An easy small serving Korean Beef Bulgogi recipe you can whip up in 20 minutes! Thin slices of beef are marinated in simple bulgogi sauce then stir-fried with onions and carrots. It has the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness with a hint of spice from gochujang paste.
Beef Bulgogi Marinade Ingredients
- Soy sauce – The main salt in beef bulgogi. It also tenderizes the meat and gives it a brownish color. I recommend using regular soy sauce and light soy sauce for Bulgogi.
- Sugar – Bulgogi is a sweet and savory dish. This balances the salt in the soy sauce.
- Sesame oil – gives Korean dishes its signature nutty aroma.
- Garlic, Ginger, and Onion – essential spices that enhance the over-all flavor of Bulgogi
- Gochujang paste – adds depth of flavor and a hint of spice.
Other recipes also call for rice wine such as mirin and grated fruits like pear and apple. All of which add sweetness to the dish and are optional.
Best cuts of beef for Beef Bulgogi
Any tender beef cuts such as sirloin, ribeye, top loin, tenderloin are great for bulgogi. For much quicker meal preparation, ground beef can also be used—no slicing or cutting needed and no messy chopping board to wash.
The easiest way to thinly slice beef
- Wrap beef in a plastic wrap or place it in a covered container.
- Freeze for 30 minutes until firm. Freeze longer if using a large portion of beef.
- Using a sharp knife, thinly slice beef against the grain.
How to make Korean Beef Bulgogi
This recipe uses thinly sliced beef that doesn’t need long marination time and can be cooked within 20 minutes. It is the perfect meal for the busiest of nights!
First, combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Stir with a spoon until well combined. Pour over the beef slices and massage the meat with your hands then marinate for 30 minutes. To make ahead, marinate overnight then cook the next day.
Heat the oil in a pan. Stir-fry the onions and carrots until slightly caramelized. Add beef slices and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle green onions and sesame seeds. Serve with rice or noodles.
I love having this with kimchi and fried eggs on the side.
That’s it! Easy peasy!
Quick and Easy Korean Beef Bulgogi
- 250 grams thinly sliced beef (I used rib eye)
- cooking oil
- 1 small onion (thinly sliced)
- slices of carrots (optional)
- onion leaves (divided)
- sesame seeds (for garnish)
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Pour over sliced beef, massage into steaks using your hands. Marinate for 30 mins. Meanwhile, slice the carrots, onion and onion leaves.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add carrots and onions, stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Add beef and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
- Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds. Pour over rice or noodles and serve.
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- To easily slice the beef, freeze for 30minutes until firm. Slice with a sharp knife against the grain.
- Best cuts for beef bulgogi: Any tender beef cuts such as sirloin, ribeye, top loin, tenderloin. For much quicker meal preparation, ground beef can also be used.
- To make ahead, marinate the beef overnight then cook the next day.
- Other recipes also call for rice wine such as mirin and grated fruits like pear and apple. All of which are optional but are also recommended for bulgogi if available.
- For saucier bulgogi, add 1/4 cup water with 2 tsp cornstarch. Adjust soy sauce and sugar.
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