Korean Beef (in the Instant Pot)

Korean Bulgogi with steamed rice

Bulgogi literally means fire meat in Korean and is traditionally cooked on the grill. I love eating Bulgogi but don’t have the patience to thinly slice the beef. I also don’t know how to work our outdoor grill (for the time being I happily relinquish that duty to my husband).  Learning to grill over this summer is on my to-do list. We’re planning an outdoor kitchen and I want to get our money’s worth with the small fortune we are paying for the patio expansion and kitchen. I’ll keep you posted once the project gets started (fingers and toes crossed for getting started sooner rather than later).

Using (mostly) traditional flavors of bulgogi and my favorite kitchen gadget I made a tasty and quick weeknight dinner. It even got my Korean mom’s approval.

Korean Bulgogi in the Instant Pot

I don’t know about you, but I love leftovers. The flavors of the Korean beef get better the next day and reheats well. This dish is very versatile and can be served over rice or in lettuce wraps. One day I made Korean beef kimchi tacos with the beef. My mom brought over fresh kimchi and I wrapped the Korean beef up in a corn tortilla with the kimchi. Delicious!!


  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup soy sauce or tamari
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup sesame seed oil
  • ½ tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 -2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
  • 2 pounds beef stew meat
  • Juice from one orange, optional
  • Green onion, thinly sliced for garnish
  • Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
  • Steamed white rice, for serving
  • Lettuce leaves, for serving
  • Kimchi, for serving


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the water, soy sauce or tamari, brown sugar, sesame seed oil, garlic powder, onion powder, ginger powder, and gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) until brown sugar dissolves.
  2. Add beef stew meat to bowl and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Add marinated beef (including the marinade) to the Instant Pot along with the juice of one orange (optional).
  4. On your Instant Pot, select “Meat/Stew” mode, which defaults to 35 minutes. Make sure to set the top knob to “Sealing” and not “Venting”.
  5. The Instant Pot will beep at you when it finishes cooking the Korean beef and sets itself to “Keep Warm” mode.
  6. You can let manually release the pressure if you are ready to eat or you can allow the pressure to release naturally.
  7. Sprinkle the Korean beef with remaining green onions and toasted sesame seeds.
  8. Serve with steamed rice or wrap the Korean beef in a lettuce leaf with kimchi.

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36 thoughts on “Korean Beef (in the Instant Pot)

    • Tanya says:

      Hi Allison! You can totally make this with ground beef and make it on the stove top. It’ll take less than 15 minutes to whip together if you use ground beef.

  1. dbmamaz says:

    I made this tonight – i didnt used the powdered spices, but minced ginger and shallot (hubby is allergic to onion, and me to garlic). Served as make-your-own lettuce wraps, with fine rice noodles, basil leaves, carrots/mushrooms/cucumbers, and peanut sauce. Hubby and I LOVED it and my 12 and 20 yo boys liked it too – thank you!

    • Tanya says:

      Hi Jade! I actually included the marinade so there is sufficient liquid to bring the Instant Pot up to pressure. I’ve updated the post to make that clear. Thanks for asking! Tanya

  2. Brianna Stronk says:

    Does this come out shredded? I am looking for a recipe that I could serve with tooth picks as an appetizer and wondering if this would work.

    • Tanya says:

      Hi Brianna! It does not come out shredded but the meat does come out very tender and does fall apart easily. I think they’ll fall apart if you use a toothpick. Serving them on a rice cracker sprinkled with sesame seeds would be perfect for a party. Please let me know if you decide to make the Korean beef. Tanya

    • Tanya says:

      Hi Allison! Sirloin steak is much leaner than the stew meat I used so it’ll end up being tough and chewy. I would decrease the time to 12-15 minutes on high pressure, depending on how small the cubes are cut. Please let me know how it works out. Thanks! Tanya

    • Tanya says:

      Hi Olga! I haven’t tried using a pre-made Korean BBQ sauce, but I think it’ll turn out great as long as you have one cup of liquid. Please let me know how it turns out! Tanya

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  4. Yulia says:

    I want to try making this, but don’t have the Korean spicy pepper flakes. How does that compare to regular red pepper flakes in terms of spiciness?

    • Tanya says:

      Hi Tracy! Yes, you can make the Korean beef in the crock pot too. You’ll cook for high 2-3 hours or on low 4-5 hours until cooked throughout and tender. Thanks! Tanya

  5. HG says:

    I made this today for my family. Delicious! I made mine in the crock pot for 2 hours on high PLUS 2 hours on low. I will definitely make it again soon. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Mare says:

    Hi! Have made this more than once and it was wonderful! Do you think doubling would be too much volume (i have the instant pot ultra)? Would love to have leftovers (of which there are never any!) for the next day. Thanks!

    • Tanya says:

      Hi Mare! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoy the recipe! I don’t think doubling the recipe would cause any issues with the IP coming up to pressure. Please let me know how it turns out! Have a wonderful day! Tanya

  7. Amy says:

    Am I supposed to use the trivet in the instant pot? I made it once without the trivet but was wondering if it would make a difference without. I am trying this recipe again by cutting the recipe in half. I will make sure to adjust if necessary to make sure I have enough liquid in pot. Thank you for this recipe! It totally hits the spot 😁

    • Tanya says:

      Hi Amy! You can use the trivet in your IP. You’ll use it when you want to keep the food item out of the liquid. For example, I always use the trivet when I make hard boiled eggs. Hope this helps! Tanya

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