Here is a recipe that’s near and dear to my heart – a simple but beloved dipping sauce for savory Korean pancakes! This dipping sauce is a mainstay in many Korean meals and one that I frequently had on my dinner table growing up.
This multi-purpose sauce is ideal to have with almost any dish that’s dippable or needs an extra flavor boost, including savory Korean pancakes, dumplings, tofu, and even noodles! Here are some recipes that this dipping sauce would go deliciously with!
- Korean Seafood Pancake
- Korean Oyster Pancake
- Kimchi Seafood Pancake
- Japchae Dumplings
- Korean Silken Tofu
I love using this dipping sauce for everything and the best part is, you can make this ahead of time and store it in the fridge so it’s ready whenever you need it! Plus, only takes 5 minutes to prepare and it stores incredibly well in the fridge.
Why you’ll love this recipe
By simply mixing together a handful of everyday ingredients, what you’re left with is a delightful trifecta of flavors. The nutty, savory, and slightly spicy concoction of this sauce results in a balanced combination of flavors and aromatics that pairs exceptionally well with savory Korean pancakes, or ‘jeon’.
The best part about this dipping sauce is its versatility – it’s truly a universal dipping sauce that you can essentially enjoy with anything you desire. While this is traditionally paired with savory Korean pancakes, it’s great with dumplings, noodles, tofu – anything!
This dipping sauce also allows you the flexibility to modify the intensity of flavors by adjusting the ratio of ingredients added. For example, if you wanted to make it saltier, all you need to do is increase the amount of soy sauce.
How do I prepare Korean Pancake Dipping Sauce?
Although this dipping sauce is complex in taste, it only takes 5 minutes to make. To get started, just follow the steps below:
Step 1: Combine the ingredients
Combine chopped scallions, minced garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, gochugaru, and sesame seeds in a small bowl. Stir to mix them well together.
Step 2: Taste and serve!
Be sure to taste the dipping sauce before serving to make any last-minute adjustments to the seasoning. Once you’re happy with it, serve it on the side with your favorite meals!
Preparation Tips for Korean Pancake Dipping Sauce
This dipping sauce is basically foolproof, but to ensure your Korean pancake dipping sauce comes out delicious every time, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Unlike, American dressings and sauces, this dipping sauce does not need to be completely emulsified. So if you find a layer of sesame oil on top of the sauce, it’s totally ok!
- Since this sauce only requires a few components to prepare, it’s important to use high-quality ingredients. I recommend using Korean soy sauce because they are more complex in flavor.
- While I believe that the ratio of ingredients is well-balanced, this recipe should only act as a base for the final result. Be sure to adjust the ingredients based on your liking. For example, if you find the sauce too mild in flavor, add more soy sauce. If it’s too spicy, reduce the amount of gochugaru added.
- You can serve this dipping sauce in two variations: spicy and non-spicy. To make it not spicy, just simply omit the gochugaru!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Scallions: the freshness from the scallions add a sharp aromatic flavor to the dipping sauce that helps cut through the savoriness. It’s a staple ingredient in many variations of Korean dipping sauces so I wouldn’t substitute or omit scallions.
Garlic cloves: freshly minced garlic is an essential ingredient – it adds a beautiful garlicky flavor and aroma.
Soy sauce: soy sauce is an essential ingredient for this dipping sauce because it’s the base of the seasoning. I highly recommend using Korean soy sauce due to its complexity in taste. For a gluten-free substitute, you can also use tamari.
Sesame oil: sesame oil adds a nutty taste that rounds out the flavors of the soy sauce. Like most of the ingredients, sesame oil is an essential part of the dipping sauce.
Gochugaru: gochugaru or Korean red chili flakes builds up the spiciness while adding a slight smokiness to the sauce. The flavor profile of gochugaru is very distinct compared to other chili flakes so I don’t recommend substituting it. If you wanted to make a non-spicy version of this dipping sauce, just simply skip the gochugaru!
Toasted sesame seeds: the sesame seeds enhance the flavors of the sesame oil and adds a nice textural crunch. You can find toasted sesame seeds at any Asian supermarket or on Amazon. If you only have raw sesame seeds, quickly toast them in a pan over low heat. Toasting the sesames will bring out more nuttiness and amplify the natural sesame flavor.
