This is the best and easiest Korean beef bulgogi recipe. It consists of thin slices of ribeye beef marinated in our own very special homemade marinade and then stir-fried to perfection. Bulgogi is a classic Korean dish and is a staple in many Korean households.
A brief history of Korean beef bulgogi
Pronounced “buul-GOH-ghee”, bulgogi is literally translated as “fire meat” in Korean (“bul” means “fire” and “gogi” means “meat”). According to the peer-reviewed Korean Journal, this dish’s origins date back to the Goguryeo dynasty (37 B.C. to 668 A.D.). It went through a few transitional periods, such as grilled beef that originated from neobiani, then to being boiled in a meat broth around the 1960s. Bulgogi was revived with full-force after the 1990s. It was then that bulgogi was adapted through various different cooking methods and collectively was regarded as the most popular food in Korea.
What makes this the best and easiest Korean beef bulgogi recipe
A lot of traditional recipes you may see tend to use Asian pear in their recipes. Today, we are sharing a super easy and more simplified bulgogi recipe with you. It can be hard to find Asian pears, especially when they are not in season. We use thinly sliced ribeye for this recipe due to its tenderness and fat content. However, sirloin and brisket are also popular cuts to use in bulgogi recipes. You should be able to find all of the ingredients needed for our Korean beef bulgogi recipe easily at the grocery store or Asian markets at any time of the year.
Thinly sliced beef
Thinly sliced beef is one of the most important components in making great bulgogi. It is possible for you to slice the meat thinly yourself at home too. If you decide to slice it yourself, many suggest freezing the beef for only about 20 minutes to make it easier to slice. You don’t want it completely frozen, you just want it frozen enough so that the knife can glide through a firmer, almost frozen piece of meat. However, it is even easier to have the grocery store, or butcher slice the meat for you. Many bigger grocery stores will happily slice it for you. We have asked Kroger’s meat counter to slice the ribeye paper-thin for us and most are happy to help. If you have a locally-owned Asian market or Korean supermarket nearby like an H Mart, they also usually have pre-sliced beef frozen and ready to go.
What to serve with this easy beef bulgogi
As you would probably expect, we recommend serving this delicious beef bulgogi with freshly steamed white rice. Traditionally, beef bulgogi is served accompanied by a variety of different side dishes (banchan). Try one, any or all of these great side dish (banchan) recipes that would go great with this beef bulgogi:
- Easy Napa Cabbage Korean Kimchi (Cut-Up Kimchi)
- Crunchy Fried Spring Rolls
- Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad
- Easy Asian Pan-Fried Zucchini
- Korean Seasoned Spinach Side Dish (Sigeumchi-namul)
- Korean White Kimchi (Baek Kimchi)
We hope you enjoy this best and easiest Korean beef bulgogi recipe! Please be sure to comment or tag us on Instagram or Facebook (@asianrecipesathome) if you make this recipe.
- 2lb Ribeye beef, sliced paper-thin
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil
- 1 medium/large-sized yellow onion (about 1 ½ cups), sliced about ¼” thickness
- 1 medium-sized carrot (about 1 cup), cut like matchsticks
- 2 green onions (about ½ cup), sliced on the diagonal
- ½ Tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 green onion (about ¼ cup), sliced on diagonal (optional, garnish)
For the marinade:
- First, let’s prepare the beef. Rub the sugar into the beef and let it sit for about 2 hours in the fridge in a medium-sized bowl.
- While the beef is marinating in just the sugar, let’s make the actual marinade. Mix together sesame oil, soy sauce, water, black pepper, salt, garlic cloves, and sesame seeds in a small bowl. Once mixed thoroughly, pour this mixture onto the beef and mix together well. Let the beef marinate in the fridge for about 12 hours. The longer it marinates the better the flavor.
- Place a cast-iron pan (or any frying pan) onto high heat and then add 1 Tbsp avocado oil to the pan.
- Stir-fry the beef for about 1 minute on the high heat. After a minute, turn the heat down to medium and continue stir-frying the beef to allow the liquid to evaporate/absorb into the beef.
- Once the liquid from the beef and marinade has evaporated about 80%, then add in the onions, carrot, and green onion. Stir-fry the beef and vegetables together until all of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the remaining sesame seeds and mix into the finished bulgogi. Top with freshly sliced green onions (optional), serve and enjoy!
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