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If you are looking for the very best vegan Tteokbokki recipe, look no further because I’ve got you covered! This Korean-inspired dish consists of chewy rice cakes cooked in a sweet and spicy Gochujang sauce. It takes just 20 minutes to prepare and is insanely easy!

Spicy Korean rice cakes in a bowl with chopsticks.

This Korean dish is one of my favorites! It has the perfect combination of sweet and spicy and is loaded with flavor and texture!

This plant-based version features vegan cocktail sausages and tofu “fish” cakes for a meatier dish!

⭐️ Why You Should Try This Recipe

  • Quick and easy. Making vegan Tteokbokki is as simple as dumping all of the ingredients in a skillet or pot and letting it simmer for 15 minutes! It requires minimal ingredients and is very easy to prepare.
  • Restaurant-quality at home. Once you taste this vegan Tteokbokki and see how easy it is to make, you will never want to order from a Korean restaurant again!
  • Perfectly balanced. This recipe is not overly spicy, subtly sweet, and has a ton of flavor. Plus, the thick sauce coats the tender and chewy rice cakes beautifully!

🥢 What is Tteokbokki?

Tteokbokki (떡볶이) is a popular Korean street food that consists of rice cakes simmered in a spicy red chili sauce. There are many variations of this dish. Some can include cabbage, eggs, cheese, and more.

Here, we are preparing a vegan Tteokbokki version!

Ingredients like rice cakes, tofu, green onions, gochujang, and vegan sausages.

🌶 Ingredient Notes

Sauce

First, let’s talk about the sauce, which is a key component of this Korean dish and brings most of the flavor. To prepare the Tteokbokki sauce, you will need the following:

  • Gochujang – This Korean condiment is prepared with chili powder, fermented soybean paste, sugar, and salt. It’s quite spicy and salty. Think of it as a very spicy miso. You can find Gochujang in most Asian stores or online.
  • Maple syrup – Or sugar. To balance the spiciness of this dish.
  • Soy sauce – For extra umami and saltiness. Alternatively, you can use coconut aminos or Tamari.
  • Gochugaru – Also called Korean chili powder. Gochugaru brings extra heat to the sauce. Feel free to omit if you don’t want the sauce too spicy.
  • Garlic

The Rest

  • Rice cakes – Called Garaetteok, these long cylinders are prepared from rice flour and sometimes tapioca flour. You can find it in the frozen section of your local Asian store or get dried rice cakes here.
  • Vegan cocktail sausages – Totally optional, vegan cocktail sausages add a meaty component to this dish and bring a smoky flavor. You can find my recipe for vegan sausages here or simply use store-bought.
  • Green onions – For freshness.
  • Sesame seeds – Used as a topping for decoration and to add a subtle nuttiness.

Vegan fish cakes

Traditionally, Tteokbokki also includes thin fish cakes. To re-create a plant-based version of those, I went with thinly sliced fried tofu (you can also use tofu pouches, called Inari Age) marinated in lime juice, soy sauce, and seaweed. These vegan fish cakes are totally optional, and you can omit them if you want to save time.

🥣 How to Make Tteokbokki

Start by preparing the sauce. In a small bowl, stir together the Gochujang, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and Gochugaru (chili powder).

Next, add the sauce ingredients and the rice cakes to a skillet. Cover with water and bring to a simmer. I recommend giving it a stir from time to time to prevent the rice cakes from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Halfway through cooking, stir in the vegan sausages, tofu fish cakes if using, and green onions, and let simmer for a few more minutes. The rice cakes will release starch as they cook and will help the sauce thicken.

You want the rice cakes to be tender. They should not be too chewy or hard. Finally, transfer to serving plates or bowls and garnish with chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds!

🥬 How To Serve It

You can serve this Tteokbokki as is or top it with grated vegan cheese for even more deliciousness! It also tastes great, served with some vegan kimchi on the side.

Vegan Korean rice cakes in a spicy sauce, topped with green onions.

📔 Tips

  • Adjust the spiciness level. This recipe yields a mild spiciness. Depending on your tolerance, you can adjust the heat of this dish by using more or less Gochugaru (chili powder). If you are looking for a non-spicy version of Tteokbokki, check out this Jjajang Tteokbokki recipe.
  • Do not overcook it. Once the sauce starts to thicken and the rice cakes are tender, remove from heat. The sauce will continue to thicken a bit as it cools down.
  • Dried rice cakes vs. refrigerated/frozen ones. You can find two types of rice cakes, the ones that are shelf-stable and the ones sold in the refrigerated section. While it obviously depends a lot on the brand, I personally had better results with the rice cakes from the refrigerated section. Those are usually fresher and become a bit more tender once cooked.

💬 FAQ

Where can I buy rice cakes?

You should easily find rice cakes in Asian stores, sold dried or frozen. If you have time, it’s also possible to make your own. There are many recipes online.

Is Tteokbokki very spicy?

I would say it is mildly spicy. If you are not used to spicy dishes, you will probably find it quite spicy. You can adjust the spiciness by using less Gochujang/Gochugaru and adjusting the saltiness to taste.

Can I use sliced rice cakes?

Yes, it will work just as well!

How to reheat Tteokbokki?

