30-Minutes Korean Black Bean Soup – Comforting And Flavorful

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Dive into the rich and savory world of our Korean Black Bean Soup, a traditional dish that’s steeped in flavor and culture. The creamy black beans are simmered to perfection, their earthiness complemented by the umami depth of soy sauce and the subtle sweetness of mirin. Fragrant garlic, ginger, and a hint of gochugaru add a spicy kick that will awaken your senses. Served with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a side of kimchi, this soup is a true culinary delight.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of Korean cuisine with our spotlight on the soulful black bean soup – an embodiment of warmth, heritage, and culinary magic. Journey through aromatic soybeans simmered to perfection, transcending into an inviting, inky potion. 

korean black bean soup

Our exploration doesn’t merely skim the surface but delves into its flavorful secrets, creating a culinary narrative encompassing generations. This soup, steeped in tradition and nostalgia, fosters a sense of unity at every Korean table. Are you ready to unveil the story of this remarkable dish and, perhaps, serve it in your kitchen?

What Is Korean Black Bean Soup?

Korean Black Bean Soup, or Kongjaban, is a revered dish with rich, comforting flavors. Born from humble kitchen traditions, this soup pairs the earthiness of black soybeans with aromatic elements. Slowly simmered to perfection, these beans transform into a velvety broth, exuding a unique depth of flavor. Often adorned with various toppings such as diced radish or a boiled egg, it serves as a heart-warming meal, a testament to Korea’s culinary brilliance and affection for food that nurtures both the body and soul.

korean black bean soup

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients?

Korean Black Bean Soup can be adjusted to cater to various dietary needs and preferences:

  • Keto-Friendly: While black soybeans are relatively low in net carbs, you can reduce the bean quantity and increase the number of low-carb vegetables like mushrooms or spinach for a more keto-friendly version.
  • Paleo: Since soybeans are not Paleo-compliant, you could replace them with another legume that fits into your diet, like lentils, and add more vegetables for a hearty soup.
  • Gluten-Free: Ensure your soy sauce is gluten-free, as traditional soy sauce contains wheat. Tamari is a great gluten-free alternative that has a similar flavor profile.
  • Whole30: For a Whole30-compliant version, replace soy sauce with coconut aminos and ensure all other ingredients comply.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan: The basic Korean Black Bean Soup recipe is typically vegan, so no adjustments are needed. However, be sure to skip any non-vegan toppings like eggs.
korean black bean soup

Recipe Directions

  • In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat.
  • Add the roughly chopped onion to the pot and sauté until it becomes translucent, which should take around 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the roughly chopped garlic and ginger paste, and cook for an additional minute, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  • Add the drained and rinsed black beans, water, low-sodium soy sauce, and agave nectar to the pot. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Cover the pot and let it cook for 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to develop.
  • Remove the pot from heat and, using an immersion blender, puree the soup until it reaches a smooth consistency. Alternatively, you can let the soup cool for a few minutes and process it in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  • Return the pureed soup to the stove top and stir in the sesame oil. Heat the soup gently for 1-2 minutes to warm it up.
  • Serve the soup hot, garnishing each serving with sliced scallions (green parts only) and toasted sesame seeds.
korean black bean soup

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

Korean Black Bean Soup, or Kongjaban, is a versatile dish that can be customized according to your preferences. Here are some suggested variations, add-ons, and toppings:


  • Protein Choices: For a non-vegetarian variant, consider adding cooked shredded chicken, beef, or even seafood. Tofu is an excellent addition to a vegetarian or vegan version.
  • Spice It Up: If you enjoy spicy food, add a bit of Korean gochujang (red chili paste) or red pepper flakes for some heat.


  • Grains: The soup can be served over steamed rice or quinoa for a more filling meal.
  • Noodles: Add soba (buckwheat noodles) or udon noodles to the soup to make it heartier.
  • Kimchi: Serving the soup with a side of kimchi can add a tangy, spicy contrast that complements the earthy flavor of the soup.


  • Eggs: A soft-boiled egg cut in half can be a satisfying topping.
  • Seaweed: Strips of roasted seaweed can add a delicious umami flavor.
  • Radish: Pickled radish can provide a delightful crunch and tangy flavor that pairs well with the soup.
korean black bean soup

Can I Make Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

The Korean Black Bean Soup can be prepared in a slow cooker and an Instant Pot. Here’s how:

Slow Cooker

  • Sauté the onion, garlic, and ginger in a pan with canola oil until the onion becomes translucent. Transfer this mixture to the slow cooker.
  • Add the drained and rinsed black beans, water, soy sauce, and agave nectar into the slow cooker, stirring to combine.
  • Set your slow cooker to low and let it cook for about 6-8 hours. This slow, gentle cooking will allow the flavors to meld together beautifully.
  • After cooking, blend part of the soup for a creamy texture, then stir in the sesame oil. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds before serving.

