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Ginseng Chicken Soup, Samgyetang

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nut free
prep time: 
30 min
inactive time: 
50 min
cooking time: 
60 min
total time: 
140 min

SamGyeTang is the healthiest way to cook chicken. Small, young chicken is stuffed with sweet rice, ginseng, Korean dates and other medicinal herbs, and boiled to perfection. Usually a whole chicken is served for one person.

SamGyeTang is believed to be a health food that revitalizes the body and boosts the immune system. For this reason, it is a popular summer food in Korea even though it's a boiling hot soup. In Korea, there are three hottest days of the year called Chobok (beginning of hot days), Jungbok (mid hot day), and Malbok (last of hot days). SamGyeTang is consumed on those days, and you can observe long line ups at SamGyeTang restaurants.

Although traditionally it is a summer food, SamGyeTang is also enjoyed as a regular meal at any time of the year.

You can buy Ready-to-Cook ingredients for Ginseng Chicken Soup online here.

Change serving size to: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Change to: Metric US

for broth

2 head(s)Chicken (young whole chicken) 영계
12 cupsWater 물
4 clove(s)Garlic Clove (whole) 통마늘
4 head(s)Jujube or Red Date (Dried) 대추
Green Onion 파 (may need more or less)
1 tbsSalt 소금
½ tspBlack Pepper 후추

for stuffing

1 cup  Sweet Rice (Glutinous Rice) 찹쌀
2 root(s)Ginseng 인삼
4 head(s)Jujube or Red Date (Dried) 대추
4 clove(s)Garlic Clove (whole) 통마늘
Peeled Chestnut 깐밤 (optional)

optional medicinal ingredients

2 root(s)Milk Vetch Roots 황기 (optional)

Optional Ingredients and Substitutions
Young chicken: You can buy cornish hens (less than 30 days old, 400-500g) or any small chicken from regular grocery markets. You can use regular chicken as well. Keep in mind that the meat won't be as tender. If you use a regular chicken, more stuffing ingredients may be required to fill the cavity and you can probably share among 2-3 people.
Milk Vetch Roots: can be omitted.
Ginseng: is key to samgyetang as the name means "ginseng chicken soup." You can however make this soup without ginseng but it should be called chicken soup or chicken porridge.

More questions? Please leave your questions below in the comment section. We will do our best to answer as soon as we can.

Ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.
Click to enlarge photos.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe summary are for the default serving size.

1. Soak dried ingredients

Wash the milk vetch roots and jujube. Soak in water for 40 min.

image: SSGTAA03.JPG


  • milk vetch roots
  • jujube

Soak in water image: clock.png 40 min

2. Soak sweet rice

Wash 1 cup of sweet rice and soak in water for 40 min and leave it in a strainer for at least 10 min to drain water.

image: SSGTAA02.JPG

Wash 1 cup sweet rice

Soak in water image: clock.png 40 min

Drain image: clock.png 10 min

3. Wash chicken

Wash the chicken inside and out thoroughly under running water. Cuff off the tail and fats.

image: SSGTAA01.JPG

Wash chicken

Cut tail and fats

4. Prepare vegetables

Wash all 8 cloves of garlic, 2 green onions, 2 roots of ginseng and 8 jujubes thoroughly. Cut 1 green onion in half and slice 4 cloves of garlic for the broth. Chop 1 green onion finely for garnish at the end.

image: SSGTAA04.JPG

Wash thoroughly

  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 ginseng roots
  • 8 jujubes

Cut 1 green onion in half

Slice 4 garlic cloves

Chop 1 green onion

5. Cut ginseng head

Cut off the ginseng head.

image: SSGTAA05.JPG

Cut off ginseng head

6. Milk Vetch Water (Optional)

Add 2 milk vetch roots, any other optional medicinal ingredients and 12 cups of water in a pot and bring it to boil. When boiling, lower the heat to medium and simmer it for 20 min.

image: SSGTAA06.JPG

Boil milk vetch roots in 12 cups water

When boiling Med Heat image: medheat.png

Simmer image: clock.png 20 min

7. Prepare chicken

While simmering the milk vetch water, stuff the chicken. Make slits on the outer skin of inner thigh (to be used to keep legs crossed). You can also use kitchen string to tie the legs instead.

image: SSGTAA07.JPG

Make slits on inner thigh

8. Stuff chicken

Stuff EACH chicken cavity with ½ cup of rice, 1 root of ginseng, 2 heads of jujube and 2 cloves of garlic.

image: SSGTAA08.JPG

Stuff EACH chicken

  • ½ cup rice
  • 1 ginseng root
  • 2 heads jujube
  • 2 garlic cloves

9. Close cavity

Criss-cross the legs of the chicken to keep the stuffs inside. Put one leg into the slit on the opposite side. Alternatively, you can tie the legs together using kitchen string.

image: SSGTAA09.JPG

Criss-cross legs

Put each leg into opposite slit

10. Boil Stuffed Chicken

Place the stuffed chicken, sliced garlic, 4 heads of jujube and 1 green onion (cut in half) in milk vetch water (or regular water if you are not using milk vetch) and boil with a lid on high heat for 20 min. Make sure most of the chicken is submerged in water when you start boiling the chicken. Add more water if needed. Skim off foams. Then, lower the heat to medium to simmer with a lid for another 20 min.

image: SSGTAA10.JPG

Add in milk vetch water

  • Stuffed Chicken
  • Sliced garlic
  • 4 heads jujube
  • 1 green onion

Boil with lid

High Heat image: highheat.png image: clock.png 20 min

Skim off foams

Simmer with lid

Med Heat image: medheat.png image: clock.png 20 min

11. Serve

When the soup turns milky white, turn off the heat. Add ½ to 1 tablespoon of salt (taste and add gradually), ½ teaspoon of black pepper to the broth. Serve in a large bowl and add chopped green onions on top. You can also use a stone bowl or hot pot. Boil the soup in the stone bowl first before serving to keep it hot while eating . Enjoy!

image: SSGTAA11.JPG

Turn off heat


  • 1 tbs salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

Serve in large bowl

Top with chopped green onions



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