Tteokbokki Spicy Korean Rice Cakes
Tteokbokki Spicy Korean Rice Cakes

Tteokbokki, spicy Korean rice cakes, are a popular Korean street food that takes 30 minutes to make. The rice cakes are soft and chewy and coated in a sweet and tangy gochujang sauce.

In this recipe

  • What is Tteok?
  • What is gochuyang?
  • Make your family’s version of Tteokbokki
  • Can I advance Tteokbokki?

Tteokbokki are rice cakes simmered in a garlic-like, sweet and spicy gochujang sauce until velvety and tender. Tteok means “rice cake” and bokki means “to fry”. It’s a popular Korean stovetop dish that I learned to cook as a child who was always hungry.

I was maybe 11 or 12? After school, I made a beeline for the kitchen and tossed tteok, chopped onions, a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic (we kept it in the fridge next to the jar), gochujang, sugar, soy sauce, and a little water to simmer in a small pan while I hanging around the snack drawer.

This recipe is a slightly more mature version – I added more veggies like cabbage and scallions and a few hard-boiled eggs. It’s still easy and fast.

What is Tteok?

Tteok refers to a broad subset of foods with seemingly endless variations, just like bread. Generally, it is made by steaming rice flour batter and shaping it into all sorts of shapes for eating, stewing, pan-frying, or adding to soups.

You can find tteok in two areas of most Asian markets:

  • You can find the tteok for this recipe frozen or vacuum-packed in the refrigerated section. You’ll find two common shapes there: a thin 2- to 2-1/2-inch cylinder called a garaetteok (which I used for this recipe), or a flat oval disc used in soups. Both are milky white in color. It’s rare to use an entire bag of tteok at once unless you’re cooking for a large group, so expect leftovers. Seal the bag tightly, or place the tteok in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer.
  • The ready-to-eat section features tteok, which are soft and chewy and paired with other sweet or savory ingredients like brown sugar, steamed black beans, sesame seeds, or dried persimmons. They are often sold on small styrofoam trays wrapped in plastic wrap. Some stores don’t stock these fresh tteok, as they’re considered festive treats worth pre-ordering for special days like birthdays, Lunar New Year, or the Fall Harvest Festival.

Gochujang, a bold and flavorful Korean chili paste, is a key ingredient in a well-stocked Korean pantry. It’s the backbone of many dishes – the paste isn’t used on its own, but mixed into sauces, dips, stews and marinades.

Gochujang paste is almost always sold in a red rectangular plastic tub with a hinged lid. It is cheaper in the local Asian market. If you buy it online I recommend one from Chung Jung One like this one or this one. You’re looking for the paste, not gochujang sauce, which is milder and diluted with water, vinegar, soy sauce, and other condiments.

Gochujang is a fermented product that can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a year. Keep it covered tightly so it doesn’t oxidize.

Make your family’s version of Tteokbokki

Tteokbokki always has rice cakes and gochujang, but each family does it a little differently. Here are some variations:

  • Although you could replace gochujang with gochugaru, Korean red chili flakes, it will be a very different recipe. There is no other suitable substitute for gochujang. If you like it less spicy, add less and adjust the seasoning with soy sauce.
  • Garlic is a must, but use carrots, leeks, shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, or bok choy in equal amounts as a vegetable substitute. Cut them to about the same size as the garaetteok.
  • If you can’t find garaetteok, use the rice cakes, which look like flat oval discs. They’re thinner and cook much faster – reduce the cooking time to 5 minutes.

Can I advance Tteokbokki?

I would not recommend it. Just like you wouldn’t pour yourself a bowl of cereal and milk for later, the tteok will become soggy and mushy the longer it sits in the sauce.

If you want to plan ahead, chop the veggies, prepare the sauce, and store each in separate containers in the fridge until you’re ready to prepare and serve the tteokbokki.

Use it on! Recipes that use gochujang

  • Gochuyang green beans
  • Eggs with Kimchi Devil
  • Chicken wings from the air fryer
  • Dwaeji Galbi (Korean BBQ Grilled Pork Ribs)
  • Chicken noodle soup with bok choy

Tteokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cakes)

preparation time
5 minutes

cooking time
25 minutes

total time
30 minutes

up to 4 servings

The garaetteok (cylindrical Korean rice cakes) may stick together in the package. Use your hands to break them apart before cooking. If frozen, add 2 minutes to cooking time.

Classic Garaetteok is about 1/4 inch thick and 2 inches long, but you can also find stockier ones that are about 1/2 inch thick and 1 inch long, like the photos on this page. Cook the thicker ones about 2 minutes longer.


  • 2 big eggs

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 small yellow onioncut into 1/2 inch crescents

  • 3 green cabbage leavescut into 2 inch squares

  • 2 cloves garlicchopped

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 1 lb (about 3 cups) garaetteok (cylindrical Korean rice cakes)

  • 2 spring onionsEnds trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces

  • 3 tablespoon gochuyang

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauceplus more to taste

  • 2 teaspoon sugarplus more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame


  1. Hard boil eggs:

    Fill a medium bowl with ice water and set aside. Fill a small saucepan with 3 inches of water, enough to fully submerge the eggs. Don’t add the eggs yet. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

    Once the water is boiling, carefully add the eggs. Mine are cold straight out of the fridge. Boil them for 8 minutes. Using a large spoon, drop the eggs into the prepared ice water to keep them from boiling. When the eggs are cold to the touch, peel and halve lengthways. Put them aside.

  2. Cook Vegetables:

    In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and heat until hot (rippling, but not smoking). Add the onions, cabbage, and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently with a large spoon, for about 3 minutes. The vegetables should be translucent and lightly browned.

  3. Add tteok and spices:

    Add water, tteok, scallions, gochujang, soy sauce and sugar. Stir until the gochujang has completely dissolved in the sauce.

  4. Simmer Tteokbokki:

    Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Poke the tteok to submerge it in the sauce as much as possible. The sauce reduces and thickens and the tteok looks shiny.

    When cooked properly, the tteok is a bit chewy, tender but not mushy. You should be able to slice it with a slight wiggle with the side of your spoon.

  5. Add sesame oil and season:

    Stir in sesame oil. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with more soy sauce or sugar. The sauce should be tangy and a little sweet to balance out the spiciness.

  6. Serve Tteokbokki:

    Place tteokbokki on a serving plate. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with the hard-boiled eggs.

    The perfect bite: Cover a tteok with a piece of onion and cabbage. Dip the whole thing in the sauce. Follow with a cool bite of egg.

    Do you love this recipe? Leave us a review below!

nutritional information (per serving)
440 calories
10g Fat
79g carbohydrates
10g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!