Jajangmyeon (Korean Black Bean Noodles)

By: takestwoeggsPosted: 09/01/2024 Updated: 12/01/2024
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes
Jajangmyeon or Korean black bean noodles features a highly addicting bowl of chewy fresh wheat noodles, pork belly, zucchini, and potatoes that is tossed in a glossy savory black bean sauce.
Jajangmyeon (Korean Black Bean Noodles)

Saucy, luxurious, and high-key irresistible jajangmyeon noodles or Korean black bean noodles can be yours in under 30 minutes. This jajangmyeon recipe features thick chewy wheat noodles, pork belly, zucchini, potatoes, and cabbage that are slathered in a sweet, salty, and savory jajangmyeon sauce.

A bowl of Korean black bean noodles on a table with table settings surrounding it.

Korean black noodles are a celebration of delicious umami goodness and textural contrasts with its deeply savory black bean sauce, fresh jajangmyeon noodles, and variety of vegetables. Every bite invites you to a captivating experience that will keep you coming back for more.

This recipe will show you how to make jajangmyeon with a comprehensive guide that includes customization options, tips and tricks, and photo instructions for the most foolproof black noodles. If you are looking for more noodle inspiration, check out our japchae (Korean glass noodle stir fry), yaki udon (stir-fried udon noodles), and soy sauce pan-fried noodles.

Looking down at a mixed together bowl of jajangmyeon.

What is jajangmyeon?

Jajangmyeon (자장면) also known as jjajangmyun or jjajangmyeon, is a Chinese-Korean fusion noodle dish that is made with white noodles, and topped with a thick savory black bean sauce made of chunjang (black bean paste), diced pork, zucchini, potatoes, cabbage, and onions. The noodles with black bean sauce are then topped with fresh cucumber and served with pickled daikon radish.

Chinese migrant workers who lived in Korea created the original jajangmeyeon in the 19th century. It has been since modified in Korea to create a darker and sweeter sauce more suitable to Korean cuisine. In South Korea, this popular Korean black noodle dish is regularly served on special occasions such as celebrations, birthdays, or graduations.

Lifting up noodles from a bowl of Korean black bean noodles.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

If you love thick noodles slathered in a savory sauce, this jajangmyeon recipe was made for you. Here are 3 reasons why you should make these black bean noodles.

  1. Irresistible Umami Flavor. The star of jajangmeyeon is without a doubt the rich and savory black bean sauce that embodies the perfect balance of sweet, salty, and savory.
  2. Comfort food at its finest. Korean jajangmyeon noodles embody the essence of comfort food with its warm thick noodles, rich savory sauce, and crisp vegetables.
  3. Versatility: while traditionally made with pork, these Korean black bean noodles can be customized to suit any dietary preferences.

Kitchen Equipment

You will need the following kitchen equipment items to make this jajangmyeon recipe.

  • Mixing Bowls: you will need a few mixing bowls to marinate the pork and to create the cornstarch slurry.
  • Large Skillet: use a large enough skillet to hold all the noodles and sauce. I recommend at least a 12-inch skillet.
  • Medium pot: use a medium-sized pot to cook the jajangmyeon noodles.

Ingredients

You can find all of the ingredients necessary for this jajangmyeon recipe at your local Korean grocery store. I’ve also linked everything that I used for you below.

Noodles

  • Jajangmyeon wheat noodles: the best noodles to get are fresh jjajangmyeon wheat noodles that can be found in the refrigerated section of a Korean grocery store. It is typically labeled as jajangmeyon noodles.
A bag of jajangmyeon wheat noodles.

Pork Marinade

  • Pork Belly: pork belly adds a rich pork flavor. Opt for a less fatty cut of pork belly if you can.
  • Ginger: a hint of ginger adds a peppery and aromatic flavor to the rich pork belly.
  • Mirin: mirin gently sweetens the pork belly and adds a slightly tangy umami flavor.
  • Black Pepper: black pepper is used to season the pork.
  • Soy Sauce: soy sauce adds another layer of salty umami flavor to the pork belly.
All the ingredients to marinate pork belly organized and labeled.

Black Bean Sauce

All the ingredients for black bean sauce organized and labeled.
  • Neutral Oil: neutral oil such as vegetable oil, canola oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or peanut oil is ideal to pan-fry the chunjang. Avoid any flavored or scented oil.
  • Brown Sugar: brown sugar sweetens and balances the strong flavors of the chunjang.
  • Chicken Stock: chicken stock adds a comforting flavor while thinning out the black bean paste.
  • Oyster Sauce: oyster sauce adds a sweet, savory, and salty with hints of caramel and umami to the jajangmyeon sauce.
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) (Optional): monosodium glutamate or MSG is a flavor-enhancing additive that is very safe to eat and levels up the flavors of these black noodles.
  • Cornstarch: cornstarch is necessary to thicken up the jajangmyeon sauce into a gravy-like consistency.
  • Chunjang: Chunjang or Korean-style black bean paste made of soybeans, wheat flour, and caramel that is fermented. Chunjang needs to be toasted first to remove any sour and bitter flavors.
A jar of chunjang.

