Korean Bulgogi Marinade

Try this phenomenal Korean Bulgogi marinade on beef. Slice (or keep whole), marinate, cook and serve in lettuce wraps or over rice. You can use this bulgogi on any cut of beef; simply adjust your marinating times as needed.

Bulgogi marinated beef in a bowl

What is Bulgogi?

This popular beef dish appears on most Korean restaurant menus here in the U.S. What exactly is it? It is thin slices of beef marinated in a flavorful soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and rice wine mixture (bulgogi marinade). Popular beef cuts used for bulgogi include sirloin, ribeye steak, or brisket. The meat is traditionally cooked on an indoor grill or stovetop, but some folks use their outdoor grill as well. Besides beef, Korean chefs are known to use pork belly, chicken breast, and meat substitutes like tofu.

Ingredients for Korean bulgogi marinade:

  • Soy sauce
  • White sugar (you can substitute with brown sugar)
  • Sake (or rice wine or sherry) 
  • Sesame oil (toasted)
  • Garlic (lots of it!)
  • Green onions 
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Black pepper 
Marinated beef bulgogi cooked on indoor grill

How to Make a Korean bulgogi marinade

  • Toast sesame seeds in a hot skillet. Toss to distribute heat evenly. The toasting process happens quickly, so keep a close eye on the seeds. Once browned, remove from heat, transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a small saucepan and add minced garlic—cook garlic over medium heat for 45 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Add remaining ingredients, except green onion, and cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the sugar has completely dissolved, remove Korean bulgogi marinade from the heat and stir in green onions. Let marinade cool for 15-20 minutes before using.

Marinating times: 

  • For steaks and ribsmarinate meat for 2-4 hours in Korean bulgogi marinade.
  • Pork belly: 2-4 hours
  • Chicken: 2 hours
  • Vegetables: 1 hour
  • Tofu: 2 hours
  • Fish and seafood: 30 minutes
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Tips:

  • Make this Korean Bulgogi Marinade ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 1 week after preparation. This marinade also works on vegetables or meat substitutes.
  • Slice the meat as thin as you can for the best results. If you are using an outdoor grill for cooking your bulgogi, slice the meat thin but wide. See recipe photo for guidance.
  • Jazz this Korean bulgogi marinade up by adding a few teaspoons of my popular Korean Rub
  • Like this recipe? Try my Korean Flanken Rib Recipe.
Bulgogi Marinade

Korean Bulgogi Marinade

Korean barbecue is about fast cooking, high temperatures, and lots of flavor. Our Bulgogi Marinade Recipe brings the flavor. You can use this on practically anything. We love a Bulgogi Marinate Ribeye! You can also fire up the smoker for some smoked bulgogi beef. Fantastic!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Marinades/Brines
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: marinade recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 Cup
Calories: 772kcal
Author: Sabrina Baksh

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sake (use rice wine or sherry as substitutes)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 6-8 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 green onions finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Toast sesame seeds in a hot skillet. Toss to distribute heat evenly. The toasting process happens quickly, so keep a close eye on the seeds. Once browned, remove from heat, transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a small saucepan and add minced garlic. Cook garlic for over medium heat for 45 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Add remaining ingredients, except green onion, and cook over low heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the sugar is completely dissolved, remove from heat and stir in green onions. Let marinade cool for 15-20 minutes before using.
  • For thinner cuts like steaks, marinate meat for 2-4 hours
  • For larger cuts and roasts, marinate for 6-12 hours.

Nutrition

Calories: 772kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Sodium: 6494mg | Potassium: 551mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 70g | Vitamin A: 487IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 254mg | Iron: 6mg

Photo by: minheepark90/Depositphotos

Korean Bulgogi Marinade

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