Beef Bulgogi Rice Bowls
This easy Beef Bulgogi Rice Bowls recipe features tender, flavorful beef bulgogi with rice and fresh baby bok choy, plus a creamy tahini-soy sauce. It’s a favorite Korean BBQ meal made at home – a family favorite!
Easy Korean Bulgogi Bowl
There’s no need to grab takeout when you have this easy Beef Bulgogi Rice Bowls recipe! This meal is all kinds of Korean BBQ deliciousness, with tender strips of beef in a marinade that’s sweet (brown sugar), savory (soy sauce), and sour (rice vinegar), and punched up by fresh garlic and ginger. Served with rice and bok choy, plus a creamy tahini-soy sauce, these beef bulgogi bowls are a real family-pleaser!
Why You’ll Love My Bulgogi Rice Bowls
- Easy. While there are several different components to this rice bowl meal, they are all easy to make.
- Super flavorful. I love the layers of flavor in this dish, from the sweet/salty/sour beef, to the creamy tahini-soy sauce, to the fresh bok choy. I often add some pickled goodness to my bowl, too – pickled red onions are my favorite!
- Great to prep ahead. If you want to plan ahead, it’s easy to prep the bulgogi beef, tahini-soy sauce, and bok choy ahead of time. Then at meal time, make some rice and cook the beef!
What Is Beef Bulgogi?
Beef bulgogi is a flavorful dish featuring marinated, thinly-sliced steak. Bulgogi comes from the Korean word bul-gogi, consisting of bul (“fire”) and gogi (“meat”). It is commonly grilled over a barbecue fire, and often stir-fried in a pan in home cooking.
The dish includes a combination of sweet and savory flavors and is typically served over rice. It can also be made with chicken or pork.
This recipe starts with your basic Korean bulgogi ingredients, plus the addition of rice and the tahini sauce. See the printable recipe card at the end of this post for exact ingredient measurements.
- Beef – I like to use thinly sliced top sirloin because it’s a leaner, budget-friendly beef cut that is great for marinating – but feel free to use any kind of beef you like.
- Soy sauce – This adds a salty umami flavor.
- Rice vinegar – For bright acidity.
- Brown sugar – This adds a hint of sweetness to the bulgogi.
- Garlic & ginger – These are classic aromatics that really punch of the flavor. Grating them helps incorporate the flavors better into the sauce.
- Toasted sesame oil – To saute the bulgogi beef.
- Tahini – This is the creamy, nutty-flavored base to the sauce.
- Toasted sesame oil – Sesame oil enhances the “sesame” and nutty flavors in the tahini.
- Sriracha – This adds a hint of heat.
- Sesame seeds – For a little crunch, and to help show that this is a sesame sauce.
To Assemble the Rice Bowls
- Baby bok choy – I especially like bok choy with bulgogi but you could use snow peas, broccoli, or any vegetable you like. I use toasted sesame oil for sauteeing, for a little more flavor interest.
- White rice – You can serve the rice warm or at room temperature. This is a great way to use up leftover rice!
How to Make Beef Bulgogi Rice Bowls
My family gets excited for rice bowls, and already loves my Korean Beef recipe with ground beef – so this recipe has been an obvious win. I like that these meals are an easy way to make a complete dinner in just a short amount of time!
- Prep the rice. You can use leftover rice, or make a fresh batch in a rice cooker (my preference) or on the stovetop. If making fresh rice, get this started right away.
- Marinate the beef. In a large bowl, stir together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger. Add the sliced beef and fold to combine. Set aside at room temperature to marinate, about 20 minutes.
- Make the tahini-soy sauce. Whisk together all sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Cook the beef. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the sesame oil. Add the beef and all the marinade to the pan. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the beef is beginning to crisp. Remove skillet from heat.
- Cook the bok choy. Heat the toasted sesame oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Place the bok choy cut-side down and sear for 2-3 minutes, until a little browned and still crisp. Flip and cook the other side for 2-3 minutes.
- Assemble the rice bowls. Divide the rice, bulgogi, and bok choy between four bowls. Top with the tahini-soy sauce. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds if desired.
Recipe Tips & Variations
These Korean bulgogi rice bowls are easy to make, but here are a few tips. I also include some simple variations.
- How to easily slice the beef. Thinly sliced beef is key to bulgogi. The easiest way to do so is to pop the beef in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, then use a very sharp knife to slice it against the grain. The quick freeze helps firm up the fat, to make the beef easier to slice thinly.
- Make the rice in advance. Preparing the rice is the most time-consuming part of these rice bowls. To speed it up, you can make the rice in advance and then reheat it. Or just start the rice cooking a half hour before you start making the bulgogi beef, and keep it warm.
- Add different veggies. You really can use any veggie you like here – whatever makes your family happy! Some of our favorite variations include snow peas, broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, and carrots. You can also use a combination of vegetables.
- Try a different base. Instead of white rice, try brown rice or quinoa as your bulgogi bowl base.
- Use a different cut of beef. Instead of top sirloin, try ribeye, brisket, or chuck.
What to Serve with Bulgogi Rice Bowls
Serve your beef bulgogi rice bowls while everything is nice and hot. In addition to the ingredients listed, feel free to add other additional toppings or sides. A few suggestions:
- Pickled Onions
- Pickled Jalapenos
- Cucumber Salad
- Pickled Ginger
- Pickled Squash
- Fresh sliced cucumbers
- Red pepper flakes – for some heat!
- Fridge. Store any leftovers in the fridge, each component in a separate airtight container, for up to four days.
- Freeze. Transfer each component to individual freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and reheat the beef bulgogi and rice on the stovetop.
More Easy Rice Bowls:
- Sweet Potato Bowls
- Teriyaki Chicken Poke Bowls
- Honey Garlic Chicken Bowls
- Tex-Mex Scallop Rice Bowls
- Turkey Taco Bowls
Beef Bulgogi Rice Bowls
For the Beef Bulgogi
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated garlic
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 pound thinly sliced beef see notes
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
For the Tahini-Soy Sauce
- ¼ cup tahini
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
For the Bowls
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 pound baby bok choy halved
- 2 cups cooked white rice warm or at room temperature
- Optional garnishes: sliced green onions and sesame seeds
- If cooking a fresh batch of rice, start that right away. Otherwise just warm leftover rice.
- For the beef bulgogi: In a large bowl, stir together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger. Add the sliced beef and fold to combine. Set aside at room temperature to marinate, about 20 minutes.
- For the tahini-soy sauce: Now whisk together all of the tahini-soy sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
- To cook and assemble: Once the beef is done marinating and the tahini-soy sauce is made, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the sesame oil.
- When the oil is just barely warm (not hot), add the bulgogi (both the beef and marinade). Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated and the beef is just beginning to crisp. Remove skillet from heat.
- Heat a separate small skillet over medium heat. Add the toasted sesame oil.
- When the oil is hot, place the bok choy cut-side down. Sear for 2-3 minutes or until the bok choy is a bit browned yet still crisp. Flip the bok choy and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Divide the rice, beef bulgogi, and bok choy between four bowls. Top with tahini-soy sauce (or offer alongside). Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds if desired.