Ground Beef Bulgogi


paleo bulgogi by

Have you ever had bulgogi before? It’s a Korean dish that’s typically made by grilling marinated slices of beef. It’s absolutely delicious. I decided to make an easier version of bulgogi at home using ground beef – and it turned out incredible! It’s sweet, savory and has that desired umami flavor. This ground beef bulgogi takes very little time to make – it’s an excellent weeknight dish.

These days, when I get home from work the last thing I want to do is spend a lot of time in the kitchen. For the past few months, I’ve been waking up at 4:30 am most mornings to work out. I’m not one of those typical “go-getter girls” who’s crazy about exercise… but I’ve somehow found myself repeatedly going to the gym or taking part in an outdoor boot camp. Despite my hatred for exercise, I’ve somehow come to sort of… look forward to working out. Can you sense my reluctance? You should. Last week, I ran three miles one morning before work… something I’ve never done before (and something I thought I had no desire to ever do). I hated every second of it and at one point, I honestly thought I might cry because I was so miserable. But I did it. And the feeling that I felt once it was done… made me want to do it again.

Can anyone relate or do I sound crazy? The only downside to my new morning routine – is that I want to go to sleep pretty much the moment that I get home from work. Instead, I veg out in front of the tv… until I eventually manage to peel myself off the couch and force myself into the kitchen. Once I’m in the kitchen, I whip up an easy dinner, like this bulgogi. Then, I go back to my comfortable couch, where I sit and happily eat my delicious food.

paleo bulgogi by

Ground Beef Bulgogi

paleo bulgogi by

Ground Beef Bulgogi

5 from 21 reviews
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Servings 2 -3



  • Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute.
  • Add the ground beef and cook until mostly browned.
  • Next, add the coconut sugar, coconut aminos, sesame oil and spices to the pan. Mix well and continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, then add the green onions and sesame seeds. Mix well, then serve.
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Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Emily Dauscher says

    5 stars
    I subbed 3 tbsp brown sugar for coconut sugar, and 4-5 tbsp soy sauce for coconut aminos, and was generous with the red pepper flakes. We served in bowl with rice and raw veggies. Leftovers went into lettuce cups. Delish. This is a keeper; thank you!

  2. Billie Alexander says

    5 stars
    I initially planned to make a baked eggplant, mushroom, and pork ziti….then realized I did not have a ziti in sight. Had some leftover rice and pickle-able veggies, so decided to do bibimbap instead. I did use actually brown sugar/soy sauce rather than the coconut/aminos, and halved the recipe so just did the soy sauce to taste. Also added a tiny hit of miso paste in the with pork which took it to a whole new wonderful level.

  3. Ashley Scurto says

    I am making this tonight. I’m doing a bulgogi bi bim bap bowl with cauliflower rice, zucchini, cucumber tossed in sriracha, multicolored shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, and a fried egg. I love korean hot stone pot bi bim bap, but with ground beef, this looks easier to make. I can’t wait to try to recipe!

  4. Isabelle Addison says

    5 stars
    So delicious and so simple. Based on the other reviews I cut the coconut sugar amount quite a bit and it was great. Next day I stir fried the leftovers with thinly sliced cabbage and put in the thermos with some hot water… and for my meal out I had a yummy bulgogi soup! Thank you!

  5. Amber says

    I made this in the instant pot on sauté mode, which worked very well. Turned out delicious! I want to try more Korean food, now. I only had Braggs aminos, so I used that instead and I added only a pinch of Himalayan pink salt since I believe Braggs has more sodium than Coconut Aminos. Will definitely be making this again!

  6. Lauren says

    Hey Ashley – do you think I could substitute date paste for the coconut sugar? If so, would you know the equivalent? Thank you!! (Love your recipes!)

  7. Mareen says

    YUM! I am a bit late in finding this blog, but the few recipes I have tried have been good. Love Korean food so this was tops on my list to make. Easy peasy to make and delish.

  8. Rimmy says

    This was delicious and could not have been easier to prepare! I did halve the coconut sugar as another reviewer commented and the balance of sweet, salty, and umami was perfect. I served over riced broccoli and roasted green beans along with a mixed green salad ~ it was a perfect dinner! Thx for the wonderful, flavorful recipe!! ❤

  9. TinaC says

    5 stars
    This recipe is a family favorite! We love it served in lettuce cups or on rice. I quadruple the recipe and freeze the extra whenever I make it. Then just heat and eat and sprinkle on the green onions and sesame seeds and it’s delicious. I often make some sort of Chinese inspired soup and serve this and some vegetable fried rice with leftover rice and veggies and we have a delicious and quick Chinese food feast reminiscent of the beloved Chinese take out meals we used to be able to have before I had to avoid gluten.

    I’ve also left out the sugar and used stevia drops when I’ve had to strictly avoid sugars and while it wasn’t exactly the same it was still pretty darn tasty.

  10. Jen says

    Is there any way to make this whole30 compliant? From the comments it seems a sweetener is a must, so I may have to wait until post whole30 to give this a try!

  11. Shona says

    5 stars
    I find the combo of coconut aminos and ground beef gives this dish an almost bacon-like flavor–a very, very good thing 🙂 Extremely moreish–I’m doubling the recipe next time! Thanks so much, Ashley! (p.s. I used 1 Tbsp maple syrup instead of the coconut sugar because I am Canadian :-))

  12. Beth Robertson says

    5 stars
    This is delicious! I made it with tamari instead of coconut aminos, since that is what I had on hand. And for the side dish, I baked some delicata squash and ladled the beef into the squash. This should work with most kinds of winter squash. Thanks to U.S. Wellness Meats for posting your recipe! They have wonderful meat.

