Beef Bulgogi Burgers

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Inspired by Korean beef bulgogi, these bulgogi burgers are not only easy to make but also packed with flavor and family-friendly!

Beef Bulgogi Burgers

One of my favorite places to visit in LA is Koreatown, especially for its abundance of Korean BBQ restaurants. Navigating the extensive menus and diverse meat options can be daunting for first-timers—I highly recommend reading How To Order and Eat  Korean BBQ (and not look like an idiot) before heading out! However, exploring the authentic flavors of various Korean dishes and sitting at tables with built-in grills is a fun experience.

Inspired by beef bulgogi, one of my favorite Korean specialties, these juicy bulgogi burgers capture the essence of the marinated beef slices traditionally grilled on a barbecue or stove-top griddle. They’re not only easy to make but also packed with flavor and family-friendly!

“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!”

Miranda

What You’ll Need To Make Bulgogi Burgers

bulgogi burger ingredients
  • Soy Sauce: Adds saltiness and umami flavor to the binder.
  • Asian Sesame Oil: Infuses the meat with nutty, rich flavors.
  • Dark Brown Sugar: Balances the saltiness with sweetness and helps caramelize the burgers when cooked.
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: Introduces a spicy kick.
  • Ground Ginger: Adds a warm, spicy undertone that’s central to Asian flavors.
  • Sandwich Bread: Acts as a binder for the burgers, keeping them moist and helping them hold together.
  • 85% Lean Ground Beef: The main component of the burger, offering rich flavor and juiciness due to its fat content.
  • Garlic and Scallions: These aromatics form the flavor foundation of the burgers.
  • Mayonnaise: Provides a creamy base for the sauce, adding richness.
  • Asian Chili Sauce (such as Sambal Oelek): Adds heat and depth to the sauce.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

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.

panada mixture ingredients for bulgogi burgers

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

mashed panade mixture

Add the beef and scallions.

adding beef and scallions to panade mixture

Using your hand, mix until well combined.

mashed bulgogi burger base

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.

bulgogi burgers ready to grill

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

bulgogi burgers on grill pan

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.)

chili mayo sauce ingredients in white bowl

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

chili mayo sauce in white bowl

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 on cutting board with small bowl of chili mayo

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Beef Bulgogi Burgers

Inspired by Korean beef bulgogi, these bulgogi burgers are not only easy to make but also packed with flavor and family-friendly!

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
  • 1½ tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 slice white or whole wheat sandwich bread, crusts removed and torn into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1½ pounds 85% lean ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped scallions, from 4 to 5 scallions
  • 5 hamburger buns
  • Lettuce leaves, for serving (optional)

For the Chili Mayonnaise

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise, best quality such as Hellmann's or Duke's
  • ¼ cup Asian chili sauce, such as Sambal Oelek (available in Asian aisle of most supermarkets)
  • ¼ 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 ¾-inch thick patties about 4½ 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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Comments

  • This recipe is just what I was looking for! We added some shredded carrots as a topping for some crunch and took the suggestion of others to add some kimchi. We surely impressed our guests!! Highly recommend this recipe!!! Thank you!

    • — Micky on March 10, 2024
    • Reply
  • Sambal is Indonesian. A better name would be Indonesian beef burgers.

    • — Linda on January 25, 2024
    • Reply
    • Using that logic they could be called “granulated sugar burgers”. Why would you bother to send that comment in?!? Try the recipe….if you like it, great. What made it stand out? I you didn’t care for it, why not? Useless criticism is just that!

      • — Mary M. on March 24, 2024
      • Reply
  • Followed recipe very closely using ingredients I found in local store. Turned out very good. Used small rolls and made burgers small like sliders. Husband enjoyed. The sauce was great.

    • — Mary on November 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • so good… my wife and I added some kimchi to the burgers as a topping with the lettuce and it was super delicious! 😀

    • — Captain Kimchi on October 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious! Thank you.

    • — Karly Anderson on September 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • These were wonderful! I’m wondering if I could make appitizer meatballs from this recipe and serve them with the sauce for dipping and lettuce cups (like Korean lettuce wraps)?

    • — Joan on August 18, 2023
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked them! And yes, I think you could make these into meatballs – sounds yummy!

