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Korean Japchae Recipe: Easy Steps for Delicious Stir-Fried Noodles

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Korean Japchae Recipe

Japchae is a delightful Korean dish featuring sweet potato noodles, vibrant vegetables, and tender meat. It’s both savory and slightly sweet, making it a favorite for many.

You’ll love how easy and fun it is to make this classic Korean dish at home. With simple ingredients and step-by-step instructions, you’ll be enjoying a delicious, authentic meal in no time. Whether you’re new to Korean cooking or a seasoned pro, this japchae recipe will not disappoint.

Dive into the world of Korean cuisine and experience the rich flavors and textures of japchae. Cooking each ingredient separately ensures the best taste and texture, bringing out the unique qualities of every part of the dish. Get ready to impress your family and friends with your culinary skills!

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)


  • Glass noodles (dangmyeon): These are essential for Japchae. If you can’t find them, you can use sweet potato vermicelli.

  • Beef: Thinly sliced. You can substitute with chicken or tofu for a vegetarian option.

  • Soy sauce: Regular soy sauce is fine, but you can use low-sodium soy sauce if you prefer.

  • Sugar: Regular granulated sugar. Honey or maple syrup can also work.

  • Sesame oil: Adds a nutty flavor.

  • Spinach: Fresh spinach is best. If unavailable, you can use kale or Swiss chard.

  • Carrots: Julienne them. You can use bell peppers if you don’t have carrots.

  • Bell peppers: Any color works. If you’re out of bell peppers, zucchini or mushrooms are good substitutes.

  • Onion: Sliced. Leeks or shallots can be used if you don’t have onions.

  • Garlic: Chopped or minced. Garlic powder can work in a pinch.

  • Sesame seeds: Toasted for extra crunch.

  • Salt and pepper: To taste.

Sauce Mix:

  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your taste. Using fresh veggies and high-quality proteins will make your Japchae delicious!


  1. Prepare the Ingredients:

    • Blanch spinach in boiling water for 30 seconds. Rinse with cold water, squeeze, and season with salt.
    • Slice carrots, onions, and bell peppers into thin strips.
    • Cut beef into thin strips.
  2. Cook Glass Noodles:

    • Boil a pot of water and cook the glass noodles as per package instructions, usually around 6 minutes.
    • Drain and rinse in cold water. Cut noodles with scissors to about 6-8 inches long.
    • Mix noodles with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil.
  3. Stir-Fry Vegetables:

    • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
    • Add 1 tablespoon of oil and stir-fry the sliced carrots for 2 minutes.
    • Add onions and bell peppers, stir-fry for another 2 minutes, until they are tender.
  4. Cook Beef:

    • In the same skillet, add the beef strips and cook until browned.
    • Set the beef aside.
  5. Combine Everything:

    • In a large bowl, add the cooked noodles, stir-fried vegetables, and beef.
    • Add ⅓ cup of soy sauce, ⅓ cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds, and a chopped clove of garlic.
    • Mix well until everything is evenly coated.
  6. Serve:

    • Place Japchae on a serving plate.
    • Garnish with additional sesame seeds if desired. Enjoy your homemade Japchae!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh vegetables and high-quality beef really make a difference in Japchae. Try to get the best ingredients you can find for a tastier dish.

Prepare Ingredients Ahead: Cut all your vegetables and marinate your beef before you start cooking. This helps you move smoothly through the recipe without stopping.

Cook Noodles Properly: Follow the package instructions for cooking the glass noodles. Be sure to rinse them under cold water and toss with a bit of sesame oil to keep them from sticking.

Don’t Overcook Veggies: Keep the vegetables crisp by cooking them just until they are tender. Overcooked vegetables can become mushy and lose their vibrant color.

Season to Taste: Taste as you cook and adjust the seasoning. Add more soy sauce or sugar as needed to match your preference.

Storing Japchae

Refrigerate: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Japchae can last for up to 3-4 days.

Reheat Gently: Reheat in a skillet over low heat, adding a little water or oil to help prevent sticking. You can also use a microwave, but the texture might change slightly.

Freeze (Optional): You can freeze Japchae, but it’s best to do so before adding the noodles. Frozen and reheated noodles might become too soft.

Quick Tips

  • Cut Noodles: Use scissors to cut the noodles into shorter lengths for easier eating.
  • Blanch Spinach: Blanching spinach in the noodle water saves time and adds flavor.

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

Japchae is a versatile dish that you can customize in various ways.


Vegetarian Japchae

  • Replace the meat with tofu or more vegetables like bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, and zucchini.

Spicy Japchae

  • Add some gochujang (Korean chili paste) or sliced chili peppers into the sauce.

Seafood Japchae

  • Use shrimp, squid, or a mix of your favorite seafood instead of or along with the beef.

Serving Suggestions:

Side Dish

  • Serve Japchae as a side dish with Korean BBQ or other main dishes.

Main Dish

  • Make it heartier by adding more protein and vegetables, and serve it as a main course.

Cold Japchae

  • Rinse the cooked Japchae noodles in cold water, and then serve it chilled on hot summer days.


  • Garnish: Top with sesame seeds and chopped green onions for extra flavor.
  • Leftovers: Japchae tastes great cold or reheated, making it a perfect recipe for meal prep.

Enjoy customizing Japchae to suit your taste and serving it in various delicious ways!

Benjamin Happy Muncher

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.