Korean Beef Bulgogi Recipe [Video] (2024)

Beef Bulgogi is smoky, juicy, slightly sweet, and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Made with the most flavorful marinade and thinly sliced meat in just 15 minutes. Eat this delicious Korean dish on its own, with hot white rice, or wrapped in fresh lettuce with kimchi!

Want to try more flavors from around the world? Try the complex flavors of my Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala, feast on Mexican Stuffed Peppers, and switch your usual dinners with my Keto Italian Chicken Skewers!

Korean Beef Bulgogi Recipe [Video] (1)

This dish also goes by the name “Korean BBQ beef” which means “fire meat” has taken the culinary world by storm in recent years. It is usually made with tender flank steak. However, you can also make it with pork, and even chicken.

It seems like everyone I know (including me!) loves Korean BBQ. It’s so fun to gather around the grill, cook your meat, try different sides, and sample authentic Korean cuisine!

Naturally, it wasn’t long before I tried my hand at Beef Bulgogi. To my surprise, this recipe was so easy to put together. Unless you frequently cook Asian-inspired ingredients, you might need to hunt down unique ingredients like rice vinegar, sesame oil, and Asian pear.

I promise you it’s worth it— this dish is so tasty, you’ll be making it over and over!

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Korean Beef Bulgogi Ingredients:

  • Meat: I mostly use flank steak and cut it into thin slices. However, you can use other cuts as well.
  • Vegetable oil
  • Green onions and sesame seeds: thinly sliced to garnish the dish.

Marinade Ingredients:

  • Soy sauce: go with a low-sodium version to control the saltiness.
  • Rice vinegar
  • Light brown sugar
  • Sesame oil
  • Freshly minced garlic and ginger: both add plenty of flavors here. Therefore, feel free to use more of both if desired.
  • Asian pear
  • Red pepper flakes

How to make Korean Beef Bulgogi?

  1. Prepare the meat. Partially freeze the meat. When ready, slice thinly across the grain.
  2. Marinate the meat. Combine all the ingredients in a gallon Ziplock bag, then add the beef slices. Set aside for at least two hours.
  3. Cook. Next, heat a tablespoon of oil in a cast-iron skillet. Then, add one layer of beef. Let cook and char 2-3 minutes per side, then flip once. Repeat with the rest.
  4. Serve. Garnish with green onions, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve with rice.
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Recipe Variations:

  • Meat: Apart from beef, you can use pork, chicken, or even shrimp to make this recipe.
  • Vegetarian: To make it vegetarian, replace the steak with firm tofu.
  • Noodles: Serve it over soba noodles instead of rice.
  • Add veggies: Feel free to add some fresh veggies to the pan. Some great mix-ins would be bok choy, broccoli, or green beans.
  • Spicy: To make it extra spicy, use more red pepper flakes. Also, top it with sriracha sauce – extra yummy!
  • Bulgogi Tacos: Turn this dish into tacos by serving it over a tortilla.

What is beef bulgogi?

The name of this recipe directly translates to “fire meat,” which refers to the way it’s traditionally cooked over a fire. While it can be made from chicken or pork, bulgogi is generally made of tender beef.

This traditional Korean dish has been around for thousands of years and remains one of the most requested dishes in Korean BBQ joints.

What cut of beef do I use?

Use the most tender, marbled cuts you can find, such as flank steak, tenderloin, and top sirloin. If you’d like to splurge, you can use ribeye. The more tender, the better— we’ll just be pan-frying or grilling them for a couple of minutes, so the quality of the meat is key to the whole dish.

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How to cut Bulgogi Beef?

Pre-cut bulgogi beef is available in some shops, but I highly suggest you learn how to DIY. Doing so gives you greater control over the quality and amount of fat and gristle in your meat. It’s quite easy:

  • First, wrap the meat in plastic wrap.
  • Partially freeze up to 30 minutes.
  • Unwrap. Check if your knife goes easily through the meat. If it does, it’s ready. If not, freeze it for an additional 30 minutes or more.
  • Lastly, slice across the grain. Aim for ¼ thick slices.

