This Korean Beef recipe is easy to make in the Instant Pot and served in a bowl with rice and kimchi or as lettuce wrap tacos for a healthier version.
When I visited South Korea, I had no idea that Korean cuisine is very diverse and full of bold flavors. Instead of relying on Korean BBQ for every meal, I sampled a variety of things.
During my time in Seoul I noticed two things about Korean culture. Koreans love their coffee shops and meat! Practically every coffee shop I visited was full any time of the day, and every meal I ate was loaded with meat.
Fermented or pickled vegetable side dishes were also plentiful, but served in small portions on the side. And these accompaniments were spicy hot!! I mean tears in your eyes and numb lips hot.
Lately, I seem to be having some Asian travel fever, because I’ve been craving foods that have lots of Asian flavors – ginger, garlic, soy.
So I thought it was only fair to share with you what I’ve been making recently.
Korean Beef Recipe Tips
This Korean Beef recipe is is super delicious and easy to cook, I can’t claim it’s authentic or traditional.
One of the differences is that I made this recipe using lean stew meat, and most of the beef I ate during my trip was sliced very thin and much fatter than the beef we are used to in the US. That is also true for Japan and China.
The other difference is that is sweeter than the Korean version of Bulgogi. BUT, it is still so good!
There are several reasons why this version is so versatile.
- This recipe can be cooked in the Instant Pot, but can also be cooked slow in the crockpot.
- It requires little prep which makes it perfect for dinner tonight, a freezer meal and meal preps.
- Korean beef can be served with traditional white rice, kimchi, and a vegetable or on lettuce wrap tacos as a healthier, lower carb alternative.
Special Ingredients and Substitutions
This Korean Beef recipe doesn’t require a multitude of specialty ingredients. In fact, I bet you if you cook regularly, you already have almost all of these items on hand.
The exception would be Gochujang Sauce which is an essential ingredient of this dish- it’s a spicy barbecue sauce that gives the beef a kick and smokiness at the same time.
You can find Gochujang sauce in most groceries under the Asian products aisles or order from Amazon. The sauce has a huge shelf life- like 10 years, so be sure to check the expiration date before buying.
There are no real substitutions for Gochujang, but if you are in a pinch, you can try sriracha hot sauce with a liquid smoke or a hot barbecue sauce that you already have.
If using a store bought American barbecue sauce, you will probably have to decrease the amount of brown sugar and add a little more heat with whatever pepper or hot sauce you have in the pantry. My advice would be to combine these ingredients in a small bowl and taste it before adding to the recipe. What you want is a smoky sauce that has a subtle heat.
Korean Beef Instant Pot Recipe
- Pressure cooker
- 2 lbs Chuck Roast (stew meat)
- 1/2 yellow onion sliced thin
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger root finely grated
- 1 1/2 tbsp Gochujang Sauce
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic pressed
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup beef broth or water
- green onions and sesame seeds to serve (optional)
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Marinade for 30 mins to 1 hr.
- Once you are ready to cook, pour the ingredients into the pressure cooker. Turn the pressure cooker on the meat function and cook for 40 minutes.
- Once it is ready, let the pressure cooker vent naturally and serve.
- The flavors in this recipe are mild compared to authentic Korean food, so if you like it hot, add more Gochujang sauce.
- This recipe gets even tastier the day after you make it. The juices have more time to combine with the meat and develop the flavor. That is why I also like to marinade the ingredients for 30 minutes before cooking.
- I made this recipe using beef stew, but you can also use ground meat.
Interested in reading about my solo trip to South Korea? Read these posts:
- Gyeongbokgung Palace
- Seoul: Gwangjang Market
- Namsangol and Bukchon Hanok Villages
- Korea House Cultural Show
- Shopping in Myeong Dong
- Dongdaemun Design Plaza
- Bogeunsa Buddhist Temple
- Changdeokgung Palace
- South Korea: Hwaseong Fortress
Would like to try out more Asian inspired recipes? Check these out!
- Korean Fried Chicken
- Honey Wasabi Salmon
- Grilled Korean Pork Chops
- Asian Boneless Pork Back Ribs
- Thai Chicken Soup
- Chicken Stir Fry
- Pork Gyoza Recipe (Japanese Potstickers)
What recipe should I make next?