Japchae (Korean Noodle Stir-Fry)

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This Japchae recipe recipe is easy to make in about 30 minutes, it can be customized with whatever veggies and protein you prefer, and it’s so flavorful and delicious!

Japchae Korean Noodle Stir Fry

Meet the Korean stir-fry noodles that my husband makes for us all the time — japchae! ♡

I first introduced Barclay to japchae a few years ago, and he immediately fell head over heels for the chewy sweet potato noodles traditionally used to make this dish (made from sweet potato starch, by the way, not fresh sweet potatoes).  He’s now obsessed with making sure that they are permanently stocked in our pantry, lest we ever have a noodle crisis when the japchae cravings hit.  But best of all, he has turned into an absolute pro at making this japchae recipe, and cooks it on the reg for the two of us (and he has also proudly made it for pretty much all of our friends) dozens and dozens of times ever since.

So if you’ve ever wondered what a food blogger actually eats behind the scenes, lol, I can say for sure that these past few years have included so much japchae — which I love!  We’re big fans of the dish here in our house because it’s easy to customize with whatever leftover veggies and protein we have on hand.  (I originally photographed these photos with steak, but we most often eat it nowadays with shrimp or tofu.)  It’s also full of great flavor and easy to whip up in just 30 minutes or so.  And as I wrote in my original draft of this blog post a few years ago, I will also forever love this recipe because it reminds me of my good friends who live in Korea and first introduced me to the dish when I went there to visit years ago.

So for those of you who haven’t yet given japchae a try, I thought I would bump it back to the top of the blog today for some meal planning inspiration.  If your house is like ours, you’re going to love it!!

Japchae Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Korean sweet potato noodles

Japchae Ingredients:

To make traditional Korean japchae noodles, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Dangmyeon noodles: These are the traditional sweet potato noodles (also known as “glass noodles”) used to make japchae.  They are made from two ingredients — sweet potato starch and water — and have an ever-so-slightly-sweet taste and a satisfying chewy texture.  They are naturally gluten-free, and can be purchased at your local Asian market or online.  Also, most brands of sweet potato noodles make them super long, so I recommend using some kitchen scissors to cut the noodles once they have been cooked and drained, if you would like.
  • Protein: The protein in this recipe is up to you!  I typically make my japchae with either steak, chicken, shrimp or tofu.
  • Veggies: I used a mix of onion, shiitake mushrooms, red bell pepper, carrot, garlic and spinach.  But feel free to use whatever stir-fry-friendly veggies and greens you love best.
  • Stir-fry sauce: Which is made with a simple mix of low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari), maple syrup and toasted sesame oil.
  • Toppings: Japchae is traditionally sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds just before serving, but I like to sprinkle some thinly sliced green onions on top too.

How to make japchae

How To Make Japchae:

To make this Korean japchae stir-fry recipe, simply….

  1. Cook the noodles: Cook the sweet potato starch noodles al dente in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions.  (Be careful not to overcook the noodles, or they will become mushy in the stir-fry.)  Transfer the noodles to a strainer, and briefly rinse with cold water until they are room temperature.  Strain out any extra water, drizzle the noodles with a bit of sesame oil, toss until coated, then set aside.
  2. Prep the sauce and steak. Then toss the steak, soy sauce, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper together in a large bowl and marinate for 5 minutes.  In a separate bowl, whisk all of the sauce ingredients together until combined.
  3. Stir-fry. Stir-fry the steak over high heat until cooked through.  Then transfer the steak to a separate bowl, and stir-fry the veggies until softened.  Remove pan from heat, add in the cooked steak, noodles and sauce, and toss until combined.
  4. Taste and season.  Give the noodles a taste and add extra soy sauce, if needed.
  5. Serve warm.  Garnished with lots of toasted sesame seeds and green onions.

Korean noodles japchae recipe

Possible Variations:

Want to customize your japchae recipe?  Feel free to…

  • Make it gluten-free: Use gluten-free tamari in place of soy sauce.  (And as always, double-check that all of your other ingredients are certified gluten-free.)
  • Make it vegetarian/vegan: Use tofu or any other plant-based proteins in place of meat/seafood.  Or you can just add in some extra mushrooms or other veggies too.
  • Make it spicy: Feel free to add in some thinly sliced Thai bird chiles, sriracha, or a pinch of crushed red chili flakes if you would like to kick up the heat in this stir-fry.
  • Use a different protein: This stir-fry would also be delicious with chicken, pork, shrimp, or tofu in place of the beef.  Or you could skip adding a protein altogether and just toss in some extra veggies.
  • Use different veggies: Other veggies that would taste great could include broccoli, asparagus, snap peas, green beans, zucchini, bok choy, etc.
  • Use different noodles: Udon noodles, egg noodles, soba noodles or rice noodles would also work great in place of the sweet potato noodles.

