15 minute dinner idea that is easy, delicious and family friendly? Yup. You have come to the right recipe. Ground Beef Bulgogi is a simple and delightful twist on traditional Korean Bulgogi.
Using ground beef makes this dish accessible and quick to prepare without losing the unique and delicious flavors of the original. Sweet, savory, and a touch of spice blend together in this recipe, creating a meal that’s satisfying and full of taste.
Whether you’re new to Korean cuisine or a seasoned enthusiast, Ground Beef Bulgogi is an easy way to enjoy classic flavors. Try it, and you’ll find a new favorite that’s perfect for any mealtime!
We have perfected ours over the years, and will tell you all about it. You will be amazed at how a simple ground meat stir fry can be all that tasty.
You’ll Love this Recipe for…
- Ease of Preparation: Using ground beef instead of thinly sliced beef shortens the prep time without sacrificing taste. Perfect for those weeknight dinners when you want something quick yet tasty exotic.
- Flavorful Sauce: The ground beef is cooked with our delicious Bulgogi Sauce creating a perfect balance of sweet, salty, and savory flavors.
- Versatility: Ground Beef Bulgogi can be served with rice, noodles, bowls or even wrapped in lettuce. This allows for a variety of meal options, making it suitable for any occasion, and great for meal prep.
- Cultural Experience: This dish is an easy introduction to Korean cuisine, known for its rich flavors, and is a great starter dish if you want to cook Korean food for the first time.
What is Bulgogi?
Bulgogi (불고기), pronounced as bool-GOH-gee, is a classic Korean dish made of thin marinated slices of meat, mostly beef, grilled on a barbecue or on a stove top griddle. It is also often stir-fried in a pan in home cooking.
Bulgogi is a combination of two Korean words, Bul meaning “fire” and Gogi, translating to “meat”. Hence, this dish is famously called “fire meat.” But don’t worry, Bulgogi is not really spicy, rather slightly sweet with typical Asian umami flavors. “Fire” here is a reference to the hot cooking surface that’s used to cook it.
Ground Beef Bulgogi is a twist on this classic. Here, ground meat is used instead of some expensive steak like rib eye. It’s a brilliant way to make this meal budget friendly for every day weeknights.
Also, ground beef doesn’t require the marination process, as it is already tender and it absorbs flavors quickly. This makes it a quicker variation.
- For Bulgogi Sauce – This is the most important part to make delicious Bulgogi. We use soy, mirin, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, grated pear, scallions, sesame seeds, black pepper and Gochujang (optional for spicy version). You will find the exact amounts in our recipe card down below.
- Ground beef – We like lean ground beef for this recipe. If using higher fat ground beef, simply skim off the extra grease while cooking the meat.
- Oil – Cooking oil of your choice.
- For garnish – Green parts of scallions and sesame seeds.
Ground Beef Bulgogi Recipe
1. Make Bulgogi sauce: In a bowl, whisk all sauce ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
2. Cook ground beef: Heat the oil in a skillet or wok over high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon, and cook until beef is browned and no more liquid remains in the pan. Discard any excess liquid or grease, if any.
3. Finish the dish: Add the bulgogi sauce to the meat and combine well. Simmer it for 2-3 minutes, until sauce thickens. Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
- Choose the right beef: Selecting a good-quality, lean ground beef ensures a more flavorful and less greasy result.
- Don’t skip or skimp on any ingredients: Using pear and mirin is very important to get authentic Korean flavors going. Use the right amounts, as we have perfected the taste.
- Don’t overcook: Ground beef cooks quickly, so be mindful not to overcook it, as it may become tough. Aim for a juicy and tender texture.
- Use a hot pan: Cooking the ground beef in a hot pan helps to sear it quickly, creating a beautiful caramelization on the outside.
- Protein Swap: Replace ground beef with ground pork, chicken, or turkey for a new flavor profile.
- Spice It Up: Add the optional gochujang to give it some kick.
- Vegetarian Version: Substitute ground beef with a plant-based alternative, or finely chopped tofu or mushrooms.
- Add Vegetables: Mix in veggies like shredded carrots, bell peppers, or mushrooms during cooking to add texture and nutrition.
- Stir Fry Noodles: Mix the cooked ground beef Bulgogi with stir-fried noodles for a complete one-pan meal.
- Add Nuts: A sprinkle of crushed peanuts or cashews can add a crunchy texture and nutty flavor.
How to Serve Ground Beef Bulgogi
1. With Steamed Rice: Serve over a bed of steamed white or brown rice for a simple, comforting meal.
2. In Lettuce Wraps: Place the ground beef Bulgogi in crisp lettuce leaves, adding a fresh crunch and light feel.
3. With Noodles: Pair it with stir-fried noodles like udon or soba.
4. In Tacos: Use the ground beef Bulgogi as a filling for tacos, topped with a Korean-style slaw for a fusion twist.
5. With Stir-Fried Vegetables: Serve alongside or mixed with stir-fried vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, or broccoli for a nutritious balance.
6. With Banchan: Serve the ground beef Bulgogi with an assortment of Korean side dishes, known as banchan, for an authentic Korean feast.
7. In a Rice Bowl (Bibimbap): Combine with rice, various vegetables, and a fried egg for a colorful and flavorful Korean rice bowl.
Ground beef bulgogi is great as leftovers, making it an ideal meal prep option for the whole week. Go ahead and make a double batch, and you can serve it various different ways.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the ground beef bulgogi for up to 3 months. Simply thaw overnight in the fridge.
Reheat in the microwave until heated through out, or in a skillet over medium heat with a splash of extra water.
More Quick Ground Meat Stir Fry Meals
The next time you have some ground meat to cook for dinner, try the most famous Korean flavors. This is very family friendly meal enjoyed by all ages.
For more easy weeknight dinners, check out our hand picked collection of Dinner Ideas for Tonight. Until next time…
Ground Beef Bulgogi, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp mirin
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1/2 pear (preferably Asian), grated
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp Gochujang (optional for spicy version)
Ground Beef Bulgogi
- 1.5 pounds lean ground beef
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 green part of scallion, for garnish
- sesame seeds, for garnish
- In a bowl, whisk all sauce ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a skillet or wok over high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until beef is browned and no more liquid remains in the pan. (Discard any excess liquid or grease)
- Add the bulgogi sauce to the meat and combine well. Simmer it for 2-3 minutes, until sauce thickens.
- Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
- If you can't find Asian pear, Bosc is the next best substitute. The pear should be slightly under ripe.
- We like the full tablespoon of gochujang. If you want just a little kick, start with one teaspoon.
- The same recipe can be used with any other ground meat of your choice.
- Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 613Total Fat 35gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 21gCholesterol 151mgSodium 1253mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 2gSugar 14gProtein 52g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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