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This delicious chicken bulgogi, flavored with a simple low sodium and no added sugar marinade, is an easy and healthy weeknight dinner for the whole family, including babies!

Bulgogi served 3 ways for parent, toddler, and baby.
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Chicken Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Chicken)

“Bul” means fire and “gogi” means meat in Korean. And while it’s traditionally made with beef, you really can use any meat.

This chicken (dak) bulgogi is absolutely satisfying and, just like with my baby-friendly beef bulgogi, super easy to make.

The classic bulgogi marinade includes soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, rice wine, and garlic. Pear or kiwi is often added to tenderize the meat.

I developed this recipe with babies and young toddlers in mind, so the marinade contains minimal sodium and no added sugar. I made every attempt to cut back on the sodium level without sacrificing the flavor too much so that the whole family can enjoy together.

And I believe you are going to love it! If you’re looking for more baby-friendly Asian sauces, give this low-sodium teriyaki sauce a try!

Hungry for more? Here are more baby and toddler-friendly Asian recipes!

Ingredients

Marinade ingredients.
Sliced chicken, carrots, and onion in a large bowl.
  • Chicken – It is best to use boneless chicken thighs but you can use chicken breasts or a mix of both.
  • Carrots and onion – vegetables are optional but highly recommended! They add great flavor and texture, and it’s a delicious way to incorporate more vegetables into your child’s meals.
  • Pear – Acts as a tenderizer and helps sweeten the marinade. If you can get your hands on Asian pear, it works best. But you can use any variety that you have available .
  • Coconut aminos – made from coconut nectar and sea salt, it tastes sweeter and lighter than soy sauce. It also contains significantly less amount of sodium (this includes low-sodium soy sauce). It’s soy and wheat-free, so if your baby is allergic, this will be a great alternative to soy sauce. But you can certainly use low-sodium soy sauce, if you’d rather.

How to Make Chicken Bulgogi

Marinade ingredients in a food blender.

Step 1: Add all the marinade ingredients into a food processor or a blender.

All the ingredients blended in a food blender.

Step 2: Blend until smooth.

Chicken, onion, carrots, and sauce combined in a large bowl.

Step 3: In a large mixing bowl, add chicken, carrots, onion, and the bulgogi sauce. Massage chicken thoroughly, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Chicken and vegetables cooked in large skillet.

Step 4: Pan fry in a skillet or a grill over medium high heat, until cooked through. Garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds when serving.

Tips for Success

  • Slice chicken thinly if planning to cook in a skillet. If grilling, cut into big strips so they don’t fall through the grill grate.
  • Marinate for at least 30 minutes for thinly sliced chicken. For bigger pieces, marinate for at least 4 hours. Do NOT skip this process! Marinating chicken bulgogi is crucial for adding flavor and tenderness. It helps the meat absorb spices and sauces, making it juicier and more delicious when cooked.

Pan Frying Chicken Bulgogi

A close up shot of cooked bulgogi in a skillet.

If you want the chicken to get slightly charred and caramelized, preheat the pan so it’s nice and hot and don’t overcrowd the pan. You will want to work in batches.

But if planning to enjoy with your baby, add all the chicken and vegetables to the pan and let them cook in their own juices. You will also end up with a delicious sauce that you can serve over rice.

Serving Suggestions

Enjoy chicken bulgogi with some steamed white rice (or try this mixed grains rice or quinoa) and cooked vegetables, like broccoli or zucchini.

It’s also super tasty served in lettuce cups too! And just like that you have an easy, well-balanced weeknight meal for the whole family.

You can also use any leftovers as a filling for burritos or quesadillas the next day or a topping for pizza or salad.

For babies

Finely chopped chicken and vegetables served over lentils.

In a bowl, finely chop the chicken and vegetables using a kitchen shear. Serve over any cooked grain of choice or lentils like you see here for an additional boost of iron.

You may be interested in: Top iron-rich foods for babies

For toddlers

A small portion of bulgogi, white rice, and lettuce for toddler.

Introduce them to lettuce wraps! You can serve separate as pictured. Encourage them to make and try on their own by showing them through modeling. We like to play a game of who can take the bigger bite.

toddler pushing bowl away

Is your toddler becoming picky?

Arm yourself with these strategies that will transform your mealtimes!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best chicken to use for chicken bulgogi?

It is best to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for flavor and texture. However, you can use chicken breast or a combination of both.

What is the best way to store leftover chicken bulgogi?

Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. If you want to double or triple the recipe to have extra for the future, transfer any marinated uncooked portion to a freezer-safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 2 months.

More Korean Recipes

Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!

5 from 5 votes

Chicken bulgogi (low sodium)

This chicken bulgogi, flavored with a simple low sodium and low sugar marinade, is an easy and healthy weeknight dinner for the whole family, including babies!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Resting time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients 

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, sliced thinly
  • 3/4 medium onion, sliced thinly
  • Optional: green onion

Marinade

  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 Asian pear, chopped (170g)
  • 1/4 medium onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Instructions 

  • Slice chicken (see note). Combine marinade ingredients in blender (or food processor) and puree until smooth.
  • In a large bowl, add chicken, marinade, onion slices and carrots. Massage meat thoroughly, cover, and marinate for at least an hour in the fridge.
  • Preheat skillet or grill pan over med high heat. Cook chicken and veggies until cooked through. See note.
  • Garnish with chopped green onion and sesame seeds when serving.

Notes

  • Slicing chicken
    • Slice chicken thinly if planning to cook in a skillet. If grilling, cut into big strips so they don’t fall through the grill grate and marinate for at least 4 hours.
  • Pan frying chicken
    • If you want the chicken to get slightly charred and caramelized, preheat the pan so it’s nice and hot and don’t overcrowd the pan. You will need to work in batches.
    • If enjoying with your baby, add all the chicken and vegetables to the pan and let them cook in their own juices. 
  • To store: transfer to an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. If you want to double or triple the recipe to have extra for the future, transfer any marinated uncooked portion to a freezer-safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 2 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 8g
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Min

Thank you so much for stopping by! I am Min, a Registered Dietitian, a Christ follower, a wife, and a mom to our two miracle babies! Currently, I’m having a ton of fun feeding their tummies and sharing our baby led weaning journey! Follow me on Instagram if interested in seeing daily menu as well as tips and tricks.

5 from 5 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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32 Comments

  1. Min- i want to make this for dinner tonight and had a quick question on 1/2 kiwi on the recipe. Is that part of the marinade?

    1. Hi Dixya! Sorry the directions are not so clear. Yes, add kiwi along with all the other ingredients (except for carrots and sliced onion) in the blender or food processor. SO excited for you to try! Let me know how it turns out!!

  2. Min,

    We’re honored to have you on our team. You are an exceptional blogger and wonderful lady!!

  3. I haven’t cooked with mirin yet and have wanted to try it out. Thank you for sharing your recipes and your great photography with us on foodie friday.

  4. Hi! My husband loves bulgogi, but is on a no-red-meat diet, so I will have to give this a try! Is there a fruit (besides pear, which I am allergic to), that can be substituted for the kiwi — I am a allergic to several fruits, unfortunately.

    1. Hi Lauren! Haha I was going to suggest Asian pear as it is most commonly used. If you are allergic to fruits, you can try adding coke to tenderize. I’ve never tried it, but I know my mother in law does from time to time ;).