Bulgogi: Korean Beef Recipe

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I love that there are so many delicious Korean, Indian, and Thai dishes that are gluten and dairy free. Recently, I’ve made phoThai chicken curry, Indian tandoori chickenhariyali chicken tikka, and even make my own curry powder. This bulgogi recipe is my first Korean recipe, and my family definitely approves.

What Is Bulgogi?

Bulgogi is the Korean name for marinated, barbecued strips of meat. Specifically it refers to barbecued beef, but you can also find recipes for chicken and pork bulgogi.

When I make bulgogi I use sirloin. When cooking for a large family, sirloin is a more economical choice than a ribeye. And since I usually toss it in the marinade in the morning, it is tender enough by dinner time.

How to Make Bulgogi Marinade

The marinade for bulgogi is packed with some pretty big flavors. Traditionally, the recipe calls for soy sauce, but since I don’t like to use soy products I use coconut aminos instead. If you’ve not heard of coconut aminos, they’re made with fermented coconut sap and salt. You can read more about them near the bottom of this post. I order mine from Thrive Market.

The remaining marinade ingredients are maple syrup for sweetness, both green and yellow onion, garlic, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. I set aside the green tops of the green onions for serving with the finished meat and just use the white part for the marinade.

I slice the steak very thinly and refrigerate it in the marinade until it’s time to cook. Since the beef is sliced so thin, it doesn’t need to marinate for more than a few hours (although all day or overnight doesn’t hurt anything!).

Quick tip: I’ve found that if I put frozen steak in the refrigerator the day before and then slice it in the morning when it’s still a little frozen in the middle, I can slice it thinly much more easily.

Cooking and Serving Korean BBQ Beef

The key to making great bulgogi is cooking is really fast in a HOT pan or grill. That way the outside is nicely seared and caramelized and the inside is still tender. I like to use my trusty cast-iron skillet for this job. It’s important to do it in batches and just cover the bottom in a single layer. If you’d like to cook it on the grill, thread the meat onto skewers.

I serve bulgogi over white rice or cauliflower rice and stir fry some veggies to go with it. Even try it with a side of Korean Gochujang Mayo.

Check out this post for some other great-looking Korean side dishes. The sesame broccoli especially looks delicious!

Bulgogi: Korean Beef Recipe

Bulgogi is the name for Korean beef barbecue. Make it at home with an easy marinade of coconut aminos, maple syrup, onion, garlic, and sesame.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Marinating Time 2 hours
Calories 296kcal
Author Katie Wells


6 people



  • Thinly slice the yellow and green onions.
  • Separate the white part of the green onions from the green part.
  • Place the green parts of the green onions in a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until serving.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the sliced yellow onion, white parts of the green onion, and all the remaining ingredients except for the steak and set aside.
  • Very thinly slice the steak using a sharp knife.
  • Add the steak slices to the marinade, stir, and cover.
  • Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or as much as a day.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Cook the steak in a single layer in batches for best flavor. The goal is to sear and caramelize the steak without letting it steam. Cook for 4-5 minutes, flipping halfway, or until just cooked (do not overcook!).
  • Garnish with the reserved green onions and serve.


Nutrition Facts
Bulgogi: Korean Beef Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 296 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 89mg30%
Sodium 390mg17%
Potassium 627mg18%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 9g10%
Protein 35g70%
Vitamin A 60IU1%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 101mg10%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Cook the steak on the grill by threading the strips onto skewers.

Do you have a favorite Korean dish? I’d love to hear about it!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


One response to “Bulgogi: Korean Beef Recipe”

  1. Jenn Avatar

    5 stars
    Holy crud this was amazing. My fiance went back for seconds and couldn’t stop raving about it, even the next morning. Thank you!

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