Korean-Style Beef Bulgogi Burgers

Tested & Perfected Recipes

bulgogi burgers

When I was in Los Angeles for my book tour, I stayed at The LINE, a hip hotel in Koreatown in walking distance to dozens of Korean BBQ restaurants. Though I definitely should have read How Not To Look Like An Idiot While Eating Korean BBQ before my trip — the menus and meat variety at these places can be overwhelming for the uninitiated, to say the least — I loved sampling so many authentic Korean dishes. Ever since I got home, I’ve been fiddling around with Korean-style recipes, trying to recreate the delicious flavors of K-town. These juicy burgers are inspired by bulgogi, probably the most well-known Korean specialty of marinated slices of beef grilled on a barbecue or stove-top griddle. The burgers are easy to make, packed with flavor, and family-friendly to boot.

how to make bulgogi burgers

To begin, in a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, and sandwich bread.

how to make bulgogi burgers

Let sit a few minutes for the bread to soften, then mash with a fork into a smooth paste.

how to make bulgogi burgers

Add the beef and scallions.

how to make bulgogi burgers

Using your hand, mix until well combined.

how to make bulgogi burgers

Divide the mixture into 5 equal portions, shaping each into loose balls. Flatten the balls into 3/4-inch thick patties about 4-1/2 inches around. Form a slight depression in the center of each patty to prevent the burgers from puffing up on the grill.

how to make bulgogi burgers

Place the patties on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill, covered, until nicely browned on the first side, 2-4 minutes. Flip burgers and continue cooking for a few minutes more until desired doneness is reached.

how to make bulgogi burgers

Meanwhile, make the sauce: in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Asian chili sauce, and sugar. (Note that this makes a spicy sauce; use less Asian chili sauce for a milder version.)

how to make chili mayonnaise

Mix well, then taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

how to make chili mayonnaise

Before serving, toast the buns on the cooler side of the grill if desired. Place one patty on bottom half of each bun; top each serving with lettuce leaves, chili-mayonnaise, and top half of bun.

bulgogi burgers

My Recipe Videos

Korean-Style Beef Bulgogi Burgers

Servings: 5

Ingredients

For the Bulgogi Burgers

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 slice white or whole wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed and torn into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1-1/2 pounds 85% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions, from 4 to 5 scallions
  • 5 hamburger buns
  • Lettuce leaves, for serving (optional)

For the Chili Mayonnaise

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's or Duke's
  • 1/4 cup Asian chili sauce, such as Sambal Oelek (available in Asian aisle of most supermarkets)
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to high heat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, ginger, garlic, and sandwich bread. Stir, then let the mixture sit for a few minutes to allow the bread to soften. Mash the mixture with a fork into a paste (it won't get completely smooth, but try to get it as uniform as possible). Add the beef and scallions. Using your hand, mix until well combined. Divide the mixture into 5 equal portions, shaping each into loose balls. Flatten the balls into 3/4-inch thick patties about 4-1/2 inches around. Form a slight depression in the center of each patty to prevent the burgers from puffing up on the grill.
  3. Place the patties on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill, covered, until nicely browned on the first side, 2-4 minutes. Flip burgers and continue cooking for a few minutes more until desired doneness is reached. Before serving, toast the buns on the cooler side of the grill if desired.
  4. Place 1 patty on bottom half of each bun; top each serving with lettuce leaves, chili-mayonnaise, and top half of bun.

For the Chili Mayonniase

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, Asian chili sauce, and sugar. (Note that this makes a spicy sauce; use less Asian chili sauce for a milder version.)
  2. Make Ahead: The patties can be made a day ahead of time. Place them on a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and cover tightly with saran wrap.
  3. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The uncooked burgers can be frozen for up to three months. (Freeze the burgers on a baking sheet or plate so their shape sets, then transfer them to a sealable plastic bag for easy storage.) Defrost overnight in the refrigerator prior to serving and then cook as directed.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (5 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 burger (does not include lettuce or sauce)
  • Calories: 474
  • Fat: 25 g
  • Saturated fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 30 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 31 g
  • Sodium: 860 mg
  • Cholesterol: 93 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Reviews & Comments

  • These are absolutely delicious and will be part of our dinner rotation. All thumbs up from my kids and husband – a rarity!! My daughter who doesn’t even like hamburgers was raving about them and even snatched the one leftover.

    • — LisaR on November 24, 2018
    • Reply
  • I am always tempted to tweak recipes, but I followed this one exactly and I am so glad I did. It was perfection (despite the fact that our grill ran out of propane halfway through). SO easy to prep and I can’t wait to serve these at a party. The burgers are full of flavor–sweet and savory and the homemade mayonnaise is essential. My wary 14 and 11 year old sons declared these a hit and my husband loved it. My daughter (age 7) ate it without the chili mayonnaise.

    • — Samina Salahuddin on October 9, 2018
    • Reply
  • These burgers were excellent! We made them as is and added thinly sliced tomato slices as an addition. The entire family loved them including the kids!