Can I make it in the Slow Cooker?

Yes, the slow cooker is an excellent alternative and it cooks the steak to tender perfection! Here are the steps:

  1. First, cut the steak into uniformly thin slices.
  2. Mix the marinade ingredients together. Then, add 1 cup of beef broth.
  3. Dump the meat into the slow cooker and stir in the beef mixture over.
  4. Next, cover and cook on LOW heat for 7-8 hours, or HIGH heat for 3-4 hours.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water. Then, add the cornstarch mixture 30 minutes before the cooking time ends.
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What does it taste like?

Beef bulgogi is unbelievably tender. The soy sauce makes it savory, with some mild sweetness from the pear and sugar, plus the perfect level of acidity from the rice vinegar. Adding another layer of traditional Asian flavors are ginger, sesame oil, garlic, and hot chili flakes.

Finally, the juicy steak is charred to bring out that smoky flavor. It’s hard to describe how good it is, so you have to try it out for yourself!

What to serve with this dish?

Recreate the Korean BBQ experience in your kitchen! I serve this with hot, steamed white rice, or brown rice. If you have an Asian or Korean store near you, grab some banchan (aka Korean side dishes) like different types of kimchi, pickled radish, candied sweet potatoes, and seasoned soybean sprouts.

Not into carbs? Wrap the bulgogi in some crisp lettuce leaves with kimchi, ssamjang, and if you can find them, perilla leaves.

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How to store leftovers?

Just put the leftovers in a Ziplock bag or a freezer-safe container. Both cooked and marinated versions can last a few days refrigerated.

Also, freeze them in an airtight container if you’re planning to keep them for longer.

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Recipe tips:

  • For best charring, use a cast-iron grill pan.
  • Prior to adding the meat, ensure the skillet is hot.
  • Also, cook in batches to maintain the high heat of the oil.
  • Marinate beef overnight or up to 24 hours. This will tenderize the meat and enhance the flavors.

Korean Beef Bulgogi

  • Prep Time15 MIN
  • Cook Time15 MIN
  • Servings 4 servings


  • 2 pounds flank steak
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds


  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup Asian pear grated
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

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Chill the Steak:

  • Wrap the flank steak in plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

  • Unwrap and slice across the grain into 1/4-inch thick slices.


  • In a medium bowl, combine all the "Marinade" ingredients. Add them to gallon size Ziploc bag, and add the steak slices.

  • Marinate for at least 2-3 hours or overnight, turning the bag occasionally.


  • Place a large cast-iron grill pan over medium-high heat and once heated through add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.

  • Once the oil is hot, working in batches, add the steak slices to the pan in a single layer and cook until charred, flipping once, it takes about 2-3 minutes per side to cook.

  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and cook the rest of the steak.

  • Serve immediately over white rice. If desired, garnished it with chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

Nutrition Facts

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Korean Beef Bulgogi Recipe [Video] (2024)


What cut of meat is best for Korean bulgogi? ›

Boneless ribeye steak is our cut of choice for this recipe and the most popular because it is tender and flavorful with nice marbling. Sirloin is also commonly used to make bulgogi and is slightly leaner that ribeye. You can also use flank steak in a pinch with good results, but the texture won't be quite as tender.

How long should you marinate bulgogi? ›

Add the thinly sliced beef, thinly sliced onions, and green onions. Mix and marinate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Over high heat, add a tbsp of oil to a pan. Cook the beef bulgogi in batches until the water cooks out and the beef and onions are nicely caramelized, about 4-5 minutes.

What are the three types of bulgogi? ›

There are three main regional styles of bulgogi: Gwangyang, Eonyang, and Seoul. smoky flavors.

