With tender slices of flank steak coated in a savory-sweet sauce, this easy-to-follow recipe for Crock Pot Korean Beef will become a family favorite! Use your slow cooker to create a satisfying protein to serve over rice and noodles for those busy days when you need a flavorful and satisfying meal without the fuss!
Korean beef, also known as "Bulgogi," is a popular Korean dish popular for its tender and flavorful meat. Typically made with thinly sliced beef, such as flank steak, the meat is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and other seasonings to create a balance of sweet, savory, and slightly spicy flavors. This popular Korean beef can easily be made with the help of your slow cooker!
Making Korean beef in the slow cooker is the best way to prepare this dish because it allows the meat to tenderize and soak up all the rich flavors of the marinade over an extended period. The slow cooking process ensures that the beef becomes tender and juicy as the connective tissue breaks down and absorbs all the flavors. Using the slow cooker also simplifies the cooking process, making it perfect for busy days or when you want to get a flavorful dinner on the table with little effort.
This delicious beef can be served over rice, noodles, or in crunchy lettuce wraps. This allows you to make a large batch and serve it in various ways to change it up each time, making it great for an easy dinner or for meal prep during the week!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- The thinly sliced flank steak becomes incredibly tender when cooked in the slow cooker, making it a perfect way to use this budget-friendly cut of beef.
- The sweet and slightly spicy marinade, enhanced by the addition of brown sugar and red pepper flakes, perfectly complements the succulent meat.
- The recipe contains just ten simple ingredients you can find in any grocery store.
- Whether served over steamed rice, wrapped in fresh lettuce leaves, or paired with noodles, this easy Korean beef recipe is a versatile and crowd-pleasing option for all.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Flank Steak - The star ingredient, this beef becomes tender and flavorful as it breaks down in the slow cooker, absorbing all the delicious flavors of the marinade.
- Cornstarch - Coating the flank steak in cornstarch before cooking helps create a light coating on the meat that allows the sauce to stick to every inch.
- Sesame Oil - This aromatic oil adds a distinctive nutty flavor, enhancing the overall taste while lending a classic Korean touch.
- Minced Garlic - Provides a robust and savory undertone, elevating the taste of the beef.
- Minced Ginger - Adds a bright and slightly pungent kick with a natural kick of spice.
- Rice Vinegar - Provides a gentle tang that balances the sweetness of the brown sugar, enhancing the marinade's complexity.
- Soy Sauce - Provides the umami depth and saltiness that is essential for building the savory profile of the marinade.
- Beef Broth - Further enriches the marinade, intensifying the meaty flavors and ensuring the beef remains juicy and succulent throughout the slow cooking process.
- Red Pepper Flakes - Adds a subtle but exciting heat to the marinade that’s classic in Korean beef.
How To Make Korean Beef In The Crock Pot
Coat the flank steak: Place sliced flank steak and cornstarch into a Ziplock bag. Close and shake until completely coated. Then, add to the bottom of a 6-quart crock pot.
Assemble the marinade: Add sesame oil, garlic, fresh ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce, beef broth, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes to a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined and pour over flank steak.
Cover and cook: Add the lid to the top and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or on LOW for 4-5 hours or until the meat is cooked through and tender.
Garnish and serve: Stir the beef to distribute the sauce evenly. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions. Enjoy!
- For the most tender and flavorful beef, make sure to slice the flank steak against the grain. This technique helps break down the muscle fibers, resulting in a more tender and enjoyable texture.
- When coating the sliced flank steak with cornstarch, shake off any excess before adding it to the slow cooker. This ensures a light and even coating, preventing the beef from becoming too thick and starchy during cooking.
- To enhance the aroma of the dish, sauté the minced garlic and minced ginger in a little sesame oil before adding them to the marinade. This step releases their flavors even better.
- If you prefer a milder or spicier version, adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to suit your taste. You can start with a smaller quantity and add more later if desired, ensuring the perfect level of heat for your palate.
- Marinating the sliced flank steak in the sauce for a few hours before cooking can intensify the flavors and result in an even tastier end product. However, if you're short on time, you can still achieve great results without marinating beforehand.
- Place a slow cooker liner or parchment paper at the bottom of your crock pot before adding the ingredients. This makes cleaning up a breeze and ensures no precious sauce goes to waste.
- If the sauce is too thin after the cooking process, you can thicken it by creating a slurry with cornstarch and water. Mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with equal parts water until smooth, then stir it into the sauce in the slow cooker. Cook for a few more minutes until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency.
- For a tangier twist, replace the rice vinegar with apple cider vinegar or lime juice. The fruity acidity will add a unique and refreshing note to the marinade.
- Experiment with different cuts of beef, such as sirloin or ribeye, to see how the flavors and textures vary. Keep in mind that cooking times may differ depending on the cut chosen.
- If you prefer a gluten-free option, substitute tamari or coconut aminos for the soy sauce, ensuring a delicious and allergy-friendly alternative.
- Enhance the umami profile by adding a tablespoon of gochujang, a Korean chili paste, to the marinade. This will infuse the dish with a deeper complexity and a delightful touch of spiciness.
- Boost the vegetable content by adding sliced bell peppers, onions, or even mushrooms to the slow cooker.
- Make it a fusion dish by introducing some tropical flair with a splash of pineapple juice or pineapple chunks in the marinade. The sweetness of the pineapple complements the beef's savory notes.
- For a low-carb option, serve Korean beef over cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles instead of traditional rice.
- For a vegetarian or vegan version, substitute the beef with firm tofu or seitan. Marinate the tofu or seitan slices in the same sauce for a few hours before cooking to infuse them with the delectable Korean flavors.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Transfer cooled leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 to 4 days. Make sure to separate the beef from any rice or noodles, as they can become mushy when stored together.
Freezing: Transfer to a freezer-safe container or heavy-duty resealable bag. Press out any excess air and seal tightly. The beef can be frozen for up to 2 to 3 months. Thaw the frozen Korean beef in the refrigerator overnight. To reheat, warm it up in a microwave or a skillet on the stovetop until thoroughly heated. Add a splash of water or beef broth if needed to maintain the sauce's consistency.
Yes, you can put raw beef in a crock pot. The slow cooking process allows the raw beef to cook thoroughly and become tender and flavorful as it simmers in the crock pot.
Korean beef is typically made with thinly sliced cuts like flank steak or ribeye. These cuts work well in the slow cooker, becoming tender and absorbing the delicious marinade flavors during the cooking process.
Tougher cuts of meat, such as chuck roast or brisket, are best for slow cooking in a crock pot. The low and slow cooking method helps break down the collagen in these cuts, resulting in tender and succulent meat.
More Crock Pot Beef Recipes
- Crock Pot Beef and Broccoli
- Crock Pot Vegetable Beef Soup
- Crock Pot Beef Tips and Gravy
- Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef
SHARE IT & RATE IT
Crock Pot Korean Beef
- Place sliced flank steak and cornstarch into a Ziplock bag. Close and shake until completely coated. Then add to the bottom of a 6-quart crock pot.
- Add sesame oil, garlic, fresh ginger, rice vinegar, soy sauce, beef broth, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes to a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined and pour over flank steak.
- Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 4-5 hours.
- Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.
*All nutrition information provided is automatically calculated and is an estimate and will vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact numbers on your ingredients, I would recommend calculating them with your prefered nutrition calculator.