This Korean Beef Bulgogi recipe is a version of my mom's recipe I enjoyed so much growing up (and still enjoy today!). It's so simple to make at home and the beef is tender, packed with tons of classic Korean bbq flavor! It's the best homemade version you'll find!
1½poundsboneless ribeyeshaved or very thinly sliced
½small yellow onionthinly sliced
3 tbspbrown sugar
¼tspcracked black pepper
1small Asian pear (about 6 ounces)peeled cored and chopped (or 1 sweet apple such as gala)
½small yellow onionchopped
1green onionthinly sliced
1tsptoasted sesame seeds
Place beef and thinly sliced onion into a mixing bowl and toss together.
Place all marinade ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour marinade over beef and onion mixture and mix together until all beef is well and evenly coated.
Cover beef and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once skillet is hot add half vegetable oil and swirl to coat. Add half beef and onion mixture and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring beef as needed until cooked through. Transfer beef to a plate. Add remaining oil to skillet followed by remaining beef and onion and repeat until beef has just cooked through and sliced onions just begin to soften. Remove from heat and combine with rest of the cooked bulgogi.
Top bulgogi with remaining green onion and sesame seeds and serve with rice.
Best Cuts of Beef to Use for Bulgogi
Boneless ribeye steak is our cut of choice for this recipe and the most popular because it is tender and flavorful with nice marbling. Sirloin is also commonly used to make bulgogi and is slightly leaner that ribeye. You can also use flank steak in a pinch with good results, but the texture won't be quite as tender.
Where to Find Pre-Shaved Beef for Bulgogi
Shaved (or very thinly sliced) beef can be found at practically all Korean, Chinese and Japanese markets and most other asian markets. Some Trader Joes locations also sell shaved ribeye.
If you're unable to find pre-shaved or thinly sliced beef, you can buy a boneless steak and slice it yourself. If you do decide to slice it yourself make sure to partially freezing the beef first in your freezer (about 15 to 30 minutes) before attempting to slice it. Partially freezing the beef makes it way easier to slice very thin and even pieces.
Marinate beef for at least 6 hours. Transfer mixture to a freezer-proof ziploc bag, removing all the air, and seal. Freeze for up to 2 months. When ready to use, thaw beef in the refrigerator overnight. Drain off any excess liquid from the bag. Cook bulgogi in skillet with oil over high heat for 4 to 6 minutes, flipping halfway through, and serve.
Grilling vs Pan Searing
Bulgogi can be cooked on both a grill or in a pan/skillet. If using a pan or skillet natural juices will release and gather in the pan, which is often enjoyed with the cooked beef. If using a grill, there will be a distinct ‘char-grilled’ flavor. The flavors will be ever so slightly different depending on how the beef is cooked, but equally delicious!