We all know there’s something special about those cold male leads in Kdramas who reveal their softer sides over time.
I’m talking about the tsundere male leads in Korean dramas who are absolute jerks, but before you know it, you’re falling head over heels for them.
And, if you’re nodding in agreement right now, you’re in for a treat – I’ve got some super interesting Kdrama recommendations for you!
In this post, I’ve rounded up my favorite Kdramas with cold male leads you absolutely need to watch if you love characters who are a little too tough to crack.
These leading men who reply to their ladies in grunts, slight nods, and grimaces completely stole the show and I just know you’ll find one drama to love here.
Here are 19 Korean dramas with cold male leads who will leave you swooning:
1. Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo
During a solar eclipse, Go Ha Jin time-travels to Korea’s Goryeo Dynasty, inhabiting the body of Hae Soo.
She resides with the 8th Prince Wang Wook, married to her cousin, and befriends various princes, including the ostracized 4th Prince, Wang So.
Despite her intent to avoid palace politics, her presence sparks romantic entanglements among the princes, entangling her in the struggle for the throne.
I’ll tell you for free that Wang So was the surliest of the surlies, and while he wasn’t a total marshmallow by the end, it was great seeing him more affable the deeper his emotions ran.
2. You’re Beautiful
The management of the idol group A.N.JELL wanted to add a new lead singer because Tae Kyung’s voice was strained.
But, the chosen member, Mi Nam, had to fix a mistake in his eye surgery in the USA before signing the contract.
To help, his twin sister Mi Nyu, who grew up with him in an orphanage, pretended to be him so he wouldn’t lose his chance at fame, as she was originally planning to become a nun.
I vividly remember watching this romantic Kdrama with a cold male lead years ago and waiting with bated breath for Tae Kyung to crack a smile – it took more than a few episodes!
3. True Beauty
True Beauty is a romantic comedy centered around Lim Ju Gyeong, a high school girl who becomes a beauty sensation after faithfully abiding by YouTube makeup tutorials.
She hides her true appearance and is terrified of showing her natural face.
The lovely high school drama revolves around her love journey with Lee Su Ho, a seemingly aloof but caring boy who knows her secret.
As they connect, share secrets, and fall in love, the question looms whether Su Ho can help Ju Gyeong discover her inner beauty.
4. Cinderella And The Four Knights
Eun Ha Won, a determined high school student, works hard to achieve her dream of becoming a teacher while enduring a difficult family situation.
In contrast, in another part of the city, three spoiled cousins, Ji Woon, Hyun Min, and Seo Woo, live separately due to their clashing personalities.
When their grandfather forces them to attend his wedding, Hyun Min hires Ha Won as his date, leading to unexpected consequences.
Ha Won is then hired as a live-in butler at the cousins’ mansion, leading to a series of amusing and dramatic events, including love triangles and witty banter.
5. Touch Your Heart
Oh Yoon Seo, a beautiful but poorly regarded actress, faces a career decline due to a scandal with a wealthy man.
She’s offered a role as a lawyer’s secretary for a drama and must gain real-life experience in the role.
Kwon Jung Rok, a cold-hearted attorney, reluctantly agrees to have her as his secretary for three months, setting the stage for their interactions in the drama.
If you watched and loved Goblin, then this sweet romantic Korean drama with a cold male lead is a must – Dong Wook was stunning in his role and he really pulled off the perpetually-pissed role.
6. My Roommate Is A Gumiho
Shin Woo Yeo, a 999-year-old nine-tailed fox in human form, accidentally loses his transformation bead when Lee Dam’s drunk friend sleeps on his car.
Lee Dam swallows the bead, which can only stay inside a human for a year before being fatal.
To save both their lives, Woo Yeo proposes they live together while seeking a solution, and Lee Dam, who’s never had a boyfriend, now shares her life with him.
7. Playful Kiss
Oh Ha Ni, a clumsy high school student, falls for the perfectionist Baek Seung Jo, who initially rejects her.
After Ha Ni’s house collapses, they move into the home of Seung Jo’s long-time friend, where she discovers he’s the friend’s eldest son.
Ha Ni hopes to win Seung Jo’s heart while living under the same roof, forming the core of this romantic story.
8. Kill It
Kim Soo Hyun, a secretive veterinarian with a hidden life as a professional assassin, longs for love but struggles to form genuine relationships.
Meanwhile, Detective Do Hyun Jin, a former ballerina, is a determined and empathetic officer chasing after Soo Hyun, suspecting him to be a serial killer.
As they dig deeper, they discover their connection dates back years, blurring the lines between their roles in each other’s lives.
I’ll be the first to say that Jang Ki Young has what I refer to as bottomless eyes, and I was totally and completely enraptured watching him in this romantic Korean drama with a cold-hearted male lead.
Lee Kang, a neurosurgeon who once aspired to be a chef, and Moon Cha Young, a renowned cook, have a unique connection.
