32 Korean Side Dishes (Traditional + Recipes)

Korean cooking is famous all over the world. So if you are looking for easy Korean recipes to practice and recreate, you are at the right place. 

Korean cooking is known for bold and addictive flavors. The foods are never shy of bitter, sweet, spicy, and sour. If you have ever visited a Korean BBQ restaurant, you have probably seen the delicious meat and many side dishes in small bowls.

Korean Side Dishes

These small bowls of side dishes are what is popularly known as Korean Banchan.

Korean Banchan

Korean banchan is a term used to refer to the side dishes served during a Korean meal. These dishes are usually served in cute, tiny bowls. Although, this might not be the case in all restaurants. 

Korean banchan can be any shared side dish on the table, including seafood, vegetables, and meat usually seasoned. 

Some of the Korean banchan recipes will be listed below so that you can have as much fun as I od recreating them.

Korean bbq side dishes

There are many Korean side dishes. Most of them are easy to make, while for some, you will need to practice. Some are traditional Korean side dishes and those that are so popular today. 

Easy Korean side dishes

Most of the Korean side dishes are easy to make. You will not need special equipment or complicated ingredients to make them. The recipes are straightforward, and for most of them, you will need under an hour to prepare them.

Easy Korean side dishes include radish water kimchi (Dongchimi), Korean stir-fried potato, Spicy Gochujang Mayo, Korean egg roll(Gyeran Mari), Cheonsachae Salad, and spicy Korean coleslaw. You can find some of the recipes below.

1. Spicy Gochujang Mayo


Spicy gochujang mayo is a sauce often served as a side dish to meat in a Korean bbq. It is a simple condiment that will quickly get you addicted. Gochujang Mayo is easy to make, and you can make it with only two ingredients.

It has a tangy taste and rich umami. You will also taste the distant kick. If you are going for a simplified version of the spicy gochujang, you can combine mayonnaise with gochujang, a Korean chili paste. I usually add lemon juice to it to make it less creamy, with more zing.

You can also serve it with your favorite fries.

Here is the recipe.

2. Kelp Noodle Salad( Cheonsachae Salad)

 

What is a Korean meal without salad? This kelp noodle salad will bring the authentic Korean bbq experience to your home. Kelp noodle salad is tangy, slightly sweet, and savory. 

It is gluten-free and has low-calorie content. Kelp noodle salad is also called seaweed noodle salad.

You can enjoy it as a side to Korean bbq beef or any other Korean dishes you prefer. 

Here is the recipe.

3. Cucumber Boats with Crab Salad

 

Cucumber boats with crab salad is an example of banchan. It is quick and versatile to make. Use your favorite ingredients and add a tweak here and there to make it your own. First, however, you should maintain the fundamentals and structure of the recipe.

It is a fun way of eating cucumbers since they are a good source of nutrients. In addition, the crab salad adds a lot of flavor to it. Your kids will love this dish so much as they will envision eating boats. 

Enjoy the cucumber boats with crab salad as a snack, party finger food, or a light lunch.

Here is the recipe.

4. Easy spicy Korean Coleslaw

 

Coleslaw is delicious. But this Korean coleslaw is nothing like anything you have ever tasted. It is crunchy and fresh, with a zing to it and a mixture of different flavors from different ingredients. 

Spicy Korean Coleslaw is easy and fast to make in only a few minutes, and your coleslaw will be ready.  Adjust the measurements to what suits you best, and remember as long as it works for you, nothing is ever too much.

Serve with Korean grilled beef, chicken, or fish.

Here is the recipe.

Traditional Korean side dishes

Like all cuisines, Korean cuisine has evolved too over the years. As a result, new dishes have come up, and you might not know what is traditional and what is not. Some of the traditional Korean side dishes include Kongjaban and Gaji Namul. Find below their recipes and have fun trying them out. 

5. Sweet and Salty Soybeans (콩자반 Kongjaban)

 

Sweet and salty soybeans recipes is a low-carb Korean side dish that contains only 118kcal of calories. This is popular and a favorite for many Korean cuisine fanatics.

It is an easy recipe to follow, and if followed to the latter, your sweet and salty soybeans will be just the right level of sweet and salty. 

You can enjoy this side dish as part of a Korean bbq at home or pack it for your kids to eat at school.

Here is the recipe.

6. Gaji Namul (Steamed Eggplant Side Dish)

 

Eggplants have to be the most underrated vegetables. They are hearty and divine, and Gaji Namul is no exception. It is spicy, fleshy, and delicious.

