Korean Beef Bulgogi

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This easy sugar-free Korean beef Bulgogi dinner is delicious! You can easily use the more traditional cuts of beef, but to make it easy and cheap we used lean ground beef.

It has all the classic flavors of garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame, and ginger but is sugar- and soy-free. This is a healthy, flavor-rich meal that the whole family will enjoy.

skillet and plate of Korean bulgogi with ground beef

Even better, it’s a simple weeknight dinner option that you can make up in no time at all! If you’ve never tried it, don’t keep waiting. I promise it’s yummy!


Traditionally, bulgogi is made out of tender beef that has been marinated in a pureed pear paste. The enzymes in the pear tenderize the beef and the sugars in the fruit add a sweet flavor. And really, how cool is that?

Brown sugar, soy, garlic, and ginger combine to create a slightly sticky, thicker sauce that clings to the meat. It’s usually served over rice and garnished with toasted sesame seeds and green onions. Is your mouth watering yet?

I’ve seen it served with shaved or pickled carrots and some other veggies in its Americanized form and even been to an awesome fusion restaurant that used Bulgogi in tacos. They were delicious! Mmm, now I want some!


The question then posed itself: how can a large family indulge in yummy Bulgogi when some of them don’t eat sugar? This trim healthy mama needed to get to work in the kitchen! And nobody had time to make pear paste and thinly sliced steak.

That’s how this easy ground beef version came to be. We by-passed the steak and softening steps, and went straight for a package of 97% lean ground beef. Flavorful, but not fatty, and no need to tenderize.

And if you want some other delicious, sugar-free recipes be sure to check out the other recipes I’ve converted to sugar-free so that I can enjoy them on my Trim Healthy Mama journey.


The first step to make this easy sugar free Korean beef is to heat a heavy bottomed pan (you know we used our cast iron skillet here!).

Drizzle a tiny bit of sesame oil in the skillet (seriously, you don’t need a lot) and add in your lean ground beef and minced garlic. Cook until beef is brown and crumbly, but not burnt.

While your meat is heating up, you’ll make up the sauce. Whisk together ginger, pepper, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegarerythritolstevia sesame oil, and blackstrap molasses. In a separate bowl, whisk together water and glucomannan.

Next, add the water and gluccie to the rest of the ingredients and whisk them well. Immediately pour over the already cooked meat, constantly stirring so that the sauce heats and thickens.

Immediately pour over the already cooked meat, constantly stirring so that the sauce heats and thickens. This step will only take a minute or two.

We like to add a tiny sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds and green onions on top, too. And most of our family also likes the added sweetness of some shaved carrots added in at the end. We serve it up over rice or in a romaine lettuce boat.

Korean beef with sesame seeds, carrots, and green onions, on a bed of lettuce
Yield: 4

Korean Beef Bulgogi

Prep Time: 10 minutes
: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Simple and delicious, with all the flavors of classic Bulgogi, this dinner comes together quickly and is a crowd pleaser.


  • Meat:
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • dash sesame oil
  • Sauce:
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne optional
  • 1/3 cup Bragg’s liquid amino
  • 1/4 cup erythritol
  • 1 doonk 1/32 tsp stevia extract
  • 2 tsp black strap molasses
  • 1 1/2 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp glucomannan
  • Optional Garnish:
  • bunch of green onions diced
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds toasted
  • optional: shaved carrot


  1. Start cooking rice in rice cooker or on stove top.
  2. Drizzle a scant tsp of sesame oil in the bottom of your cast iron skillet (or other heavy bottomed pan)
  3. Add in garlic and beef, cook until brown and crumbly but not burnt.
  4. While beef is cooking, make sauce. In one bowl, stir together all sauce ingredients EXCEPT water and glucomannan. Whisk together well.
  5. In another bowl, whisk water and gluccie together well.
  6. Mix the water and gluccie into the the rest of the sauce, whisking well.
  7. Pour sauce mixture over cooked beef and garlic, mixing well over low heat.
  8. Stir continuously as sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
  9. Serve over rice or a salad or in a romaine boat.


Serve atop rice or lettuce or in lettuce boats for korean tacos.

This meal is an easy THM S if you serve it in a romaine boat or on a salad. Leave off the shaved carrots or have a small garnish amount.

This meal can be a THM XO if served over rice.

To make this a THM E, you would need to use the leanest beef and not cook the beef in the sesame oil and just brown it in the skillet, then rinse it in VERY HOT WATER after browning (twice!). Limit your serving to no more than 4 oz. To get the garlic in there, add it to the skillet after you have rinsed the beef and returned it to the skillet. With the garlic added, heat until aromatic. Then add the sauce. Serve over up to 3/4 cup rice. (see page 50 in the plan book for detailed directions on beef in an E setting)

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 314Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 1265mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 34g

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cast iron skillet with beef and sesame seeds and text "Korean beef bulgogi" by The Moments At Home

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  1. Thank you for a great recipe. I am tired of the same few dishes. My husband loved this and it was sooooo quick and easy!!!!

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