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Korean Stone Pot---care and seasoning?

  • c

A Korean friend, knowing my great fondness for dolsat bibimbap, gave me a beautiful green granite stone pot for Christmas. It came without instructions (in either language) and neither he nor other Korean friends know how to care for or initially season the pot. On top of that, after scouring the 'net, I can't get a good idea of how much heat it can take before placing the bibimbap ingredients inside. One recipe said to heat the stone pot "hot enough to burn your fingers." I guess I'm used to more specific instruction than that.

I have no issues with experimentation, but I don't want to do anything that'll make it brittle or burst into tiny shards.

Welcoming any tips from hounds who've been there or have a Korean grandma who knows exactly what I need to do. Thanks in advance!

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  1. As usual, after searching enough to make me think I have to find some other resource, the web's mysteries reveal themselves. I located, in small print on the box, the name of the stone pot manufacturer, and they have a site in English as well as Korean.

    Some pertinent information is there, not the least of which is the statement that bibimbap is "Acknowledged by Michael Jackson, the Worldy Known Representative [of] Korean Food." Wow.

    I could still use some pointers from those of you who've cooked with stone. Please!

    Link: http://stonelee.com/english/index1.htm

    1 Reply
    1. re: Christine

      I would like to know how your stone pot cooking has gone! I am thinking of getting one...I love how the rice gets so crispy around the edges where it sits on the stone! I have done a bit of research in how to heat/season these, but haven't taken the plunge and bought one yet! Does yours have the lid, or simply the bowl? Did you first boil salted water and then rub all over with sesame oil? What do you put it on when it is hot, a wooden coaster? Well, very curious! I can see making many wonderful rice dishes with one of these! Also, how large is yours? Thanks!

    2. HIYA!
      I bought a stone fry pan just last night. Then, before I used it I realized that there might be certain ways to care and use it so I looked online and found your question. I looked at the link you provided but I haven't found anything useful on it. I haven't exhausted the whole site but a few minutes of looking doesn't bring anything up.

      I will ask my boss' wife later today and let you know what she says. I am teaching English in Korea so access to Koreans is pretty easy! I'll let you know what I find out. I nearly bought a stone bibimbap bowl but decided I'd just get the fry pan now and maybe I'll buy a bowl in the future.

      It was cheap at 18,000 won, or about $US18 and the stone bowl is about $12. Not bad. I haven't looked around on the web for prices, but I did see, during my search for care and use instructions, a couple of prices. I think I saw $35 once or twice.

      This is made from granite. It's made for, I think, cooking meats but I'm going to use it for Korean style pancakes and frying sweet potato slices, maybe dipped in a flour batter first. I don't know if I should use oil or if it'll cook well without oil, and if the pan will be fine without oil.

      I'll ask the lady about both use and care. I've got other friends too who can probably tell me so I'll ask them too.

      Have you gotten any answers yet?


      1. hmmm.. I'm also curious about how to use the little korean stone pot that I have.
        I've tried to make a version of bibimbap in it, but have been pretty unsuccessful at getting the amazing crunchy layer of rice along the pot as I do whenever I order it in the restaurant.
        Do I have to add lots of oil to the bottom? Am I not putting the oven at a high enough temperature? How long is it supposed to take?
        I'm hoping that somebody can give some tips :) It seems like all of us posting here have questions and no answers so far. Thanks!

        1. Maybe I be a little bit of help. I have uncle who worked for some Korean restaurants in NYC area... :)

          Korean stone pot, called "Dol Sot", doesn't require any "seasoning" per se, unlike those cast-iron pots/pans. These are sturdy enough to withhold some serious heats and beats. You can scrub them without fear of damaging its surface. Actually if you are using it for "DolSot Bibimbop", you would HAVE to soak them in hot water and give it good scrub to get it clean after the meal, to get rid of those burnt rice...

          I noticed my uncle actually assemble the Bibimbop in the pot and put it on the stove, when he treats us at home. He did mention they have bunch of these pots in the oven in the actual restaurant and they assemble them as the order comes, in the hot stone pot. But I think this alternative method will do the job and it's much safer. I wouldn't want to handle heavy stone pot that's blazingly hot, straight out of oven...

