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Grilled Korean bulgogi chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with sesame seeds, shaved green onion, & chili flakes.

Korean Bulgogi Marinade (for Beef, Chicken, Pork, & More!)

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  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 Minutes
  • Total Time: 10 Minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/4 cup marinade 1x
  • Category: Sauces & Condiments
  • Method: No-Cook, Grilling & Smoking
  • Cuisine: Korean, Asian-Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

A bold blend of savory, sweet, and salty flavors come together in this Korean Bulgogi Marinade. The perfect way to add some flare to your grilled dinners this summer! Made with mostly pantry ingredients and a few Korean staples, this bulgogi marinade recipe naturally tenderizes and creates craveable flavor when used with your favorite grilled meats and veggies.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds meat or veggies of choice
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • optional: 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 1 small Asian pear, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 2-inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated (about 2 tablespoons grated)
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper, to season

Korean Bulgogi marinade ingredients arranged on a light blue surface: soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, gochujang, a small Asian pear, yellow onion, green onion, garlic, fresh ginger, salt, & pepper.


Instructions

  1. Mix the Korean bulgogi marinade: Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, gochujang (if using), grated pear, grated onion, green onion, garlic, ginger, and kosher salt and ground black pepper to a medium bowl or jar. Whisk or shake to combine. Set aside, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.Korean Bulgogi marinade shown in a small ball jar, sitting atop a light blue surface with sliced green onions, sesame seeds, & half of a pear on the surface in the foreground & sliced green onions & sesames seeds in the background.
  2. Marinate: Pour the Korean marinade over your meat or veggies of choice. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for the recommended marinating time (see Recipe Notes, below).Chicken thighs in a large glass mixing bowl, marinating in Korean Bulgogi marinade. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface.
  3. Grill as desired. Enjoy!Grilled Korean bulgogi chicken thighs shown on a white speckled plate atop a light blue surface. The chicken is garnished with sesame seeds, shaved green onion, & chili flakes.


Notes

  • Suggested marinade time: Marinating time will vary based on the type of protein you’d like to use.  Having tested this bulgogi marinade on a variety of different proteins with a variety of different marinating times, here’s what we suggest:
    • Seafood – at least 20 minutes and no more than 45 minutes.
    • Chicken and pork – at least 4 hours and up to 6 hours for maximum flavor.
    • Beef and lamb – at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours for maximum flavor.
    • Veggies – at least 20 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  • 10-Minute Meal Prep: If you’d like to marinate something later in the week, I suggest making the marinade in advance, whenever you’re meal prepping for the week. Store it in a jar or an airtight container for up to 5 days – the flavors meld together even more as the marinade sits. At least 4 hours before you’re ready to hit the grill, simply pour the marinade over whatever meat or veggies you’re using it on – easy peasy!