To make Gaji Namul, you will use steamed eggplants. It is easy to make with only a 15 minutes prep and cook time.  

Serve it as a side of roasted or grilled beef with a side of plain rice.

Here is the recipe.

7.Gosari Namul (Korean Fernbrake Side Dish)

 

This is a traditional Korean side dish that is popular in many restaurants. It consists of edible ferns, which are sometimes called bracken fiddleheads or fern brake. They are called Gosari in Korean. The perfectly made Gosari Namul is well seasoned and has garlic, soy sauce sesame seeds prepared in sesame oil. It has a meaty texture and an earthy, warm aroma.

Serve while warm as a side to other Korean dishes like plain rice.

Here is the recipe. 

8. Doraji Namul (Sautéed Bellflower Roots)

 

This is a healthy, low-carb traditional Korean side dish made from bellflower roots. You might not find it in a Korean bbq restaurant in the united states, but you are likely to find it at Korean parties and during Korean traditional holidays.

Doraji is Korean for the bellflower plant, a native plant mainly found in the East of Asia. Doraji Namul is a sweet dish with a slightly bitter aftertaste.  

Making Doraji Namul is simple. You can make it by seasoning it with salt only. You can also use a little bit of soy sauce. If you prefer yours heavily seasoned, by all means, go ahead.

Serve it as a side to grilled beef.

Here is the recipe.

Popular Korean side dishes

The popular Korean side dishes are loved for a reason. They taste delicious, and you are likely to find them in all Korean bbq restaurants. Some of the popular Korean side dishes include:

9. Sweet and salty lotus roots (연근조림 Yeonkeun Jorim)

 

This popular side dish is served in many Korean bbq restaurants. It is one of the classics too. It tastes so good, but I have to admit there are times when I found it too salty and sometimes too sweet to my liking when taking it in a restaurant. Therefore, I decided to try and make it in my kitchen using this recipe.

This recipe yields sweet and salty lotus that is the perfect amount of sweet and salty. Ut is also crunchy, unlike the gummy ones I ate in some restaurants.  

Serve this sweet and salty lotus as a side for your bulgogi.

Here is the recipe.

10. Korean Radish Kimchi Recipe(KKakdugi)

 

Korean Radish is a popular Korean side dish. It is a salty and crunchy side dish that tastes heavenly. It is also medicinal as it works as a probiotic and as a metabolism booster.

Radish kimchi is usually pretty spicy and might not be suitable for the whole family. However, in this recipe, the chili has been adjusted to mild, making it suitable for kids. Also, unlike most recipes that use cabbage kimchi, this recipe uses cubed daikon, which tastes even better if you ask me.

Serve Korean radish kimchi with fattier foods like meat.

Here is the recipe.

11. Korean Style Sausage Stir Fry

 

Korean Vienna sausages are delicious in whichever form they come in. That is what made me fall in love with this Korean-style sausage stir fry. It is a must-have in any Korean bbq meal we have in our household. Try this recipe, and you will understand why.

It consists of Korean-style Vienna sausage and colorful vegetables. Together, they make a dish that is so attractive; your appetite will double upon seeing it. In addition, your kids will love this side dish as it is made with kid-friendly ingredients.

Enjoy it as a side dish in a Korean lunchbox or as a snack.

Here is the recipe.

12. Heart-Shaped Imitation Crab Omelettes

 

If you want to use your creative juices, then here is a recipe for you. These heart-shaped crab omelets are perfect for presentation. So if you have a fancy party or date night, you should consider making these omelets. 

As the name suggests, they are mini omelets that are heart-shaped and are made using imitation crab meat. They are adorable. When I made them, I somehow felt guilty for eating them because all I wanted to do was to look at their beautiful shape and attractive colors.

Serve these heart-shaped imitation crab omelets as a side in a Korean main meal. You can also have them as an appetizer or a snack.

Here is the recipe.

Korean vegetable side dishes

There are many vegetable Korean side dishes. They are made in a fun way that will make you want to eat them only. Some of them include 

13. Korean Lettuce Salad (상추 겉절이 Sangchoo Geotjeori)

 

Korean Lettuce salad has to be one of the easiest side dishes in a Korean bbq. It is vinegary and salty with a distant sweet chili flavor. It goes well with unseasoned grilled meat( either pork or beef). If the meat has fatty, you should include this side as the flavors in the Korean lettuce salad break down the fat.

Serve it with plain rice if you do not want to take it with meat.

