Cheese Tteokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cakes)

Difficulty Easy

Cheese Tteokbokki or Korean Spicy Rice Cakes with Cheese is a popular Korean street food that’s surprisingly simple to make at home. Easy 20-minute comfort food that comes together quickly and stars chewy, squishy, tube-shaped Korean rice cakes swimming in a spicy-sweet, umami-rich sauce. A generous helping of mozzarella adds so much cheesy goodness. Top with finely shredded cabbage to keep things fresh. A party-worthy platter that’s always a hit!

My favorite dish to serve at a party is Cheese Tteokbokki or Korean Spicy Rice Cakes smothered in gooey cheese. Inevitably, someone always says that it’s their favorite Korean dish.

And it really couldn’t be easier!

Cheese Tteokbokki or Korean Spicy Rice Cakes with Cheese

Most people are familiar with deliciously addictive, vibrantly red, Korean Spicy Rice Cakes or Tteokbokki. A popular Korean street food, it’s pure comfort food that seems to be everyone’s favorite!

Gloriously chewy and squishy rice cakes. Mouth-wateringly spicy, umami-rich sauce. And so easy to make!

Cheese Tteokbokki is a cheesy version — topped with a generous helping of cheese. Although dairy is not traditional to Korean cuisine, there is a definite love affair in South Korea with cheese. Just about everything is now covered with melty, gooey cheese!

Mozzarella pairs especially well with the saucy richness of Korean Spicy Rice Cakes. Swirls of melty cheese take this simple dish over the top!

Ingredients:

  • Korean Rice Cakes (tteok/dduk). Long, cylindrical Korean rice cakes are the star ingredient. When cooked, they take on a delightfully chewy, squishy texture and absorb all that delicious sauce beautifully.
  • Korean fish cake (Eomuk). Thin sheets of Korean fish cake are a classic Tteokbokki staple that adds lots of umami seafood flavor. A freezer pantry staple that keeps a long time. Does not taste fishy at all but makes Tteokbokki more filling and delicious. They are also thin and defrost quickly.
  • Anchovy Stock. The one ingredient that makes the difference between good Tteokbooki and superior, addictively delicious, can’t-stop-eating Tteokbokki. I’ve listed the 4 main ways to make it below. In a pinch, chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water are all good substitutes.
  • Sauce. An easy, umami-filled, 5-minute sauce made from Korean pantry ingredients: Gochujang (Korean chili paste), Gochukaru (Korean dried chili flakes), soy sauce, sugar, minced garlic, and rice syrup or corn syrup. The rice syrup or corn syrup is optional but adds a glossy sheen and subtle sweetness.
  • Hondashi. Instant Japanese Dashi granules. Similar to chicken bouillion powder, except the flavor profile is based on tuna. Hondashi is a pantry staple in my kitchen and adds depth of flavor and smoky seafood richness that’s different from anchovy stock alone. My Korean grandma’s secret ingredient for many Korean dishes and honestly, one of mine, too!

Top with:

  • Cheese. A generous handful (or two) adds so much cheesy, delicious decadence! I prefer the mild flavor of Mozzarella which melts beautifully into gooey puddles of molten cheese. Or try marbled cheese, cheddar-mozzarella blend, Havarti, Colby, or Fontina cheese.
  • Soft or Hard boiled eggs. Another classic addition that makes Cheesy Tteokbokki more filling. Tastes especially good with the spicy-sweet sauce. Cook eggs according to your preference.
  • Cabbage. Adds texture, freshness, and crunch. Shred as finely as possible for feathery-light freshness. Look for green cabbage — sometimes called Korean cabbage — or savoy cabbage.

Instructions:

  1. Make sauce. In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients. Set aside.
  2. Assemble. In a large shallow pan, add rice cakes, fish cakes, anchovy stock, and sauce on top.
  3. Cook. Heat over medium until sauce is thick and bubbling and rice cakes are soft and chewy, about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Garnish and serve. Off the heat, sprinkle cheese evenly over the top. Add halved hard-boiled eggs. Cover and let the residual heat gently melt the cheese. Uncover and add cabbage. Serve immediately!

