Easy Korean BBQ Chicken (Dak Bulgogi)

Difficulty Easy

Another easy weeknight dinner: Korean BBQ Chicken also known as Dak Bulgogi! Tender chicken thighs are coated in a sweet, savory, and garlicky marinade. A delicious Chicken Bulgogi recipe that can be cooked in the Air Fryer, on a skillet, or in the oven broiler. Round out the meal with lettuce wraps, perilla leaves, rice, and kimchi. Simple and flavorful!

What is Korean BBQ Chicken or Dak Bulgogi?

Korean BBQ Chicken, also known as Dak Bulgogi, is a popular grilled meat served at Korean restaurants. Similar to Beef Bulgogi, it’s got a sweet-and-salty marinade with lots of garlic and onion. Differently, it’s made with chicken. The savory chicken cooks up juicy and tender with charred, smoky edges. YUM!

At Korean restaurants, Chicken Bulgogi is a BBQ dish that’s cooked over a hot, smoky grill. But at home, there are several ways to cook: Air Fryer, pan fry, or oven broil. The goal is to cook the Korean BBQ Chicken until tender and juicy with charred, smoky edges.

I often turn to Chicken Bulgogi when I am craving Korean flavors but don’t have time to run to the Asian market. All you need is skinless boneless chicken thighs. The marinade is made from pantry staples. Toss in a bowl and cook for busy weeknights — yes, it’s that fast and easy!

Dak Bulgogi is also kid-friendly because it’s not spicy. But I have to admit, it’s just as beloved by adults! The boneless chicken pieces with savory bulgogi flavor is so delicious!

What is Bulgogi?

Bulgogi is a catch-all Korean term that’s literally translated as, “fire meat.” Generally, it refers to thinly sliced meat that’s quickly cooked in a hot pan. The flavor profile is salty, sweet, and garlicky.

Bulgogi is also a staple of Korean home cooking. The thinly sliced meat cooks up fast! Often cooked over a grill pan, there’s a smoky element that makes it especially delicious and addicting.

There are many different kinds of bulgogi in Korean cuisine. The most well-known is Korean Beef Bulgogi, which is made from thinly sliced beef. But a spicy, more indulgent favorite is Pork Belly Bulgogi. Or, combine the best of two worlds with Osam Bulgogi (Squid + Pork Belly).

Ingredients:

  • Chicken Thighs. Skinless, Boneless chicken thighs make for tender, juicy meat. If you prefer, chicken breast is a good substitute but be sure not to overcook.
  • Soy Sauce. Provides salty depth and umami. Do not use the low-sodium kind!
  • Brown Sugar. Deeper flavor than white sugar alone.
  • Mirin. Korean/Japanese sweet cooking wine. If you don’t have it, swap with rice wine, sherry, or vermouth.
  • Sesame Oil. For nutty fragrance.
  • Garlic, Onion, Green Onion, Ginger. The aromatics are the flavor base of the marinade.

Instructions:

  1. Make marinade. In a large mixing bowl, add marinade ingredients. Mix with a spoon until well combined.
  2. Add chicken thighs. Your choice: either add whole chicken thighs or cut into 2-inch chicken pieces. Add chicken to the marinade and mix well, making sure the chicken is completely coated in the marinade.
  3. Cook. Cook the marinated chicken. Choose the method that’s most accessible for you. You don’t need a tableside grill pan to enjoy this Korean chicken thigh recipe. My favorite method is the Air Fryer but all the methods work well:
    • Air Fryer. Crispy, juicy, tender, and deeply flavored!
    • Non-Stick Skillet. The easiest, most accessible way to cook. Use medium heat and do not disturb the chicken to get that golden char.
    • Cast Iron Skillet. Cook in a hot cast iron pan for that smoky char.
    • Oven Broil. Position the rack 5-6 inches from the top heating element. Broil on high heat until tender and juicy with charred edges.
  4. Serve. Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds. Serve with rice, lettuce leaves, perilla leaves, and kimchi. Enjoy!

Watch how to make it:

PRO Tips:

  • Marinate overnight, if possible. For best flavor, marinate chicken pieces overnight. However, even 30 minutes is good on a weeknight!
  • Cook whole chicken thighs OR cut into thin strips. Either method works and has advantages. Whole chicken thighs are easier to cook, as there is less flipping. Thin chicken strips cook up with all those crispy corners! Your choice.
  • Cook onions. While the bulgogi chicken cooks, make sure to add and cook the onions alongside it. They add tons of flavors and are so delicious.

How to serve:

There are so many ways to enjoy Dak Bulgogi! My favorite 3 ways:

  1. Easy Weeknight Meal: serve with white rice, kimchi, and steamed vegetable of choice.
  2. Work from Home Lunch: pile into a bowl with a fried egg, avocado, Korean multi-grain rice, and furikake.
  3. Korean BBQ feast: serve with lettuce wraps, perilla leaves, and dipping sauces Ssamjang or Gochujang Sauce! Don’t forget the banchan (vegetable side dishes)! I recommend Oi Muchim (Korean Cucumber Salad), Gamja Salad (Potato Salad) and Dubu Jorim (Braised Tofu).

Variations:

  • Make it spicy! Add 1-2 Tbsp Gochujang for a spicier flavor.
  • Put it on a skewer. A fun and festive way to enjoy all those juicy, charred bites of marinated chicken.
  • Spatchcock a whole chicken. The marinade is versatile and tastes spectacular with a spatchcocked chicken. Marinate overnight and grill on the BBQ until cooked through with charred, crispy edges.

