15 Korean Side Dishes You Will Love

The world has fallen in love with Korean cuisine, and it’s easy to see why. The bold flavors and varied textures of Korean food make every meal a sensory experience. From the spicy kick of kimchi to the tender sweetness of braised potatoes, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Korean side dishes, or banchan, are an integral part of every meal in South Korea. These small plates complement the main dishes and add color, variety, and flavor to the table. Whether you’re a fan of fermented vegetables, marinated meats, or seafood, there’s a banchan out there for you.

Korean Green Salad

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A quick and easy Korean side dish that pairs perfectly with grilled meats is a simple green salad. To make it, use your favorite mixed greens, such as butterhead lettuce, baby Swiss chard, arugula, or oak lettuce. You can also add some spinach for extra flavor. For the dressing, opt for a tangy and sweet Korean-inspired concoction featuring soy sauce as its base. Feel free to spice things up by adding Korean chili flakes for an added kick. This side dish is sure to complement your favorite Korean BBQ meats.

Tuna Pancakes

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Imagine indulging in a savory delight that’s reminiscent of a pancake, but with a satisfying thickness and depth of flavor. That’s exactly what you’ll get from these Korean tuna pancakes, which are surprisingly easy to make using canned tuna as the base. The secret to their addictive taste lies in a harmonious blend of seasonings, including garlic powder (or minced garlic), onion, kosher salt, black pepper, and sesame oil. A simple combination of flour and egg serves as the binding agent, holding everything together. While these tuna pancakes are perfect as a side dish in traditional Korean cuisine, they also make for a light and satisfying dinner when paired with a refreshing green salad or crisp vegetable accompaniment.

Korean Braised Potatoes

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If you’re a potato enthusiast, gamja jorim – Korean-style braised baby potatoes – is sure to delight. This humble side dish requires only a handful of fundamental ingredients, many of which you likely already have on hand if you frequently cook Korean or Asian-inspired meals. The magic lies in the harmonious balance of flavors achieved through the combination of green chili peppers and onion. But that’s not all – this recipe also provides a comprehensive guide to crafting a rich braising liquid, replete with an array of savory ingredients. Feel free to customize gamja jorim by adding your favorite vegetables; it’s a remarkably versatile dish. For an added kick, simply incorporate some red chili pepper paste into the mix.

Sweet and Sour Radish Salad

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In Korean cuisine, the humble radish plays a significant role, particularly in the preparation of this delectable sweet and sour salad. The beauty of this dish lies in its simplicity, relying on just a few fundamental ingredients. To create the perfect blend, thinly slice the radishes and season them with the same flavorful combination used in traditional kimchi recipes. For added depth, consider incorporating a splash of vinegar and a touch of sugar to elevate the overall taste experience. While both Daikon and Korean radishes are suitable for this salad, it’s the harmonious union of green onions, garlic, gochugaru, coconut sugar, and sea salt that truly brings the dish to life, rendering each bite a symphony of flavors.

Korean Seasoned Spinach

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One of the most delightful and effortless Korean dishes to prepare is sigeumchi namul, a simple spinach side dish that’s packed with flavor. The process is straightforward – blanch fresh spinach leaves and then season them to your liking. For added depth, you can use a combination of guk ganjang, minced garlic, sugar, sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds. If you prefer an extra kick, gochujang, Korean red chili pepper paste, provides a bold and spicy boost. The crunchy texture from the toasted sesame seeds adds a delightful contrast to the soft spinach, making this dish a true delight.

Korean Crispy Mushrooms

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The allure of Korean crispy mushrooms lies in the sweet and spicy flavors that come together in perfect harmony. To achieve this mouthwatering dish, shiitake or oyster mushrooms are first dried and then fried until crispy to perfection. The traditional spicy kick is courtesy of gochujang, a Korean red chili pepper paste that adds depth to the dish. Meanwhile, the sauce is a masterful blend of Korean chili flakes, lemongrass paste, garlic, maple syrup, tamari, fresh orange juice, and fresh lime juice, all carefully balanced to create a tangy and savory flavor profile. These delectable mushrooms can be paired with noodle dishes, grilled meats, or other Korean main courses for a satisfying meal. For added texture and visual appeal, consider garnishing the dish with seeds or nuts.

Korean Fried Zucchini

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In Korean cuisine, vegetables are a staple in side dishes, with zucchini being a particularly popular ingredient. Imagine fritters infused with the unique flavors of Korea, that’s what you get when you try Korean fried zucchini. This crispy and delicious side dish is a perfect accompaniment to any Korean meal. To prepare it, thinly slice the zucchini and coat it in a mixture of egg and flour. Simply season it with sea salt and you’re ready to serve. What’s more, this recipe also includes a simple sauce made from soy sauce and rice vinegar that you can use as a dip. With its versatility and ease of preparation, Korean fried zucchini is sure to become a favorite in your household.

Korean Cucumber Salad

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In the realm of Korean cuisine, Oi Muchim (오이무침) is a deceptively simple salad that packs a punch with its harmonious balance of spicy, sweet, sour, and savory flavors. This refreshing side dish is a staple in many Korean households, and its appeal lies in the way it combines seemingly disparate elements to create something truly greater than the sum of its parts.

The key to Oi Muchim’s addictive nature lies in the interplay between Korean red chili powder, rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame seeds. These ingredients work together in concert to produce a flavor profile that is at once bold, yet refined.

While traditional recipes often call for Asian cucumbers, feel free to substitute English or Persian varieties for added texture and interest. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of chili flakes or hot sauces to suit your desired level of heat.

