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Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps

Korean Beef Lettuce Wrap, also known as Beef Bulgogi Lettuce Wrap, features marinated Korean bbq beef (bulgogi), wrapped in lettuce along with kimchi, green onions, sesame seeds and other fixings.

Crunchy and flavorful, Korean beef lettuce wrap is a low-carb meal that will spice up your dinner routine, bringing bold flavors and great textures to every bite.

A plate full of korean beef lettuce wraps with kimchi, sesame seeds and green onions on top

Some of my other favorite Korean or Korean inspired dishes include Spicy Baked Korean Chicken Wings and Korean Ground Beef Stir Fry.

Korean Bulgogi BBQ Beef Lettuce Wrap

There’s so much going on in each of these Korean beef lettuce wrap.

The savory and slightly sweet flavors of the Korean bbq beef filling are complemented by the spicy marinated kimchi and the crisp and refreshing crunch of lettuce leaves. This harmony of textures and tastes makes every bite a delightful experience.

The key component of this Korean beef lettuce wrap recipe is obviously the marinated beef. Thinly sliced beef is marinated in a blend of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and pear, infusing it with rich umami flavors.

The marinated steak is inspired by the traditional Korean bulgogi beef recipe. Bulgogi beef, or Korean bbq beef, is a popular marinated beef dish that you can find in Korean bbq restaurants or in Korean cuisine.

We then take a leaf of crisp lettuce, spoon in a generous portion of the flavorful Korean bbq beef filling, and top it off with your choice of garnishes, such as kimchi, green onions and sesame seeds.

While Korean beef lettuce wrap is not a traditional dish, it is a healthy and easy way to incorporate a classic Korean meat dish with some simple ingredients to enjoy a quick and yummy Korean food right in the comforts of your own home.


Here are the ingredients you will need to gather together to make Korean beef lettuce wrap:

Focused view of bibb lettuce loaded with Korean bbq beef and kimchi
  • Thinly sliced sirloin steak – You can thinly slice a piece of sirloin steak, or get it ready sliced. Some grocery store carries shaved steak, which is ready thin-sliced steak that is typically used for Korean bbq or hot pot.
  • Soy sauce – I used low-sodium soy sauce in my marinade, but really any soy or soy alternative will work well.
  • Brown sugar – use light or dark brown sugar to bring a hint of sweetness to balance out the savory flavors in the beef marinade
  • Sesame oil – sesame oil adds a beautiful nutty flavor to the marinade.
  • Rice vinegar – this is an acid which will help tenderize the meat, in addition to bringing flavors. If you don’t have rice vinegar, you can substitute with white vinegar.
  • Garlic – no need to chop or mince, just toss it in to your blender or food processor. Fresh garlic is recommended as powdered garlic doesn’t taste the same.
  • Ginger – make sure you peel the ginger before tossing it into your blender or food processor. you can substitute with ground ginger if needed.
  • Pear – pear is what makes this marinade unique. I use a Bosc pear, but really any pear will work just fine. You can also substitute with an apple.
  • Butter lettuce (bibb lettuce) – other lettuce such as romaine, green leaf, or any large size lettuce that can wrap up the bulgogi meat, can be used as well
  • Green onion, sesame seeds, kimchi – these fixings/garnishes are simple yet impactful. Kimchi is a traditional Korean spicy fermented napa cabbage, probably the most popular and widely eaten dish in Korean cuisine.

How to make it

The process of making Korean beef lettuce wrap is truly simple. It does need to be marinated ahead of time, and the longer you can marinate it the better, so it does call for some planning ahead.

However, once you get cooking it is super straight forward and takes only 20 minutes of active time.

Make marinate: Start this step at least an hour (or longer if possible) ahead of time.

Blend together marinate ingredients in the food processor: soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger root and pear.

Marinate beef: Slice beef into thin slices and bring to a large bowl. Or buy thinly sliced beef/shaved beef.

Thinly sliced beef in a large mixing bowl

Pour marinate onto beef. Massage well so that beef slices are fully soaked in marinated.

Let beef sit for at least 1 hour, or up to a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. The longer it marinates the more flavorful it will be.

Marinated beef in a metal mixing bowl

Pan sear beef: Heat skillet on medium high heat. Spray skillet with cooking oil spray so that the surface is covered with a think layer of oil.

Once skillet is heated, placed the sliced steak on it and spread it out making sure to not overlap. Shake off moisture from steak as much as possible before adding to skillet. Once the bottom side it cooked, flip to cook the other side. These thin slices will cook very quickly! Avoid overcooking.

Remove bulgogi beef promptly once it is fully cooked.