Vegetables

  • Yellow Onion and Green onion: yellow onion and green onion add a gentle aromatic sweetness to the jajangmeyeon.
  • Potato, Zucchini, and Green Cabbage: diced potato, zucchini, and green cabbage add textural contrast and nutrients to these Korean black bean noodles.
All the vegetables in Korean black bean noodles organized and labeled.

Serve

  • Cucumber: to garnish the Korean jajangmyeon.
  • Pickled Yellow Radish (Danmuji): similar to the cucumber, the yellow pickled radish or danmuji brightens up the dish and adds a delicious flavor contrast to the black bean noodles.

Substitutions and Additions

You can customize your bowl of jjajangmyeon with whatever protein, vegetables, and toppings that you prefer. I’ve listed some suggestions for substitutions and additions to this recipe for you below.

Substitutions

  • Udon noodles: if you cannot find jajangmeyeon noodles, go ahead and use udon noodles instead.
  • Protein: instead of traditional pork, you can use chicken, seafood, or beef. For a vegetarian or vegan jajangmyeon, you can use tofu or any plant-based protein alternatives.
  • Vegetables: instead of zucchini, potatoes, and cabbage, you can experiment with whichever vegetables you like such as bell peppers, mushrooms, green beans, etc.

Additions

  • Eggs: add a poached egg or fried egg for more protein to your Korean black noodles.
  • Kimchi: add a side of kimchi for a spicy and tangy kick that will beautifully complement the richness of the Korean jajangmyeon sauce.
  • Spice: for a spicy jajangmyeon, add chili flakes or sliced chili peppers.

How to Make Jajangmyeon

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make jajangmyeon with included photo instructions for a foolproof recipe!

  1. Marinate the pork. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the pork belly, grated ginger, mirin, salt, pepper, and soy sauce. Mix until combined then set aside.
Pork belly marinating in a glass bowl.
  1. Toast the black bean paste. In a large skillet over low heat, add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the black bean paste and sugar. Mix until combined and toast the paste for about 3-4 minutes stirring frequently to prevent it from burning. Pour the black bean paste into a small bowl and set aside. Discard any excess oil.
Black bean sauce after being cooked and drained.
  1. Cook the pork. Place the same skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil until hot. Then add the marinated pork and cook until lightly browned on the edges. Set aside.
Pork belly cooked in a large skillet.
  1. Cook the vegetables. Add 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat and then add the onion and green onion and cook until fragrant, translucent, and lightly browned. Then add the potato and zucchini and toss until softened. Then add the cabbage and toss until wilted.
Sauteeing vegetables in a large skillet.
  1. Add sauce. Add the black bean paste and cooked pork and toss to combine. Then add the chicken stock, oyster sauce, and MSG (optional) and mix until the sauce is smooth and simmering about 2-3 minutes.
The black bean sauce and chicken added to the pan of vegetables.
  1. Thicken sauce. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with the water until combined. Then pour the slurry over the simmering sauce and mix until the sauce thickens.
  1. Cook noodles. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Boil the noodles for 3-4 minutes or until al dente. Strain.
Cooking jajangmyeon in a large pot of boiling water.
  1. Serve. Portion out the noodles into individual bowls, pour the sauce over the noodles, and garnish each bowl with julienned cucumbers, sesame seeds, and yellow pickled radish. Enjoy!
A bowl of Korean black bean noodles on a table with table settings surrounding it.

Tips for the Best Jajangmyeon

  • Panfry the chunjang. This is a must to eliminate any hints of sour or bitter notes from the Korean black bean paste. It will also allow the paste to be smoother and more malleable to mix in the other ingredients.
  • Prep the ingredients in advance. Mis en place is crucial for a smooth and easy cooking process. Once you begin to cook the sauce everything will be tossed in rather quickly so make sure everything is ready to go before you turn on the stove.
  • Caramelize the onions. Take the time to cook the onions over medium heat until they are translucent, lightly brown, and fragrant. This will add a deep, sweet flavor to the jajangmyeon sauce.
  • Taste to adjust. The perfect balance of saltiness and sweetness will vary with everyone’s taste preferences. Make sure to adjust the amount of sugar and salt (from the oyster sauce and soy sauce) based on your taste preferences.
  • Cook the noodles after the sauce. Since the sauce takes time to make, wait until you complete the sauce before cooking the noodles to prevent them from becoming overly soggy and stuck together.
  • Pair with pickled vegetables: I highly recommend eating your bowl of noodles with black bean sauce with pickled radish or kimchi for a refreshing contrast.