          For crispy bottom for "Dol Sot Bibimbop":
          1. Get all ingredients ready (toppings, etc) and assemble the Bibimbop as usual in the stone pot, with rice at the bottom and other veggies and meat toppings on the top. The sauce doesn't go in right now, as it will sip through and won't get the bottom crispy.
          2. Put the stone pot on top of stove, under medium heat. You are not cooking anything here. We are just waiting until the stonepot is heated through for that crispy rice at the bottom. This won't take long, so you don't want to leave the kitchen.
          3. I think 3-5 mins would be enough for the pot to heat through, but since everyone's kitchen is different, you might need to experiment. You definitely want to hear "sizzling" sound... Please remember these stonepots will retain heat even after it's off the stove, so if you see smoke coming out of your pot or smell burnt rice, it might be too late.
          4. Move the stone pot to the eating area. Remember the pot will be HOT and these pots usually don't have any "handles" to hold on to, so you might want to be extra careful there. Now is the time to add the sauce of your choice--say sauce based or the usual hot sauce based one (GoChuJang). Enjoy!

          With the same pot and if it comes with lid, you can also cook some awesome rice with the slightly burnt bottom, which I love... Koreans call it "NuRoongJi" and these used to be fought over... so tasty! I think rice cooked in this kind of vessel is a bit more chewy and sticky, as the heat is even and steam doesn't escape as much due to heavy lid.

          I hope you can enjoy your first homemade "DolSot Bibimbop" soon! Let us know how it goes. :)

          4 Replies
          1. re: flowerpig

            hi flowerpig!

            thanks so much for the helpful tips!!!!
            i just tried making it right now for dinner and it worked :)
            I got the crunchy rice layer on the bottom and i made it with king oyster mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms. Then I added the red pepper paste to make it spicy.
            Mine has a lid so I did put the lid on while it was on the stove.

            I think I just need to experiment to make sure I get the timing right. I didn't burn the rice this time, but I wasn't quite sure when to take it off the stove. I'm sure if I do it a few more times, I'll get a feel for when it sounds right :)

            Thanks again!!

            1. re: sumashi

              I am glad it worked! Mmm mushroom Bibimbop sounds really good. I am sure it will get better as you make it and is getting a good hang of it.

              If you like boiled browned/crispy rice (called "SoongNyoong", sometimes served in some restaurant as hot beverage), you just need little bit of PLAIN rice (certainly not after Bibimbop session) on hot stone pot in thin layer until it gets crispy and pour water until it boils... I guess it might be an acquired taste, but it's good and very comforting on a cold cold day.... not to mention an easy cleanup ;)

            2. re: flowerpig

              I have been watching the Korean cooking show on TV and they always use a pliers like device for removing the hot pot from the stove or oven. Do you know where I can find one of these pliers?

              1. re: ratfur

                Korean grocery? I think I have what you are talking about. Pliers with an angled jaw. Only cost a few dollars. I got mine at HMart (large Korean chain), but I've also seen them at 99Ranch (Chinese chain). There's at least one online seller of stone pots that might also carry them.

            3. hello,my friends told me be sure to put rice in dolsot (stone pot or bowl) before heating so as not to spall or crack bowl do not heat dry! heat to med hot about 250-300 degrees you will notice rice starting to fry or sizzle take off heat and add toppings "precooked" except egg, if you wish may be placed on inside of bowl to cook on side of dolsot not on top! of toppings let egg cook and serve once bowl is safe on heat resistant tray or holder that will not move or slip. you do not want 300 degree granite burning anything like you or the floor or table! once secure enjoy, most Koreans will share out of the bowl family style and not use seperate plates or bowls just mix it all together and scrape rice off sides for a real good treat yum! yum! yum! crisp and savory! add sauce if you want, some like a sweet/savory/hot sauce. it's your world live as you like! your friend Eddyj

              3 Replies
              1. re: eddyj

                Might be a dumb question but am new to the Korean cooking thing though I love Bibimbap and Soon Tofu.

