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January 20, 2024

Beef Bulgogi

Crispy, delicious beef infused with the flavors of a sweetened soy sauce marinade. Let the steak marinate overnight, and let your cast iron pan do the rest!


a bowl of cooked white rice topped with beef bulgogi, kimchi, bean sprouts, red cabbage and cucumbers

All of our favorite beef dinners

What Is Bulgogi Beef

Bulgogi (literally fire meat!) is cooked on a hot grill, just long enough to give the steak a nice char. Korean beef bulgogi is not hard to make, but—like any recipe that’s all about the marinade—you’ve got to plan ahead. In a perfect world, you’d want to marinate the steak—rib-eye or sirloin steak are the best cuts to use for this bulgogi recipe—a day before cooking. The marinade recipe varies by maker, but commonly features soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, black pepper, and sugar. You’ll find the ingredients to make our favorite beef bulgogi marinade below.

raw thinly sliced steak, onions, kimchi, red cabbage, cucumbers, bean sprouts and spices in prep bowls for beef bulgogi

Ingredients You’ll Need To Make Beef Bulgogi Marinade

  • Soy sauce

  • Honey

  • Brown sugar

  • Red pepper flakes

  • Fresh garlic

  • Sesame oil

thinly sliced steak, thinly sliced onions, minced garlic and brown sugar in a bowl
thinly sliced steak, thinly sliced onions, garlic and brown sugar mixed together in a bowl

How to Make Beef Bulgogi

  1. Prepare the beef. Cutting against the grain with a sharp knife, slice your steak into thin strips. Add it to a large bowl with some super-thin sweet onion slices.

  2. Marinate. Whisk together the soy sauce, honey, sugar, red pepper, garlic and sesame oil and pour it all over the steak strips. Then place in the fridge overnight, or at least two hours.

  3. Cook. Get a cast iron skillet ripping hot, and brush it with oil. Sear the steak strips until they have a nice char, about 1-2 minutes per side.

  4. Garnish. We love it with sesame seeds and diced green onions.

  5. Serve. Serve with our Asian Slaw With Sriracha Dressing, Asian Chopped Salad or Asian Cucumber Salad alongside!

beef bulgogi being cooked in a skillet

How to Assemble the Best Beef Bulgogi Bowl:

  • Kimchi – Store-bought, or homemade

  • Avocado – Creamy avocado would be a delicious contrasting texture and flavor

  • Vegetables – Julienned carrots, radishes, purple cabbage, bell peppers—all would lend color and bright, crisp texture

  • Hot sauce – Sriracha or sambal oelek for an extra kick of spice

  • Shiitake mushrooms

  • Fried egg – A runny fried egg on top would definitely take this hearty bulgogi bowl over the top—and we are IN. TO. THAT.

homemade Beef bulgogi sprinkled with green onions on a serving plate

How to Store Homemade Beef Bulgogi Leftovers + Tips

  • Beef bulgogi leftovers are good in the fridge for up to four days, and will last in the freezer for up to three months. Pull leftovers out of the freezer a day before you’re ready to eat, and let them thaw in the fridge.

  • You’ll definitely want to prepare a pot of perfectly steamed White Rice to serve with this.

  • Serve with lettuce leaves to wrap slices of beef for a crunchy, refreshing light bite.

  • Our Korean Style Pot Roast features similar flavors, and is a great hands-off meal. Also be sure to try our Korean Style Baked Chicken Wings.

  • In Korea, beef bulgogi is often served at celebrations and other social events, so invite a crew and cook up a meal to share!!

a bowl of white rice topped with beef bulgogi, kimchi, bean sprouts, red cabbage and cucumbers

More Spicy Beef Recipes From The Modern Proper

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Beef Bulgogi

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  40 min
  • Cook Time:  40 min
  • Calories: 266


  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1½ pounds rib eye or top sirloin steak (or any tender prime beef cut), very thinly sliced
  • 1 small sweet onion, very thinly sliced
  • Vegetable oil for brushing
  • 6 green onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cups cooked rice, for serving
  • 1½ cup kimchi
  • 1½ cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1½ cups sliced Persian cucumbers
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • Sriracha, for serving (optional)


  1. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, honey, sugar, pepper flakes, garlic, and sesame oil. In a 9x13 baking dish, arrange the steak in a single layer and evenly top with the sliced onions. Pour the sauce over top and marinate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet on high heat. Once smoking brush with oil. Remove the steak and onions from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off. Working in batches, add to the skillet in a single layer and cook until beef is cooked through and lightly charred, 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with the green onions.

  3. Divide the rice among 6 bowls. Layer the steak, kimchi, cabbage, cucumbers, and sprouts on top of the rice; drizzle with the sriracha if using.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories266
  • Protein28 g
  • Carbohydrates23 g
  • Total Fat7 g
  • Dietary Fiber2 g
  • Cholesterol60 mg
  • sodium695 mg
  • Total Sugars18 g

Beef Bulgogi

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Rachel

    Hi, is the red pepper flakes quality right? We enjoy spicy foods, but that seemed a bit much. Maybe 1tsp would be better.

    Feel free to use less if you felt it was too spicy for you!

  • Lorraine

    Five stars!! Made this with top sirloin and marinated overnight. So delicious!! Accompanied with your cucumber salad, easy dinner for entertaining. Thank you!

    Thanks Lorraine, so happy you enjoyed it!

  • John

    Absolutely terrific.

    Thanks John!

  • Jenn

    I have never made bulgogi and this was so incredible, I'm so excited to have this in my rotation!

    Yay! Thanks Jenn!