Korean-Style Beef Bulgogi Burgers

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Inspired by Korean beef bulgogi, these bulgogi burgers are easy to make, packed with flavor, and family-friendly to boot.

bulgogi burgers

When I was in Los Angeles for my book tour, I stayed at The LINE, a hip hotel in Koreatown within walking distance of 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 bulgogi burgers are inspired by the well-known Korean specialty of bulgogi, or 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.

What you’ll need to make bulgogi burgers

how to make bulgogi burgers

Step-by-Step Instructions

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 the bottom half of each bun; top each serving with lettuce leaves, chili-mayonnaise, and top half of bun.

bulgogi burgers

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Korean-Style Beef Bulgogi Burgers

Inspired by Korean beef bulgogi, these bulgogi burgers are easy to make, packed with flavor, and family-friendly to boot.

Servings: 5
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Bulgogi Burgers

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Asian/toasted 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.

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Reviews & Comments

  • These burgers are absolutely fabulous! Flavorful, juicy, and perfect for a weeknight – for a weekend too! I think you could 1/2 the mayo recipe as we had a lot left over – but it’s so good I have no doubt I will find other uses for it.
    Will make these burgers again and again!

    • — Terri F. on July 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made it for my Dad and he and I loved it. He said he would eat it again which made me feel real good

    • — Ty on July 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • These were wonderful burgers. My husband really liked them. Can you tell me if the calorie count includes the bun?

    • — Connie Ricketts on April 30, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Connie, it does include the bun, but not the lettuce or sauce. Glad you like them!

      • — Jenn on May 2, 2021
      • Reply
  • Excellent! Did it with ground moose it was a success. My moose being very lean I did add an egg. Thx

    • — Richard on March 23, 2021
    • Reply
  • Was looking for a flavorful burger recipe and this one was a hit! I love the combo of the flavors and turned out to be a juicy, flavorful burger. I also love the sauce for the burger. I did agree with a prior post to reduce the amount of soy sauce…I used 2 Tablespoons and that was plenty. 😉

    • — Christine on March 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • These are the best burgers I have ever made. I rate them in my top 5 burgers I’ve eaten, including restaurants! My husband said the same! These will be my new go-to burgers for backyard barbecues with friends and family! Thank you for this amazing burger and sauce recipe!

    • — Miranda Karr on February 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • I literally made this tonight. Delicious!! I use all her recipes weekly. I don’t have a grill so I broiled in the oven 3-4 min on each side. Came out tender, flavorful and juicy. The only thing I did different was cut the soy sauce and sugar in half and also added a dash of fish sauce.

    • — QBaker on February 3, 2021
    • Reply

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