This easy japchae recipe is beloved in many Korean households. Korean glass noodles made with sweet potato starch are stir-fried with various vegetables. Discover the secret of making these delicious and healthy Korean noodles easily at home. Vegan and vegetarian adaptable.

Korean japchae noodles with various vegetables are served in a bowl and chopsticks on a tray.

“Amazing taste!  Easy to make.  Hardest part was finding the right noodles.  Can’t wait to make this recipe again.”

Maria

When I was in my young 20’s studying at college in the U.S., I was invited to a dinner party at a Korean professor’s home. He was treating all the Korean native students and other students majoring in Korean at his home.

His wife was an amazing cook – she was more popular among the students than her husband who was teaching Korean at the university. She showed me how she made her japchae, the ever famous Korean glass noodle stir-fry, and I was converted.

Her japchae noodles were so chewy and delicious, and even better it was so much easier than my mother’s recipe (which I still adore).

If you love japchae, but are looking for an easier way to make it, don’t miss out on this recipe. You will be converted, too. Along with other Korean noodle recipes, this is a must for Korean noodle lovers.

Korean glass noodles with vegetables are served on a white plate with a pair of chopsticks.

What is Japchae?

Japchae is the signature noodle dish of all Korean noodle dishes. It is made with Korean glass noodles (so called because they are translucent when cooked) called dangmyeon. The noodles are stir-fried with various types of vegetables – onion, carrot, pepper, spinach, mushroom. Often beef or pork is added to make it a hearty and nutrient dense satisfying meal.

Japchae is a dish that you will find on every Korean feast table, including Korean holidays, weddings, birthday parties, or any life celebrating events. There might be some people out there who have never had japache before, but those who have tried japchae will never stop eating it!

Making japchae in the traditional way can be labor-intensive and time consuming. You cook noodles separately, and stir-fry each vegetable and meat ingredient in separate batches, then combine them all together at the end with japchae sauce.

Here is an easier and simpler way of making a classic japchae recipe. You will taste the authentic flavor of traditional Korean japchae, but without all the hard work.

Korean glass noodles called dangmyeon is dried noodles in a package.

Korean Glass Noodles – Dangmyeon

You can’t skip the dangmyeon, or replace it with different noodles, when making Korean Japchae. Dangmyeon refers to sweet potato noodles made with sweet potato starch. It is often called Korean glass noodles.

It’s naturally gluten-free and is a common Korean pantry item used in many Korean dishes, such as Korean Braised Chicken (Andong jjimdak) or Japchae salad (my cookbook, Korean Cooking Favorites, shares the recipe).

Dangmyeon comes in a dehydrated form in a package. There are a few different varieties, but any kind will work.

How to cook Korean glass noodles? – The traditional method requires boiling the noodles separately before adding them to the stir-fry. With this recipe, you can make it all in one pot (skillet).

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this recipe as a Vegan Japchae or Vegetarian Japchae?

Absolutely! Just omit the meat in the recipe without altering the other ingredients.

Where to buy Korean glass noodles?

Most Korean markets and Asian markets sell Korean sweet potato noodles. Make sure to check they are Korean dangmyeon noodles. You can also purchase dangmyeon via online stores easily. Look for precut noodles if you want to avoid the long strands of noodles. Or, you can still use the regular noodle bundles and then just cut them with a pair of scissor

Is Japchae gluten-free?

Korean glass noodles are completely gluten-free since they are made from sweet potato starch. To make japchae a gluten-free dish, make sure to use gluten-free soy sauce when seasoning the noodles.

Ingredients for making Japchae

For the noodles

  • dangmyeon – Korean glass noodles
  • onion – sliced
  • carrot – thinly sliced
  • pepper – use red pepper for color contrast
  • spinach
  • mushroom– shiitake mushroom is commonly used
  • beef or pork – omit it if you are making it vegan or vegetarian

For the sauce

How to make Korean Glass Noodles (Japchae)

Step 1: Soak glass noodles

Soak the glass noodles in hot water for 15 minutes, then drain and set aside. Pre-soaking will soften the noodles and make them easier to cook.

