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Korean Beef Bulgogi Bowl Recipe

This Beef Bulgogi Bowl recipe (bibimbap) makes a delicious one-bowl meal. It’s a super easy weeknight dinner. It features marinated, thin slices of tender beef cooked on a barbecue, griddle, or skillet and served over a bed of rice.

low angle shot of a blue bowl with Korean beef bulgogi over rice with sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, and cilantro.

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An assortment of vegetables and kimchi, and, if you like, a runny fried egg or soft-boiled egg on top, make this a full meal in a bowl.

This Korean beef bowl is a classic. The Korean BBQ beef recipe calls for marinating the beef in a soy sauce marinade that packs a flavorful punch. It combines grated pear, fresh garlic, green onions, rice wine, rice vinegar, and honey.

Marinating the beef for at least 30 minutes, or longer if time allows, infuses all of those flavors deep into the meat.

What is bibimbap?

Bibimbap literally translates from Korean as “mixed rice.” On a menu, it means a bowl of rice, often cooked until crisp on the bottom in a stone bowl, topped with an assortment of meat and vegetables.

Korean Beef Bulgogi Bowls are a great way to serve a complete, nutritious meal in a single bowl. My family loves them with a combination of raw, cooked, and pickled or fermented vegetables (kimchi) on top along with the bulgogi beef. We also often top them with a fried egg.

Overhead shot of the ingredients needed to make the dish.

What ingredients do you need to make this bulgogi rice bowl recipe?

  • Thinly sliced beef (I like to use rib-eye steaks)
  • Pear (such as bosc)
  • Garlic
  • Green onions (scallions)
  • Dark soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Mirin (or use Japanese sake or Korean shochu)
  • Rice wine vinegar (or substitute apple cider vinegar)
  • Honey (or substitute palm sugar, brown sugar, or coconut sugar)
  • Sesame seeds (optional)
  • Steamed white rice (or substitute brown rice or Korean mixed grain rice)
  • Assorted vegetables, herbs, and pickles for garnish including cilantro, sliced cucumbers, grated carrots, sliced radishes, cooked spinach, marinated bean sprouts, and spicy kimchi (try this quick Cucumber Kimchi)
  • Sunny side up fried eggs, poached eggs, or soft boiled egg for topping (optional)
  • Gochujang (Korean chili paste, ssamjang, sriracha, or any spicy sauce for drizzling (optional)

How to make it

  • Mix the marinade ingredients together either in a large bowl or in a large Ziploc bag.
  • Combine the sliced beef with the marinade and let stand for at least 30 minutes or as long as 24 hours (refrigerate if marinating for longer than 30 minutes).
  • Make the rice and prep your vegetables.
  • Make Cucumber Kimchi if desired.
  • Preheat a BBQ, grill, griddle, or cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat.
  • Cook the meat in a single layer, stirring frequently, just until it is cooked through and browned on the edges. This will take just about 30 seconds or so if the meat is thinly sliced. You can cook the meat in batches, transferring them to a plate as they are finished cooking.
  • Just before serving, make fried eggs, if desired.
  • Serve the cooked beef over a bowl of rice. Add the vegetables, fried eggs, and kimchi along with sesame seeds, sliced scallions, and a drizzle of sauce if desired.

What to serve it with

This beef bulgogi bowl recipe makes a complete meal, so there’s really no need to serve anything else. If you want to make it a more authentic Korean dining experience, serve several banchan, or Korean side dishes, alongside.

I like to serve Cucumber Kimchi and Stir-Fried Lotus Root as side dishes.

If you’re interested in exploring more Korean food, Korean Bapsang is a great Korean cooking blog that has lots of Korean BBQ recipes and recipes for Korean banchan like Sigeumchi Namul (Korean Spinach) and Musaengchae (Spicy Radish Salad).

Overhead shot of the bulgogi bowl.

Tips for success

  • For best results, make sure to slice your beef very thinly. Putting the meat in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing helps firm it up to make it easier to slice.
  • To ensure that the meat is sliced thinly enough is to purchase pre-sliced meat at an Asian grocery store or a Korean market. Bulgogi is a classic and well-loved dish for many Asian families, so most Asian grocery stores (especially a Korean grocery store) carry thinly sliced beef for the purpose of cooking Bulgogi.
  • Another good idea, if you are pressed for time, is to make a ground beef version. You can make this into a ground beef bulgogi recipe by simply substituting ground beef for the sliced steak. Marinate the ground beef for 15 to 20 minutes and then stir-fry it in a large skillet. You could even substitute ground turkey or ground chicken if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Mirin is a Japanese cooking wine. It is similar to sake but has more sugar and a lower alcohol content. It is a staple in most Asian pantries and you buy it in any Asian market. You can also substitute sake, Korean shochu, Shiaoxing wine, or even just a dry white wine.
low angle shot of a blue bowl with Korean beef bulgogi over rice with sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, and cilantro.
Yield: Serves 4

Beef Bulgogi Bowl

Low angle, closeup photo of beef bulgogi in a blue bowl.

This beef bulgogi bowl recipe features marinated thin slices of tender beef cooked on a barbecue, griddle, or skillet and served over a bed of rice. Served over rice with veggies and kimchi, it's a one-bowl meal.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

For the meat and marinade

  • ½ pear (Bosc or Asian pear recommended), grated
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green onions, cut into 2-inch long pieces
  • 5 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 pound thinly sliced rib-eye steak

For serving

  • Steamed white rice, for serving
  • Finely sliced green onions
  • Sesame seeds
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Sliced cucumbers (optional)
  • Shredded carrots (optional)
  • Kimchi or cucumber kimchi (optional)
  • Gochujang sauce, ssamjang, or sriracha (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl or a large ziploc bag, combine the pear, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, rice vinegar, and honey and stir or shake to mix well. Add the sliced beef to the marinade and toss to coat.
  2. Let the beef marinate for at least 30 minutes (or as long as 24 hours. Refrigerate if marinating more than 30 minutes).
  3. Preaheat the barbecue, grill, griddle, or a cast-iron skillet to high heat. Add the meat and cook, turning frequently, and cook for just about 30 seconds per side, until it is cooked through and browned and caramelized on the edges. You may need to cook the meat in batches. Transfer the cooked meat to plate and continue cooking the remaining meat.
  4. Serve the meat in bowls over rice. Add sliced cucumbers, cilantro, shredded carrots, sliced radishes, sliced green onions, kimchi, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds as desired.
  5. Serve with hot sauce, sriracha, gochujang sauce, or ssamjang, if desired.

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