place some rice and, if desired, noodles in a serving bowl, add the meat 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.

Freezing leftover

  • Freeze leftover broth in freezer bags.
    milky beef bone soup in freezer bags
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!

This recipe was originally posted in February 2013. It was updated here with new photos and more information. 

Leave a Comment



  1. Is it possible to make this in a pressure cooker to reduce the cook time needed, rather than boiling on the stove top?

    • You may be able to but I’m not sure if the result would be the same. I haven’t tried it, so let me know how it turns out if you decide to try.

  2. When you soak the bones and meat to draw out the blood and impurities do you keep it in the refrigerator during that time?

  3. What do you do with the bones after making the broth? Do you keep it in or take it out?

  4. I can see from the recipes that you are the real thing! Half of my family is Korean and I miss my Korean food so much. I have always made my own kimchi but now that I discovered you, now I can make more! Thank you for making it possible for me to make my own dishes.

  5. Hi Ms. Ro,
    Greetings from sunny island Singapore!

    Thank goodness your website is up again! But i had to resort to another website while yours is down with my first attempt at cooking seolleongtang. Problem is mine turned out bland.

    The difference I did was using only about a pound of ox bone and a pound of brisket. Plus i boiled the bones three times, each time i added about three quarts of water to the ox bone and boil it for three hours . Was wondering if there is a way to rectify. Thank you for taking time to read this!

    • It could have been the amount of bones you used. Try to boil again for 2 to 3 hours but this time let the liquid boil down without adding water in the middle of cooking. Also, try to use a little bit higher heat and see if that makes a difference. Next time I suggest you use more bones. This soup freeze well. Hope this helps!

  6. Hi! Love the recipe and health benefits of it…don’t know you can boil more than once! It’s one of my favorite soups! Just wondering if you’ll add an instant pot recipe soon. I tried it using the soup button but it didn’t give that milky broth. Thanks in advance!

  7. Hi Hyosun,
    Thank you for posting such detailed recipes! I’m really looking forward to making 설랑탕! Since you have a pressure cooker recipe for 백숙, I was wondering if you have any recommendations for converting the 설랑탕 recipe to a pressure cooker one. I’ve seen other generic bone broth pressure cooker recipes and the pressure cook time is usually around 2 hours. Do you think that would also work for this? Thanks!!

  8. Instead of boiling the bones twice, would you get the same result by boiling the bones extra long just once-like maybe overnight?

  9. Great directions, very clear. Thank you!

  10. I’m nearing my 3 hour point and I only see the fat collecting, no milkiness.

    • Nevermind… at 4 hours it began and I added the presoaked brisket. Been hard simmering for nearly 2 hours and the brisket is almost fork tender. I may wait another hour. Plan to freeze all this hard work so it’s worth it.

      • You can increase your heat me so a bit higher if it takes too long for the broth to turn milky. You can also boil longer for a deep, rich milky broth. Enjoy!

  11. Hello, Korean single dad trying to cook for his kids.

    I tried the slow cooker pork ribs, but I did replace boned meat with boneless meat. I noticed a lot of liquid came out of the meat and the pork came out very dry. Confusing to me as the meat was submerged in the liquid.

    I was going for the Ham Ji Park (awesome daeji galbi place out here in L.A.) vibe, but I’m now stupidly realizing I should probably adapt your spicy grilled chicken to pork O.o

    Also I was wondering, for the gomtang or seolungtang are there any possible ways to make this in a slow cooker? Hard for working dad to spend that much time cooking 🙁

  12. What nutritional value does this soup have?

  13. Thank you for the useful information! I didn’t know bones can be re-used!
    That makes a huge difference. I find marrow bones pretty expensive for one soup, but if I can use it again, the price is not too bad.
    Thanks again!

  14. Will the broth taste as good without adding meat to it? I’m soaking the bones overnight so I can make the soup tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  15. Can I use oxtails?

  16. I already purchased the ingredients, but now the work week has started. I’m wondering if I can start on it tonight, put them aside, and then continue to the optional step tomorrow?

  17. I am super excited I came across this recipe. I had tried to make bone broth previously but it never came out milky and now I know why! I’m going to try again today. Can’t wait for the milky result! 🙂

  18. Thank you for this recipe! I just made some soup without the extra beef, but it was still delicious. My bones still have a lot of marrow in them, so I will definitely use them again. Is it okay for me to keep them in the freezer until I want to boil them again to make more soup?

    • Yes, totally agree! The soup is still delicious without the meat. I haven’t tried to freeze the used bones, but it sounds like a good idea.

  19. I think this is the same broth used for the tendon soup that I love. Will try this definitely if I can afford to have the whole day to cook! Is there any particular reason why salt is not included in the broth?

