Spicy Chicken bulgogi, or dak bulgogi, is a variation of the well-known Korean barbecue dish bulgogi. It uses a chicken base and a spicy marinade for a sweet and spicy flavor. This is a great dish to satisfy your Korean barbecue cravings while staying healthy.
- 🐣 What is Spicy Chicken Bulgogi?
- 🍳 Why This Recipe Works
- 🍎 Calories and Nutrition Facts – How To Make It Healthy
- 📋 Ingredient Notes
- 📖 Substitutions and Variations
- 🔪 Step by Step Instructions
- 🍳 Other Ways To Cook the Chicken
- 🍽 What You Can Eat It With
- 💡Expert Tips
- 💭 Recipe FAQs
- 🍽 Related Korean Recipes
- 🍳 Recipe
🐣 What is Spicy Chicken Bulgogi?
Spicy chicken bulgogi consists of chicken thigh marinaded in a spicy bulgogi sauce, which is a spinoff of the classic Korean bulgogi flavor consisting of sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, and sugar. The spiciness comes from the additional Korean spice condiments, gochugaru and gochujang.
This dish would be a great topping for a chicken bibimbap or as a side to a piping hot bowl of soondubu (Korean soft tofu soup).
This is a great Korean BBQ dish to make at home.
🍳 Why This Recipe Works
Easy to make – All it takes is making the sauce and marinating it in the chicken.
Super versatile – You can serve this in a bibimbap bowl, with lettuce wraps, or even make a Korean barbecue burrito.
Healthy and nutritious – Made with lower calories with careful portioning, this is a great healthy Korean food recipe, for those who want to satisfy their Korean food cravings while tracking their fitness goals
🍎 Calories and Nutrition Facts – How To Make It Healthy
A serving of spicy chicken bulgogi runs at 290 calories with 35 grams of protein, 20 grams of fat, and 12 grams of carbs.
The dish is predominantly made of chicken, a lean protein source, so the bulk of the additional calories will come from the marinade. It's key to portion the marinade ingredients mindfully to keep overall calorie content low.
Here's what I did to make this dish low calorie:
- Portioned 6 ounces of boneless skinless chicken thigh
- Portioned the individual ingredients for the marinade at 90 calories in total
- Limited usage of sesame oil to 1 teaspoon given that it is a calorie dense ingredient
- Used cooking spray instead of cooking oil, which saves more than 100 calories
For a detailed breakdown of each ingredients, their portioning, and how they make up the nutrition profile of this recipe, you may refer to the table below:
📋 Ingredient Notes
Chicken Thigh – I used boneless skinless chicken thigh, which is a great lean protein source that is still juicy with every bite. You can also use chicken breast, but it will be a lot dryer and is not that much lower in calories.
Gochujang – Gochujang is a Korean red pepper paste that is often used for sauces. Despite its fiery color, it is not that spicy. There isn't a good substitute for it, but it should be available at your local Asian grocery store or online.
Gochugaru – Gochugaru is Korean red pepper flakes and is used to add a kick to most Korean dishes. This is where most of the spice comes from so adjust accordingly based on your spice preference. You can find it at your local Asian grocery store or online. You can also substitute it with red pepper flakes.
Sesame Oil – Sesame oil is a vital component to any bulgogi marinade, bringing it a sweet nutty flavor.
See my recipe card below for a complete list of the ingredients with measurements.
📖 Substitutions and Variations
Use pre-made spicy bulgogi marinade – Makes it more convenient if you are in a hurry or don't want to make your own marinade. You can get it at your local Korean grocery store or online.
Substitute gochugaru with chili flakes – You can use red pepper flakes if you can't find gochugaru.
Make it non spicy – Check out my classic dak bulgogi recipe to see how.
Make it with beef – Check out my beef bulgogi recipe to see how.
Make dak galbi – Stir fry with rice cakes, vegetables, and more sauce to make dak galbi.
🔪 Step by Step Instructions
Make the marinade – Start by mincing the garlic and onions into small, fine pieces. Mix the rest of the marinade ingredients together thoroughly.
Marinade the chicken – Trim off the excess fat from the chicken thigh and dip it in the marinade. Let the chicken marinade for at least 2 hours or overnight to let the flavor fully seep through.
Cast Iron on Stovetop – Using a cast iron, cook the chicken for about 3-5 minutes each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Make sure the chicken is fully spread out so that the chicken cooks evenly. The lodge cast iron is my favorite brand.
Garnish and Serve – Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions and serve with a side of rice or some leafy wraps.
🍳 Other Ways To Cook the Chicken
If you don't have a cast iron or prefer a different method of cooking the chicken, you can also use one of the following methods.
Air Fryer – Turn the air fryer on to 380F and cook the chicken for about 18-20 minutes. Be sure to place the chicken on a single layer and flip the chicken over halfway through it's cooking time.
Oven – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and put the chicken on a baking sheet with foil. Bake the chicken for about 25-35 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
Grill – Turn the grill on to between 325-350F and cook for about 5-6 minutes on each side.
🍽 What You Can Eat It With
Serve it with ssam, or leafy wraps – Korean BBQ is often served in lettuce or perilla leaf wraps to give it some freshness.
Serve it with a side of rice – This dish goes super well with a side of white or brown rice.
Top it over a bibimbap – Make it a great nutritious meal by serving it bibimbap style. Check out my bibimbap recipe to see how.
Cook it on the cast iron – This will give the meat a delicious smokey flavor without the need of a grill! You can get a cast iron easily online.
Marinade the chicken overnight – Doing so will allow to flavor to seep through
Flatten out the chicken – Chicken thigh often has a thick part that can be flattened out by cutting it. Doing so will allow the chicken to cook evenly. Learn more about how to pound chicken thighs.
💭 Recipe FAQs
Dak galbi is different from spicy chicken bulgogi in that dak galbi is often cooked with an assortment of vegetables, cheese, and other carb-based based mix-ins, such as noodles or rice. Check out my Dak Galbi recipe to learn more.
Yes, spicy chicken bulgogi is spicy (of course). You can adjust the spice level by adjusting the amount of gochugaru, or red chili flakes, used.
Bulgogi flavor is a sweet and salty flavor that combines sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, and sugar. It's one of the signature flavors of Korean cuisine.
🍽 Related Korean Recipes
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Spicy Chicken Bulgogi (Dak Bulgogi)
- 1 Cast Iron
- 6 oz Chicken thigh (Boneless, skinless)
- 1 tablespoon Gochujang
- 2 teaspoon Gochugaru
- 1 tablespoon Soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Mirin
- 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil
- 2 cloves Garlic
- ¼ Yellow Onion (Minced)
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- Sesame Seeds (For garnish)
- Scallions (For garnish)
- Make the marinade – Start by mincing the garlic and onions into small, fine pieces. Mix the rest of the marinade ingredients together thoroughly
- Marinade the chicken – Trim off the excess fat from the chicken thigh and dip it in the marinade. Let the chicken marinade for at least 2 hours or overnight to let the flavor fully seep through.
- Cast Iron on Stovetop – Using a cast iron, cook the chicken for about 3-5 minutes each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Make sure the chicken is fully spread out so that the chicken cooks evenly. The lodge cast iron is my favorite brand.
- Garnish and Serve – Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions and serve with a side of rice or some leafy wraps.
My fave recipe for meal prepping! thank you!