When they first met as children, Lee Kang’s cooking inspired Cha Young to pursue a culinary career.
Years later, they reunite in a hospice ward, where they find solace and healing by preparing meals for the patients, and mending their emotional wounds.
10. A Love So Beautiful
Cha Heon, a student at Chun Ji High School, is handsome and intelligent.
Despite seeming aloof, he’s a kind-hearted person who struggles with expressing himself.
Shin Sol Yi, a cheerful 17-year-old, has a crush on Cha Heon and openly declares her love. She’s also endearingly clumsy.
Woo Dae Sung, a skilled swimmer new to the school, falls for Sol Yi and supports her quietly, keeping his feelings hidden.
11. Come And Hug Me
Yoon Na Moo and Gil Nak Won were childhood sweethearts torn apart when Na Moo’s father, a serial killer, took Nak Won’s parents’ lives.
After 9 years, Na Moo becomes a detective aiming to make amends, while Nak Won, now Han Jae Yi, pursues acting despite her anxiety.
As years pass, they reunite, facing the question of whether their love can overcome the painful past.
This is another spectacular romantic Kdrama with a tsundere male lead who completely melted my heart (Jang Ki Young is BAE!).
12. The Master’s Sun
Joo Joong Won, a tightfisted CEO of the Kingdom conglomerate, crosses paths with Tae Gong Shil, a woman who can see ghosts.
She then clings to him because her touch makes the ghosts vanish, providing her relief from their presence.
Together, they face the fear and sorrow these spirits bring, all the while delving into a kidnapping from Joong Won’s past.
In the process, their connection deepens, leading to a newfound chapter in their lives filled with love.
13. Oh My Ghost
Bong Sun, a shy and self-doubting woman, becomes possessed by a lustful ghost, drastically changing her personality.
Sun Woo, a confident chef, doesn’t notice her due to his popularity and lingering feelings for someone else.
But, when Bong Sun’s behavior transforms, she captures Sun Woo’s attention.
14. Because This Is My First Life
Nam Se Hee, a single man in his late 30s, owns a home but struggles with a heavy mortgage.
While Yoon Ji Ho, a single woman in her early 30s, faces financial difficulties and doesn’t own a home.
She then moves in with Se Hee, and together they become housemates, shedding light on modern challenges young people encounter, including marriage and housing issues.
This lovely romantic Korean drama with a cold male lead was everything my heart needed, and I’ll tell you for free that you’re going to be thinking about Se Hee long after the final episode.
15. Crash Landing On You
After a paragliding mishap, South Korean heiress Yoon Se Ri finds herself in North Korea.
There, she meets Ri Jung Hyuk, a North Korean army officer, who offers to assist her in getting back to South Korea.
Despite the political tensions, they began to develop feelings for each other, and it was the sweetest thing ever.
16. Crazy Love
No Go Jin is a highly popular math teacher and CEO of GOTOP Education, known for his intelligence despite having a high school education.
He’s seen as perfect with looks, high IQ, and wealth, but he’s also narcissistic.
Lee Shin A, his quiet and diligent secretary, gains recognition for working with him for over a year.
She later discovers she’s in danger and time is running out for her, so she decides to take revenge on Go Jin for everything he had done to her.
Aside from being the cold male lead in this romantic Korean drama, Go Jin was unbearably cruel, selfish, and narcissistic – can you tell I absolutely loved him by the end?
17. Cheese In The Trap
Hong Seol, a diligent student, comes back to college after a year away due to her family’s financial struggles.
She clashes with her senior, Yoo Jung, who seems perfect but hides a darker side.
Seol’s life takes a bad turn, suspecting Yoo Jung, but a year later, he unexpectedly becomes friendly, leaving her puzzled.
18. Link: Eat, Love, Kill
Eun Gye Hoon, a chef, opens a restaurant in the town where his twin sister vanished two decades ago.
Suddenly, he starts feeling the emotions of a woman, Noh Da Hyun, laughing and crying as if they were his own.
This leads to a fantasy mystery as they share the same emotional state, and I can’t explain enough how wonderful it was seeing them come together.
19. Prime Minister and I
Prime Minister Kwon Yool is efficient at his job but faces challenges raising his three kids on his own.
While Reporter Nam Da Jung is eager but often misses important stories.
When she pursues a story about Kwon Yool, she unexpectedly becomes a part of his family, becoming the mother his kids needed.
And there you have it, my list of heartwarming Kdramas with unforgettable cold male leads who stole the show over and over again.
If you still want some more Kdrama recommendations, you’re in the right place – the related posts section below is chock-full of more captivating stories and lovable characters.
Your voices matter, dear readers! – Who was the ‘cold male lead’ that stole your heart? Any standout moments or hidden gems you’d like to share?
Keep the conversation going by dropping a comment below. I’m all ears and I can’t wait to hear from you!