What does bulgogi mean in Korean? ›

Bulgogi (불고기) is the name of a Korean dish, literally translating to “fire meat.” This famous Korean dish has existed for thousands of years, and it is now gaining popularity in Western countries like the United States and Canada.

What is bulgogi sauce made of? ›

Mix some soy, apple juice and sugar in a sauce pan. Heat until the sugar melts. Mix in some ginger, garlic, green onions and sesame oil. Literally that's it.

Can you over marinate bulgogi? ›

If using kiwi or pineapple, be sure to use only a small amount so you don't over-marinate the meat. They are very strong tenderizing agents and can break down the meat too much. All you need is about 30 minutes to an hour to marinate thinly sliced meat. It can be longer, up to overnight.

Can beef be marinated too long? ›

Information. Most recipes for marinating meat and poultry recommend six hours up to 24 hours. It is safe to keep the food in the marinade longer, but after two days it is possible that the marinade can start to break down the fibers of the meat, causing it to become mushy.

Is 30 minutes long enough to marinate beef? ›

Steak marinade is a liquid that steak soaks in for some time. While marinades can help out the flavor of steak in about 30 minutes or so, they work their best magic when steaks soak in them for several hours, or even a full day, before cooking.

How do Koreans eat bulgogi? ›

Bulgogi meat is typically thinly sliced then marinated in a savory and sweet sauce. Once cooked you can enjoy it with rice and other Korean side dishes. It has always been a popular food for parties and gatherings for many Koreans.

What is bulgogi paired with? ›

What To Serve With Bulgogi - 45 Side Dishes
  • Meat. • 1 portion Bulgogi pizza.
  • Produce. • 1 portion Baked potatoes. • 1 portion Bok choy.
  • Frozen. • 1 portion Kimchi fried rice.
  • Deli. • 1 portion Scallion salad.
  • Other. • 1 portion Japchae.

What part of the body is beef bulgogi? ›

What kind of meat do you use for beef bulgogi? Bulgogi is typically made with almost paper-thin slices of the most tender cuts of beef. Rib-eye is the most common cut of beef with top sirloin coming in a close second.

What is bibimbap in English? ›

The word bibimbap means stirred or mixed rice. It is served as a bowl of rice with more ingredients on it. These ingredients can include some vegetables (spinach, herbs, potherb, and gosari). Beef or seafood can be added too.

Why is beef bulgogi so good? ›

The savory beef combined with the sweet, gingery marinade is always a big hit. The word bul means fire in Korean, and goki means meat. So this is “fire meat!” Delicious bulgogi depends on three things: a good cut of beef, a delicious marinade, and the method you use to cook it.

What is bulgogi vs bibimbap? ›

Bulgogi is a simpler dish than bibimbap while bibimbap is a bit more wholesome, with vegetables and an extra kick from gochujang. The way the beef for each dish is prepared varies as well, with both dishes sporting beef cooking in a particular way that can't really be swapped for the other.

Which part of beef is best for Korean BBQ? ›

If you've ever wondered what cut goes into everyone's favorite Korean BBQ beef dish of bulgogi, look no further than the sirloin steak. This often overlooked piece of beef is known more for its flavor than its texture, which makes it an excellent recipient for recipes that involve a little bit of marinade.

What kind of meat do you use for Korean BBQ? ›

Galbi (beef short ribs) and Bulgogi (thinly sliced sirloin, ribeye, or brisket) are the most representative form of the meat used in Korean barbeque. In the western world, Bulgogi, meaning “fire meat,” is the most popular type of Korean barbeque you'll come across.

What meat do they use at Korean BBQ? ›

If you prefer non-marinated meat, you can have chimasal (flank steak), thinly sliced brisket (chadolbaegi), sirloin steak (deungsim), thinly sliced beef belly (samgyup), beef tenderloin (andeungsi), beef tongue (hyuh mit gui), pork belly (samgyeopsal), or pork chop (moksal), along with chicken varieties — but you can ...


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