                We just picked up our stone pots and soon tofu bowls from a nice shop in Westminister.

                I assume that the rice is already cooked before you put it in the hot stone pot? You don't cook the rice in there do you? Seems like that would work as well but might not crisp up or work like described.


                1. re: BeachGrub


                  Scroll down a ways and you'll see May 11/Dol Sot Bibimbap

                  FWIW I have cooked rice in the stone bowl but it comes out very scorched...basically all crust. I liked it but I was playing around more than anything.

                  1. re: gimmeflavor

                    Thanks. We tried it out Soon Tofu last night and because we didn't want to dirty two pots for the two of us, we cooking the rice (brown) in the stone pot. Turned out great. Just the right amount of crispy on the edges.

                    We need to adjust our sauce a bit. Ours ended up slightly more oily and needed salt added. Otherwise it was right on and close to what I like at Cho Dang. The big issue was we put frozen potstickers in and they were nothing like the nice dumplings at CD. So I have some work there still. Overall, great fun. My kimchee cucumbers were awesome as well. We bought pickled beansprouts because we were lazy. But overall, the only drawback was the garlic breath in the morning.

              2. 125West online offers Naturestone pots and has some information about upkeep. I have a griddle and had to oil it and place it in an oven to season it. Not sure if it is exactly the same type of stone, but I think it may be. I haven't tried a pot, but from reading it seems that most of them can take burner heat and pretty high heat in the oven. Just be careful because they are very heavy for their size and handling a hot pot of that weight is no small feat. BTW, I love my griddle and use it instead of a pizza stone. Note that the "pizza" stone offered is not supposed to be used on a burner, I would imagine because it is too thin or perhaps too large an expanse of stone. Also, NEVER put cold liquids or water into a hot pot. I am sure it can crack.

                1. I had Korean stone bowls once in London, and loved them so much. I have been looking for them ever since and can't find out where to buy them from. So if anyone knows of any shops in London where I can find these, PPLLLLLLLLLLLLLLEEAAAAAASSSSSSSEE ket me know. THANKS

                  1. Here's a few care and cooking tips (best to follow them because my brother didn't and his bowl cracked):

                    Seasoning and care tips:

                    Stone bowls need to be seasoned like cast iron pans. When new, boil salt water for a few minutes in bowl, discard and apply oil the whole bowl, inside and out until oil no longer gets absorbed. Then heat for a few minutes. The bowl will turn very dark gray. DO NOT put cold water in hot bowl because it will crack.


                    Before placing cooked rice, it is VERY IMPORTANT to oil the inside. Oil will make it crispy and gives you room for error. When is rice crispy enough? You need to have the crackling sound for about 5 minutes. Also you can see the sides of the rice touching the stone turn a bit brown. It takes practice and timing. It is best to not touch the rice for a few minutes so it will crisp further.

                    1. Tthis is what you will need:


                      As per instructions, these bowls need to be seasoned:

                      Before the first usage, it is recommended to heat the stone bowl with salty water (1/3 full), until water boils.
                      Then remove the bowl from the direct heat and paint the surface with sesame oil or any other edible oil until oil is no longer permeated. This is to eliminate any cracks and/or breakage due to minor damages to the item.

                      I've read of people heating the bowls in an oven to ~300, and people heating them on stove top. I don't know which is better, and would like to know if anyone knows.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: pmsaue0

                        Help! Maybe someone here will know... I found two black Korean earthenware/stoneware pots with lids today at my local thrift store. I got them, excited to finally make Bibimbap for the first time. Much to my chagrin, I can find any reference to using the non-granite bowls for the hot-pot Dolsot Bibimbap. (Doubly chagrinned when I remembered passing one of the granite ones u pa couple weeks ago because "there was only one"). These aren't Chinese style "clay pots" with the unglazed sides and the wire wraps. My question is, can I use these straight on the electric burner? If I use them in the oven, what temp should I heat them at? Is it possible to use them in the oven and cook dried rice in it like paella? Ok, so I should have said "My questions are..." but you get the picture. They sure are pretty...

