This Paleo Korean beef bulgogi can also be made Whole30 compliant, and if you aren’t familiar with bulgogi, it is typically Korean BBQ beef or pork. Justin chose thinly sliced beef, created a flavorful marinade made with real food ingredients, and you can serve it up as a bowl or in lettuce leaves.

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Making the marinade Paleo + Whole30 compliant

The marinade recipe as written does contain coconut sugar, which would keep this recipe Paleo-friendly, and to keep Whole30 compliant if needed we suggest either omitting the coconut sugar or swapping it out for 1-2 dates. The marinade also gets a little natural sweetness from pear, and combined with coconut aminos, fish sauce, ginger and garlic you will find the Asian flare you love.

Give yourself the hour to marinate your beef

We don’t often make recipes where there is a long waiting period involved, but for this Korean beef bulgogi, the flavors really do get better the longer the beef marinates. We like to give it a full hour, and if you’re meal prepping you could even marinate the day before and just leave it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook dinner the next day. And we promise, the beef cooks up so fast, you won’t mind the marinating time.

Korean beef bulgogi in pan with spoon vertical image

How do you make this Korean beef bulgogi into a full meal?

Well, we are typically bowl meal fans around here, so we like to add some rice or cauliflower rice and greens or other veggies we have on hand. Top it with some hot sauce and call it good! More traditionally, you might serve this Korean beef bulgogi in red lettuce leaves with rice and red pepper paste. You decide! What do you think you’ll try?

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Some other Asian inspired recipes

Your turn to try our Korean beef bulgogi

Prep the marinated beef in advance, and then enjoy the quick and easy dinner. Serve this Korean beef bulgogi over cauliflower rice and greens or in lettuce shells. Leave a comment below to let us know how it goes. Also, take a pic to share on social media. Tag us on Instagram @realsimplegood, and make sure to give us a follow if you don’t already. Let’s stay connected!

Korean beef bulgogi in a bowl with kale and rice close up vertical image with text at top

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Spit image with text in middle. Beef pieces in pan at top and beef over kale and rice at bottom

4.03 from 34 ratings
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Korean Beef Bulgogi (Paleo + Whole30 Options)

This Paleo + Korean beef bulgogi is made with thinly sliced beef and a flavorful asian-inspired marinade. Serve it up as a bowl meal or in lettuce leaves.


For the marinade:

For the rest:

  • 1.5 lbs flank steak, (can sub skirt or sirloin steak)
  • 1 shallot, peeled and diced
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds



  • To make the marinade, add all of the marinade ingredients to a high powered blender and blend to a smooth consistency. Set aside.
  • Cut the flank steak into small strips against the grain. Place the steak strips in a bowl or shallow dish. Pour the marinade all over the steak and toss to coat.
  • Set the steak aside to marinate while you prep the remaining ingredients. Or, cover and refrigerate to marinate the steak for up to 24 hours.
  • When you are ready to cook the steak, prep the shallot and green onions as noted.
  • Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add sesame oil. Once hot, add in the shallot. Cook, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the beef strips into the skillet with the shallot. Pour in any remaining marinade also. Cook the beef, stirring occasionally, until all of the marinade juices thicken and begin to caramelize. The beef will be coated with the sauce and will absorb all of the sauce flavor. Remove the beef once the sauce has cooked down enough so it is just coating the meat pieces, about 10-15 minutes. *See recipe notes for alternate cooking instructions*
  • Serve immediately, topped with sliced green onions and sesame seeds.

Last Step:

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If you don’t like your beef cooked as noted, you can cook it for a shorter time, just  1-2 minutes on each side or until cooked to your liking. However, this method won’t allow the sauce to caramelize like you see in the pictures above.
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