Storage Instructions

This jajangmyeon recipe is best served immediately. You can store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days in the refrigerator.

Reheat: You can microwave the noodles with black bean sauce covered until warm or reheat them on the stove in a pan on medium heat until warm. Note the texture and flavor will be different since the noodles will have absorbed a lot of the liquid from the sauce.

Frequently Asked Q’s and A’s

What is Korean jajangmyeon made of?

Korean jajangmyeon is made with Korean black bean paste (chunjang) which is made from soybeans, flour, and caramel that is fermented. It is then tossed with chicken broth, caramelized onions, zucchini, potatoes, pork, and chewy fresh wheat noodles for a rich, savory, umami-packed dish.

What does jajangmyeon taste like?

Jajangmeyeon has a simple, savory, and slightly sweet flavor that is packed with umami goodness. The base of the sauce contains chunjang or Korean black bean paste that tastes earthy, sweet, and slightly sour.

Is jajangmyeon spicy?

No, jajangmyeon noodles are not usually spicy. The Korean black bean paste is not normally spicy. Some jars may be slightly spicy but it is balanced out by the sweetness from the sugar and caramelized onion and vegetables.

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Recipe

Someone setting down a a bowl of Jajangmyeon on a table.

Jajangmyeon (Korean Black Bean Noodles)

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Jajangmyeon or Korean black bean noodles features a highly addicting bowl of chewy fresh wheat noodles, pork belly, zucchini, and potatoes that is tossed in a glossy savory black bean sauce.
Servings: 4 servings
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 24 oz jajangmyeon wheat noodles fresh

Pork Marinade

  • 10 oz pork belly diced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger grated
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Sauce

Vegetables

  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 2 stalks green onion chopped
  • 1 cup potato peeled and diced
  • 1 cup zucchini diced
  • 1 cup green cabbage diced

Serve

Instructions

  • Marinate the pork. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the pork belly, grated ginger, mirin, salt, pepper and soy sauce. Mix until combined then set aside.
  • Toast the black bean paste. In a large skillet over low heat, add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the black bean paste and sugar. Mix until combined and toast the paste for about 3-4 minutes stirring frequently to prevent it from burning. Pour the black bean paste in a small bowl and set aside. Discard any excess oil.
  • Cook the pork. Place the same skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil until hot. Then add the marinated pork and cook until lightly browned on the edges. Set aside.
  • Cook the vegetables. Add 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat and then add the diced onion and green onion and cook until fragrant, translucent and lightly browned. Then add the potato and zucchini and toss until the vegetables are softened, about 3-5 minutes. Then add the cabbage and toss until wilted about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add sauce. Add the black bean paste and cooked pork and toss to combine. Then add the chicken stock, oyster sauce, and msg and mix until the sauce is smooth and simmering about 2-3 minutes.
  • Thicken sauce. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with the water until combined. Then pour the slurry over the simmering sauce and mix until the sauce thickens.
  • Cook noodles. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Boil the noodles for 3-4 minutes or until al dente. Strain.
  • Serve. Portion the noodles into individual bowls, pour the sauce over the noodles and garnish each bowl with julienned cucumbers, sesame seeds, and a side of yellow pickled radish (danmuji). Enjoy!

Notes

  • Panfry the chunjang. This is a must to eliminate any hints of sour or bitter notes from the Korean black bean paste. It will also allow the paste to be smoother and more malleable to mix in the other ingredients.
  • Prep the ingredients in advance. Mis en place is crucial for a smooth and easy cooking process. Once you begin to cook the sauce everything will be tossed in rather quickly so make sure everything is ready to go before you turn on the stove.
  • Caramelize the onions. Take the time to cook the onions over medium heat until they are translucent, lightly brown, and fragrant. This will add a deep, sweet flavor to the jajangmyeon sauce.
  • Taste to adjust. The perfect balance of saltiness and sweetness will vary with everyone’s taste preferences. Make sure to adjust the amount of sugar and salt (from the oyster sauce and soy sauce) based on your taste preferences.
  • Cook the noodles after the sauce. Since the sauce takes time to make, wait until the sauce is completed before cooking the noodles to prevent them from becoming overly soggy and stuck together.
  • Pair with pickled vegetables: I highly recommend eating your bowl of noodles with black bean sauce with pickled radish or kimchi for a refreshing contrast.

Nutrition:

Calories: 1196kcal | Carbohydrates: 158g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 617mg | Potassium: 1098mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 209IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 8mg

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