Korean Beef Bulgogi Recipe

Bulgogi is a popular Korean dish made with thinly sliced beef that's marinated in a sweet and savory sauce, then grilled or stir-fried. 

The marinade typically includes ingredients like soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and green onions, among others. 

Once cooked, bulgogi is often served with steamed rice and lettuce leaves for wrapping, along with various side dishes like kimchi and ssamjang (Korean dipping sauce). 

It's known for its delicious flavor and tender texture, making it a favorite dish in Korean cuisine and enjoyed by many worldwide.

Kind of meat you need for bulgogi

Traditionally, bulgogi is made with beef, specifically cuts that are tender and well-suited for slicing thinly. The most common cuts of beef used for bulgogi include:
  • Sirloin: Beef sirloin is a popular choice for bulgogi due to its tenderness and flavor.
  • Ribeye: Ribeye steak is another excellent option, known for its marbling and rich taste.
  • Flank Steak: Flank steak is flavorful and works well for bulgogi, especially when sliced thinly against the grain.
  • Brisket: Beef brisket can be used for bulgogi, but it's important to slice it thinly to ensure tenderness.
  • Tenderloin: Beef tenderloin is very tender and can be used for bulgogi, although it's a more expensive option.
The key is to choose cuts of beef that are tender and can be sliced thinly for marinating and cooking. If you're unsure, you can ask your butcher for recommendations or look for pre-sliced beef labeled specifically for bulgogi.

The marinade ingredients

  • Soy Sauce: Provides the salty base for the marinade and adds depth of flavor.
  • Sugar: Adds sweetness and helps caramelize the meat when cooked.
  • Honey or Corn Syrup: Enhances the sweetness and adds a glossy finish to the meat.
  • Sesame Oil: Imparts a nutty aroma and flavor to the marinade.
  • Garlic: Adds pungent, aromatic flavor to the marinade.
  • Onion: Grated onion adds sweetness and helps tenderize the meat.
  • Green Onion: Chopped green onions add freshness and flavor.
  • Rice Wine (Mirin or Sake): Optional, but adds a subtle sweetness and helps tenderize the meat.
  • Sesame Seeds: Toasted sesame seeds add texture and nuttiness.
  • Black Pepper: Adds a subtle heat and complements the other flavors.

Korean Beef Bulgogi Recipe

This Korean Beef Bulgogi Recipe is a simple and delicious dish that brings the flavors of Korea straight to your kitchen.

Prep Time15minutes 
Cook Time15 
Servings: 2


  • 1.9 lbs thinly sliced bulgogi beef rib-eye
  •  cup Korean soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  •  tsp black pepper
  •  Tbsp sesame oil

Ingredients to blend:

  • 2 Tbsp mirin
  • ¼ small onion
  • ¼ Korean pear
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 Tbsp water


  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 stalk green onion chop


  • ¾ small onion sliced



  • Soak meat in cold water for about 3mins. Swoosh gently and set on strainer for 5mins.
  • Combine blending ingredients, then blend until smooth. Add to it, soy sauce, sugar and black pepper. Stir well and taste. Pour sesame oil and do a final stir.
  • Into a gallon size zip lock bag, add meat then the marinade. Seal and gently message the meat for one minute. Set aside in fridge for 10-15mins.
  • Heat a non-stick skillet on high heat. Using a tongue, drop a small batch of bulgogi into the pan. Enough to cover one layer. Cook for 4-5mins or until golden brown on both sides. Cut meat if needed. Cook the rest of the meat in small batches. (optional: add sliced onion)
  • Serve on a plate. Drizzle with honey, sesame seeds and chopped green onion. Enjoy with rice and vegetables!


Pro tipFor extra sauce with your bulgogi, cook it in one batch over high heat until just done. Skip caramelizing for plenty of sauce to enjoy with your rice.
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