PRO Tips:

  • Adjust the spice level. To make it spicier, add 1-2 Tbsp more Gochukaru or dried chili flakes. To make things less spicy, halve the amount of Gochujang and Gochukaru (1 Tbsp each vs 2 Tbsp each). FYI, Gochujang sometimes comes in a spicy level ranging from 1-5. Choose a spice level to your liking. I choose spicy level 3
  • Make ahead. An easy party dish that can be prepped in advance. Simply place the garnish (cheese, eggs, cabbage) on a separate plate. Add the rice cakes, fish cakes, and sauce to a pan up to 1 hour in advance. When guests arrive, add the anchovy stock and cook until soft and chewy, about 8-10 minutes. Garnish with cheese, eggs, and cabbage, and serve immediately!
  • Pay attention to the sauce consistency. As the Tteokbokki cooks, the sauce will thicken significantly. Note: the sauce will continue to thicken even when the heat is turned off so do not reduce it too much. Feel free to add more water if the sauce reduces too quickly. Or keep cooking if the sauce seems watery and thin.

Watch How to Make it:

How to make Anchovy Stock:

To make a superior Korean Tteokbokki, I recommend using anchovy stock. A subtle difference that really makes for a stellar, memorable, incredibly delicious tteokbokki.

There are 4 ways to make Anchovy stock:

  • Traditional. Make homemade anchovy stock the old-school way, just like my Korean grandma. Simmer dried, gutted anchovies and kombu in water for 10 minutes. Cover and steep for 30 minutes. Remove anchovies and kombu and your anchovy stock is now ready to use.
  • Dashi packets. Dashi or anchovy packets can be found at the Korean grocery store. They are individual-sized, pre-portioned packets of anchovies (and various other ingredients like kombu and shitake mushroom) wrapped in muslin bags. Follow the directions to make the anchovy stock, which requires simmering and steeping.
  • Anchovy bouillion. Similar to chicken bouillion but made from anchovies. Easy and fast, simply scoop a spoonful of anchovy bouillion into water to make a flavorful stock. Read the packaging for the right proportion of bouillion to water ratio. Keep in the freezer or fridge, where it will keep for a long time.
  • Anchovy Tablets. Anchovy bouillion in tablet form. Easy and convenient — just pop in a tablet or two and add water. The tablets will dissolve as it cooks. My favorite way to make anchovy stock. Make sure to read the packaging for the correct tablet-to-water ratio. Store in the fridge or freezer.

What are Korean Rice Cakes?

Korean rice cakes are tubular-shaped cakes made from sticky or glutinous rice flour. The gluten-free dough is pounded and steamed, then cut into various shapes and sizes. (Note: glutinous does not mean it’s made of gluten but refers to a specific kind of rice called glutinous or sticky).

Also called tteok or dduk, they can be found at the Korean grocery store. Choose the shape and size you like best but be mindful that smaller and thinner rice cakes will cook faster. Look for them in the freezer or refrigerator aisle packaged in plastic bags.

When cooked, Tteok becomes delightfully chewy, sticky, and soft. Although similar to Japanese mochi (they are both made from glutinous rice flour), they are not exactly the same. The neutral flavor of Korean tteok works well with all kinds of different sauces. Other popular flavors: Carbonara Tteokbokki, Rose Tteokbokki, Curry Tteokbokki, Jajang Tteokbokki, etc.!

Variations:

  • Make it simple. If you don’t have all the ingredients, feel free to make a basic, bare-bones pantry version. I’ve often made Korean Tteokbokki with only rice cakes, sauce, water, and hard-boiled eggs alone.
  • Add Instant Noodles. Make Rabokki (Ramen + Tteokbokki = Rabokki) by adding a pack of instant ramen noodles and additional 1 cup anchovy stock or water to create more sauce. The instant noodles cook quickly (2-3 minutes) and add a pleasurable, chewy texture. FYI make sure not to add the seasoning packet that’s included in the instant noodles.
  • Add Udon noodles. Slightly different from instant ramen noodles, thick and chewy udon noodles soak up the sauce and add a delightfully chewy texture. I recommend frozen Sanuki udon noodles. Before adding the cabbage and cheese, add udon directly to the pan, still frozen, and gently stir with tongs on medium heat. The heat will unravel the noodles quickly. They are already pre-cooked and simply need to be defrosted and heated through.
  • Make it meaty. Add thinly sliced pork butt — which is the same cut of meat used for Spicy Pork Bulgogi — for a meatier Cheese Tteokbokki.
  • Make it saucier. Some people enjoy a very saucy Tteokbokki. It really depends on your personal preference. For more sauce, simply add 1 more cup of anchovy stock for a total of 4 cups.

