The Washington Post

Ground Beef Bulgogi

Ground Beef Bulgogi 4.000

Photo by Rey Lopez for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Aug 16, 2022

In his cookbook, "Learning Korean," Peter Serpico uses ground beef to make a version of bulgogi, which is more often made with steak. “This recipe delivers all that flavor on a hamburger budget,” he writes. The beef can be wrapped in lettuce or cabbage leaves, served with rice, noodles and kimchi, or rolled in seaweed with rice and vegetables to make kimbap. Serpico recommends mixing the beef with the seasonings and then letting it marinate up to overnight in the refrigerator for even more flavor. This dish works very well with plant-based ground meat, as well.

Total time: 20 mins

Make Ahead: The seasoned beef mixture can be marinated as long as overnight, for more flavor.

Storage Notes: Refrigerate for up to 3 days.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90 percent lean or higher) or 12 ounces to 1 pound plant-based meat, such as Beyond Meat brand
  • 1 medium yellow onion (8 ounces), halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (white and light green parts)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Cooked white rice, for serving (see NOTE)
  • Kimchi, for serving (optional)
  • Fresh lettuce or cabbage leaves, for serving (optional)


In a large bowl, stir together the beef or plant-based meat, onion, garlic, scallions, sesame oil, soy sauce, maple syrup and salt until combined.

In a large saute skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the beef mixture and cook, stirring occasionally to break up any large chunks, until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Serve the bulgogi in bowls with rice, kimchi, and lettuce or cabbage leaves for wrapping, if using.

NOTE: If you need to make a fresh batch of rice, for 2 cups of cooked long-grain white rice, rinse 3/4 cup of rice until the water runs clear. Then, place it in a medium, lidded saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil and stir to coat the rice. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and a pinch of salt, if desired, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Recipe Source

Adapted from "Learning Korean" by Peter Serpico (W.W. Norton & Company, 2022).

Tested by Ann Maloney.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (3/4 cup bulgogi): 308

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 22g 34%

Saturated Fat: 8g 40%

Cholesterol: 75mg 25%

Sodium: 506mg 21%

Total Carbohydrates: 7g 2%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 4g

Protein: 22g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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