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Broiled Bulgogi Chicken

September 29, 2011

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When I was in Seoul, I ate so many soups and noodles, bright red from chili peppers, that on occasionally encountering food that wasn’t RED, I had to briefly remind my brain that it was still edible.

I like spicy food. And by the transitive property of spiciness, I like Korean food, too. But not all Korean food falls under the crimson category; flavors other than chili– like garlic, sesame, and soy– are just as quintessential in Korean cuisine.

This easy bulgogi variation can be made spicy, or not. Either way, it’s really all in the marinade.


Sesame oil, soy sauce, scallions, ginger, and garlic make for a pretty unbeatable combination. One that can only be improved– in my opinion– by a little bit of chili powder… I don’t even use salt.


You might know of Korean bulgogi (grilled meat) mainly as either beef or spicy pork, but it works with chicken, too. Bulgogi is technically marinated meat, grilled over charcoal and an open flame (or on a grill screen or pan placed over a burner or hotplate embedded into a table). But you can get the same scorched flavors of garlic and soy sauce cooked into the meat at a high temperature just by using the broiler in your oven.


The marinade is easy to throw together, and marinating the meat– even for half an hour– gives it a depth of flavor and tenderness that I’ve found difficult to match.


This is simply my favorite way to prepare chicken at home, and one of my favorite ways ever to eat it.

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Print this recipe. (PDF)


Broiled Bulgogi Chicken
(Adapted from this.)

(Serves 3-4)

~ 1-1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken (I use chicken thighs), or beef or pork, thickly sliced
~ 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
~ 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
~ 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
~ ½ Tbsp. cooking sake (if you have it)
~ 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
~ 2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
~ 4-5 scallions, diced
~ 1 tsp. ground black pepper
~ generous sprinkling of sesame seeds (optionally toasted, for just before serving)
~ pinch of salt
~ 2 tsp. sugar
~ 1-2 tsp. kochukaru (Korean chili powder), to taste ***Edit: I now often use more like 2 Tbsp., but it’s up to you!***

How to make it:

1. Cut the chicken into wide, flat slices, then place in a large bowl.

2. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and sake to the chicken, then stir. Mince garlic, grate ginger, and chop scallions, and add these as well. Add ground black pepper, and– optionally– salt, sugar, and kochukaru (chili powder).


3. Stir everything together well, then cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to 3 hours).

4. When it’s 20 minutes until dinner time, turn on the oven’s broiler (set to “normal” or “medium”), to pre-heat the oven for 10 minutes before use.


5. Spread out the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet, or in a glass baking dish, and pour the extra marinade over it. After the oven has pre-heated a bit on “broil,” place the chicken in the oven and broil for 8 minutes. (I usually stir it once around minute 5 or 6.) After 8 minutes, much of the sauce will have evaporated, and the chicken will come out tender and glazed.

***Edit: I’ve found it sometimes takes longer than 8 minutes of cooking time when using a glass or ceramic baking dish, especially if the chicken is a bit more crowded together than on a baking sheet: it can take up to 18 minutes under the broiler for all of the chicken to cook through, but the clean-up will be much easier!***


6. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve warm with short-grained white rice and a side of kimchi.

Print this recipe! (PDF)


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Related recipe posts:
> Kimchi Fried Rice (Bokkeumbap)
> Chicken in Vinadaloo Yogurt Sauce
> Soy-Glazed Chicken Wings (and Quick Japanese Pickles)

29 Comments leave one →
  1. chosunblog permalink
    September 29, 2011 7:06 pm

    interesting … never even thought about buldalkgogi, but makes sense for chicken-lovers :) genius

    • September 30, 2011 2:31 pm

      Yes, it’s perfect for me, since I’m not eating beef or pork, but still love all of these flavors… I even think I’ve eaten chicken bulgogi (and definitely dak galbi) a few times in Korea.

  2. October 15, 2011 1:19 pm

    Serving 3 hungry people: 334 Calories, 3g carbs, 13g fat, 54g protein.
    Serving 4 people: 251 Calories, 3g carbs, 10g fat, 41g protein.


    • October 15, 2011 8:12 pm

      : ) …or serving 2 people for dinner at night + lunch the next day, because you know it’s not going to last any longer than that!

  3. Jill permalink
    November 6, 2011 8:33 pm

    I made this tonight and it was soooo good – thanks for the great recipe!!

  4. ymr permalink
    May 7, 2012 7:54 pm

    I just made this tonight and it turned out great! I’ll definitely make it again!

    • May 7, 2012 8:36 pm

      Awesome! I’m glad to hear it. (I made it pretty recently, too; it’s definitely a keeper.)

  5. Erina permalink
    August 2, 2012 6:33 pm

    Fabulous combinations of flavors…must try this out!

    • August 3, 2012 10:31 am

      Yes, the ginger, garlic, and sesame flavors add a lot. And lately I’ve been making this with much more than just a teaspoon of the kochukaru (chili powder), too. (More like 1-2 Tbsp…!) It’s always delicious, no matter how I tweak it.

  6. November 11, 2012 6:08 am

    Sounds delicious! Just pinned it so I’ll remember to try it :)

    • November 12, 2012 9:24 am

      Thanks! It is really delicious– this is an older blog post, so the photos don’t do it justice… My girlfriend literally requests that I make this at least once a week! :)

  7. July 2, 2013 9:25 pm

    this recipe reminds me of japanese shoga-yaki a lot. i gotta give this a go, sounds fantastic. although, because i don’t have a broiler (or an oven thanks to my tiny apartment in japan) i might have to go with the good old fashioned outdoor charcoal grill.

    how do you feel about lamb as a substitute for chicken?

    • July 4, 2013 7:24 am

      Yes, the flavors are really similar to shouga-yaki! I’ve never tried making it without an oven/broiler, but I’m sure it would be delicious on a grill, too… you could skewer it like yaki-tori, or just slice it into larger pieces for the grill I guess!

      I don’t eat lamb (or beef) so that’s why I made bulgogi with chicken, but I bet this would work nicely with lamb as well… I’m sure my fiancee, Paula, would enjoy that version of the dish.

  8. afracooking permalink
    December 5, 2013 7:07 am

    This looks so delicious it has gone straight onto my to-cook list. Great blog!

    • December 5, 2013 10:00 am

      Thanks so much! :) This is definitely one recipe that will always remain in our regular weeknight rotation– it’s a keeper!

      • afracooking permalink
        March 15, 2014 5:51 am

        When I clicked “like” in december, little did I know that this would become one of these dishes I “love”. I recently cooked it (two nights in a row and only days later at my sisters where we had a little family dinner round a table top raclet set) I loved it and you should have seen my sister’s kids: they just couldn’t get enough of it. Such a fabulous recipe! Thank you so, so much for bringing it to my table and now to my go-to recipe collection :-)

      • March 15, 2014 7:34 pm

        Wow, that is awesome! Your comment made my day. :) I feel the same way actually—little did I know the first time I made this that it would become one of my favorites, too (and Paula LOVES it, as in, she told me—later—that she knew she wanted to marry me the first time I made this for her).

        I’m actually making this again tomorrow! (According to the weekly meal plan we made yesterday. :)

  9. June 23, 2014 7:00 pm

    This looks delicious! I always cooked spicy fried chicken or spicy fried octopus with pork. I should try this recipe later.


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