If you’re wondering what to serve with your Korean beef, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I list 39 of the most popular side dishes for Korean beef.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best side dishes to serve with Korean beef are Korean classics like kimchi fried rice, soybean sprouts, japchae, spicy cucumber salad, and Korean braised potatoes. For something different, serve pickled vegetables. Try roasted sweet potato wedges or mashed cauliflower if you want to try fusion.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
Great flavor pairings for Korean beef
Korean beef is often dubbed as the “Wagyu Beef” of Korea. It has a high marbling content, giving it a buttery, beefy flavor.
It pairs well with:
- Sweet flavors – ingredients like brown sugar, honey and pears are popularly used with Korean beef to balance its rich, savory flavors.
- Acidic flavors – bright, acidic flavors help cut through the Korean beef’s fattiness. Try incorporating condiments like vinegar, pineapple juice, or fermented vegetables like kimchi for that tangy kick.
- Spicy flavors – Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) and gochujang (Korean chili paste) brings a delectable heat and smokiness that complements Korean beef’s savory notes.
Starchy sides are a must-have with Korean beef!
Rice is an obvious option, but why not stuff your Korean beef into a bao bun or hoagie roll for a tasty sandwich?
Want a traditional Korean side? Whip up a batch of finger-licking good japchae.
Kimchi fried rice
This vibrantly-hued rice dish is my go-to starchy side for Korean beef.
It’s a great way to use up leftover rice, and the kimchi gives it a Korean twist.
Normally you would toss in a protein like ham or tofu, but you can skip this step when you’re serving it with Korean style beef.
Why we love this recipe: it’s tasty and budget-friendly.
Roasted sweet potato wedges
These simple but scrumptious sweet potato wedges are one of my favorite side dishes to make from scratch.
The wedges are baked, resulting in a crispy outside, fluffy inside, and fewer calories than regular fries.
And the best part? You can use them to mop up any leftover sauce.
Why we love this recipe: you get yummy fried without the guilt.
Traditional japchae is another excellent side for your sticky beef.
It’s similar to chow mein, but it’s made using sweet potato starch noodles instead of egg noodles.
These noodles are gluten-free and have a nice chewy texture when cooked.
Pro-tip: add the sauce while the noodles are piping hot so they can absorb it better.
Why we love this recipe: it’ll make you feel like you’re sitting in a restaurant in Seoul.
Steamed bao buns
These traditional Chinese steamed buns are usually stuffed with pork, but their soft, fluffy texture make them the perfect vessel for most proteins.
Load them with your beef, fresh lettuce, and pickled veggies for a handy, on-the-go meal.
Why we love this recipe: most of ingredients needed are basic pantry staples.
Korean braised potatoes
If you’ve never had this popular Korean side dish before, that has to change!
You can use any type of potato, but baby potatoes definitely work best. The skin helps the sauce stick to the outside of each spud.
Pro-tip: add salt and vinegar while boiling the potatoes to help them hold their shape.
Why we love this recipe: it’s dangerously addicting.
Go down the healthy route and pair your Korean beef with a veggie side!
Stick to Korean cuisine with a serving of fiery kimchi.
Or skip traditions and go with a creamy cauliflower mash for a creamy bite.
Skip the usual mashed potatoes and try this healthier version instead.
By adding garlic, butter, and buttermilk, you’ll still get that luscious, creamy mash but without the extra calories!
Enjoy this indulgent but waistline-friendly mash alongside your beef for a delicious fusion meal.
Pro-tip: if you have the time to spare, roast the florets instead of boiling or steaming them.
Why we love this recipe: a serving adds just 121 calories to your meal.
Soybean sprout side dish
Also known as kongnamul muchim, this classic banchan (side dish) is a staple in many Koreans’ diets.
This recipe recommends just blanching the sprouts so they keep their crunchy bite instead of becoming soggy.
In terms of seasoning, you have two options – a mild version or a spicy one that’ll make your taste buds tingle.
Why we love this recipe: it takes a simple ingredient and makes it extraordinary.
Quick pickled carrots and daikon
These pickled carrots and daikon are usually seen with Vietnamese classic banh mi, but they’re fabulous with Korean beef too.
The pickles will cut right through the sweet and sticky sauce.
And there’s very little cooking involved. Most of the time is spent prepping the vegetables and waiting for them to become infused with that telltale sour flavor.
Why we love this recipe: this colorful accompaniment is quick to make and goes with just about anything.
If you find kimchi too overpowering, why not try this lighter version?
This recipe doesn’t use gochugaru, which means it doesn’t have any heat or spice. Instead, each bite offers a bright, refreshing flavor that will act as a palate cleanser for your beef.
Just a heads up – this variety won’t last as long as regular kimchi, so make sure you eat it within a few weeks.
Why we love this recipe: it’s an excellent option for those who can’t handle spice.
Salads are the perfect side for your Korean beef if you want a light meal.
Try a Korean green onion salad if you want a traditional side. Or go with a tasty Thai or Greek quinoa salad for a tasty and satisfying fusion!
Korean green salad
This Korean green salad deserves a permanent spot in your side-dish repertoire.
The base is made with a mix of leafy greens and crisp veg, but what makes it unique is the dressing, which is made with Korean fish sauce, vinegar, and soy sauce.
It may sound simple, but the combination infuses your salad with a tasty, umami flavor.
You can serve this on the side or mix in your Korean beef for a light, one-bowl meal.
Why we love this recipe: a serving comes in at just 29 calories!
Spicy cucumber salad
Looking for something quick and healthy? This spicy cucumber salad is a no-cook dish, so you can have it ready in a flash.
The key to this dish is mixing everything just before serving to prevent it from getting too watery.
Why we love this recipe: it’s perfect for busy weeknights.
Thai quinoa salad
Feeling adventurous? Skip the classic sides and serve your Korean beef with this colorful Thai quinoa salad instead!
Aside from the fluffy quinoa, it’s packed with fresh veggies that make every bite of this salad super healthy.
But what really makes this salad a must-try is its nutty, umami-loaded vinaigrette that’ll make your taste buds buzz.
Why we love this recipe: leftovers are great for the next day’s lunch.
Cilantro lime slaw
Love creamy slaws but wish they were healthier? This recipe has your back!
Gimme Some Oven uses full fat Greek yogurt instead of mayo to make this delicious slaw.
This simple swap will give you a similar classic creaminess, with the added benefits of healthy probiotics and fewer calories.
Why we love this recipe: it goes with almost any savory dish.
The best side dishes to serve with Korean beef
- Kimchi fried rice
- Roasted sweet potato wedges
- Steamed bao buns
- Korean braised potatoes
- Mashed cauliflower
- Soybean sprout side dish
- Quick pickled carrots and daikon
- White kimchi
- Korean green salad
- Spicy cucumber salad
- Thai quinoa salad
- Cilantro lime slaw
What To Serve With Korean Beef (39 Ideas)
- 1 portion kimchi fried rice
- 1 portion pickled carrots and daikon
- 1 portion cilantro lime slaw
- 1 portion japchae
- 1 portion soybean sprout side dish
- 1 portion thai quinoa salad … and more
- Prepare your Korean beef according to your favorite recipe.
- In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
- Side dishes include: kimchi fried rice, roasted sweet potato wedges, japchae, steamed bao buns, korean braised potatoes, mashed cauliflower, soybean sprout side dish, quick pickled carrots and daikon, white kimchi, korean green salad, spicy cucumber salad, thai quinoa salad, and cilantro lime slaw.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!