Bulgogi Meatballs

Bulgogi meatballs take the fabulous flavors of Korean barbeque and make it easier to achieve at home. These lush little beauties are great as sliders or served in lettuce cups.

Skewers of bulgogi meatballs on a blue and white plate with pickles on the side.

Bulgogi, one of Korea’s most popular beef dishes made of very thin slices marinated and then grilled at a very hot tableside grill, is often served in restaurants. At home, getting the thin bits of beef crispy is hard to mimic and often results in overcooked and anemic-looking meat, so we took the flavors of bulgogi and made mini meatballs for sliders or to top rice bowls.–Kim Sunee & Seung Hee Lee

What does bulgogi mean?

Literally speaking, bulgogi means “fire meat” because the beef is barbequed, giving it a distinctly crisp and caramelized texture. Bulgogi sauce is another part of what makes this dish so special—a blend of soy, brown sugar, Asian pear (or red apple), garlic, ginger, ground black pepper and sesame oil. This gives a slightly salty, mildly sweet and nutty, savory flavor that you’ll want to slather on everything, not just meatballs.

Bulgogi Meatballs

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 45 M
  • Makes 35 to 40 meatballs
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In a large bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, pear, garlic, scallion, black pepper, and sesame oil.

Add the egg, bread crumbs, and ground meats and mix just to combine all the ingredients, being careful not to overmix.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Roll the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Bake until golden and cooked through, but still tender, rotating the baking sheet once during cooking, 18 to 22 minutes.

If making sliders and adding cheese, top the patties with cheese about 2 minutes before the cooking time is over. Toast the slider buns and top with the meatballs and your favorite toppings. Alternatively, meatballs can be served with lettuce leaves and rice, or on top of rice bowls.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

These meatballs make a wonderful dinner main. Savory, with a hint of sweetness, these bulgogi meatballs are tender, moist, and just downright delicious. The recipe is easy to put together and cooking them in the oven is a snap and allows you to roast a veggie as a side at the same time.

These meatballs are little flavor bombs perfect in sliders, on top of mashed potatoes with sauteed garlic mushrooms and with stir fried vegetable rice bowls. I made a big batch of (41) mini meatballs on a Monday and my family and I enjoyed the leftovers all week long.

Big batch cooking is a great way to keep the family satisfied while making my week a whole lot easier. My kids and I have been so inspired by these delicious bulgogi meatballs that we are going to eat at a local Korean BBQ restaurant as soon as possible to try some authentic restaurant-style bulgogi.


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