This chicken bulgogi recipe features tender pieces of chicken seasoned with a sweet and savory marinade to be served with a bowl of rice and fresh vegetables. This Korean BBQ chicken is quick & easy to make, making it the perfect weeknight meal for the whole family to enjoy.
What is bulgogi?
Bulgogi (불고기), which translates to ‘fire meat’, is Korea’s most well-known barbeque dish of all time.
This popular dish features thin slices of beef that are marinated and grilled to be served alongside vegetable wraps, rice, and kimchi, in which the delicious comforting flavors make it to be one of the most beloved comfort foods in Korean cuisine.
The origin of this Korean BBQ dish can be traced all the way back to the Goguryeo dynasty (37 BCE–668 CE) when it was initially called maekjeok, with the beef being grilled on a skewer similar to how kabobs are made.
Despite its long history, beef bulgogi remains a quintessential part of every Korean household and has become one of the most popular Korean dishes around the globe.
What is bulgogi chicken made of?
Chicken bulgogi, also known as dak bulgogi (닭불고기) is simply a chicken rendition of the dish that’s loaded with savory bulgogi flavor from its traditional version, but with white meat instead of red meat.
Best of all, this recipe calls for an incredibly simple marinade made with just 6 ingredients – soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin (rice wine), sesame oil, garlic, and black pepper.
Traditionally, bulgogi marinade also calls for Asian pear or pear juice as it contains a tenderizing enzyme. My recipe does not include the pear as it can be hard to find – but you could certainly add some grated pear to the marinade if you’d like.
As this recipe calls for ingredients that can be easily found in your kitchen, it makes for a wonderful meal for busy weeknights or anytime you are craving some delicious Korean food with minimal effort.
What do I need to make chicken bulgogi?
As mentioned previously, one of the best parts of this easy recipe is that it calls for simple ingredients that are easily found in your kitchen, or at any of your local grocers.
Here is everything you’ll need for this easy bulgogi recipe:
- Vegetable oil: or any cooking oil with a high smoke point, for grilling or pan-frying.
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs: although you can use chicken breast as well, I prefer using chicken thighs as they will yield more tender, juicier results, especially when they are cooked over high heat.
- Depending on your preference, you can also substitute with thin slices of beef, pork, shrimp, or tofu.
- Soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, sesame oil, garlic, and black pepper: for the chicken bulgogi marinade.
- If you prefer the dish to have a spicy kick, you can add some Gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) or red pepper flakes to the mix.
- Green onion and/or sesame seeds: for garnish. You can prepare the green onion either in thin slices using a green onion cutter, or simply chop them up using a knife.
How do you cook chicken bulgogi?
Once the chicken is marinated, it can be cooked in 3 easy ways depending on your preference – on the stovetop, on the grill, or in the air fryer.
The most important thing to keep in mind when cooking bulgogi is to cook over high heat while using oil that has a high smoke point such as grapeseed oil or avocado oil, and to avoid overcrowding the pan.
Here are the 3 ways in which you can cook your dak bulgogi:
On the stove top: Heat a tablespoon of oil either in a non-stick frying pan, cast-iron skillet, or grill pan over medium heat. Arrange chicken in a single layer, and cook until charred and cooked through, about 2 minutes on each side.
On the grill: Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, about 350°F. Brush the grill grates with oil and place the chicken pieces on top. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
In the air fryer: prepare the fryer basket by lightly spraying it with oil, or by using an air fryer liner. Place chicken in a single layer and cook for about 10 minutes at 400°F, flipping once halfway.
How to serve chicken bulgogi
The flavors of Korean BBQ chicken are incredibly versatile, which makes it easy to pair with any side dish that you can think of.
Traditionally, bulgogi is served with lettuce and perilla leaves with a side of ssamjang, which is seasoned soybean paste that’s full of spicy and garlicky flavors and a side of rice, kimchi, and a sizzling bowl of Doenjang Jjigae if you are feeling extra cozy.
If you are looking for a simple meal, this marinated chicken also goes incredibly well with white rice, which can be jazzed up with some chopped green onions and a sunny-side-up egg.
I hope you enjoy this easy & delicious chicken bulgogi recipe, and please leave me a comment below or message me on Instagram if you have any questions. Happy cooking everyone! ツ゚
Other easy Korean recipes you may like:
- Bulgogi Beef Udon Stir Fry
- Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)
- Dakdoritang (Spicy Korean Chicken Stew)
- Tteokbokki (Spicy Korean Rice Cakes)
- Korean Potato Salad (Gamja Salad)
Easy Chicken Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Chicken)
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs or thinly sliced chicken breast
- green onion and sesame seeds for garnish
- Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl.
- Prepare your chicken by removing excess fat and pounding them to an even thickness. Add chicken to the marinade, toss well to coat, and marinate for at least 30 minutes or preferably overnight.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Arrange chicken in a single layer and cook for about 2 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Serve with a bowl of rice and enjoy!
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