Here is the recipe.

14. Simple Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim 오이무침)

 

When you want a fast side dish to make, you should make this simple Korean cucumber salad. It takes only 5 minutes to prepare. It is a great side dish that is sour because of the vinegar, quite sweet and spicy with a kick. You will also find it quite nutty because of the sesame seeds sprinkled on it during preparation.

If you want a crunchy result, serve it immediately. But you can give it a few minutes to absorb all the flavors from the dressing.

Serve it cold.

Here is the recipe.

15. Three color vegetables (삼색나물 Samsaek Namul) – Green

 

This is a delicious Korean side dish. It is called three-color vegetables because the result looks like different shades of green. It is delicious, spicy, and nutty.

Serve it hot as a side of beef.

Here is the recipe.

What to serve with bulgogi

Bulgogi refers to beef that has been sliced thinly and marinated in a sweet and deliciously aromatic sauce. This sauce consists of sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, onion, honey or brown sugar, and pureed Asian pear. 

The beef is left to marinate overnight before it is grilled. You can also stir-fry it with scallions, sliced onions, mushrooms, and vegetables of your choice. 

Some of the Korean side dishes to serve with bulgogi include:

16. Korean Tuna Pancakes (Chamchijeon)

 

Ever tasted something so heavenly you want to cry? These Korean Tuna Pancakes will make you feel so since every bite is bliss. Therefore, try making them.  

Korean Tuna Pancakes are savory and full of complex flavors.  The ingredients are simple, readily available, and you need only a quarter an hour to prepare this heavenly dish. The texture is excellent, with just the right crisp on the outside and softness on the inside. 

Serve Korean tuna pancakes hot with plain rice and stir-fried bulgogi. You can also add it as a filling to your burger. Then, dip it in ketchup while eating.

Here is the recipe.

17. Korean Candied Sweet Potatoes (Goguma Mattang)

 

Korean candied sweet potatoes are not only eaten as a side dish in a Korean bbq but as a snack or bites at a party. Therefore, they are popular in a Korean bbq restaurants. 

The Korean candied sweet potatoes are deep-fried cubed sweet potatoes that are caramelized with sugar. Because they are caramelized and deep-fried, the outside is crunchy, and the inside is soft, just as sweet potatoes are usually.

Coat them with sesame seeds, too, to get the nutty taste. They will look even better with sesame seeds sprinkled on them.

Serve with a dipping sauce.

Here is the recipe.

18. Non-Spicy White Kimchi (Baek Kimchi)

 

Non-spicy white kimchi is a delicious vegetable side made from kimchi cabbage. It is fresh and crunchy. Baek kimchi is highly nutritious with almost zero carbs making it one of the healthiest Korean side dishes.

It is non-spicy making it suitable for kids too. Serve it alongside your grilled fish.

Here is the recipe

  1. Korean Shiitake Mushroom Side Dish

 

Korea shiitake mushroom side dish is quick to fix and will be ready in under 10 minutes. They are a simple side dish that requires very few ingredients. Stir fry them with garlic and sesame oil to get a rich, complex flavor. 

Enjoy this flavourful Korean shiitake mushroom side dish with a bowl of plain rice or noodle soups.

Here is the recipe.

20. Easy Korean Style Yuzu Dressing

 

This is a famous salad dressing that you will find in many Korean kitchens. It is fruity, sweet but with a bit of a tang. 

You can use this Korean yuzu as an add-on to your cooking. For example, if you have yuzu marmalade, you can make a Korean tea known as Yujacha or Korean citron tea.

All you need is yuzu marmalade, olive oil, vinegar, and fresh lemon juice to make the dressing.

You can use the Korean-style yuzu dressing as a sauce in a Korean bbq.

Here is the recipe.

21. Korean Spicy Tuna

 

Korean spicy tuna is one of those classic Korean dishes. You can enjoy it for breakfast as most Korean families do or have it for dinner. It is easy to make and easily qualifies among the list of the easiest Korean dishes to make. 

Compliment your Korean spicy tuna with a fried egg and rice and enjoy.

Here is the recipe.

22. Korean Egg Roll (Gyeran Mari 계란말이)

 

Korean egg rolls are a must-have in a Korean bbq.  It is street food in Korea, and you will find it sold everywhere, especially in the market.

Korean egg roll is flavourful and juicy from the added broth and fillings. It has several ingredients, but the most fundamental is eggs and salt. You can play around with the filling. For example, use roasted seaweed, different vegetables, cheese, or different proteins.

