Kimchi Jjigae with Pork Belly

Nothing says comfort like a bubbling pot of Kimchi Jjigae with Pork Belly. Enjoy this spicy, decadent Kimchi Stew recipe that’s also very easy to make at home!

kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae) in a white bowl with spoon

I’ve yet to meet a person who doesn’t love Kimchi Jjigae.

Deeply delicious. Addictively spicy. Tantalizing, heady flavors. SO comforting and nourishing. Korean Kimchi Stew is a favorite that’s so easy to cook at home!

And my recipe, with tender, decadent pork belly feels extra special!

What is Kimchi Jjigae?

Kimchi Jjigae is a classic Korean stew made with old kimchi and other ingredients such as tofu, pork, and sometimes beef or seafood. Delicious and comforting — it’s one of the most popular and common Korean soups to make at home.

Kimchi Jjigae is such a ubiquitous part of Korean home cooking, most families eat it at least once a month.

Eaten with a simple bowl of rice on the side, it’s economical, hearty, and nourishing.

close up of kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae)

Why should you make Kimchi Jjigae?

Easy to make. A one pot meal! (My tips and tricks for making it truly special are below).

Versatile. A customizable Korean recipe that can be easily veganized, vegetarianized, or made extra meaty. Tastes great with a variety of protein (tofu, pork, Spam,, chicken, beef, canned tuna). You can also add rice cakes, ramen noodles, or udon noodles for more carby goodness!

Delicious! Mouth-watering, addictively tasty flavors. Tastes even better the next day.

A great way to use up old kimchi. Don’t ever throw away an old jar of kimchi again!

Make it once and you’ll see why Koreans turn to this simple dish again and again.

pot of kimchi stew and ladle next to a bowl of kimchi stew

Secret ingredient: OLD KIMCHI

The secret to a good Kimchi Jjigae recipe is old, well fermented, mature, very ripe, aged kimchi.

You CANNOT make good Kimchi Stew with fresh kimchi! Don’t even try! It won’t taste the same!

How do you know when kimchi is old? Old kimchi is dark red, almost orange in color. The leaves are soft and there’s lots of juice. When you take a bite, it fizzes in your mouth. That sour, overly acidic taste tells you it’s time for Kimchi Jjigae.

Old Kimchi is juicy, dark red, and very soft.

How to make the BEST Kimchi Jjigae:

Every household has their secret tips + methods for the BEST Kimchi Jjigae recipe. Here’s mine:

  • Use good kimchi. The better the kimchi, the better the kimchi jjigae.
  • Use old kimchi. When cooked, old kimchi takes on an extra layer of deep, mellow flavor. There’s no substitute!
  • Saute kimchi until golden. Braising the kimchi in a little oil results in caramelized, intensely flavorful kimchi flavor.
  • Add flavor boosters: gochujang, fish sauce, a little bit of sugar.
  • Add pork belly. Kimchi + Pork = Korean BFFs! Pork belly is such a luxurious addition! Cook until tender and jiggly for the ultimate comfort food!
  • Add sesame oil + butter right before serving. The added richness and fragrance from these two additions makes Kimchi Stew extra special.
bowl of kimchi stew with a spoon next to another bowl and napkin

Other Kimchi recipes you may enjoy:

How to Make Kimchi Jjigae:

My Kimchi Jjigae recipe really couldn’t be easier.

Saute some old kimchi in a pot, with a little bit of oil, until caramelized and golden orange in color.

Throw in some pork belly, gochujang, and sugar. Add enough water to (almost) cover.

Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

Add tofu and simmer for additional 2-3 minutes. This is just enough time to warm it through.

Add sesame seed oil and butter. Garnish and serve! Enjoy with rice.

kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae) in a white bowl with spoon

Kimchi Jjigae with Pork Belly

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Nothing says comfort like a bubbling pot of Korean Kimchi Jjigae. Spicy, pungent, and oh so delicious!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Soup, Stew
Cuisine Korean
Servings 6


  • 2 cups kimchi + juice old, well fermented, aged kimchi
  • 2 lbs pork belly, cut into bite-sized chunks (they will shrink)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 heaping Tbsp gochujang
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 package tofu
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 green onion, chopped optional garnish
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds optional garnish
  • dash or two fish sauce


  • In a large pot, add 1 tsp sesame oil + 1 tsp vegetable oil. Add kimchi and cook on medium heat until soft, caramelized, and the liquid is mostly evaporated.
  • Add pork belly, water, gochujang, and sugar. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until pork belly is jiggly and tender and the kimchi is cooked braised and soft, about 25-30 minutes.
    kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae) uncooked in big pot
  • Add tofu and simmer until heated through, about 2-3 more minutes.
    big pot of kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae) with ladle
  • Taste Kimchi Jjigae. If it tastes flat, add a dash or two of fish sauce and mix.
  • Add sesame oil, and butter. Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds. Serve with rice and enjoy!
    black pot of kimchi stew (kimchi jjigae)
Keyword Jjigae, Kimchi, Pork Belly, Stew

Looking for more Kimchi Inspiration?

Kimchi Anthropology: Origins
Budae Jjigae
Easy Kimchi Fried Rice
All Recipes, Dinner with Friends, Gochujang, Kimchi, Korean, Pork, Potluck, Soup, Weeknight Meals


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