Seaweed soup (miyeokguk) is a light and comforting Korean soup made with dried seaweed and beef. This easy recipe creates a delicious and nutritious soup in no time.

A bowl of seaweed soup served with rice and kimchi.

Miyeok guk is my all-time favorite Korean soup and a staple in my house. You can make this seaweed soup with beef, seafood, or as a vegetarian dish. My family loves it with beef.

When I make miyeokguk, I usually prepare a big batch and freeze the leftovers for later. Some people might not like the slightly slippery texture of seaweed in the soup, but once you get used to it, you’ll love the rich umami taste of this amazing soup.

A ladle of Korean seaweed soup (miyeokguk) from the pot.

Seaweed soup is also known as a birthday soup in Korea. When a new mom delivers a baby, seaweed soup is the first meal she eats. People believe it helps postpartum recovery by providing vital nutrients for breastfeeding and restoring strength.

Because of this tradition, children grow up eating seaweed soup on their birthdays to honor their mothers’ efforts in bringing them into the world. How sweet is that?

Korean Seaweed (Miyeok)

There are various types of dried seaweeds in Korean cuisine. Miyeok (미역) is commonly used in soups and salads and has a mild flavor with a slightly slippery texture. Check out my seaweed egg drop soup or cold seaweed cucumber soup recipes for more ways to use this Korean seaweed.

Korean seaweed is packed with vitamins and minerals. It is low in calories and fat and high in dietary fiber, making it an excellent addition to a healthy diet.

This edible brown seaweed is similar to wakame in Japanese cuisine. While they are not exactly the same, they are often used interchangeably in recipes.

Miyeok is readily available in Korean grocery stores, typically sold dried and needing rehydration before use. You can also buy Korean seaweed from online retailers like Amazon, H-Mart, and other specialty food websites.

Key Ingredients

Ingredients for making Korean seaweed soup.

How to make seaweed soup (miyukguk)

Soak dried seaweed in cold water for 10-15 mins, then drain and slice.

Heat oil and sesame oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Put minced onion and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the beef and cook until no longer pink.

Return the seaweed, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of Korean soup soy sauce; cook for 3 minutes. Pour in rice water (or plain water) and stir.

Cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes or until the seaweed is soft and tender. Season the soup with the remaining Korean soup soy sauce, Korean tuna sauce (if using), salt, and 1 tsp sesame oil. Serve hot with rice and kimchi.

I recommend serving this comfort soup with kkakdugi (radish kimchi) and japgokbap (multigrain rice).

Rice added to a bowl of seaweed soup.

Helpful Tips and Advice

  1. Choose Quality Seaweed: Pick seaweed with a deep, dark green color. Look for thin, ribbon-like dried sea laver (miyeok, 미역) in the package. Available at Korean markets or online.
  2. Rehydration: Soak seaweed for 10-15 minutes. Do not soak too long as it can impact the flavor.
  3. Cooking Oil Mix: Combine sesame oil with a higher smoke point cooking oil to prevent burning and retain flavor.
  4. Use Rice Water: Use rice water as a soup base for added depth. See my post on how to make rice water for more details.
  5. Seasoning: Enhance flavor with Korean soup soy sauce (guk-ganjang) and Korean tuna sauce, mixed with salt for balanced seasoning.
  6. Seaweed soup freezes well, so you can save any leftover soup for later.

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A bowl of beef seaweed soup is served with rice and kimchi on the side.

Korean Seaweed Soup (Miyeokguk)

Seaweed soup (miyeokguk) is a light and comforting Korean soup made with dried seaweed and beef. This easy recipe creates a delicious and nutritious soup in no time.
5 from 4 ratings

Recipe Video

Ingredients

Instructions 

  • Soak seaweed in cold water for 10-15 mins, then drain and slice.
  • Heat oil and sesame oil in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add minced onion and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the beef and cook until no longer pink. Add the seaweed, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of Korean soup soy sauce; cook for 3 minutes
  • Pour in rice water (or plain water) and stir. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes or until the seaweed is soft and tender.
  • Season the soup with the remaining Korean soup soy sauce, Korean tuna sauce (if using), salt, and 1 tsp sesame oil. Serve hot with rice and kimchi.
Calories: 170kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 36mg, Sodium: 621mg, Potassium: 192mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 246IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 27mg, Iron: 1mg
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