An overhead shot of a dolsot

What Is a Korean Dolsot (Korean Stoneware Bowl)?

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Have you ever tried dolsot bibimbap? You may have seen it on menus when eating out in Korean restaurants. Bibimbap is a type of Korean mixed rice dish made from steamed rice, sautéed vegetables, protein, and a sauce. ‘Dolsot bibimbap’ refers to a unique type of the bibimbap that you cook and serve in a particular type of Korean stoneware bowl. 

Here, we will take a deep dive into how people use a Korean dolsot, where to buy these stoneware bowls, and how to maintain them.


What Is a Korean Dolsot?

A ‘dolsot’ (돌솥) is a type of Korean cookware and serving dish made from porous stone such as granite. The Korean word ‘dolsot’ literally translates into English as ‘stone pot.’ 

Often, people refer to a dolsot as a Korean stoneware bowl. While a dolsot looks like and is used as a bowl, they are also used for cooking. So, you can refer to a these stoneware dishes as bowls or pots. Technically, both are correct!

People in South Korea use these pots to make various types of hot rice dishes such as bibimbap. 

Rice sitting in a Korean stoneware bowl
Photo Credit: bunkdong yu 
Rice Sitting In a Dolsot

What Is Served In a Korean Stoneware Bowl?

Like I just stated above, people in South Korea cook and serve different types of rice dishes in these stoneware bowls. Some examples of rice-based dishes include:

  • Plain Rice: Rice is often cooked and served in a dolsot. 
  • Yukhoe Bibimbap: To make this bibimbap, you top rice with different types of sautéed vegetables. Then, you add beef tartare to the dish. Finally, you can add a raw egg to the top. As you mix all of the ingredients until they are fully combined, the sizzling hot stoneware cooks the egg and beef. For reference, bibimbap literally means ‘mixed rice.’ 
  • Gulbap: In English, gulbap means ‘oyster rice.’ To make this dish, you serve cooked oysters and other sautéed vegetables over rice. 

When serving a rice dish in a dolsot, you often start by getting the stoneware extremely hot. Then, you add a bit of sesame oil to the bottom before adding in the rice. The sesame oil gets extremely hot as well! So, when you add the rice, the bottom and edges become crispy and golden brown as the grains sit against the sizzling hot sesame oil and bowl. In South Korea, people refer to this crispy rice as ‘nurungji’ (누릉지).

A side shot of dolsot bibimbap.
Photo Credit: oldlane
An Example of Dolsot Bibimbap!

Where Can I Buy a Dolsot? 

Often, you can find Korean stoneware bowls in Asian groceries stores such as H-Mart. Also, if you want to support small Korean-owned businesses, look for these pots in different stores when stopping by major K-towns around the world.  

For those who do not live near an Asian grocery store or major city, I recommend buying these bowls from Amazon. They may be a bit more expensive, but worth it to try dolsot bibimbap! We listed some products available on Amazon below! 

How Do I Care For My Korean Dolsot?  

I care for my dolsot similarly to how I care for my southern cast iron skillet. Both of these cooking items conduct and retain heat, and are made of porous material. Below, I list some tips for cooking with and cleaning your Korean dolsot. 

  • Do not place your stoneware directly on a hot stovetop straight away. While a dolsot can withstand high heat, it does not do well with sudden temperature changes. Therefore, place the dolsot on a cool stove and heat over medium temperature. Then, you can increase the temperature slowly. Also, if you take your dolsot out of the refrigerator, let it sit on the counter until it returns to room temperature before reheating it on the stove.
  • Like a cast iron, you do not need to cook with a dolsot on extremely high heat. A Korean dolsot conducts and retains heat well. Let the dolsot completely heat before cooking anything in it. Then, you can use a lower temperature to cook. 
  • In Korea, you serve different dishes in these heated stoneware bowls. Because it retains heat so well, it will stay hot for the entire meal. When serving, place a mat under the pot so it will not burn your table. Also, try not to touch the bowl for a long time. 
  • Do not wash your Korean stoneware bowl with soap or detergent. A dolsot is made from porous stone. Therefore, you do not want soup residue in those little holes. Instead, use larger rock salt and hot water. You can use a brush or sponge to scrub the interior to remove residue. Finally, once clean, let it air dry. 
A table of Korean banchan, a dolsot of rice, and a ttukbaegi of soup.
Photo Credit: holee79
A Dolsot Sitting Next to a Ttukbaegi.

Do You Want A Korean Stoneware Bowl? 

In the end, do you want a small Korean stoneware pot? If so, let us know in the comment section below. If you already own one, what do you typically make with it?

Finally, If you would like to continue learning about Korean cooking tools, you can find further items and explanations listed below. We also listed some of our favorite Carving A Journey Korean recipes! For reference, many recipes are influenced by our blended Korean and Southern heritage. 

Korean Cooking and Serving Tools:

Carving A Journey Korean Recipes:

If you have any questions or comments, you can also email us at carvingajourney@gmail.com.
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