    • Florence C says

      Hi- I think I can answer this.

      Traditionally, when making stocks, broths, and soups that cook for a long time, salt is not added into near the end because the liquid will always reduce during the cooking process. So if it tastes nicely seasoned in the beginning then imagine when all that after evaporates- it’ll be x times saltier. So I hope that helps 🙂

  20. Pamela Yuhm says

    Love this soup! I did not know it was so easy to make ㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎ My children loves 설렁탕. 감사합니다. Love your blog and this is my go to blog for my Korean food. My next venture is your 김치 만두.

    • Pamela – I’m delighted to hear you loved this soup and found it easy to make! Doesn’t it make you feel good to have a big pot of delicious soup that your children love? I made it past weekend, and have been enjoying during the week eating as is or make tteokguk with it, etc. Kimchi mandu sounds great! You can make manduguk (dumpling soup) with seolleongtang broth if you have any left over. Thank you so much for making my blog your go-to one!

  21. This is my favorite soup in the world and the only Korean restaurant nearby does not do it very well. I followed this recipe exactly and it came out DELICIOUS. Absolutely perfect. My mouth is watering thinking about it. Good thing it made a huge batch. Thank you so much for satisfying my craving, yummmmm!!!

    • Hi Audrey – So happy to hear that! Good job! It does make it a lot, so now you get to enjoy it for a while. Thanks for taking the time to let me know how it turned out for you!

  22. just amazing! Can’t wait to make a batch to eat and freeze!

  23. Thanks for the recipe! I really want to make this one day. I have no idea where I’ll find beef bones–unfortunately I’m a little south of NOVA. We have an Oriental market, but it’s not very big and they don’t carry many Korean ingredients. I may just have to suck it up and drive 2 hours to NOVA periodically to purchase a bunch of ingredients.

    • That would work. Also, sometimes I see beef bones at Whole Foods market. Have you asked your local grocery butcher? Hope you find the bones soon.

  24. I love the recipes here but isn’t there an easier way to have them ready in print format? Thanks – T

  25. Hyosun,

    Great tips for milky white broth! Thks so much for sharing. Just wonder if pork bone or chicken carcass can be use to replace to beefy parts?

  26. I love kori guk and wanted to try making sullung tang. I make pho pretty often but I have a hard time finding marrow. I usually go to Lotte for my meat. Where do you go to buy your bone marrow?

  27. How long will the soup last in the freezer?

  28. Just Plain Delirious says

    Hi there!

    I managed to purchase prepackaged Ox Bone Soup in a foil sealed package at a Korean Supermarket here in Australia. I was wondering if that should be okay to use or would the taste be different? And would I add beef and spring onions accordingly? 🙂 Thanks in advance!

    • I haven’t tried prepackaged ones, but it should be okay. They are usually ready to eat. Just add chopped spring onions. Enjoy!

  29. Anonymous says

    I remade this again and it’s turning out great! There’s a red sauce that they give you at the restaurants, how can I make that red sauce to put in this soup to make it spicy? Thank you so much! For your blog and your recipes!

    • Happy to hear that! It’s basically gochugaru, minced garlic, and soup soy sauce mixed with some of the broth. Off the top of my head, for 3 to 4 tablespoons of gochgaru, 2 to 3 teaspoons of garlic, 1tablespoon of soup soy sauce (omit if you don’t have), and a few tablespoons of the broth to make it a paste. Thanks for using my recipe. Enjoy!!

  30. Anonymous says

    I am making this now, the boiled the bones with the meat and radish and onion first for about 3 hours but the broth didn’t turn white. I set that broth aside and filled the pot again with water and it’s boiling. If I mix the two broth together, will it still be white milky broth?

    • Hyosun Ro says

      My direction says 3 – 4 hours with the bones and then add the meat to boil an additional 1-1/2 to 2 hours. If you only did 3 hours, you needed to boil longer or also maybe a little higher heat. Also, your heat might not have been high enough. Be sure to have a medium boil (somewhere between rapid and gentle boils). You can mix the first broth (without the meat) now and boil it together until it becomes milky. Since your first round of broth wasn’t milky, if you add it later, it will dilute the milky broth from the second round. If your pot is not big enough, wait until the second round of broth is milky and set that aside. Use the first broth to boil the bones the third time around if you want. Hope it works out for you.

  31. I just realized I bought ox tail instead and its not the same beef as u mentioned here 🙁 its the wrong one and you dont have a recipe for the ox tail soup right? I want to make seolleongtang so I guess I will have to go back out and get the right one.