Japchae with beef and veggies

More Favorite Stir-Fry Recipes:

Here are a few more of my favorite stir-fry recipes (feel free to use whatever proteins/veggies you prefer!):

Print
Japchae Recipe

Japchae (Quick Korean Noodle Stir-Fry)

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 -6 servings 1x

Description

This Japchae recipe recipe is easy to make in about 30 minutes, it can be customized with whatever veggies and protein you prefer (beef, chicken, shrimp, tofu, etc), and it’s so flavorful and delicious!


Scale

Ingredients

Stir-Fry Ingredients:

  • 8 ouncedangmyeon (sweet potato starch noodles)*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or any mild-flavored oil), divided
  • 1 small white onion, thinly sliced
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 3 handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • toppings: toasted sesame seeds, thinly-sliced green onions

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce* (or more, to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Steak Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sirloin or flank steak, thinly-sliced against the grain into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook the noodles: Cook the sweet potato noodles al dente, according to package directions, in a large stockpot of boiling water.  (Be careful not to overcook the noodles, or they will become mushy in the stir-fry.)  Transfer the noodles to a strainer, and rinse with cold water until chilled.  Strain out any extra water, drizzle the noodles with a drizzle of sesame oil, toss until the noodles are evenly coated, and set aside.
  2. Marinate the steak. Combine the steak, soy sauce, and a generous pinch and black pepper in a large bowl, and toss to combine.  Let the steak marinate for 5 minutes (or up to 30 minutes).
  3. Prep the sauce. Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl until combined.
  4. Stir-fry the steak. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauté pan over high heat.  Add the steak and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked through.  Transfer steak to a separate clean plate, and set aside.
  5. Stir-fry the veggies. Reduce heat to medium-high.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the onion.  Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Then add in the mushrooms, bell pepper, carrot and garlic cloves and sauté for 4-5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies reach your desired level of softness.  (I like mine to still be a touch crispy.)  Stir in the spinach, and cook for 2 more minutes, using tongs to toss the veggie mixture frequently, until the spinach has wilted.
  6. Combine everything. Remove pan from heat.  Add the cooked noodles, steak and sauce to the veggie mixture, and toss to combine.
  7. Taste and season.  Give the noodles a taste, and season with extra soy sauce and/or black pepper if needed.
  8. Serve warm.  Garnished with lots of toasted sesame seeds and green onions.


Notes

Noodle substitution: If you cannot find sweet potato noodles, feel free to just use rice noodles (or whatever your preferred noodle may be).

Gluten-free option: If making this recipe gluten-free, sub in tamari in place of soy sauce, and ensure that your sweet potato noodles are certified gluten-free.

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37 comments on “Japchae (Korean Noodle Stir-Fry)”

  1. These noodles look so fun! Can’t wait to try this one!

    • I lived in Korea for 4 years – made this tonight and it is very authentic! Also very easy. Thanks for sharing. Delicious.

  2. It looks so delicious! Perfect colors and texture! Thank you for the recipe!

  3. This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it. If you were going to use brown sugar how much would you use?

  4. Aw, I love that your friends are already coming to visit! Also, this dish looks AMAZING. Sounds like the perfect comfort food for the end of winter.

  5. Perfect timing since I was wondering what to make with leftover glass noodles. Thanks!

  6. 5 stars
    Must have been amazing to have you friends there, especially ones you can relate to on expat living! THis sounds delicious! Spent 2 weeks in South Korea back in 2012 and loved the food there!!

  7. Absolutely going to try this👍

  8. I’m such a fan of these flavors! Though not traditional, do you think it would work well with udon noodles or ramen noodles?

  9. 5 stars
    This recipe reinforces why I love your recipes – they never fail to please the whole family!!! I made this recipe exactly as written. The only thing I would change is to make extra for leftover lunch the next day ;) So yummy, thank you!

