Tired of the usual sides? Korean side dishes are here to spice up your meals with their diverse flavors.
Called “banchan” in Korean, these sides offer unique tastes and textures that make them go perfectly with your favorite Korean main courses.
Ready to give them a go? We’re here to provide all the inspiration you need!
We’ve compiled 21 of the best Korean side dishes that will add flair and color to your plate!
21 Korean Side Dishes You Need To Try!
1. Spicy Vegan Japchae
Bursting with umami flavors, this spicy vegan japchae is made with a stir-fried blend of sweet potato glass noodles, vibrant vegetables, earthy shiitake mushrooms, and a fiery gochujang-based sauce.
The chewy texture of the noodles interlaces with the satisfying crunch of fresh veggies and the tantalizing heat of the sauce, making your taste buds dance with delight!
2. Korean Cucumber Salad
Relish the refreshing bites of this Korean side dish!
Thick cucumber slices and bell peppers are dressed in a vinaigrette that perfectly blends tangy, sweet, spicy, and salty flavors with rice vinegar, caster sugar, soy sauce, and gochugaru.
It's a perfect side dish for Korean BBQ that adds a cool contrast to the smoky flavors.
3. Korean Green Onion Salad
Slender strands of green onions intermingle with a spicy, savory dressing that has a sweet touch and a nutty kick, thanks to the addition of sugar and sesame oil.
This piquant and aromatic accompaniment cuts through grilled meats or adds a fresh touch to tofu dishes.
4. Korean Marinated Eggs
Soaked in a blend of soy sauce and aromatic ingredients, these eggs boast a custardy interior encased by a flavorful, umami-rich exterior.
This recipe lets plain old boiled eggs reach new heights of flavor, adding depth and richness to any meal.
Top tip: You can also enjoy these eggs by themselves as a protein- and flavor-packed snack!
5. Mayak Avocado
Indulge in the creamy decadence of this recipe, where ripe avocados are cut into luscious cubes and bathed in a sweet, salty, and tangy marinade with a slight kick.
It provides a velvety texture and a rich taste that perfectly complements various dishes. But it’s a particularly ideal side dish for Korean short ribs, going with the savory notes of short ribs.
6. Vegan Kimchi
This vegan kimchi boasts a rich, complex flavor profile, and it’s one of the Korean side dishes that can be stored and savored over time with different dishes.
Fermented to perfection, it features a harmony of spicy, tangy, and umami notes with a homemade chili paste and the juicy crunch of Napa cabbage, daikon, red radishes, and scallions.
7. Korean Garlic Cream Cheese Bread
In this recipe, soft, pillowy bread is stuffed with rich cream cheese and coated in a garlicky, slightly sweet glaze, then baked to golden perfection.
It's a mouthwatering fusion that's bound to be a crowd-pleaser at any gathering — an excellent side for Korean fried chicken.
8. Korean Spicy Braised Tofu
Who says tofu can’t have bold flavors? This Korean side dish proves otherwise, with thick slices of tofu absorbing a sweet and spicy braising sauce.
Seared over medium-high heat, it offers a succulent texture that's firm, tender, and crisp all at the same time. And it brings a satisfying warmth to the table, making it go perfectly with soups and stews.
9. Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)
Tteokbokki is among the most famous Korean side dishes with a riot of textures and tastes.
This recipe gives you chewy rice cakes swimming in a sweet and fiery sauce, punctuated by the softness of fish cakes and the freshness of green onions. Top it off with sesame seeds for the perfect finishing touch.
10. Korean Potato Salad
You won’t be able to resist the creaminess of this Korean side dish, in which tender potatoes meet eggs and mayonnaise.
With its smooth texture and a subtle crunch from cucumber and spring onions, this Korean potato salad is a versatile side dish that complements both Korean BBQ and other classic meals.
11. Korean Rice Balls
To make these bite-sized morsels, simply combine cooked rice, crunchy seaweed, sesame seeds, soy sauce, and sesame oil and roll them up into balls.
