Spicy Kimchi Soup

Spicy Kimchi Soup

I like to make myself promises when I move. Promises like: Hey Sonnet, if you take this box of beads with you, you’d better make some earrings soon. Or, if you pack this book, you better promise to read it. Truth be told, that book is still unread and that box of beads is still taped shut from my last move, but I’m taking it with me anyways. 

But, I made myself a big promise when I moved a few months ago. I had a giant jar of homemade kimchi in my fridge and I told myself that I would eat it all before my next move – or else! Since my next move came up a little sooner than expected and I hadn’t quite worked through that jar of kimchi yet I found myself in a panic this week. What could I possibly do with three pounds of kimchi? 

The solution… make soup of course! Making this soup was an experiment and I knew it could go one of two ways: it would either be a great success or a total failure. Lucky for both of us it turned out to be a success and is now one of my favorite soups of all time.

Spicy Kimchi Soup

Kimchi is an incredible fermented food that is filled with healthy, gut-loving bacteria (you can read more about the benefits in my homemade kimchi post). Heat kills the healthy probiotics so it’s important not to cook the kimchi directly. Instead, add the kimchi to the soup just prior to serving.
Since kimchi flavors and spices vary depending the recipe, I had a hard time writing a specific amount into this recipe. I recommend starting with a small amount of kimchi and adding more as desired. Since I was trying to use up my kimchi, I actually added 4 cups to my batch of soup, but I think most people would find 1 – 2 cups of kimchi to be flavorful enough.

If you are storing the soup for leftovers, add the kimchi to the individual bowls prior to serving instead of to the entire pot (to prevent the probiotics from being killed during the reheating process). Depending on the spiciness and flavor of your kimchi, this will alter the taste of the final soup so be sure to wait until the kimchi has been added before adding any gochugaru, or red pepper flakes.

Spicy Kimchi Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 6 - 8
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 med yellow onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 block organic extra-firm tofu, cubed
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 - 2 cups kimchi (or more if desired)
  • gochugaru or red pepper flakes to taste, if desired (see note above)
  • sliced green onions or fresh herbs for garnish
  1. Add vegetable stock to a large pot along with onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and celery. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, until carrots are slightly tender, then add the broccoli, tofu, mushrooms, and bell pepper, and continue simmering about 5 - 10 minutes, until all vegetables are tender.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in kimchi. If additional spiciness is desired, add gochugaru or red pepper flakes to taste. Garnish with green onions or fresh herbs and serve.


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  1. jodye @ chocolate and chou fleur says

    I haven’t had kimchi in a long while, but I do remember really enjoying it when I did have it. This soup looks so vibrant and flavorful. I’ll have to pick some kimchi up soon!

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