You can eat it as a main dish, a side dish, or as a snack. 

Here is the recipe.

23. Spicy Korean Tofu

 

I find Korean cuisine very inclusive. Unlike other cuisines that somehow neglect the needs of vegans and vegetarians, you will find many Korean dishes that are vegetarian and vegan. For example, spicy Korean tofu is a vegetarian side dish that you will be addicted to.

Tofu is heavenly. Apart from its high protein content, it is versatile and flexible; you can never get enough of it. This spicy Korean tofu is no different. It is nutritious and tastes heavenly.  Korean tofu is characterized by complex flavors that are somewhat tangy, somewhat sweet, and very spicy. It will make you want more and more. 

Serve it alongside a bowl of rice. 

Here is the recipe.

24. Ssamjang Korean Spicy Dipping Sauce

 

Ssamjang translates to a sauce for wraps. This is a savory and spicy delicious sauce made from fermented chili paste and fermented soybean paste. It is called a source for warps because it is spread on lettuce wraps. 

Use it as a dipping sauce in a Korean bbq. In addition, you can use it for grilled chicken.

Here is the recipe.

25.Korean Macaroni Salad (Banchan)

 

We all love some macaroni once in a while. The next time you make your macaroni, do not do the usual mac and cheese but instead try this Korean macaroni salad.

This macaroni salad is usually served as a starter meal in most Korean bbq restaurants. It is sweet with diced apples and cucumber, which gives it a flavourful, crunchy texture. 

Pair the Korean macaroni salad with any Korean dish. You can also consume it as part of a Korean bbq, during hangouts with friends, for brunch, and dinner.

Here is the recipe.

26. Creamy Fruit Salad (Korean Style)

 

If you do not cook, you can still say no to takeout and enjoy this creamy fruit salad. It is easy to make, and you will have it ready in a few minutes. It is a savory dish that boasts a lot of flavors.

In Korea, you will find this on the buffet menu during festive dinings and parties. This beauty consists of persimmons, apples, cucumbers, peanuts, raisins, mandarin oranges, and hardboiled quail’s eggs. However, you can add your favorite fruits too.

Here is the recipe

27. Korean Corn Cheese

 

Korean corn cheese is a simple yet tasty side dish that will be ready in less than 20 minutes. It is gooey hence one of the best dipping sauces in Korean cuisine. 

Serve it as an appetizer with bread or chips or as a side of grilled beef.

Here is the recipe.

Korean zucchini side dish

Zucchini is in season. You can make your summer healthier and more delicious with the following Korean zucchini side dishes.

28. Korean Chilled Zucchini Sides

 

This is an easy-to-make zucchini side dish. It is crunchy, refreshing, and a fun way to use all the zucchini in your fridge and have a fantastic meal.

It is an afterthought kind of side dish, meaning you can quickly make it even after your guests have arrived. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Here is the recipe.

29. Stir Fry Zucchini Noodles 

 

Zucchini noodles are a delicious and sure way to maintain a healthy living. They are low carb, unlike the typical noodles. This stir fry zucchini noodles taste so good and are perfect when you want a quick fix.

Serve it as a side dish of your bbq beef.

Here is the recipe.

30. Korean Dried Zucchini Side Dish

 

This delicious Korean dried zucchini side dish is made from drying zucchini slices ad then sauteeing them with sesame oil and garlic. How easy is that? 

Serve it with meat or rice.

Here is the recipe.

31. Hobak Buchim (Korean Zucchini Pancakes) – Korean Bapsang


This is savory and delicious pancakes made from zucchini. They are healthy and perfect for a breakfast side dish to give the energy to kickstart the day. Enjoy them as an appetizer, snack, or light lunch too.

Here is the recipe.

32. Hobak Jeon (Pan-fried Zucchini in Egg Batter)

 

Zucchinis are delicious and in abundance during the summer season. Thankfully there are many ways of preparing it as a Korean side dish. The easiest way to prepare it is as Hobak Jeon.

Hoback Jeon can be enjoyed as an appetizer or as a snack. These babies look so good and are tasty. 

You can store the leftovers in the fridge for a  maximum of 4 days. However, do not microwave them when reheating. Instead, reheat on a dry pan.

Here is the recipe.

Conclusion

Making Korean dishes at home is a fun way to mix things up a bit at home. As you can see, making Korean side dishes is so easy. These dishes are healthy and perfect for everyone, including the pickiest eaters and kids. Enjoy.

 

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