Helpful Kitchen Tools:

  • Shallow Pan or Braiser. The ideal pan for cooking Korean Spicy Rice Cakes is a non-stick skillet. The sauce is thick and sticky, leaving behind a mess in the pan. However, to make this a party-friendly, one-pan dish, I recommend using a shallow pan or braiser to make it easier to serve. FYI: soak the dirty pan for 5 minutes in hot water to make clean up easier.
  • Silicone Spatula. The sauce is very thick and sticky, so a silicone spatula glides and moves easily to scrape the sauce off the bottom and sides of the pan.

FAQ:

Help! Why are my rice cakes splitting and falling apart?

Rice cakes that are improperly stored will split and crack open when cooked. Do not freeze rice cakes unless they are already frozen by the manufacturer. Otherwise, they will split and crack.

When buying rice cakes, keep refrigerated rice cakes in the refrigerator and frozen rice cakes in the freezer. Also, buy rice cakes from a Korean grocer, if you can. Lastly, when using frozen rice cakes, make sure to defrost by soaking in cold water for 15-20 minutes first.

How do I store leftovers?

Store leftovers in the fridge, tightly sealed, for 3-5 days. Korean Spicy Rice Cakes reheat best in a non-stick skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Add a little water to loosen the sauce and use a silicone spatula to stir. When the dish is bubbling and the rice cakes are chewy once again, serve and enjoy. Or, reheat in a microwave in 1-minute increments, stirring frequently until soft and chewy.

Do I need to soak the rice cakes in water first?

If the tteok (dduk) is frozen, soak in cold water to defrost for 15-20 minutes. Otherwise, this additional step is not necessary.

Do I need to rinse the rice cakes?

Sometimes, refrigerated rice cakes develop a slimy coating because of condensation. Rinse in cold water to remove. A sieve or colander is helpful for this step. But if the tteok (dduk) does not have a slimy coating, it’s not necessary.

Is Cheese Tteokbokki Halal-friendly?

If you consider seafood and cheese Halal, then yes — Cheese Tteokbokki is Halal-friendly. None of the ingredients include alcohol or pork.

Can I make a smaller portion?

My recipe is good for a party portion, about 4-6 people. But if you would like a smaller portion, simply halve the amount of rice cakes, fish cakes, and anchovy broth. The amount of sauce and hard-boiled eggs can stay the same. However, feel free to add up to 1/2 cup of anchovy broth more if it evaporates too quickly.

Serve with:

For a party, serve with:

Other Korean recipes with rice cakes:

pan filled with cheesy tteokbokki with cabbage and hard boiled eggs

Cheese Tteokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cakes)

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Cheese Tteokbokki or Korean Spicy Rice Cakes is a popular Korean street food that's surprisingly easy to make at home! A simple, 20-minute dish that comes together quickly and stars chewy, squishy, tube-shaped Korean rice cakes swimming in a spicy-sweet, umami-rich sauce. A generous helping of mozzarella adds so much cheesy goodness. Top with finely shredded cabbage to keep things fresh. A party-worthy platter that's always a hit!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Party Food, Side, Snack
Cuisine Korean
Servings 4 as main, 6 as side or snack
Calories 196 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Shallow Braiser or Pan (or large non-stick skillet)
  • 1 Silicone Spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 2.2 lbs/1 kg tubular Korean rice cakes (tteok or dduk)
  • 3 cups/500ml anchovy stock or dashi (add 1 cup more anchovy stock for extra saucy tteokbokki)
  • 4 sheets Korean fish cake (Eomuk), sliced into 1/2-inch strips

