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Beef Bulgogi

Crispy, delicious beef infused with intense flavors—this bulgogi beef recipe stands apart from the crowd. Marinate overnight, and let your grill do the rest!


Beef Bulgogi rice bowl with cucumber and kimchi

Spice Up Your Routine!

Even steak night needs a little change-up now and then, and this bulgogi recipe is our favorite way to do that! It’s easy, big on flavor, and definitely a break from the usual. ‘Bulgogi’ is beef sliced thin enough to absorb the maximum amount of flavor that the honey-sweetened and slightly spicy soy sauce marinade provides—and to absorb it quickly—that is then barbecued in the Korean tradition. The outcome is bulgogi beef that is slightly crispy in texture with a rich and complex flavor. There's really just nothing quite like it.

ingredients laid out foe beef bulgogi cucumbers kimchi soy sauce, onions

The Best Ever Beef Bulgogi Marinade

Any great bulgogi bowl is all about the beef itself, and bulgogi beef is all about the marinade. A beautiful balance of sweet, salty, spicy and sharp flavors is what you’re looking for, and our bulgogi recipe delivers that in spades! Here’s what goes into this simple bulgogi marinade:

  • Soy sauce
  • Honey
  • Brown sugar
  • red pepper flakes
  • Fresh garlic
  • Sesame oil
onions thinly cut beef , garlic, brown sugar mixed in a bowl
onions thinly cut beef , garlic, brown sugar in a bowl

How to Make Bulgogi Beef

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 grilling. However, in a pinch, two hours will do. Here’s how to make bulgogi beef!

  1. Cutting against the grain, slice your steak into thin strips. Arrange it in a pan with some super-thin sweet onion slices.
  2. Marinate your meat! Whisk together the soy sauce, honey, sugar, red pepper, garlic and sesame oil and pour it all over the steak strips.
  3. Wait. Overnight, or at least two hours.
  4. Grill time! Grilling the marinated bulgogi beef is the best way to achieve an authentic smoky flavor and crispy-edged texture. But, if the weather isn’t cooperating, no worries! You can also sear the steak strips in a hot, oiled pan on the stove top.
  5. Serve! Garnished with sesame seeds and diced green onions.
beef bulgogi in a cast iron pan

How to Assemble the Best Bulgogi Beef Bowl:

The only rule—as far as we’re concerned—is there are no rules! Begin with a bed of steamed white rice, and add:

  • Store-bought kimchi (or homemade, if you’re feeling super adventuous.)
  • 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.
  • Sriracha or sambal oelek for an extra kick of spice.
  • Shiitake mushrooms.
  • A fried egg. A runny fried egg on top would definitely take this hearty bulgogi bowl over the top—and we are IN. TO. THAT.
Beef bulgogi with green onions on a plate
beef bulgogi bowl with kimchi and cucumbers

Tools You’ll Need:

More Bowl Recipes We Love

Healthy, customizable, and flavorful—what’s not to love about dinner in a bowl? Here are four recipes we love:

beef bulgogi bowl with kimchi and cucumbers

Commit to Mixing Up Your Dinner Routine!

Your family will thank you! And with ideas like this bulgogi beef recipe, it’s not even a tall order. If you try it, let us know! Snap a photo of your bulgogi bowl and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Beef Bulgogi

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  40 min
  • Cook Time:  40 min
  • Calories: 280


Bulgogi Beef (Korean BBQ Beef)

  • 1.5 lb rib eye or top sirloin (or any tender prime beef cut), thinly sliced, 1/8 inch) thickness
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, sliced as thin as possible
  • green onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1 cup red cabbage
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • Sriracha (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cup kimchi
  • 1 cup cucumbers, sliced


  1. For the beef, combine soy sauce, honey, sugar, red pepper, garlic and sesame oil in a small bowl. In a shallow baking dish, arrange meat in a single layer with the sliced sweet onions on top of the meat. Pour the sauce over the top of the meat and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Preheat a grill on high heat. Place marinated meat on oiled grill and allow to cook thoroughly, until edges are crispy. Alternatively, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet set over high heat, until pan begins to smoke. Add the meat in small batches moving it around until cooked through on all sides and edges begin to get crispy. Continue with remaining beef. On a serving platter sprinkle the cooked beef with the green onions.
  3. To arrange the bowls, simply layer the meat, kimchi, cabbage, cucumbers and sprouts over the rice and drizzle with sriracha if you like it spicy.
  4. Other vegetables that would be wonderful with this dish are carrots, radishes, bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, avocado or cilantro. I even think a fried egg would be delicious. Have fun with the possibilities and enjoy!

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories280
  • Protein23 g
  • Carbohydrates35 g
  • Total Fat5 g
  • Dietary Fiber2 g
  • Cholesterol45 mg
  • sodium521 mg
  • Total Sugars14 g

Beef Bulgogi

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Rachel Harling

    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 D

    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 Norton

    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!