  10. This looks very tasty. Any ideas of how to make it vegetarian? Thanks

    • Sure, just nix the steak and go with veggies-only. (Feel free to toss in some extras, if you’d like. Zucchini would be delicious!)

  11. From here I can only imagine how wonderful this dish is. The photos are wonderful.

  12. Ooooh I love Japchae, but never thought to make it at home! Yummmm

  13. 5 stars
    A very solid, yummy recipe! I got the noodles perfectly cooked (mostly by accident!) I will definitely be making this again! Thank you for sharing.

  14. 5 stars
    Seriously delicious. Loved the springy texture of the noodles.

  15. 5 stars
    One word. YUM.
    Made this last night and it turned out as good as it looked!
    I added snap peas for crunch but other than that, I followed exactly.
    This is not the first or the last recipe I will make of yours … outstanding!!

    Thank you!!

  16. 5 stars
    This was amazing! I’ve never had this before but I love the glass noodles in Thai food so I thought I would give this a try. It was delicious! Thank you!

  17. 5 stars
    Terrific recipe! Easy, delicious, and gluten-free.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  18. 5 stars
    I made this last night and it was really good. I think it was better the next day for lunch once the flavors blended more. Would definitely make again!

  19. 5 stars
    This. Is. So. Good!!!!
    Alli we ADORED this and I was SO happy that there was l/o for lunch the next day.
    Awesome flavors, I LOVED the noodles (and had never used them before) – perfection.
    This will go into the regular rotation for sure. Thank YOU.

  20. Am on an Asian/stir fry kick and this looks delicious. My husband cannot have any refined sugars so I use various jams (sweetened only with fruit juice) to provide the sweet component. Would you use apricot, peach, maybeapple? I also use a reduction of prune juice sometimes. Thanks.

  21. 5 stars
    Made this today and it is delicious! I like heat, so when I marinated the meat I added some Korean red pepper flake. While adding the spinach I felt like 3 handfuls seemed like a lot, but it isn’t. Definitely add three big handfuls! It cooks down a ton. Very tasty dish – I will make this recipe again for sure!

  22. Does anyone know the calories and carbs for this recipe?

  23. This looks like a really god recipe for me to try to break up the monotony of my normal cooking routine. I love stir fry and those noodles looks delish!

  24. 5 stars
    After one bite we both agreed this would be a staple moving forward. So easy to make. Maybe add some asparagus next time we make it. Yum!

  25. 5 stars
    Wow! This is delicious! I couldn’t find sweet potato starch noodles at Whole Foods, Kroger or Publix in ATL so just used rice noodles. I’m definitely ordering some sweet potato starch noodles from link you provided. Thank you!

  26. 3 stars
    It was fun finding and making the sweet potato noodles but I found this a bit bland. Adding sriracha helped.

    • I tried it as well. It was bland but I could not keep eating it. I will make it again and will add more garlic, ginger, and possibly sriracha.

  27. 5 stars
    Oh my gosh I made this with my family and it’s soooo good!!! We had a substitute for the sesame ingredients and the oil but we ate it and it’s awesome also we tried it with yum-yum sauce it’s AWESOME!

  28. 5 stars
    This is one of the top 5 everyday dishes I now make. I’ve made this 7 times and everytime it’s spectacular. I have stocked up on the noodles because they are so unique I want to make sure I always have some on hand. I also have a bottle of “Hot” Sesame oil and I use that on the noodles once they are done boiling. I don’t use it in the actual dish…..gives it a nice kick. Also, I bet I triple the spinach.

  29. 5 stars
    So good! I made it with flank steak and it turned out great. I think next time I will double the sauce.

  30. Yum, my mom is Korean and she used to make this for us all the time. I called it plastic spaghetti when I was a kid. lol I will try your recipe, I don’t think she ever put syrup in it, but I will give it a try. Thanks for posting!

  31. absolutely wonderful! made twice in one week, following the recipe exactly as is. thank you for another mouth watering recipe!

  32. This was very delicious! I absolutely loved it, and so did my family! This is definitely going in my recipe book!
    My mother thanks you for this recipe, and my sister does, too.
    Making this again, for sure, no doubt. :))

  33. Wow I did not expect this – this is the best Japchae recipe I’ve tried. I used maple syrup as the recipe states and it turned out like the Japchae served in the restaurants.