Ryu Soo-young had his first television appearance in a cooking show in 1998. In 2001, he made his film debut in the movie Summertime, which was a remake of the Filipino film Scorpion Nights. In 2002, he won the New Star Award at the SBS Drama Awards for the hit romantic comedy Successful Story of a Bright Girl. In 2004, he became part of the SBS series Save the Last Dance for Me, which earned him the Best Supporting Actor trophy at the SBS Drama Awards. In 2006, he headlined the KBS1 drama Seoul 1945, in which he received a Top Excellence Award at the KBS Drama Awards. The series was also hailed Best Drama at the 43rd Baeksang Arts Awards. In 2013, he was named Star of the Year at the MBC Entertainment Awards for the reality show Real Men. In 2019, he appeared in the MBC melodrama Love in Sadness, which scored him an Excellence Award at the MBC Drama Awards. In 2020, he took home the Best Entertainer Award at the KBS Drama Awards for the reality cooking show Stars’ Top Recipe at Fun-Staurant.

Ryu Soo-young was drafted for his mandatory military service on October 27, 2008. He was officially discharged on September 6, 2010. He married his Two Weeks co-star Park Ha-sun on January 22, 2017. Their first child was born on August 23, 2017.