You’ll get a convenient and satisfying snack that’s perfect for busy days!
12. Korean Sesame Broccoli Salad
Savor the crisp, fresh flavors of this vibrant dish, where bright green broccoli florets are tossed in a garlicky sesame dressing and sprinkled with sesame seeds for added crunch.
For a bit of a kick, add gochugaru to the mix!
13. Yachaejeon: Korean Vegetable Pancakes
Enjoy these savory Korean pancakes with a medley of textures and flavors!
This dish has a variety of fresh vegetables like zucchini, carrots, and cabbage mixed with flour, eggs, and flavorful seasonings before being pan-fried to golden perfection.
Top tip: Be sure to grate the vegetables or chop them as thinly as possible for the perfect texture.
14. Korean Pickled Pink Radish
Brighten up any meal with this zesty Korean side dish!
The recipe features thinly sliced pink radishes pickled in a marinade made with rice vinegar, sugar, water, and salt, creating a tangy, sweet side with a lively crunch that's sure to awaken your taste buds.
15. Korean Zucchini Salad
Zucchini is the star of this simple, nutritious, and delightful side dish! Its crunch and flavor are elevated by soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, sugar, garlic, and green onions.
This side can go with and bring a burst of freshness to any Korean dish, from hearty stews to fried fish.
16. Watermelon Rind Kimchi
Put a refreshing new twist on your kimchi with this incredible side dish!
Here, classic kimchi ingredients meet the unexpected crunch of watermelon rind and the surprising sweetness of watermelon puree. The perfect combination of sweet, spicy, and zesty!
17. Korean Cauliflower
With only five ingredients, this Korean side dish is easy to whip up and pair with any dish!
All you have to do is toss cauliflowers in a mix of gochujang, soy sauce, and minced garlic, achieving a harmony of comforting flavors. Then bake and serve with a generous sprinkle of green onions.
18. Korean Mung Bean Pancakes
With mung beans, kimchi, green onions, and bean sprouts as the headliners, these Korean pancakes are brimming with earthy flavors.
They’re complemented by a delicious dipping sauce, making them perfect to eat on their own or serve as a side for meat or veggie meals.
19. Korean Soft Steamed Eggs
A dish that's as simple as it is satisfying! “Gyeranjjim,” as it's known in Korean, is a steamed egg dish with a silky smooth, velvety texture that melts in your mouth.
It's seasoned gently and topped with green onions to enhance its natural flavor.
This wholesome side dish is a warm, soothing addition to any meal, offering a touch of homely indulgence.
20. Spicy Korean Fish Cake Stir Fry
This Korean side dish will ignite your palate with a tantalizing mix of chewy fish cakes and crisp vegetables in a sweet and spicy sauce.
With its burst of heat and flavor, it's an irresistible companion to beef and chicken dishes.
FAQs ABOUT Korean Side Dishes
What Are the Best Side Dishes for Korean BBQ?
The best Korean BBQ side dishes to serve include the following:
- Kimchi or pickled radishes — Has tangy flavors that complement the rich, smoky taste of grilled meats
- Zucchini or cucumber salad — Cleanses the palate and offers a refreshing flavor
- Tteokbokki — Features a soft texture and a sweet-and-spicy flavor profile that contrasts with grilled meats
Can Korean Side Dishes Be Made in Advance?
Yes, many Korean side dishes can be made in advance.
Dishes like kimchi, japchae, marinated eggs, and salads are often prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator, which allows their flavors to develop more fully and makes meal prep more convenient.
Enjoy the Freshness of Korean Side Dishes!
With the wide variety of Korean sides listed above, you can see just how diverse, nutritious, and flavorful they can be!
Whatever your flavor or texture preference, you’ll be sure to find the ideal one for you to serve with a tantalizing Korean main course or even bring to a party.
So go ahead and give one of the recipes above a try!