Korean Pancake Dipping Sauce Variations
If you want to customize the flavors of your dipping sauce, here are a few ingredients you can experiment with!
1. Sugar or Honey – adding a touch of sweetness with sugar or honey will balance out and complement the savoriness of the dipping sauce. Start with about ½ tsp first, then add more if needed.
2. Rice vinegar – for a tangy dipping sauce, a splash or two of rice vinegar is all you’ll need. If you don’t have rice vinegar you can also swap it for white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
3. Hot red pepper – if you’re a spicy fiend like me, adding 1 to 2 chopped hot red peppers will turn up the spice. You can also use any of your favorite hot chilies, like jalapeno, serrano, or Thai chili peppers.
4. Ssamjang – for a chunkier and more flavorful sauce, you can add a teaspoon of ssamjang, which is a spicy Korean condiment made with fermented soybeans (doenjang), red chili paste (gochujang), and aromatics. While this is commonly served as a condiment for Korean BBQ, this would also make a great flavor booster for this dipping sauce.
5. Chili oil – if you want the ultimate spicy dipping sauce, add a spoonful or two of your favorite chili oil to build up the heat. You can also try my 10-minute Korean Chili Oil recipe for maximum flavor!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this Korean Pancake Dipping Sauce ahead of time?
Yes, of course! This dipping sauce can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. The longer the dipping sauce sits, the more flavorful it will be!
Can I skip the gochugaru?
Absolutely! While the gochugaru is on the milder side in terms of spiciness, it still adds a subtle kick. To make a non-spicy version of this dipping sauce, simply omit the gochugaru.
Can you store Korean Pancake Dipping Sauce?
Yes, you can store any leftover pancake dipping sauce in the fridge. If you like, you can even make a big batch. Just make sure you keep it in an airtight jar or container and it will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.
Before serving, give it a stir to mix the sauce ingredients together. To prevent cross-contamination, serve the desired amount of dipping sauce in a sauce dish or bowl.
How do you know if dipping sauce is spoiled?
Soy sauce-based dipping sauces tend to have a long shelf life. But if you want to be on the safe side, the first indication that your dipping sauce has gone bad is an unpleasant pungent smell. Another thing you need to keep an eye on is any changes in color or texture, and the presence of mold growth. If the sauce has any of these indications, it’s best to discard it immediately and make a fresh batch instead.
Looking for more easy and delicious dipping sauce recipes?
For my favorite salad dressing and dipping sauces, check out these recipes below!
1. Creamy Sesame Dressing – if you want a break from vinaigrette dressings, you’ll want to give this recipe a try. This nutty, sweet, and tangy dressing isn’t only great with a salad, it works as a marinade and with noodles too!
2. Bossam Sauce – if you’re making Bossam or Korean boiled pork belly, your meal won’t be complete without this dipping sauce. It’s a combination of saltiness from the fermented salted shrimp and spiciness from the gochugaru, which is all balanced out with a bit of sugar. This dipping sauce is also great for soondae or anything that needs an extra flavor boost!
3. Carrot Ginger Miso Salad Dressing – for a nutritious and delicious salad dressing that’ll leave you feeling guilt-free, try out this healthy dressing! It’s a blend of carrots, apples, and ginger, making it the perfect go-to dressing.
4. Easy Vegan Mayo – if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to mayo, this recipe is right up your alley. It’s smooth and creamy, you won’t believe it’s actually made from tofu! It can last up to 2 weeks in your fridge, so you’ll be set for days.
5. Korean Sesame Sauce – this trendy and popular Korean sesame sauce is extremely versatile – you can serve it with salad, noodles, rice, and even use it as a dip! All you’ll need is 3 ingredients and 5 minutes of your time.
Korean Pancake Dipping Sauce
- 1 scallion chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp gochugaru Korean red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Combine scallions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, gochugaru, and sesame seeds. Stir and mix together well.
- Serve and enjoy with Korean pancakes (jeon) or dumplings!
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