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!

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 at home?

  • Easy to make. A true, one-pot meal! Throw everything into a pot and let it boil away — that’s it!
  • Versatile. Make it your own. Make it vegan, vegetarian, or extra meaty. Tastes great with a variety of protein (tofu, pork, Spam, chicken, beef, canned tuna). Or, add rice cakes, ramen noodles, or udon noodles for more carby goodness.
  • Exciting Flavors. Well-fermented kimchi cooks down into a gloriously delicious, mouth-watering pot of soup! No boring flavors here!
  • 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


  • OLD Kimchi. The secret to a good Kimchi Jjigae recipe is old, well fermented, mature, very ripe, aged kimchi. The older the kimchi, the better the kimchi jjigae. Do not use new kimchi — it won’t taste the same.
  • Pork Belly. Kimchi + Pork = Korean BFFs! While any kind of pork works, pork belly is such a luxurious addition. Cook until tender and jiggly for the ultimate comfort food.
  • Pork Bones. Optional but makes Kimchi Jjigae extra delicious. The flavor and marrow from the bones make the most delicious broth. I use pork ribs, pork riblets, pork neck bones, or leftover pork chop bones.
  • Gochujang + Sugar + Fish Sauce. The flavor boosters.
  • Tofu. Add any kind you like. I enjoy the silky texture of Soft tofu but firm tofu doesn’t break apart as easily.
  • Sesame Oil + Butter. Add right before serving for extra richness and fragrance. Makes Kimchi Stew extra special.
  • Green onion + Sesame seeds. Optional garnish.
bowl of kimchi stew with a spoon next to another bowl and napkin


  1. Cook kimchi. Saute kimchi until caramelized and golden orange for intensely flavorful kimchi flavor.
  2. Simmer. Add water, pork belly, gochujang, and sugar. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Add tofu. Cube tofu and add directly on top. Simmer until warmed through.
  4. Garnish and serve! Add sesame seed oil and butter. Sprinkle green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy with rice.


How can you tell 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.

How do I store leftovers?

Store leftover Kimchi Jjigae in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. Stays good for 3-4 days. Reheat leftovers on the stovetop until bubbling and steaming hot. If the stew becomes too thick, add a little water to thin it out.

Other Kimchi recipes you may enjoy:

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


  • Large stock pot


  • 2 cups kimchi + juice old, well fermented, aged kimchi
  • 2 lbs pork belly, cut into bite-sized chunks (they will shrink)
  • 2 lbs pork bones (pork ribs, pork riblets, leftover pork chop bones, etc.) *optional
  • 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
All Recipes, Dinner with Friends, Gochujang, Kimchi, Korean, Pork, Potluck, Soup, Weeknight Meals


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