Sauce ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp Gochujang (Korean chili paste) *add only 1 Tbsp for a less spicy version
  • 2 Tbsp Gochukaru (Korean dried chili flakes) *add only 1 Tbsp for a less spicy version
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Hondashi (instant dashi granules)
  • 2 Tbsp rice syrup or corn syrup or maple syrup

Top with:

  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded or grated (approx. 1 large handful)
  • 3/4 cup green cabbage, finely shredded (approx. 1 large handful)
  • 3 soft or hard boiled eggs, halved

Instructions
 

  • Make sauce. In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients. Set aside.
  • Assemble. In a large shallow pan, add rice cakes, fish cakes, anchovy stock, and sauce on top.
  • Cook. Heat over medium until sauce is bubbling and rice cakes are soft and chewy, about 8-10 minutes. Stir with a silicone spatula to prevent sticking on the bottom.
  • Pay attention to the sauce consistency. As the sauce reduces, it will thicken significantly. Note: the sauce will continue to thicken even when the heat is turned off so do not reduce it too much. Feel free to add more water if the sauce evaporates too much. Or keep cooking if the sauce seems watery and thin.
  • Garnish and serve. Off the heat, sprinkle cheese evenly over the top. Add halved hard-boiled eggs. Cover and let the residual heat gently melt the cheese. Uncover and add cabbage. Serve immediately!

Video

Notes

Pro Tips:
    • Adjust the spice level. To make it spicier, add 1-2 Tbsp more Gochukaru or dried chili flakes. To make things less spicy, halve the amount of Gochujang and Gochukaru (1 Tbsp each vs 2 Tbsp each). FYI, Gochujang sometimes comes in a spicy level ranging from 1-5. Choose a spice level to your liking. I choose spicy level 3
    • Make ahead. An easy party dish that can be prepped in advance. Simply place the garnish (cheese, eggs, cabbage) on a separate plate. Add the rice cakes, fish cakes, and sauce to a pan up to 1 hour in advance. When guests arrive, add the anchovy stock and cook until soft and chewy, about 8-10 minutes. Garnish with cheese, eggs, and cabbage, and serve immediately!
Variations:
  • Make it simple. If you don’t have all the ingredients, feel free to make a basic, bare-bones pantry version. I’ve often made Korean Tteokbokki with only rice cakes, sauce, water, and hard-boiled eggs alone.
  • Add Instant Noodles. Make Rabokki (Ramen + Tteokbokki = Rabokki) by adding a pack of instant ramen noodles and additional 1 cup anchovy stock or water to create more sauce. The instant noodles cook quickly (2-3 minutes) and add a pleasurable, chewy texture. FYI make sure not to add the seasoning packet that’s included in the instant noodles.
  • Add Udon noodles. Slightly different from instant ramen noodles, thick and chewy udon noodles soak up the sauce and add a delightfully chewy texture. I recommend frozen Sanuki udon noodles. Before adding the cabbage and cheese, add udon directly to the pan, still frozen, and gently stir with tongs on medium heat. The heat will unravel the noodles quickly. They are already pre-cooked and simply need to be defrosted and heated through.
  • Make it meaty. Add thinly sliced pork butt — which is the same cut of meat used for Spicy Pork Bulgogi — for a meatier Cheese Tteokbokki.
  • Make it saucier. Some people enjoy a very saucy Tteokbokki. It really depends on your personal preference. For more sauce, simply add 1 more cup of anchovy stock for a total of 4 cups.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 196kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 12gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 782mgPotassium: 233mgFiber: 2gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 1522IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 200mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Cheese, Korean, Rice Cakes, Spicy, Tteokbokki
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

30 minutes, All Recipes, Appetizer, Dinner with Friends, Game Day Food, Gochujang, Holiday, Korean, Main, Seafood, Side, Snacks, Weeknight Meals

One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    This is such a unique recipe! What great textures and what a fun way to use rice cakes! I had some leftover chicken, which I fried until crispy and added to the top. Yum!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating