We conducted a cross-sectional seroepidemiological study in 2012–2013 to determine the seroprevalence of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) in adolescents and adults living in Korea, where varicella vaccination has been recommended universally at age 12–15 months since 2005. Residual serum samples were collected from 1196 healthy adults and adolescents aged ⩾10 years between November 2012 and March 2013. The fluorescent antibody to membrane antigen (FAMA) test and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were performed to determine the seroprevalence of VZV. The seroprevalences of VZV were compared between six age groups: 10–19, 20–29, 30–39, 40–49, 50–59, and ⩾60 years. The seroprevalence of VZV in the entire study cohort was 99·1% according to the FAMA test and 93·1% as determined by ELISA. The seroprevalences of the six age groups were as follows: 96·0%, 99·5%, 99·5%, 99·5%, 100%, and 100%, respectively, by the FAMA test, and 83·3%, 93·0%, 93·0%, 97·5%, 94·5%, and 97·5%, respectively, by ELISA. Seroprevalence increased significantly with age (P < 0·001); moreover, the seroprevalence in subjects aged 10–19 years was significantly lower than in other age groups (P < 0·001), as measured by both the FAMA test and ELISA. Thus, strategies to increase protective immunity against VZV in teenagers are necessary.