Instant Pot

  • Set your Instant Pot to sauté mode. Add the canola oil, onion, garlic, ginger, and sauté until the onion becomes translucent.
  • Add the black beans, water, soy sauce, and agave nectar into the Instant Pot, stirring to combine.
  • Close the lid, set the pressure release to sealing, and select manual or pressure cook to cook on high pressure for about 15 minutes.
  • Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then turn the valve to venting to remove any remaining pressure.
  • Blend part of the soup for a creamy texture, then stir in the sesame oil. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds before serving.
korean black bean soup

Can I Use Store Broth, Or Should I Make My Own?

The choice between store-bought and homemade broth depends on your time, resources, and preference.

Store-Bought Broth

  • Look for low-sodium versions, as this allows you to control the salt content of your soup better. Also, check the ingredient list to avoid broths with additives or preservatives.

Homemade Broth

  • You can use vegetable scraps, bones, or meat and add your preferred spices and herbs. It requires more time and effort than storing broth, but it can be made in large batches and frozen for later use.
korean black bean soup

How To Serve?

Korean black bean soup, or jjajangmyeon, is traditionally served in a specific way to enjoy its flavors fully. Here’s how to serve the Korean black bean recipe best:

  • Noodles: Jajangmyeon is typically served with thick, chewy wheat-based noodles. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions until they are al dente. Drain them well and divide them into individual serving bowls.
  • Black Bean Sauce: Spoon a generous amount of black bean sauce over the noodles. The sauce is rich, savory, and slightly sweet, and it’s the dish’s star. Make sure each serving has a good amount of spice.
  • Mixing: Before eating, it is customary to mix everything. Use chopsticks or a spoon to thoroughly combine the noodles, black bean sauce, vegetables, and garnishes. Mixing helps to distribute the flavors evenly and creates a delicious combination of textures.
korean black bean soup

Perfect Side Dishes

When serving Korean black bean soup (jjajangmyeon), several traditional side dishes, known as banchan, can complement the soup’s flavors. Here are some popular side dishes to consider:

  • Kimchi: Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine and is often served as a side dish with various meals. It is made from fermented vegetables, typically cabbage, seasoned with different spices. The tangy and spicy flavors of kimchi can provide a refreshing contrast to the rich and savory black bean soup.
  • Seasoned Seaweed: Known as gim or nori, seasoned seaweed is often enjoyed as a banchan. It is roasted and seasoned with sesame oil, salt, and sometimes a touch of sweetener. The crispy texture and umami flavor of seasoned seaweed can add depth and contrast to the meal.
  • Marinated Tofu: Soft, silken tofu marinated in a soy-based sauce is a common side dish that pairs well with jjajangmyeon. The mild and creamy tofu contrasts the texture and adds protein.
  • Steamed Rice: While jjajangmyeon is traditionally served with noodles, having a side of steamed rice can be a lovely addition. The plain rice can help balance the flavors and provide a neutral base to enjoy alongside the black bean soup.
korean black bean soup

Storage And Make Ahead

Here are some simple storage and make ahead for the recipe:

  • Cooling: Allow the soup (or sauce) to cool to room temperature quickly by spreading it out in a shallow container or placing the pot in a sink filled with ice water, stirring occasionally for even cooling.
  • Refrigeration: Transfer the cooled soup into airtight containers and refrigerate. Properly stored, Korean Black Bean Soup can last in the fridge for 3-5 days.
  • Freezing: This dish freezes well due to its thick consistency. Portion the soup into freezer-safe bags or containers, leaving some space for expansion. It can be stored frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen. Reheat on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally. If the soup has thickened too much upon storage, you may need to add a bit of water or broth to reach your desired consistency. Be cautious not to overheat, as this can affect the texture.

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • Prepare Black Bean Paste: The base of the soup, the fermented black bean paste (chunjang), can be fried in oil and stored in the refrigerator up to a week in advance. This process, known as “blooming,” enhances its flavor.
  • Vegetable and Meat Prep: Dice your vegetables (typically onions, zucchini, and potatoes) and pork (or alternative proteins) ahead of time. You can refrigerate these ingredients separately for up to 2 days.
  • Cook in Stages: You can cook the meat and vegetables and mix them with the prepared black bean paste ahead of time. This mixture can be refrigerated or frozen until you’re ready to add broth and complete the soup.
  • Broth Preparation: Prepare your broth in advance, whether it’s a simple vegetable, chicken, or beef broth, and refrigerate or freeze. Adding fresh broth when reheating the soup will ensure a rich flavor.
  • Final Assembly: Combine the pre-prepared black bean paste mixture with the broth when you’re ready to serve. This approach allows for quick assembly and ensures the freshness of the soup.
  • Serving with Noodles or Rice: If serving as Jjajangmyeon, prepare fresh noodles separately on the day of serving to maintain their texture. If serving with rice, cook the rice fresh for the best taste and consistency.
korean black bean soup

What Can We Do With Leftovers?

