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Chicken Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Chicken)

Easy Korean chicken bulgogi recipe. Learn how to make Korean BBQ chicken at home! 

This Korean BBQ Chicken, commonly known as chicken bulgogi or dak bulgogi (닭 불고기), is marinated in tender and flavor inducing soy based marinade.

Not only is this delicious, it’s super easy to make as well. Even better, you should be able to find all the necessary ingredients from your regular grocers. Now let the cooking begin!

Chicken bulgogi, rice and veggie bowl

What is Chicken Bulgogi

Chicken bulgogi is bulgogi made with chicken. 

I explained the terminology – bulgogi before in my bulgogi recipe before but I will briefly explain it again.

Bulgogi means “fire meat” and it is often made with the tender parts of beef, pork or chicken. However, in general terms, unless specified, bulgogi is made with beef.

So since I’m specifying “chicken bulgogi” here, you can easily tell that this recipe is about chicken fire meat.

Some of my readers already have been cooking chicken bulgogi using my beef bulgogi marinade. I even tried that myself during this recipe testing as well.

But I found that the beef bulgogi marinade didn’t quite suit the chicken. I thought the taste was a bit too subtle for the chicken. (Don’t worry, it suits beef, particularly rib bye just fine!) 

So I ran many experiments for my chicken bulgogi marinade and I’d like to share it with you today.

Secret Ingredient in Chicken Bulgogi Marinade 

Much of the ingredients used in my chicken bulgogi marinades are similar to my beef bulgogi recipe.

However, instead of adding fruit, I added some soft drink called Sprite. I’m sure you probably heard of it.

Anyway, it worked really well to tenderize my chicken (though in general you don’t need to tenderize chicken much) and added a nice sweet flavor.

You can also probably use other lemonade brands like 7 Up or similar too. 

Some of you might ask me if a coke would work? Well, I tried with that too but the chicken wasn’t as tender as when I used Sprite. Also, I prefer the flavor I got with Sprite.

Additionally, some Koreans might use plum extract; maesil cheong (매실청) as a special flavoring ingredient too. 

It resulted in a good outcome. In fact, it was my second favorite choice after Sprite. But it gives a stronger taste note at the beginning and end, so I couldn’t taste the other marinade ingredients as much. So I prefer using lemonade as my top choice.

Cooking the Chicken

If you want tasty char grill flavored BBQ chicken, cook the chicken over a BBQ grill. In particular, direct cooking over a charcoal grill will produce an excellent result.

But if you are after more of a weeknight convenience, stir fry the chicken over a skillet.

Obviously, the texture of the chicken and the taste is slightly different depending on your method of cooking.

Whatever method you choose, you will get the deliciously flavored Korean BBQ chicken!

Serving Suggestions

I think the serving decision could come down to how you cook the chicken.

If I cook it over a BBQ grill, I normally serve it with Korean green salad and maybe some kimchi.

Korean macaroni salad will go well too if you’re after some carbohydrates.

But if I’m cooking it in a skillet, I like to serve it with some steamed rice and have some grilled or steamed vegetables (e.g. broccoli / broccolini / bell peppers). This option is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.

You can also create a typical Korean BBQ experience by serving it with lettuce leaves, perilla leaves and ssamjang (korean bbq dipping sauce) too.

But by all means you can serve it with whatever else you crave!

Ingredients for Chicken Bulgogi (Serves 3 to 4)

Main

  • 450g / 1 pound chicken thigh (I used boneless skinless thigh, but you can use other chicken cuts of your choice.)

Chicken Bulgogi Marinade

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce, regular
  • 1.5 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine
  • 1/4 cup Sprite (alternatively, 7 Up or other lemonade could be used.)
  • 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ground black pepper

* 1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1 Cup = 250 ml

How to Make Chicken Bulgogi

1. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. (If grilling, prepare it according to your grill type and your preference.) 

Chopped chicken in a glass container

2. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix them well. Pour it over the meat. Cover and marinate it for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge to deepen the flavor. You can certainly marinate it for a lot shorter time, but the chicken will be less flavorful.

Pouring marinade over chopped chicken

3. Cook the chicken over a well heated skillet. (If grilling, cook the chicken following your grill manual.) Do not add the leftover marinade. (I use a slotted spoon to minimize the marinade transfer.)  Sizzle both sides of chicken over medium high heat then reduce the heat to medium until the chicken is fully cooked.

Stir frying chicken bulgogi in a skillet

In the mean time, boil over the leftover marinade in a separate sauce pan for 2-3 mins over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Sieve through any excess fat and undesirable pieces from the sauce. Set the sauce aside.

Simmering chicken bulgogi marinade

4. Serve. Glaze the sauce over the chicken. 

Chicken, broccolini, red bell peppers in a bowl

** If you need more ideas on how to serve this BBQ chicken, go back to the above post. You will find the information under the “Serving Suggestions” in the middle of the post.

Chicken, broccolini, red bell peppers in a bowl

Chicken Bulgogi

Easy Korean BBQ Chicken (Chicken Bulgogi) Recipe.
4 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: chicken bulgogi, dak bulgogi, korean bbq chicken
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marination: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 294kcal

Ingredients

MAIN

  • 450 g chicken thigh (1 pound), (I used boneless skinless thigh, but you can use other chicken cuts of your choice.)

CHICKEN BULGOGI MARINADE

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce , regular
  • 1.5 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine
  • 1/4 cup Sprite (alternatively, 7 Up or other lemonade could be used.)
  • 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. (If grilling, prepare it according to your grill type and your preference.) 
  • Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix them well. Pour it over the meat. Cover and marinate it for at least 4 hours or overnight in the fridge to deepen the flavor. You can certainly marinate it for a lot shorter time, but the chicken will be less flavorful.
  • Cook the chicken over a well heated skillet. (If grilling, cook the chicken following your grill manual.) Do not add the leftover marinade. (I use a slotted spoon to minimize the marinade transfer.)  Sizzle both sides of chicken over medium high heat then reduce the heat to medium until the chicken is fully cooked.
    In the mean time, boil over the leftover marinade in a separate sauce pan for 2-3 mins over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Sieve through any excess fat and undesirable pieces from the sauce. Set the sauce aside.
  • Serve. Glaze the sauce over the chicken.

Notes

  • 1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1 Cup = 250ml
  • If you need more ideas on how to serve this BBQ chicken, go back to the above post. You will find the information under the "Serving Suggestions" in the middle of the post.

Nutrition

Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 844mg | Potassium: 259mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 88IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Leave a comment below or Tag me on Instagram @MyKoreanKitchen.

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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: October 15, 2019

Hi, I'm Sue and I am the creator of My Korean Kitchen. Thank you for joining me in this delicious culinary journey!

Leave a Comment

4 thoughts on “Chicken Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Chicken)”

  1. You don’t mention if it’s preferable to cut the chicken into chunks prior to marinating. Does it matter on the method of cooking? Obviously if using the bbq grill method, chunks would fall through the grates. The photo looks like small pieces are they cut up prior to serving? Please advise.

    • I thought I made it clear in the recipe. -> “Step 1. Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. (If grilling, prepare it according to your grill type and your preference.).” Personally, if grilling, I wouldn’t cut into pieces.

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