11 Recipes to Celebrate Chuseok (aka Korean Thanksgiving)

published Sep 28, 2023
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Japchae, or Korean sweet potato noodle stir-fried with carrots, spinach, and mushrooms, and garnished with green onions and sesame seeds, on a plate with chopsticks
Credit: Photo: Murray Hall; Food Stylist: Jessie YuChen

Chuseok (aka Korean Thanksgiving) is upon us, arriving blessedly late this year (some years it comes so quickly after summer that it feels like whiplash). Friday, September 29, is the official Chuseok holiday in Korea, which is bookended by days off on Thursday and Saturday to allow people to travel and visit their families in the countryside or their ancestral gravesites.

Traditionally, the Chuseok table, or charye-sang, is prepared to honor past ancestors and is stocked with a teeming display of jeon, rice cakes, vegetable and meat dishes, soup, fish, fruits, jujubes, and chestnuts. Which is a lot! 

I host an annual Chuseok party in my Brooklyn apartment, but I pick and choose the dishes that I serve my friends and family. I also definitely rely on store-bought when it comes to items like rice cakes, leaning on the expert hands of the Koreatown rice cake bakeries in Flushing.

Whether you’re throwing your own Chuseok party, or looking for a classic Korean dish to honor the holiday, below are 11 recipes to steer you in the right direction.

1 / 10
Potato Pancakes Recipe

I’m calling this potato pancake “potato jeon” for Chuseok. I love these super-crispy golden-brown discs when dipped in soy sauce.

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2 / 10
Oi Muchim (Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad)

The Chuseok table features lots of namul, or seasoned vegetables, to accompany the heavier fried jeon or meat dishes. Emily Han’s spicy cucumber salad will be just the thing to bring the brightness and the crunch.

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3 / 10
Vegetarian Korean Dolsot Bibimbap

Ultimately, the vegetables served in the classic Korean bibimbap are actually just a combo of namul! Double the recipes and serve each vegetable on its own plate to fill out your table.

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4 / 10
Japchae Recipe

Japchae is a crowd-pleaser for both Koreans and non-Koreans alike, and this multi-colored, veggie-packed recipe makes it perfect for serving it to a celebratory crowd. I served it at my wedding, my cousins serve it at American Thanksgiving, and, of course, it’s ever-present on the Chuseok table.

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5 / 10
Ginger Chicken Soup with Yuzu Kosho

It’s traditional to serve soup and rice for a charye, which is a time for your past ancestors to return and have their yearly meal. James Park’s ginger chicken soup is just the thing to welcome back your ancestors and your guests.

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6 / 10
Galbi Jjim

I always like to make a large-format meat dish to feed all the family and friends gathered at my house for my annual Chuseok party, because as delicious as jeon are, one cannot subsist on fritters alone. My galbi jjim is an easy-one pot meal guaranteed to fill all those bellies.

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7 / 10
Weeknight-Style Bulgogi

When there are so many dishes to cook for Chuseok, it’s great to front-load as much of the prep as possible. That’s why this bulgogi dish is a secret weapon — you can marinate in advance and then cook it up an hour before serving.

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8 / 10
Credit: Kitchn
Vegetarian Dduk Gook (Korean Rice Cake Soup)

Dduk guk, or Korean rice cake soup, is also commonly served for Chuseok, even though it’s more traditionally associated with New Year's Day.

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9 / 10
Sujeonggwa (Korean Persimmon Punch)

This ginger and cinnamon spiced punch is commonly served at the end of meals as both a digestive and a dessert. I feel like it’s so comforting for fall too, like the Korean answer to a pumpkin spice latte, making it a go-to beverage for the harvest holiday.

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10 / 10
Korean-ish Brown Butter Blondies

While it’s much more traditional to serve rice cakes (specifically, songpyeon, a pine needle-steamed stuffed rice cake), if you don’t have access to a good rice cake maker, why not try Alyse Whitney’s doenjang-tinged brown butter blondies?

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