      • — Jenn on August 18, 2023
      • Reply
  • I made these last night and per another reviewer’s suggestion, also made Asian stir fried veggies from Jenn. So good!! No bun – just the hamburger topped with the veggies. Amazing! I will definitely keep these in the rotation.

    • — Sally on June 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Made this for supper tonight without the spicy mayo sauce. Instead I opted for traditional hamburger toppings. I served it with classic coleslaw. My very picky daughter’s comment was “Mom, this should be your signature burger!” I thought that was quite the endorsement. They were very yummy and easy to do on a weeknight. Thanks for the wonderful recipe Jenn!!

    • — Gwen on May 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jenn, We loved the beef bulgogi recipe and want to try the bulgogi burgers. What are your thoughts about substituting ground turkey or ground chicken for the beef? Our daughter does not eat beef.

    • — Kathy M. on May 21, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Kathy, I haven’t tried this with turkey or chicken, but I think you could. I’d lean toward turkey because ground chicken tends to be quite wet, so you may have issues putting them on the grill. I’d love to hear how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on May 22, 2023
      • Reply
  • This is my favorite burger recipe of yours that I cook often during the summer. Any tips during winter months when it’s too cold to grill outside?

    • — Renee on December 30, 2022
    • Reply
    • Glad you like them Renee! To cook then indoors, you can use a grill pan (or cast iron pan) on the stove or broil them in the oven. (If you broil them, just place them on a broiler pan or rack so the juices can drip down.) Cook time should be about the same.

      • — Jenn on December 30, 2022
      • Reply
  • The whole family loved these ! Better than the steak house burger recipe, and that recipe is awesome too!

    I did mix 1/3 cup kimchi and 1/3 cup mayo in the blender for an easier burger topper … still amazing

    • — Jen on November 14, 2022
    • Reply
  • I can’t wait to try this. I am going to make some radish and some cucumber kimchi to serve on my burger. Thank you

    • — Anna on June 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Tastes great, Jen’s recipes are always 10/10! Burgers were so juicy 😋

  • Can’t recommend enough. Already have made this recipe at least 6 times;) the best burger ever.

  • Hi Jen,

    Love everything you do. I plan on making these bulgogi burgers as sliders to feed 12 people. I plan to buy about 3.5 lbs of beef. Is there anything I should keep in mind for making sliders instead of full size burgers?

    I will be serving the slaw you recommended and I’d like to make one other salad or side. Do you have a recommendation that would pair well?
    I was looking at your 1) summer avocado salad 2) pesto pasta salad, or 3) asparagus salad with almonds and ginger-sesame dressing.

    • Hi Kristin, so glad you like the recipes! If you’re making these as sliders, they may take just a tiny bit less time on the grill, so keep an eye on them. 3 1/2 pounds of beef sounds appropriate for the number of sliders you plan to make. And regarding another side, I think the asparagus salad sounds like a good choice. Hope everyone enjoys!

  • Hello Jenn,

    Thanks for the delicious recipe, yours are always a hit! What can I do to turn it into actual beef bulgogi instead of burgers?

    Thank You

    • Hi Susan, Instead of tweaking this recipe, I’d recommend my beef bulgogi recipe on page 156 of my second cookbook. If you don’t own the cookbook, email me at jennifer@onceuponachef.com and I’d be happy to send you the recipe!

  • Wow this was so good. I’m of Korean ethnicity and I loved this recipe. I did add a little bit of mirin and grated onion/onion juice, and used gochujang for the Mayo, turned out amazing and so juicy and flavoursome. My non-Korean partner loved this too, he was mind blown haha. Thanks so much for such a good recipe and for branching out into different cuisines!

  • This looks amazing! The Asian chili paste pictured is an Indonesian chili paste, which is hard to find in my grocery store. I know some people have used sriracha instead, but have you also tried this with Korean chili paste (kochujang)?

    • I haven’t tried it with Korean chili paste but I think it would work. Please LMK how they turn out!

  • 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!

  • 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

  • These were wonderful burgers. My husband really liked them. Can you tell me if the calorie count includes the bun?

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

  • Excellent! Did it with ground moose it was a success. My moose being very lean I did add an egg. Thx

  • 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. 😉

  • 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!

  • 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.

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