Korean Beef Bulgogi

Korean Beef Bulgogi

The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 20 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1573 Calories
89g Fat
62g Carbs
125g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 1573
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 89g 115%
Saturated Fat 33g 164%
Cholesterol 395mg 132%
Sodium 2870mg 125%
Total Carbohydrate 62g 23%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 46g
Protein 125g
Vitamin C 27mg 135%
Calcium 168mg 13%
Iron 12mg 67%
Potassium 1746mg 37%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is the basic recipe used to make Korean grilled or broiled beef, known as bulgogi. If you don't know what bulgogi is, you're in for a real treat.

This most popular of Korean dishes includes thinly sliced meat that has a smoky-sweet flavor when broiled or cooked on the grill. Bulgogi is even delicious stir-fried, and the tender beef can be used in anything from Korean “sushi” rolls (kimbap) to stir-fried noodles (japchae, chapchae). Bulgogi is usually accompanied with lettuce wraps and spicy red pepper paste (kochujang) for wrapping and spicing up the meat.

The sweet-and-salty marinade is an essential component of this traditional dish that helps to tenderize the meat and give it lots of flavors.

This marinade makes enough for 1 pound of meat, but it stores well in the refrigerator, so triple it and try it on anything from chicken drumsticks to sliced steak.


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  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped garlic, (about 2 cloves)

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Asian pear juice

  • 1 tablespoon rice wine, mirin, or dry white wine

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 3 medium green onions, thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 pound beef, thinly sliced

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Korean Beef Bulgogi ingredients

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, soy sauce, sugar, honey, pear juice, rice wine, sesame oil, green onions, and pepper until sugar and honey are dissolved.

    In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, soy sauce, sugar, honey, pear juice, rice wine, sesame oil, green onions, and pepper until sugar and honey

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  3. Mix the marinade into meat with your hands or with chopsticks, making sure all the meat is covered.

    Mix the marinade into meat

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  4. Refrigerate the beef for at least 3 hours or overnight.

    beef with marinade in a plastic covered bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  5. Once the meat has been refrigerated for the appropriate amount of time, grill it, broil it, or stir-fry the beef until it is well-done and caramelized on the outside.

    cook the beef in a skillet

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

  6. Serve the beef with rice, additional chopped scallions, and side dishes such as kimchi.

    Korean Beef Bulgogi served with kimchi and rice

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat-resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.


  • For the beef, top sirloin or tenderloin work best, but almost any steak cut will do. The best quality meat will obviously taste the best, so don't skimp on cost, unless you truly cannot afford quality beef.
  • If you can, ask the butcher at the meat counter to slice it for you into very thin strips. Korean and/or Asian grocery stores will often have meat for Bulgogi pre-sliced for sale. So, try to find an Asian supermarket in your area where the butchers will be accustomed to slicing the meat very thinly for patrons.
  • If the beef is not pre-sliced when you buy it, a trick to making it easier to cut at home is to freeze the beef for 15 minutes before you slice it.
  • When marinading the beef, for tougher cuts, the more hours, the better. So, double the amount of time the beef will stay in the fridge if you have a batch of tough meat. You can also freeze the uncooked marinated beef in small amounts for later use.
  • Any marinade leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for later use as long as no raw meat has sat in it. If that is the case, discard the marinade. 
  • When doubling or tripling this recipe, it is a good idea to drizzle enough of the marinade over the meat in a container rather than immersing the meat in the container of marinade thereby contaminating it.

Recipe Variation

  • If you're not into beef, you can also use the marinade quite successfully for pork or chicken instead.

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