Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup) 삼계탕

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.

Samgyetang (Ginseng Chicken Soup)

5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Soaking Time 1 hour
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Korean
Servings 2

Buy Samgyetang ingredients here.


  • 2 Cornish hen young chicken. Can use regular chicken but not as tender

For Soup

  • 8-12 cups Water start with 8 and add as needed
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 4 Dates
  • 2 Green Onion 1 cut in half for broth, 1 chopped for at the end
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Medicinal ingredients optional (Ginseng, Milk Vetch Roots, Cinnamon), can buy samgyetang kit

For Stuffing (Optional)

  • 2/3 cup Sweet Rice Glutinous Rice
  • 4 Garlic
  • 2 Dates optional
  • 2 Chest Nuts optional
  • 2 Ginseng optional


  • Soak sweet rice in water for 1 hr. Wash and drain in a strainer.
  • Soak medicinal ingredient and dates in water for 1 hr and wash.
  • Remove giblets from inside the chicken if there are any. Wash the chicken thoroughly inside out. Cut of wing tips, tail and any fatty parts.
  • Add medicinal ingredient to water in pot and turn on stove on high.
  • Bend the neck of the chicken to block the top hole. Stuff the chicken, starting with 1-2 larger ingredients like chestnut, garlic or date so it further blocks the top hole to prevent sweet rice from escaping. Add some sweet rice and add more garlic, date or ginseng to your liking. If you don’t wanna bother stuffing, you can use infusion mesh bag or stainless herb infuser instead.
  • Make a small hole below the chicken thigh bone and put the other leg through it so the legs stay crossed to prevent stuffing to escape. (Can use string if you like.)
  • Add the chicken to the pot with water. Add garlic, dates and green onion.
  • Bring to boil Then boil on medium to high heat for 20 min. Leave the lid slightly open to prevent boil-over.
  • After 20 min. reduce heat to low (about 2-3 level) and let it simmer (boil softly) for another 20 minutes. Remove any foam or fat from the surface periodically. Add more water if it’s reduced too much. (If you add more water, time 20 min from the point it starts to boil again.) Cooking time may vary depending on the size of the chicken.
  • Serve with salt, black pepper and chopped green onions and add to your liking before eating.
  • You can dip the chicken in ground sesame seeds, salt and pepper mix if you like but not necessary.


  • To stuff or not stuff - If you don't have time to stuff the chicken or you want more rice, you can use stainless herb infuser to cook rice in it instead.  You can find an infuser here.   Make sure you only fill 3/4  or less of the infuser because rice will increase in volume as it gets cooked. You may want to use a few to cook enough rice. Make sure they are all immersed in the broth while cooking to get all the good flavors in the rice.
  • Dates - If you are not deseeding the dates, just warn your family or guest about the seed inside.
Keyword Healthy
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