Here are some ideas for what you can do with leftovers from Korean black bean soup:

  • Jajang Bap: Use the leftover soup topping steamed rice, creating a dish called Jajang Bap. Mix the reheated soup over a bowl of rice for a tasty and satisfying meal.
  • Jajang Tteokbokki: Transform the leftovers into a new dish by adding rice cakes and other desired ingredients to create Jajang Tteokbokki. Simmer the reheated soup with rice cakes, vegetables, and protein of your choice for a delicious Korean stir-fry.
  • Jajang Fried Rice: Turn the soup into a flavorful fried rice dish. Heat a pan with oil, add cooked rice, vegetables, and protein (such as diced meat or tofu), then stir in the reheated soup. Mix everything until well combined, and you’ll have a tasty Jajang Fried Rice.


  • Select the Right Black Bean Paste (Chunjang): The quality of the black bean paste significantly influences the flavor of the soup. Look for authentic Korean chunjang at Asian markets or online.
  • Fry the Paste: Before adding it to the soup, fry the black bean paste in a little oil. This step, known as “blooming,” intensifies the flavor and removes any bitterness.
  • Use a Quality Broth: A rich, homemade chicken or vegetable broth serves as an excellent base for the soup, adding depth and richness. Store-bought broth can work in a pinch, but try to choose a low-sodium option.
  • Prepare Ingredients Finely: Dice the vegetables (such as onions, zucchini, and potatoes) and pork (or tofu for a vegetarian version) into small, uniform pieces. This ensures they cook evenly and integrate well with the thick sauce.
  • Balance the Flavors: The savory black bean paste can be quite potent. Balance it with a touch of sugar and a splash of sesame oil towards the end of cooking. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Simmer Gently: Once all ingredients are combined, simmer the soup gently to allow the flavors to meld together without boiling vigorously, as this can cause the ingredients to break down too much.
  • Stir Frequently: To prevent sticking and ensure even cooking, stir the soup regularly, especially as it thickens.

30-Minutes Korean Black Bean Soup – Comforting And Flavorful

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Recipe by Hanna Barnes Course: Soup Recipes


Prep time


Cooking time





This comforting and flavorful soup combines the richness of tomatoes with the freshness of basil. It starts with sautéing onions and garlic in olive oil until fragrant, then adding diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, and a touch of sugar. The soup simmers to allow the flavors to meld together. Fresh basil leaves are added at the end to infuse the soup with their aromatic essence


  • 2 Tsp 2 Canola Oil

  • 1/2 Medium 1/2 Onion, Roughly Chopped

  • 2 2 Garlic Cloves, Roughly Chopped

  • 1 Tsp 1 Ginger Paste

  • 15 Oz 15 Black Beans, Drained And Rinsed

  • 2 Cups 2 Water

  • 1/3 Cup 1/3 Low-Sodium Soy Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Agave Nectar

  • 2 Tbsp 2 Sesame Oil

  • 2 Tbsp 2 Sliced Scallions (Green Parts Only)

  • 4 Tsp 4 Toasted Sesame Seeds

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Preparation Steps
    Prepare your ingredients: drain and rinse the black beans, roughly chop the onion and garlic, slice the scallions, and measure out the remaining ingredients.
  • Cooking
    In a large pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger paste. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent, around 5 minutes.
    Add the black beans, water, soy sauce, and agave nectar to the pot. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a boil.
    Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  • Blending
    After 20 minutes, use an immersion blender to partially blend the soup, leaving some beans whole for texture. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer half the soup to a regular blender, blend until smooth, then return it to the pot.
  • Final Touches
    Stir in the sesame oil, then turn off the heat.
  • Serving
    Ladle the soup into bowls, then garnish with sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds before serving.
  • Additional Options
    This soup pairs well with a side of steamed rice or a fresh salad. For a non-vegetarian option, you could also add cooked, shredded chicken or slices of beef. Enjoy!
  • Soup Pot Or Stockpot
  • Wooden Spoon Or Ladle
  • Immersion Blender Or Stand Blender
  • Mesh Strainer
  • Soup Ladle
  • Timer
  • Cutting Board And Chef’s Knife
  • Measuring Cups And Spoons


  • You can stir in a splash of heavy cream or coconut milk for added richness after pureeing the soup. It will give it a luxurious and velvety texture.
  • If you prefer a chunkier texture, skip the pureeing step and leave the soup with a more rustic consistency.
  • To make it a heartier meal, serve the soup with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese or a dollop of pesto on top.
  • Experiment with different toppings such as croutons, crispy bacon bits, or a drizzle of olive oil for added texture and flavor.
  • Consider pairing the soup with a side salad or a grilled cheese sandwich for a complete and satisfying meal.

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You've entered a realm where each bowl isn't just a meal; it's an expedition to the core of comfort, well-being, and the sheer delight of feeding both body and soul. My name is Julia, and I'm here to navigate you through the flavorful worlds of Soup Chick. Together, we'll uncover the artistry behind each recipe, share stories that warm the heart, and celebrate the simple pleasures of making and enjoying soup.

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