Celebrate Korean Lunar New Year (Seollal) with these traditional Korean food recipes. From main dishes to desserts, you will find a range of easy to more advanced recipes that are perfect for sharing moments of new beginnings with your family and friends.
Seollal is the most important holiday in Korea. It’s New Year’s day! You could say that Koreans celebrate New Year’s day twice. The first is on January 1, and the exact date of the other changes each year depending on the lunar calendar. So when is 2022’s Lunar New Year’s day? It’s on February 1st, and it ushers in the year of tiger!
Just like other Asian countries that celebrate the Lunar New Year, Koreans also follow ancient traditions heralding the new year with lots of festive food and drinks.
We also gather with family and relatives. Seollal is the day we wish each family member prosperity and good health throughout the year.
Here are 16+ traditional Korean New Year foods that are among the most commonly enjoyed by many Korean people. They range from easy to more advanced level, but my step-by-step instructions make them accessible to all.
I hope you will find something that you and your family can use to join the celebration of Lunar New Year – the Korean way!
16 Korean New Year Foods
Homemade Mandu (Korean Dumplings)
Learn how to make delicious homemade mandu (Korean dumplings) from scratch with these step-by-step instructions. Filled with pork, cabbage, chives, and Korean sweet potato noodles, these mandu couldn't be more delicious. Recipe makes 40 large dumplings.
Well prepared Korean braised short ribs are so tender, they will fall-off the bone. But the secret is in the slightly sweet and savory sauce. This Korean short ribs recipe will become your family's favorite dish.
Bulgogi is a classic Korean BBQ beef made with thin slices of beef and a flavorful marinade. This authentic beef bulgogi recipe cooks fast and your meat will be so tender and juicy. No oil is needed to cook.
Galbitang is a hearty Korean short rib soup made with aromatic vegetables. Cook this galbitang recipe in an instant pot or over the stovetop. Making it a day in advance is recommended to achieve a clean taste in the broth.
Mandu guk is a Korean dumpling soup often served in the winter, especially at the New Year. You can make this comfort soup quickly with store-bought frozen dumplings and a flavorful broth of your choice.
Korean sweet rice dessert cooked with sweet rice, jujube, chestnut, and other nuts in instant pot makes this authentic recipe extremely easy and quick to prepare. It also serves as a good breakfast or snack.
Korean meat tofu patties (wanja-jeon) are a traditional Korean Chuseok dish, but they are also great for a lunchbox as well. You can use ground pork, beef, chicken, or mixture of any. Makes 3 dozen mini patties.
Easy Korean Rice Punch Recipe (Sikhye) – Instant Pot
Sikhye is a mildly sweet Korean rice punch made of fermented barley malt and cooked rice. This easy recipe uses an instant pot or rice cooker and you can enjoy the authentic taste of Korean drink anytime at home.
Sanjeok is Korean beef and rice cake skewers and it's a traditional holiday food in Korea. Strips of beef are marinated with a quick and simple bulgogi sauce and cooked together with rice cakes and green onion.
Nabak kimchi is a mild Korean water kimchi made with cabbage and other vegetables. It doesn't require fish sauce and uses very little chili flakes. It's a great vegan and vegetarian kimchi and refreshingly tasty.
And there you have it – 16+ Korean Lunar New Year Foods that you can enjoy with your loved ones! I hope this list brought you some inspiration for your Korean holiday celebration.
16+ Korean Lunar New Year Foods (Seollal): Korean Sweet Rice Dessert
Prep Time: 15mins
Cook Time: 15mins
Total Time: 30mins
Korean sweet rice dessert cooked with sweet rice, jujube, chestnut, and other nuts in instant pot makes this authentic recipe extremely easy and quick to prepare. Plus, 16+ more traditional Korean Lunar New Year foods to enjoy at home.
Rinse sweet rice several times and soak the rice in water for 10 minutes. Drain the rice and set aside.
Cut the chestnut in halves or quarters depending on the size. Set them aside.
Cut the flesh off of dried jujube to separate it from the seeds. Set the flesh on the side and collect the seeds. Put the seeds in a small pot and pour in 2 cups of water. Bring it to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. The water will become dark amber. Discard the jujube seeds and reserve the stock.
Pour the jujube stock into an instant pot. Add soy sauce, dark soy sauce (if using), honey (or brown sugar), and cinnamon; stir well until combined.
Add the rice, chestnut, and jujube flesh to the stock and mix well. Close the lid and set the instant pot to a rice setting (or 12 minutes on manual setting). Make sure to seal the vent.
When cooking is done, move the vent to quick release and let the steam escape. Open the lid and add the pine nuts and pumpkin seeds (or other nuts and seeds of your choice). Drizzle sesame oil and gently toss everything well.
Grease a 9-inch squire pan (or similar in size) with sesame oil. Put the rice mixture into the pan and press down with spatula or rice scoop. Let it sit on a wired rack to cool.
When fully cooled, turn out the rice on a cutting board and cut into desired size bars. You can garnish with jujube flowers and more seeds as you wish.