Fill lettuce: Add sliced bulgogi beef into lettuce wraps, then top with kimchi, sesame seeds, and green onions. See ‘More Garnishes and Toppings’ for more topping ideas.

Top down view of a bunch of Korean beef lettuce wraps in a large round plate

Serve and enjoy: Consider serving bulgogi beef, lettuce, and fixings separately and let everyone assemble their own Korean beef lettuce wrap, especially if lettuce wraps will not be consumed immediately after serving.

Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps are a great way to elevate your everyday dinners. With their bold flavors, easy preparation, and customizable nature, they’re perfect for a quick, satisfying and healthy meal.

Additional Tips

More tips and tricks to keep in mind when making Korean BBQ beef lettuce wraps:

  • Use the right type of beef: Opt for thinly sliced beef like ribeye or sirloin for tender and flavorful wraps. Shaved steak that are ready-sliced thinly to be used for hot pot or Korean bbq are good options as well. If using ground beef, choose a lean option to prevent excess grease.
  • Keep lettuce crisp and dry: To prevent the lettuce leaves from wilting, pat them dry with paper towels before assembling Korean beef lettuce wraps if lettuce is wet. Alternatively, serve the beef filling separately and let everyone assemble their own wraps when ready to eat.
  • Marinate the full time: Marinate the beef for at least 1 hour, or even overnight if possible, to allow the flavors to develop fully. Do not short cut this or steak will not be flavorful.
  • Avoid overcooking beef: Beef will cook quickly, especially when they are thinly sliced and cooked on high heat. Overcooking beef will produce dry steak.

Other Garnishes and Toppings

There are so many delicious toppings and fixings that goes well with beef when making Korean beef lettuce wraps. Here are other options that you may enjoy:

  • rice
  • gochujang – a fermented red chili paste that is a savory, sweet, and spicy. A widely used condiment Korean cuisine.
  • other vegetables – shredded carrots, cilantro and shredded cabbage are great options
  • pickled vegetables – such as pickled red onions, pickled radishes (a classic in Korean cuisine), pickled cucumbers etc
Close up on 6 lettuce bibb filled with bulgogi beef and kimchi

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I cook this using ground beef instead of sirloin steak?

Yes! You will only need to marinade ground beef for ~30 minutes. I personally prefer using steaks for this recipe vs ground beef, but ground beef works too.

How do I prevent the lettuce wraps from becoming soggy?

If lettuce is wet, pat the lettuce leaves dry with paper towels before assembling. Additionally, you can serve the beef filling on the side and allow guests to assemble their wraps themselves to keep the lettuce crisp until ready to eat.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes, prepare the Korean bbq beef filling ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When ready to serve, simply reheat the filling and assemble the lettuce wraps. Do not assemble Korean bbq beef lettuce wraps until ready to eat.

Korean beef bulgogi and kimchi wrapped in lettuce wraps

Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps

A low-carb and delicious twist of a classic Korean dish. Butter lettuce loaded with marinated Korean bbq beef (bulgogi beef), topped with kimchi, green onions and sesame seeds.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: asian, korean
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinate Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 304kcal
Author: MinShien


  • 1 lb sirloin steak thinly sliced

Korean BBQ Marinade

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce low sodium
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch ginger root or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 pear or 1/2 apple or 1/4 cup apple juice

For the Wraps

  • 10-12 Butter lettuce
  • 1/2 cup green onions chopped
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup kimchi


  • Place marinade ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
  • Place thinly sliced sirloin in a bowl. Pour marinade over sirloin. Make sure the meat is evenly coated with the marinade. Let sit for at least 1 hour up to a few hours.
  • Heat grill or skillet on medium high heat. Spray grill or skillet with cooking oil spray so that the surface is covered with a think layer of oil.
  • Once grill or skillet is heated, placed the sliced steak on it and spread it out making sure to not overlap. Once the bottom side it cooked, flip to cook the other side. These thin slices will cook very quickly!
  • Remove steak promptly once it is fully cooked.
  • To assemble wraps, thoroughly rinse the leaves of butter lettuce. Place a few slices of Korean BBQ beef on to the lettuce and garnish with green onions, sesame seeds, and kimchi.


Calories: 304kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 971mg | Potassium: 1504mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 13640IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 222mg | Iron: 8mg
Did you make this recipe?Take a pic and tag me at @joyous.apron, or hashtag #joyousapron on Instagram!

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5 from 5 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    The flavors in these are so good! I love how simple they were to make and the fresh flavors. My family loved it!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Glad to hear that Jenn! Thanks for sharing 🙂