Making chicken bulgogi is so easy! Bring the flavors of Korean bbq in your own kitchen with this easy recipe for dak bulgogi. These smoky, sweet, savory, nutty, and tender chicken pieces grilled with cabbage, are the perfect dish to serve over a bed of steamed with rice.
I love Korean barbecue. I love meeting up friends over a shared meal of grilled meats and vegetables, while sipping on a cold beer and having fun conversations. It’s always such a fun experience!
This chicken bulgogi recipe is a mix of three recipes I found online. They all looked so delicious I decided to borrow a little from each one and combine them to see what would happen. And boy am I glad I did because the flavors came out tasting authentic and so punchy!
I also grilled some cabbage on the side because it pairs beautifully with the sweet and smoky taste of Korean bbq chicken. And since I don’t have an actual barbecue, I used a griddle pan instead to replicate the charred and smoky effect of an outdoor grill. And it worked really well!
What Is Bulgogi Chicken?
Bulgogi, which literally means “fire meat”, is a popular Korean dish consisting of meats such as chicken, beef, or pork, that have been thinly sliced and marinated in a gochujang and soy sauce based barbecue sauce, and cooked on a grill. It should be noted that seafood and tofu are also sometimes used to make bulgogi.
While the dish originated in the Northern areas of the Korean peninsula, it is just as popular in South Korea and can be found anywhere from upscale restaurants, street stalls, supermarkets, and home kitchens (often in the form of stir fries).
Chicken Bulgogi Ingredients
- Chicken: Boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts are good for slicing and getting more flavor from the marinade. But feel free to use any part of a chicken you like if you prefer to leave the bones and skin on.
- Cabbage: I like to use green cabbage for its natural sweetness and crunchy texture. Napa cabbage or bok choy can also be used but lose their firmness very quickly once put on a grill, and aren’t as sweet.
- Green onion: Chopped green onions are used as a garnish and to add color and a refreshing crunch.
Chicken Bulgogi Marinade
- Soy sauce: Good old regular soy sauce will do for this recipe. If you are watching you salt intake, use low sodium soy sauce, or tamari if you have a gluten intolerance (make sure to also buy gluten-free gochujang).
- Sugar: You can use granulated sugar, light brown sugar, or dark brown sugar if you like a richer caramel taste.
- Gochujang: Gochujang is a fermented Korean chili paste made from gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) that’s spicy, sweet, and nutty. I’m using 2 teaspoons which is just enough to give the marinade a good amount of heat (a little gochujang goes a long way), but feel free to add an additional teaspoon or 2 if you like your bulgogi more fiery.
- Mirin: Mirin tastes a little like sake and has a subtle sweetness.
- Fresh garlic: I’m using two cloves of garlic to infuse the marinade with plenty of spicy and pungent flavors.
- Sesame oil: About 2 teaspoons to add nuttiness. I recommend using toasted sesame oil if you love the taste of sesame seeds as it has a stronger taste.
- Fresh ginger: I like to grate a little ginger in the marinade to another layer of heat, different from the one found in the gochujang.
- Freshly ground black pepper: Adding freshly ground pepper is optional but adds an aromatic floral note to the marinade.
- Sesame seeds: You can use white or black sesame seeds to add nuttiness to the marinade.
How To Make Chicken Bulgogi (Instructions)
Scroll all the way down to the recipe card for the full recipe.
- Start by organizing and prepping your ingredients.
- Gather all of your kitchen tools and ingredients.
- Mix the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and slice the chicken into bite size pieces.
- Add the chicken to the marinade and refrigerate for at least two hours.
- When it’s time to grill, brush the griddle pan with a little oil and when the pan is hot, add the chicken and cabbage (don’t throw away the marinade!).
- Cook the bbq chicken and a little marinade if the grill pan looks dry.
- When the chicken is cooked through, turn the heat off and transfer it to a serving platter with the cabbage on the side.
- Sprinkle the scallions (green onions) on top and enjoy!
How To Serve Chicken Bulgogi (Korean Bbq Chicken)
My favorite way to eat dak bulgogi is stir fry style – with rice, grilled cabbage and kimchi. It’s so flavorful and I can’t get enough of the different textures. Chewy rice, tender chicken, crunchy cabbage and kimchi – I could eat bulgogi this way all day long!
Another delicious way to serve chicken bulgogi is wrapped in lettuce. Make a lettuce wrap by grabbing a few pieces of bbq chicken and placing them in the center of the leaf. You can eat it just like that or add a little ssamjang, soybean paste, or bibimbap sauce, for extra flavor.
Make sure to add a side dish or two (banchan) to complete this delicious Korean dinner. Here are some of my favorite Korean sides that are also super easy to make:
Korean Side Dishes (Banchan) You Might Like
If you can’t get enough of Korean cuisine, here are some you might also like to try:
- Soondubu jjigae
- Korean style fish donburi
- Vegetarian kimbap
- Korean seaweed soup (tofu miyeok-guk)
Did you try this chicken bulgogi recipe? Are there changes you made that you would like to share?Print
Easy Chicken Bulgogi With Cabbage
Bring authentic Korean barbecue flavors to your home with this easy and very delicious chicken bulgogi with cabbage recipe!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 6 minutes + 2 hours passive time
- Total Time: 2 hours 16 minutes
- Yield: 4 people 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Grilling
- Cuisine: Korean
- 1 pound boneless chicken breasts or thighs
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or other neutral oil
- 1 cup cabbage, chopped
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons ginger, peeled and grated
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- Put all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
- Cut the chicken into 2-inch pieces, trimming off the excess fat, and add it to the marinade.
- Mix well to coat the chicken and cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap. Marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
- Brush the grill pan or skillet with the oil and turn the heat to medium high. Add the chicken and cabbage and reserve the marinade. Cook the chicken on each side for 2 to 3 minutes or until it is cooked through. If the pan looks dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the marinade at a time.
- Transfer the chicken and cabbage to a plate and top with green onions. Serve
Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 156
- Sugar: 2.1g
- Sodium: 187.7mg
- Fat: 3.2g
- Saturated Fat: 0.7g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0.6g
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 4g
- Fiber: 0.5g
- Protein: 26.3g
- Cholesterol: 82.7mg
Keywords: Grilled chicken