You can reheat Tteokbokki in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat. I usually add a few tablespoons of water as the sauce tends to thicken after a while.

Spicy Korean Tteokbokki cakes in a bowl with chopsticks.

This Korean-inspired dish is flavorful, spicy, comforting, and surprisingly easy to make! It makes a great weeknight dinner, and leftovers reheat very well!

⭐️ Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Close up of vegan Korean Tteokbokki.
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Recipe
Easy Vegan Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)

Easy Vegan Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)

5 from 5 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
This delicious Vegan Tteokbokki consists of chewy rice cakes served in a rich and spicy sauce. Learn how to make this popular Korean street food at home. It's easy and ready in just 20 minutes!
Prep Time : 5 minutes
Cook Time : 15 minutes
Total Time : 20 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Calories 419 kcal

Ingredients
 

Spicy Sauce

Main Ingredients

  • 10 ounces Korean rice cakes
  • 1 and 1/2 cup water
  • 5 ounces vegan cocktail sausages optional
  • one batch of vegan "fish" cakes optional, see notes
  • 1 stalk green onions cut into 2-inch strips
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seeds for topping

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the spicy sauce: in a small bowl, stir together the sauce ingredients until fully combined.
  • Transfer the sauce to a skillet or large saucepan. Add the rice cakes and cover with the water. Bring to a simmer and let simmer uncovered for about 8 minutes over medium heat.
  • After 8 minutes, stir in the green onions, vegan cocktail sausages, and vegan "fish" cakes if using. Let simmer for another 7-8 minutes or until the rice cakes are very tender and the sauce has thickened. If the sauce is too thick, feel free to add more water.
  • Divide between serving bowls and top with toasted sesame seeds!
  • Tteokbokki will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Reheat over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, adding a few tablespoons of water if the sauce is too thick.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Adjust the spiciness level. This recipe yields a mild spiciness. Depending on your tolerance, you can adjust the heat of this dish by using more or less Gochugaru (chili powder).
  • Do not overcook it. Once the sauce starts to thicken and the rice cakes are tender, remove from heat. The sauce will continue to thicken a bit as it cools down.
  • Dried rice cakes vs. refrigerated/frozen ones. You can find two types of rice cakes, the ones that are shelf-stable and the ones sold in the refrigerated section. While it obviously depends a lot on the brand, I personally had better results with the rice cakes from the refrigerated section. Those are usually fresher and become a bit more tender once cooked.
  • If you want to make “fish cakes,”: Marinate 7-8 thin slices of fried tofu (or inari age) for at least 2 hours in: 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp maple syrup, 3 tbsp water, 1/4 sheet of nori cut into strips, 1 clove of garlic, minced. Drain before using.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving (without sausages and tofu) | Calories: 419 kcal | Carbohydrates: 96.5 g | Protein: 4.2 g | Fat: 0.6 g | Fiber: 2.7 g | Sugar: 10.2 g
Course : Entree, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine : Korean
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    You made 떡볶이! This is my soul food. I’m living in the U.S so when I miss my country food I make 떡볶이.

    People in Korea have different preferences when it comes to the tteokbokki. Of course, the main ingredients are pretty much the same: rice cakes. Spicy Rice Cakes, Gungjung Tteokbokki (궁중 떡볶이, Royal Court Rice Cake), Soupy Spicy Rice Cakes (국물 떡볶이, gukmul tteokbokki), Pan-fried Rice Cakes (기름 떡볶이, girum ttoekbokki)….

    You can make 떡볶이 in hundreds of different ways by choosing 떡볶이’s ingredients, such as any vegetables, vegan cheese, nutritional yeast … and you can skip gochujang(고추장), gochu garu(고춧가루).

    Today, I’m going to make 떡볶이. You made my day!

  2. 5 stars
    Wow, this recipe seems amazing. And the photos look mouth-watering. I can’t wait to try it. I have been a vegetarian for a year and I don’t even miss eating meat at all. However, it’s not easy to find vegan recipes that are perfect to my liking. Especially when it comes with Korean and Japanese food. Then, one of my friends from Korea showed me your blog. Tbh your great recipes never disappoint me, Thomas. Keep up the good work!

  3. 5 stars
    AMAZING dish. I usually just season my own dishes cuz I find a lot of recipes are under seasoned, but I always follow this recipe to a T whenever I make it, and it turns out PERFECT every single time. Made it for a potluck and it was super popular! Seriously my new favourite comfort food. Thank you so much for this!!

  4. 5 stars
    This was soooo good! It was the first time that I not only cooked tteokbokki but also even tried them. I added a couple of carrots, some mushrooms and a red pepper for some extra veggie goodness. I also used vegan sausages and it added that smoky flavour. I loved it and I think I just found my new go to comfort meal! Thanks! 😀

    1. You are welcome Sabrina! Thanks for your feedback 🙂
      And I agree, the smoky flavor that vegan sausage brings really takes the dish to another level.

  5. 5 stars
    Hey Thomas!
    I’ve been looking for a good Tteokbokki recipe for a long time and you saved me! This was so so so so goooood!!! I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed it; I’ve been craving Tteokbokki for several weeks and yeah, definitely gonna make more of your delicious looking recipes!!
    Cheers!