Preserves in Action: Kimchi Noodle Soup

January 11, 2018(updated on August 30, 2021)

Need something spicy, flavorful, and warming? Alex Jones is here with a recipe for a tasty batch of soup that will help you make good use of that jar of kimchi you’ve got tucked in the back of the fridge! Yum! -Marisa

Throughout my preserving life, I’ve realized that I use some things all the time — pressure-canned tomatoes, stock and beans, dried herbs and Meyer lemon slices, frozen peak-season fruit. And others, like high-sugar jams, I don’t use much of at all.

As I go along each season, I try to learn from what I end up giving away or not enjoying so that I can maximize my food dollars, avoid waste, and devote space in my fridge and pantry to items I’ll actually eat.

When I found myself with two huge napa cabbages in my fridge two falls ago, I made a massive batch of kimchi (using the excellent recipe from Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking). After giving several jars away at the Philly Food Swap, I still had a gallon left. And while I’ve added it to rice bowls and eaten it on the side with scrambled eggs, two big jars still sit in the back corner of my fridge.

One of my intentions for the new year is tokeep my fridge slightly less jam-packed than it usually is — which includes using up good preserves that I sometimes ignore. Luckily, there’s an excellent Korean dish — kimchi-guk — that turns this pungent condiment into a delicious, warming soup.

Maangchi’s method is pretty simple (and delicious). But I wanted to see if I could find a kimchi soup recipe that’s even easier and a little more pantry-friendly.

Luckily, Serious Eats thought of this already, with their recipe for kimchi ramen. Using their recipe as a roadmap, I tweaked the proportions (boosted the aromatics and umami and cut the quantity of stock) made the noodle step even easier for a recipe that’s as foolproof as it is delicious.

And if your fridge is really empty, you could make this with just the broth, kimchi, onion and garlic, and noodles — just salt to taste and maybe add some takeout soy sauce packets from the kitchen drawer (hey, I won’t judge) and eat it without the garnish — but it’s so much prettier (and tastier) with a little greenery and some protein on top.

Do you keep a jar of kimchi in your fridge? What are your favorite ways to enjoy this peppery, funky ferment?

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Kimchi Noodle Soup

Author: Alex Jones


Adapted from Serious Eats

  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil safflower, grapeseed, canola, vegetable
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic sliced
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 cups kimchi chop roughly if needed and kimchi juice
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock ideally a bone broth that gets good and gelatinous in the fridge
  • 3 tablespoons red or white miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 blocks instant ramen noodles
  • Toppings: scallions firm silken tofu, soft-boiled egg, pea shoots, finely sliced greens, sautéed mushrooms (like maitake, shiitake, oyster, or a combination)


  • Heat neutral oil over medium-high in a large soup pot. If using mushrooms, sautée for several minutes until cooked. Remove mushrooms and set aside.
  • Add another drizzle of oil if necessary. Add onion and cook till translucent. Add garlic and ginger and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Add stock, kimchi and kimchi juice to the pot. Mix the miso in a small bowl with a ladleful of stock, then add it to the pot with the soy sauce, then bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt.
  • Add noodle blocks, then cover the pot and cook for a few minutes. When the noodles are tender, stir to break them up and remove the pot from the heat.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with toppings. Serve immediately.

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13 thoughts on "Preserves in Action: Kimchi Noodle Soup"

  • I love it with tofu soup or with noodles, stir-fried with rice, and also in a grilled cheese (I was skeptical till I tried it–chop finely and mix with grated cheese).
    When I end up with just the brine, I down it in shot glasses.

    1. Absolutely! Some folks long-age their ferments like hot sauce, kraut and kimchi for more (or mellower) flavor, depending on the timeframe. As long as it’s been refrigerated, is not moldy and looks/tastes as it should, the fermentation process is keeping that product fresh.

      Along with drying and salt-curing, fermentation is one of the most time-tested techniques humans have for keeping foods safe and tasty!

  • Never thought about kimchi in soup! Have to try that. I used to get my kimchi from an Korean grocer years ago, when nobody really heard of if. One day I couldn’t find the jar. Seems my husband was curious, smelled it, and thought something had gone bad, and discarded it. I way annoyed!

  • Kimchi fried rice, regularly, and kimchi quesadillas! Also eat it like ‘kraut on hotdogs. I like it on turkey burgers, too.

  • I made this last night and it was fantastic! I had just enough kimchi left from my first try at it (what a revelation!), though it was a bit dry… as in it didn’t make much liquid during fermentation. No matter, though. The soup was slightly tart and just a touch spicy, kind of like Chinese hot and sour soup. On a cold weekend night, it was just the thing. Two thumbs way up! Definitely will be doing both kimchi and kimchi soup again!

  • I second the kimchi fried rice and kimchi pancake recommendations. Very good for when kimchi gets sour (old). Traditional kimchi jjigae is also good. What you made here is a simplified Army Stew (budae jjigae). Make it again but add slices of spam and a slurry of gochujang/honey/soy sauce/red pepper flakes/rice vinegar/garlic (for an extra flavorful broth) and then throw a slice of Kraft processed cheese on top after the ramen noodles get a bit soft. Serve with rice. TOTAL stick-to-your-ribs comfort food (and probably a week’s worth of sodium) but sooooo good once and a while.