More Bulgogi recipes:

korean chicken bulgogi on plate with green onions

Korean BBQ Chicken Bulgogi (Dak Bulgogi)

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Another easy weeknight dinner: Korean BBQ Chicken also known as Dak Bulgogi! Tender chicken thighs are coated in a sweet, savory, and garlicky marinade. A delicious Chicken Bulgogi recipe that can be cooked in the Air Fryer, on a skillet, or in the oven broiler. Round out the meal with lettuce wraps, perilla leaves, rice, and kimchi. Simple and flavorful!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course BBQ, Dinner
Cuisine Korean
Servings 4
Calories 397 kcal

Equipment

  • Non-stick Skillet
  • OR Air Fryer (I use a 5.8L Cosori)
  • OR BBQ Grill
  • OR Cast Iron Skillet

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs about 8 thighs

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar (can be subbed with white sugar, maple syrup, or honey)
  • 2 Tbsp Mirin
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 small onion (or 1/2 large onion) thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 inch fresh ginger minced
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Garnish (optional):

  • 2 green onions chopped
  • sesame seeds

Instructions
 

  • Make marinade. In a large bowl, add soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, sesame oil, sliced onion, minced garlic, minced ginger, and black pepper. Mix with a spoon until combined.
  • Add chicken. Your choice: add whole chicken thighs or slice into 2-inch strips. The whole thighs are easier to cook (less flipping and turning), but will need to be cut up later. The 2-inch strips require more work during the cooking process but results in lots of crispy, charred edges. Mix thoroughly until well combined.
  • Marinate. Marinate chicken for at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight. If cooking immediately, let stand at room temperature.

Non-Stick Skillet Instructions:

  • In a non-stick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil over medium high heat. Add chicken in a single layer, slightly touching each other. Cook, undisturbed, until browned and charred on one side, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Flip the chicken and cook until done, another 4-5 minutes. Lower heat if necessary, to prevent burning. The chicken should be browned with crispy looking edges. Transfer to a large plate. Repeat process until all the chicken is cooked.
  • Loosely cover with foil while you cook the remaining chicken. When finished, garnish with reserved green onion.
  • Serve immediately with rice and kimchi! Lettuce wraps and ssamjang are also nice additions.

Air Fryer Instructions:

  • Preheat Air Fryer at 400F for 5 minutes. Add chicken thighs in a single layer, slightly touching each other. Cook at 400F for 5 minutes. Flip. Cook at 400F for another 5 minutes. Flip one last time. Cook at 400F for 2 minutes to get those crispy edges.
  • Serve immediately with rice and kimchi! Lettuce wraps and ssamjang are also nice additions.

BBQ Grill Instructions:

  • Heat grill over high heat until hot. Add chicken thighs in a single layer. When the edges are firm and the chicken is nicely charred on one side, flip to the other side. Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  • Serve immediately with rice and kimchi! Lettuce wraps and ssamjang are also nice additions.

Cast Iron Skillet Instructions:

  • Heat Cast Iron Skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add 1 tsp vegetable oil and swirl around in the pan. When the oil starts to smoke slightly, add chicken thighs in a single layer, making sure not to crowd the pan.
  • When the edges are firm and the chicken is nicely charred on one side, flip to the other side. Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  • Serve immediately with rice and kimchi! Lettuce wraps and ssamjang are also nice additions.

Oven Broil Instructions:

  • Position the rack 5-6 inches from the top heating element. Preheat the oven on BROIL for 10 minutes. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  • Add marinated chicken pieces and onion on sheet pan. Make sure the chicken is not crowded but there's enough space in between.
  • Broil on high heat until tender and juicy with charred edges.

Notes

PRO Tips:
  • Marinate overnight, if possible. To let the marinade soak into the chicken fully, I recommend marinating overnight. However, even 30 minutes is good on a weeknight!
  • Cook whole chicken thighs OR cut into thin strips. Either method works and has advantages. Whole chicken thighs are easier to cook, as there is less flipping. Thin chicken strips cook up with all those crispy corners! Your choice.
  • Cook onions. While the chicken cooks, make sure to add and cook the onions alongside it. They add tons of flavors and are so delicious.

Nutrition

Serving: 0gCalories: 397kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 46gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 215mgSodium: 1084mgPotassium: 697mgFiber: 1gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 117IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Chicken Bulgogi
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Air Fryer, All Recipes, Chicken, Dinner with Friends, Korean, Main, Potluck, Weeknight Meals

6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve never had chicken bulgogi before until I saw Lis post this recipe on Instagram. It’s so easy to prepare and delicious! I decreased the amount of sugar to 2 tbsp & kept everything else the same. It came out great! I saved the marinade to sauté cauliflower with it and it was amazing! Highly recommend using the leftover marinade to sauté veggies with!!

  2. Pingback: Gochujang Sauce (Bibimbap Sauce) | The Subversive Table

  3. Who wouldn’t love Korean bulgogi? Chicken is great to replace the beef in the same delicious marinade. I agree, it doesn’t have to be spicy to be a delicious Korean food.

  4. Pingback: Bulgogi - The Subversive Table

  5. Pingback: Ssamjang aka Ssam Sauce - The Subversive Table

  6. looks yummy! Got to give this a try!

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