Bulgogi Marinade

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This Korean Beef Bulgogi Marinade is a family favorite! The marinade comes together easily and is perfect for flavoring thin, tender slices of meat!

Bulgogi in topped with green onion in pan.

Harry is half Korean and his mom made the best Korean BBQ! Over the years we’ve tried to recreate her recipes and this is one we turn to often when we’re in the mood for a delicious bulgogi.

Bulgogi also known as “fire meat” is a savory, thin cut of meat that cooks up perfectly tender with a sweet marinade. It’s one of our favorite Korean meat dishes.

I’ve seen many bulgogi marinade recipes that call for Asian pear as the sweetener. We love using this in sauces like spicy cold noodle sauce but prefer not to use it for meats. We opted for sugar and light corn syrup as the sweetener. Harry’s mom would often use Coca-Cola and I’ll leave some tips in the recipe for how to do that if you want to try it.

If you enjoy Korean food, try these other sauces – Korean spicy cold noodle sauce, spicy chicken marinade and gochujang sauce.


What You Need

Ingredients

  • Soy sauce: For a savory salty touch.
  • Sesame oil: This adds just a hint of sesame flavor.
  • Sweetener: We use white sugar and light corn syrup. Brown sugar or dark soda such a Coca-Cola will work also.
  • Garlic: A whole bulb is used for the best garlicky flavor.
  • Onion: We prefer yellow onion but you can use vadallia or white onions.
  • Black pepper: Just a touch to enhance the flavors.

Recommended Tools

  • It’s recommended to use a food processor or blender to puree the marinade.
Ingredients for bulgogi marinade.

How to Make Beef Bulgogi Marinade

Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list below

  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until garlic and onions are finely minced.
  2. Add thinly sliced meat to a resealable bag or container with a tight-fitting lid. Pour the marinade over the top and massage it in until all the pieces of meat are well coated.
  3. Seal and place in the refrigerator for 4-24 hours. The longer it marinates, the better it will taste.
  4. When ready to use, stir-fry the meat and garnish with sliced green onion.

Tips For Success

  • Sugar: You can use light brown or white sugar.
  • Corn syrup: If you don’t have it, you can omit it. It helps add a sweet caramelized glaze to the cooked meat.
  • What beef to use? Look for marbled meat like sirloin, tenderloin, or skirt steak. Leaner cuts like brisket or flak steak will turn out too tough.
  • How to cook bulgogi? Grill over medium-high heat. It is best over an open flame on a grill or cast iron grill pan or skillet, but stir-frying will also work.
Pan of bulgogi, bowl or rice, and bowl of kimchi.

Storage & Freezing

We suggest using the marinade right away. The marinated meat should be stored in the refrigerator and cooked within 24 hours.

The marinated meat can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and cook right away.

Bulgogi Marinade

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Bulgogi in topped with green onion in pan.
This Korean Beef Bulgogi Marinade is a family favorite! The marinade comes together easily and is perfect for flavoring thin, tender slices of meat!
Sauce Fanatic
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Serving Size 5

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar, or light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 whole garlic bulb
  • ½ medium yellow onion
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Toss all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse until garlic and onions are finely minced.
  • Add marinade to a zip-top bag with 2 pounds of sliced ribeye or bulgogi meat and marinate in the refrigerator for 4-24 hours before cooking.

Notes

  • Corn syrup: If you don’t have it, you can omit it. It helps add a sweet caramelized glaze to the cooked meat.
  • Try with Coca-Cola! Add ½ cup of soda to the marinade. It adds sweetness and tenderizes the meat.
  • What beef to use? Look for marbled meat like sirloin, tenderloin, or skirt steak. Leaner cuts like brisket or flak steak will turn out too tough.
  • How to cook bulgogi? Grill over medium-high heat. It is best over an open flame on a grill or cast iron grill pan or skillet, but stir-frying will also work.
  • Storage: We suggest using the marinade right away. The marinated meat should be stored in the refrigerator and cooked within 24 hours.
  • Freezing: The marinated meat can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and cook right away.

Nutrition

Calories: 67kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 809mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.5mg

The nutrition information provided is for convenience and as a courtesy only. It is not guaranteed to be accurate because nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator and input the exact ingredients and brands you used in the recipe.

CourseDinner
CuisineAsian

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