One of the best things about Oi Muchim is its versatility – it can be served straight from the refrigerator, garnished with fresh green onions (scallions) and a sprinkle of sesame seeds for added crunch and visual appeal. Better yet, this salad keeps exceptionally well in the fridge for several days, making it an ideal addition to your meal prep routine.

For a truly authentic Oi Muchim experience, be sure to source high-quality ingredients and take the time to properly prepare each component before combining them in harmony. The end result will be a dish that is at once humble and sophisticated – a true reflection of Korean cuisine’s ability to elevate even the most basic of ingredients into something extraordinary.

Korean Sesame Broccoli

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In the world of Korean cuisine, broccoli is a ubiquitous ingredient that frequently appears in various side dishes. This gochujang sesame broccoli recipe perfectly encapsulates the essence of Korean cooking by marrying the bold flavors of Gochujang paste with the natural sweetness of roasted broccoli. To prepare this delectable dish, the broccoli is first coated with the spicy-sweet Gochujang paste and then roasted to a tender perfection. This simple yet flavorful Korean side dish is sure to disappear quickly, as it’s punctuated by the savory notes of salt, pepper, and garlic, with a satisfying crunch courtesy of sesame seeds. For a filling vegan meal, simply serve the broccoli over a bed of steaming hot rice.

Korean Coleslaw

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Korean cuisine pairs surprisingly well with salads, which is why there are numerous traditional salad recipes to explore. One such recipe that has won our hearts is Korean coleslaw – a refreshing twist on kimchi. This tangy, spicy, and sweet slaw is a perfect accompaniment to grilled meats like chicken, fish, or beef. The key ingredients include thinly sliced carrots, scallions, and perilla leaves. For the sauce, combine castor sugar, sesame oil, fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, Korean fish sauce, and gochurgaru – Korean chili flakes. What’s more, this coleslaw is not only a delight to the palate but also packed with nutrients. With its unique blend of flavors and textures, it’s no wonder that this recipe has gained popularity worldwide.

Korean Soybean Sprouts

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When seeking a Korean side dish with a milder heat level than usual, soybean sprouts are an excellent choice. The beauty of this option lies in its versatility – you can adjust the flavor to your liking by balancing garlic, onion, fish sauce, and hot pepper flakes. The resulting combination is a delightful harmony of nutty notes and satisfying crunch, courtesy of the long white stems. Moreover, these sprouts pair well with noodle soups and stir-fry dishes, offering endless opportunities for creative exploration.


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Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine, and when you have a jar on hand, you’ve got a flavorful condiment that’s equal parts spicy and salty. The fermented radishes or cabbage at the heart of kimchi are a symphony of tangy notes, all thanks to a special paste made from a harmonious blend of ginger, chili pepper flakes, apple, and garlic. Not only is this dish delicious, but it’s also remarkably healthy, boasting an impressive array of vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. We’re big fans of this recipe because it lets you create your own homemade kimchi in under 30 minutes of prep time, after which Mother Nature takes over to do her magic.

Korean Macaroni Salad

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While traditional Korean macaroni salads may bear some resemblance to their Western counterparts, they often boast distinct flavor profiles that set them apart. This beloved side dish is commonly found on menus at Korean restaurants and is characterized by a creamy, slightly sweet taste. The core ingredients remain largely the same as those used in international macaroni salads – think mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, white sugar, salt, and honey – but it’s the additional flavors that truly elevate this dish. Consider adding an array of colors and textures with capsicums, cabbage, and apples to create a visually appealing and delightfully complex salad. It’s no wonder then that macaroni salads are often served alongside Korean barbecue fare, providing a satisfying contrast to the rich, savory flavors of grilled meats.

Steamed Eggplant

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Gaji namul, a staple Korean side dish, is surprisingly simple to prepare. This steamed eggplant delight is elevated by a harmonious blend of Korean soy sauce seasoning, which adds depth and complexity to the dish. Not only is gaji namul a flavorful accompaniment, but it’s also incredibly nutritious. In fact, its preparation time is a mere 15 minutes from start to finish – a testament to its effortless elegance. The key to this delectable side dish lies in the combination of ingredients, including garlic, sesame oil, dark soy sauce, green chili peppers, sugar, red chili powder (gochukaroo), and sesame seeds. By serving gaji namul over rice, you can transform it into a satisfying full meal that’s sure to please even the most discerning palates.

Spicy Korean Rice Cakes

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If you’re looking to elevate your dining experience with a burst of Korean heat, look no further than these spicy Korean rice cakes. These beloved street food treats have gained a cult following for their addictive combination of chewy texture and bold flavors.

The magic happens when the rice cakes are stir-fried in a savory gochujang sauce that perfectly balances sweet and spicy notes. To take it to the next level, simply add your favorite accompaniments like ramen noodles, fish cakes, cheese, or eggs for a satisfying tteokbokki experience.

But these rice cakes aren’t just limited to being part of a meal – they also pair exquisitely with a steaming bowl of hot soup. And if you’re craving more insight into the world of Korean BBQ sides, be sure to check out our accompanying video.

Final Words

Indulge in these mouthwatering recipes with your loved ones. Whether it’s a family gathering or a casual get-together, these dishes are sure to impress. Take a moment to share your thoughts and let us know what you think! With a total time of 22 minutes, this Korean-inspired side dish is perfect for any occasion. Serving three people, this recipe yields 345 kcal per serving.

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