Step 2: Season meat and prepare japchae sauce

Slice beef (or pork) into thin match sticks and season with soy sauce, sugar, and rice wine; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine all the japchae sauce ingredients, and set aside.

Step 3: Stir-fry vegetables

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot, pepper, and a pinch of salt; stir-fry until soft. Add sliced shiitake mushrooms and another pinch of salt. Continue to stir-fry until soft.

Add spinach at the end and stir-fry until spinach is wilted. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the vegetables to a large plate to cool.

Step 4: Cook meat

Reheat the pan over high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil, add the beef (or pork) and stir-fry until fully cooked. You will see the juice coming out from the meat. Transfer the meat to the large plate with the reserved vegetables, reserving the juice in the pan.

Step 5: Cook noodles

Drain the noodles from soaking and add them to the pan with the meat juices. Pour the japchae sauce over the noodles and toss to combine. Let the noodles cook over medium heat until they are soft and the sauce liquid is mostly absorbed into the noodles.

Step 6: Toss vegetables and meat with noodles

Reduce the heat to low. Add the vegetables and meat back to the pan over the noodles. Add sesame seeds and toss all together to incorporate. Drizzle more sesame oil if you wish. Taste and season more according to your taste.

How to Store Leftover Japchae and Reheat

Serve japchae hot or at room temperature. Leftovers should be kept in a refrigerator up to 1 week. The dangmyeon noodles will become opaque and hard.

To reheat, you can microwave until hot, but I recommend reheating in a skillet on the stove to get the best result. Heat a little oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cold japchae and stir-fry until the noodles become translucent and soft, and the vegetables are warmed. You will have a plate of japchae that tastes just like it was freshly made.

Korean glass noodles (dangmyun) and vegetables are stir-fried together in a skillet.

This recipe was originally posted in March 2010. I’ve updated the recipe with a few changes, new photos, and more information.

Japchae is Korean glass noodle stir-fry with beef and vegetables

Easy Japchae Recipe (Korean Glass Noodles)

Make classic Korean glass noodles, japchae, with this easy recipe. Korean glass noodles (Dangmyeon) are made from sweet potato starch, and this recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian adaptable
5 from 10 ratings

Ingredients

  • 8 oz Korean glass noodles (dangmyeon)
  • 6 oz beef sirloin, or pork loin. See note below for the vegan/vegetarian option
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • a few pinches salt
  • 5-6 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch (about 6 oz) spinach, cleaned
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

For beef seasoning

For japchae sauce

Instructions 

For the glass noodles

  • Soak the glass noodles in hot water for 15 minutes, then drain and set aside. Pre-soaking will soften the noodles and make them easier to cook.

For the meat seasoning

  • Slice beef (or pork) into thin match sticks (about 1/4-inch thick) against grain and season with soy sauce, sugar, and sweet rice wine; set aside.

For the Japchae sauce

  • In a mixing bowl, combine all the japchae sauce ingredients, and set aside.

To cook Japchae

  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot, pepper, and a pinch of salt; stir-fry until soft. Add sliced shiitake mushrooms and another pinch of salt. Continue to stir-fry until soft. Add more oil if needed.
  • Add spinach at the end and stir-fry until spinach is wilted. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the vegetables to a large plate to cool.
  • Reheat the pan over high heat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, add the beef (or pork) and stir-fry until fully cooked. You will see the juice coming out from the meat. Transfer the meat to the large plate with the reserved vegetables, reserving the juice in the pan.
  • Add the drained glass noodles to the pan with the meat juices. Pour the japchae sauce over the noodles and toss to combine. Let the noodles cook over medium heat until they are soft and the sauce liquid is mostly absorbed into the noodles, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low. Add the vegetables and meat back to the pan over the noodles. Add sesame oil and sesame seeds and toss all together to incorporate. Drizzle more sesame oil if you wish. Taste and season more according to your taste.

Notes

To make this Japchae vegan or vegetarian: omit the beef (or pork) and the meat seasoning step in the recipe.
Calories: 326kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 16mg, Sodium: 865mg, Potassium: 260mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 2103IU, Vitamin C: 18mg, Calcium: 52mg, Iron: 1mg
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