Ground Beef Bulgogi from 8220Learning Korean8221
Ground Beef Bulgogi from 8220Learning Korean8221

The salty-sweet and garlicky flavors you love in bulgogi come together in this affordable, easy ground beef bulgogi recipe from Peter Serpico’s Learning Korean cookbook.

Ground beef gets a bad rap from snobby foodies, but having grown up eating it, I prefer to see the positives — it’s an incredibly affordable and versatile starting point for families looking to save money (aka all families). It’s all about what you make of it.

In this recipe we use it to make a version of bulgogi, one of the most popular dishes in Korean cuisine, both in restaurants and at home. Typically prepared with fancier cuts of beef, bulgogi rests for hours (ideally overnight) in a mild, balanced marinade before being crisped and caramelized on the grill. This recipe delivers all that flavor on a hamburger budget. Sweet and salty, it’s a flexible base that can be served with salad wraps, rice, pasta, or rolled into homemade kimbap.

Ground Beef Bulgogi from Learn Korean

preparation time
8 minutes

cooking time
8 minutes

Time to marinate
4 hours

total time
4 hrs 16 mins

4 servings

I prefer 90/10 ground beef.

Skipping the marinade time is fine, but the flavor is more intense with the right marinade time.

Recipe courtesy of Learning Korean: Home Cooking Recipes by Peter Serpico (WW Norton & Company, 2022). All rights reserved.


  • 1 lb minced meat (see recipe note)

  • 1/2 Middle yellow onion, sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 2 shallots, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces (white and
    light green parts)

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil


  1. Marinate ground beef for 4 to 8 hours:

    Put all the ingredients except the vegetable oil in a bowl and mix well. Cover and leave the beef to marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

  2. Cook the beef, then serve:

    The next day, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sear the ground beef thoroughly, stirring occasionally to break up any large chunks.

    Serve the bulgogi hot with lettuce or cabbage wraps and steamed rice.

nutritional information (per serving)
373 calories
24g Fat
6g carbohydrates
31g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!