                        1. re: xfrench

                          I've been playing it safe with all these ceramics (sand pot, cazuela, Korean earthware), and either start them in a cold oven, or heat them on my butane hotplate.

                          I used a black Korean bowl for breakfast - put a bit of oil in it, added some left over polenta, and put in on the fire with a lid. Meanwhile, warmed sliced turkey, and fried an egg in another pan, Finally put these on the polenta. The bowl kept the polenta hot through out the meal - almost too hot infact.

                          I bought mine with a plastic insulating base.

                      2. I hate to barge into a thread with my own question, but other than bibimbap, what do you use your dolsots for?

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: iheartponeez

                          Paul, thanks for the thoughts. have you ever tried any of these on an electric burner? Would you start with a cold burner as well?
                          Iheartponeez, I don't really know what to do with mine yet. They seem to be made out of stoneware, and not the hunks of granite that people refer to as dolsots. I tried making bibimbap by putting everything (including cooked rice) in and throwing them in the oven for 25 minutes, but it was nowhere near crispy. I am scared to put the bowls straight on the burner, and loath to put them empty in the hot oven and then trying to fill the freakishly hot bowls with the goods. My guess is that these bowls are used for soft tofu stew, and other soups. My thinking was to try to figure out how to use them, and then make some kind of baked rice/paella/jambalaya dish off the top of my own head, provided I could find a method that works (I like my jambalaya dry, with the rice cooked in)...

                          1. re: xfrench

                            Korean stoneware, earthenware and granite bowls/pots are made to be used on the stove and not in the oven. You can use them on an electric or gas stove. The granite ones (or stone bowl) need to be soaked in salt water dried oiled and heated on the stove over low heat until the oil looks almost dry. You don't need to season the bowls again if you put oil in the bottom of the bowl before you add the rice. The storeware/earthenware can be used rightaway. Never put a hot pot in cold water or cold water in a hot pot. Soak the pot in hot water if it becomes difficult to clean.

                            I hope this helps.
                            The granite ones are used for Bi Bim Bap. The earthenware are used for stews and soups. You can use them just like you use a regular pot.

                            For Bi Bim Bap put a bit of oil in the bottom of the stone bowl, put a bowl of cooked rice in the bowl and spread out slightly. Put various ingredients (Korean Radish, Spinach, Bean Sprout, Carrot, Cucumber, Burdock, Sweet Potato Stem, Zucchini, Shiitake Mushroom, Seaweed and sprinkle of Sesame Seeds) around the edge in pie shapes. Add about 10mg of cooked beef in the centre (not much goes in the Traditional Bi Bim Bap) and 1 Egg sunny side up. Place the assembled bowl on the stove and put on high heat until you hear the rice start to crackle. Take the bowl off the stove onto something insulated so that you don't burn your table. Add 1 Tablespoon of GoChuJang (seasoned is better but just plain is O.K. too) mix and eat. If it is difficult to mix add a bit of sesame oil or any other oil or even a few spoonfuls of soup to soften the mixture.

                            1. re: StoneBowl

                              What about cleaning? Do you treat these like cast iron pans (i.e. no soap, but scour with coarse salt?) or can you use warm water and soap on them?

                              1. re: gohbot

                                I couldn't say if you can/should use soap, but using salt is the easiest way to clean a dolsot. I just soaked mine for a bit, and then used salt as an abrasive and it came out very clean!

                        2. This is an old thread but it was very helpful for me. Some of the responses were very useful. I purchased two stone dol sot at my local Asian restaurant supply store for $15.99 each. I followed the seasoning instructions below of boiling salt water in the bowl, drying, oiling with sesame oil and letting cool. They turned out excellent.

                          I have used them once and the bibimbop turned out fantastic. Crunchy bottom rice, and relatively easy clean up.

                          I decided that others may want to see some photos of the process.

                          Maybe I'll post a recipe using the dol sot later...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: im_joe

                            Hey, I bought a stone pot like you did.

                            It is excellent, but mine cost me more than $16. I think it was like $35-40. See the photo below:


                            Yes, crunchy rice at the bottom, and just overall very satisfying. Thanks for sharing the photos.