  13. Donna says

    This is an excellent, authentic tasting recipe. I usually like mine in lettuce wraps but most recently made this as a grilled burger and topped it with a fried egg, kimchi and a gochujang aioli. I didn’t measure exactly but threw everything in at about the same proportions. Yum!

  14. Carrie says

    This recipe has become a household dinner staple for us!! I have seriously made it so many times over the months that I have all the steps memorized!! The amount of flavor, that umami goodness, cannot be beat! Every bite is a perfect mix of salty, sweet and spicy! We use ground turkey for it most frequently but it’s obviously delish with the beef in the original version! I sub out one of the tablespoons of aminos for a tablespoon of fish sauce sometimes it is also amazing! (So one tablespoon fish sauce and 4 tablespoons coconut aminos) this is the recipe that got me hooked on Ashley’s blog 🙂

  15. tim says

    if i wanted to make 2 1/2 pounds of this recipe, what would you recommend as far as upping the seasoning? my guess is not to double.

  16. Cindy Russell says

    5 stars
    This is one of my very favorites and something I had never heard of before making it. The blend of spices is perfect – it was the centerpiece of a meal I made for friends last week and was a huge hit! They all took some home with them so I had very little for leftovers. Guess I will just have to make it again.

  17. Holly says

    5 stars
    Due to budget constraints, I’ve not had coconut aminos on hand for a bit so I had to use tamari. I forgot it’s saltier than coconut aminos >< I should have scaled back on the salt, my bad 🙁 However, even with my blunder, this dish was still deeeelicious, thank you! And it really was fantastically fast! I love your recipes, Ashley! I served with steamed cauliflower and sauteed collard greens. I'll be making this again 😀

    • My Heart Beets says

      Holly, I’m so happy you liked the recipe!! Thanks for letting me know how it turned out and for sharing your experience using tamari – I’m sure it will help other readers! 🙂

  18. Ann says

    5 stars
    I finally got around to making this for the first time today with the intention of serving it for dinner this evening. I had a taste and thought “mmmmm, I’m not so sure about this one”. Then I went back a few minutes later and had another taste and thought again “mmmmmm …. ” then I went back and had yet another taste, then another and then another and I thought “oh, stop eating it, it’s for dinner!” Very yummy Ashley and I know it is going to be a hit with the family – if I manage to stop tasting it! 🙂

  19. Holly says

    5 stars
    Very delicious, and easy to prepare! I love finding something different to do with ground beef. This is unlike anything I’ve made before, but will definitely make again soon! I added a chopped yellow pepper and 4 cups of shredded cabbage to the meat when it was mostly cooked through. The veggies added a nice flavor and crunch, and I served it over rice.

  20. Wendy says

    I’ve made this probably 4 times in the last month…it’s so good! And…it’s really good leftover in the morning with eggs scrambled in. Love it!

  21. Glenys says

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious and so, so easy. Can’t believe how quick I got this on the table, which was perfect because I so did not feel like cooking tonight. I only used 2 tablespoons of sweetener (I used xylitol) and it was perfect for us. Will definitely be making this again and again. Thanks

  22. Michele says

    I made a double recipe of this tonight; we are a family of four and like leftovers. 🙂

    I halved the coconut sugar, doing 1/3 total, and I can’t imagine doing making it any sweeter than that! My 8yo and MIL would have preferred less spice so when I make this again, I’ll half the chili flakes as well and have some on the side for those who prefer it.

    I served this up with riced cauliflower and blanched spinach.

  23. Karen says

    5 stars
    I tripled the recipe for my 3 teenage boys, husband and myself! It was such a hit! It will definitely be in our dinner rotation! Thank you.

  24. Lynn M says

    I love bulgogi! Haven’t had it in a while, but I remember it well! Out of curiosity, what do you serve this with? Inquiring minds wanna know….! Thanks! 🙂

    • My Heart Beets says

      Lynn, you can serve it with cauli-rice, mashed cauli, or a side of roasted veggies. I also like using this to make tacos! Let me know what you think when you try it 🙂

    • Elizabeth says

      5 stars
      We had this last night with lettuce wraps, asian slaw (from nom nom paleo cookbook) and avocado. it was so fast and easy to prepare. My husband begged me to make again!

      This recipe is a keeper – thanks so much Ashley!

    • Holly says

      Coconut aminos would be the paleo version of soy sauce. Fish sauce has no substitute (and if you have a good brand like Red Boat, it’s paleo by nature) nor would it be a suitable substitute for another ingredient, due to the unique flavour which impacts umami. If you can’t get coconut aminos, the next closest thing would be tamari; it’s gluten free but it IS made of soy beans, so it is not paleo (but it’s also about half the price of coconut aminos). I had to use tamari myself and forgot it’s saltier than coconut aminos, so definitely scale back on the salt if you go that route. A delicious dish, and fantastically fast!

    • TinaC says

      I’ve used tamari (wheat free soy sauce) in this with great success. It’s a lot cheaper than liquid aminos and we have no problems with organic non gmo tamari. If you are soy sensitive it might not be a good substitute for you though.

  25. Maya Gangadharan says

    5 stars
    YUM! I have a pound of ground lamb i’be been wanting to use, I think I will try this! What do you serve with it? I was considering mashed cauliflower.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Maya! I usually just serve it with a side of cauli-rice or roasted veggies for myself and then a side of rice for my husband. I’m sure mashed cauli would be delicious – I’ll have to try that next time!

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