    • — Alana on October 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • I made these burgers several times, and they were absolutely delicious each time. Instead of tearing the bread into pieces, I turned them into more uniform (and smaller size) bread crumbs about the size of 1/8th inch. This soaked up the other ingredients more completely, and was more evenly distributed through the meat when mixed. No complaints whatsoever about this recipe!

    • — Aron Green on October 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • These were sooooo good and juicy! Really nice change for dinner. We used 93\7 beef and measured out 8oz patties and it worked perfectly! I’ll absolutely make these again and the aioli is great for any type of burger\sandwich. Thanks for another keeper Jenn!

    • — Erin on September 19, 2018
    • Reply
  • I made these last week, they are great! And my husband was instantly obsessed. He asked me if I could make them again, 2 days later. Haha. I added them to our “rotation”, thanks for the recipe.

    • — Nicole on September 18, 2018
    • Reply
  • OMG these were the most delectable, savory burgers I have ever eaten. My husband wouldn’t stop raving! For those of you who are gluten sensitive I substituted coconut aminos for the soy sauce and gluten free white bread for the bread to make the paste. (Didn’t exactly form a paste but was still amazing). I served on gluten free rolls with the lettuce leaves and “special sauce”. Another BIG winner!!!!

    • — Abbie S on September 6, 2018
    • Reply
    • Jenn, I want to make again tomorrow. Would this recipe work with ground chicken as well or are there any adjustments I should make? Thanks!

      • — Abbie on September 16, 2018
      • Reply
      • Hi Abbie, I haven’t tried this with ground chicken, but I think it should work. The only thing is that ground chicken tends to be quite wet, so you may have issues putting these on the grill. If so, you can sear in a pan. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

        • — Jenn on September 16, 2018
        • Reply
        • You were so right about the chicken being very wet so I took your advice and seared on the stovetop, just for a minute to firm them up. I then grilled them with the regular burgers. Fantastic!!!

          • — Abbie on September 16, 2018
          • Reply
  • I have made Bulgogi Ribs in the past and my husband and just love them. So I wanted your recipe for the Bulgogi Burgers and they are extraordinary. Also like the chili past mayo (perfect for the burgers) Thanks for the recipe; greatly appreciated.

    • — Valarie on September 6, 2018
    • Reply
  • Have made this twice! LOVE this recipe. I used panko, and let it soak in. Made it ahead, kept panko separate from meat and it worked fine. My daughter thought it tasted like the filling in my steamed dumplings

    • — Nancy P on September 5, 2018
    • Reply
  • My husband was sceptical because I used this recipe instead of regular hamburgers during our Labor Day cook out but the burgers were a hit!

    • — Lea on September 5, 2018
    • Reply
  • I added a fried egg, delicious! Next time I will add kimchi in some fashion! Delicious!

    • — Joy Rabbini on September 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • Made these last night. So yummy….and the chili mayo will go well with other dishes too.

    • — Romi on September 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • These were amazing! Another home run recipe. A fun twist on the typical burger. Thanks again for another well-written, well-tested, and delicious recipe.

    • — Julie on September 2, 2018
    • Reply
  • Made this tonight – fabulous! We plan on using the leftover chili mayo in other sandwiches.

    • — Rachel Hartman on September 2, 2018
    • Reply
  • Made for dinner last night and had for leftovers for lunch today. Very flavorful! Thanks!

    • — Tamara on September 2, 2018
    • Reply
  • Made this last night! Wonderful flavors, really enjoyed.

    • — Nancy on September 1, 2018
    • Reply
  • Yay! So excited to see some Korean flavors hit your recipes (because I’m Korean)! I was wondering what to make for dinner last night when the email with this recipe hit my inbox, and it was perfect! These burgers were simple, flavorful, just YUM! We adults put kimchi on top as well, and had some lightly pickled veggies on the side (like banchan). So good! Thanks, Jen, for another outstanding recipe!

    • — Erika on August 30, 2018
    • Reply
  • Made this for my family and even my kids loved them! Phenomenal recipe (as usual!)

    • — Mel on August 30, 2018
    • Reply
  • Can breadcrumbs be used instead of a slice of bread? If so, what measurement would you suggest for a pound of beef?

    • — Laura on August 30, 2018
    • Reply
    • Sure, Laura, I’m guessing you’d need about 1/3 cup panko or 1/4 cup fine bread crumbs for this recipe.

      • — Jenn on August 31, 2018
      • Reply
  • Could you substitute panko bread crumbs for the sandwich bread?

    • — Anne Lott on August 30, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Anne, Yes, I think that’d be fine – I’d use about 1/3 cup.

      • — Jenn on August 31, 2018
      • Reply
  • Would this work with ground turkey

    • — Denise on August 30, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Denise, I haven’t tried it but it should work. Please let me know how it turns out if you try it.

      • — Jenn on August 31, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen. Do you mean Roasted sesame oil or the plain kind? Thanks much. Love K-town. I too am kurfluffled each time I sit down to eat there though

    • — Terry on August 30, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Terry, I mean the roasted sesame oil. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 31, 2018
      • Reply
  • Looks awesome. Will make it over the Labor Day Weekend!

    • — Eddie K on August 30, 2018
    • Reply

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