    • Ox tail is fine. It will be a little different, but there’s a similar soup made with ox tail, called kkori gomtang. Using the same method in this recipe, you boil until the soup is milky and ox tail meat is tender. I wouldn’t do the optional step for the ox tail soup. And satae (shank) meat is fine to add, but since ox tail itself has meat you don’t really need to add additional meat. If you decide not to use, you can freeze and use it when you actually make seolleongtang next time. Hope this helps, but let me know if you have any additional questions.

    • Thank you, you are very helpful! My grandma used to make kkori gomtang and it was so good! To make that do I need to also use knuckle and marrow bones when I boil the water or is using the oxtail bone fine?

    • You can do it either way, but using the oxtail bones will be just fine . The addition of the other bones will help make it milkier and richer, but I like it just with oxtail for its unique flavor. Enjoy!

    • Can I add daikon radish and onion while boiling with the meat? I am going to make the kkori gomtang today. 🙂 Is this also ok for making seolleongtang?

    • yes you can. That’s common both for kkori gomtang and seolleongtang.

  32. The Alphabit Journal says

    This looks so delicious! My husband and I ate bone soup all the time when we lived in Seoul. I have one question though- if you make this the day before is it better to refrigerate and reheat for the meal, or leave it simmering in a covered pot on the stove overnight and the following day? I have made bone broth like this before and was wondering if the quality if the soup be okay after simmering for 2 days or so

  33. Awesome!

  34. Johanna Garrido says

    Wow, I have been looking for this recipe for years!. I am of Guatemalan descent, but I grew up in Korea town.I had this soup dozens of times at my favorite Korean restaurant in LA, then i would run next door for Korean snow ball cookies. It’s been 7 1/2 years since I’ve had this, Thank you soooooo much for your wonderful blog. I will run home to make this!.

    • Hi Johanna – How nice you had a chance to live in LA K town. I’ve been there quite a few times. Korean food can’t get any better else where in the states. Hope your soup turn out well for you. Happy cooking!

  35. Hi Hyosun! You make cooking look so easy! I’m going to try making this. Do you think I could do this in a slow cooker?

    • Hyosun Ro says

      Thank you, Alice! For a milky broth, you need to boil moderately, not simmer, throughout the cooking time. Because the heat of a slow cooker is not high enough to boil the soup, I don’t think the resulting broth will turn out milky. Hope this helps!

  36. Anonymous says

    Hi Hyosun! Thank you for posting cooking instructions for Seolleongtang. I followed your steps exactly and the broth is nice and milky. I look forward to freezing a batch for future use. Again, thank you! ~Kara

  37. I love this soup! I will definitely try to make this at home for a homecooked version. However, I do most of my bone soups in the slow cooker. Will this soup work in the slow cooker?

    • Tiffany – For a milky broth, you need to boil moderately, not simmer, throughout the cooking time. The heat of slow cookers is not high enough to boil the soup, so the resulting broth will not be milky. Hope this helps!

  38. mine turned out milky but rather brown 🙁
    any ideas on how to prevent that?

    • You can soak the bones and meat longer to draw more blood out. And do the optional step a couple of times. Each time the soup will get whiter and milkier. Hope this helps. Thanks for using my recipe and coming by to share the experience! Cheers!

  39. angelababa says

    Thank you for sharing 🙂 Amazing recipe. Do you know if I can use a pressure cooker to make this soup (to cut down cooking time).

    • I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure it will work. Use the bones again after the first batch to repeat. Try it and let me know. Thanks!

  40. Andria @ room in the garden says

    My husband love to have beef bone soup. This looks so delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

  41. Katherine says

    Now I know the secret to making a milky broth. I tried making several of your recipes and everything works out better than I expected! I am not a great cook but your recipes are so easy to follow gives me confidence when I cook. Thank you so much.

  42. Sandra @Sandras Easy Cooking says

    Oh what a mouthwatering pictures. Wonderful rich and delicious soup. Thank you for sharing.

  43. Joseph Chai-Whan Kim says

    This is my favorite soup during the winter months.

  44. this looks delicious! i make bone broth often but i’ve never made milky broth. i will make this soup very soon!

  45. Marlene Jackson says

    Hi! This looks really good! In the Philippines, they used these soup bones especially for lactating mothers. It supposed to make them produce more healthy milk :).

    By the way, I love your recipes.

  46. Cook with Susan says

    I love beef bone soup and now I know how to make the broth milky. I have learned so much from you. My love for Korean food out weighs my knowledge and I am grateful for your blog, it has taught me so much. Thank you Hyosun for sharing your wonderful recipes.

  47. ¡¡¡ESPECTACULAR!!! Hace poco tiempo que conozco tu blog, me parece el mejor de todos los blogs asiaticos, y conozco muchos. Felicitaciones y este caldo lo haré me parece muy sano y las explicaciones fantásticas.
    Una pregunta: Qué es kimchi??. Gracias por tu generosidad. Saludos