Classic bibimbap made with an array of vegetables, beef, and the savory bibimbap sauce representing the best of Korean food. The colorful display of vegetables makes this world famous Korean mixed rice dish a wholesome and healthy meal. This bibimbap recipe can become vegetarian or vegan if you omit the beef and egg.

A bowl of Korean bibimbap on a tray is drizzled with gochujang sauce.

Even if you’ve never been to Korea, bibimbap is a distinctively Korean dish that has become a favorite in many households. You can find this traditional bibimbap on the menus of many local Korean restaurants in your neighborhood.

Once you have a bibimbap experience, you’ll be hooked. And you can totally make this scrumptious Korean bibimbap at home with this easy bibimbap recipe. You can easily feed a crowd by simply increasing the amounts of each ingredient.

What is bibimbap?

The literal translation of bibimbap (bibimbop) means mixed rice – “bibim” means to mix, and “bap” means cooked rice.

Various vegetables and ground beef bulgogi are arranged over rice in a stone bowl to make bibimbap

Bibimbap is a well known Korean mixed rice dish with all sorts of seasoned vegetables and meat (typically beef), and topped with a sunny side up fried egg.

You can enjoy the rich flavor and the crisp texture of each ingredient in every bite. This Korean rice dish is served with a sweet and spicy bibimbap sauce made with gochujang – Korean chili paste. This gochujang sauce has become super popular in recent years. It is used to dress up many dishes in Korean and other cuisines.

Buddhist temple bibimbap

Depending on the type of vegetables you use in the recipe, bibimbap can be an everyday rice dish (if you use ordinary vegetables) or something elaborate and gourmet (if you use hard-to-find edible vegetables grown in the wild). Many Buddhist temples, in fact, use these exotic wild grown vegetables to turn their bibimbap from ordinary to extraordinary. It’s worth a trip to a Buddhist temple to taste this type of vegetarian (or vegan) bibimbap if you ever visit Korea.

Korean Regional bibimbap

In the western world, the most well-known bibimbap is beef bibimbap, but that is just one of many different types known in Korea. Different regions in Korea use different bibimbap ingredients.

  • Jeonju bibimbap: Jeonju in Jeolla province is most well known for their bibimbap using raw beef instead of marinated, cooked beef bulgogi. They use locally grown vegetables making the rice bowl more wholesome.
  • Southern provinces often include seafood, either cooked or fresh, such as cockles or fish roe, in place of meat. Gyeongsang province, especially where I am from, is famous for using raw sea squirt (munggae, 멍게), a local delicacy. Salmon bibimbap with micro-greens is another recent trend that many Koreans enjoy.

What is Dolsot bibimbap

Bibimbap is traditionally served in a large bibimbap bowl made with stainless steel or porcelain. In contrast, dolsot bibimbap is served in a Korean stone pot that can be put directly on the heat source.

This hot stone bibimbap is well known for the crackling rice on the bottom of bowl as a result of heating the pot directly.

You can purchase Korean stone pot if you want to make it authentic, but you can get a same result by using a heavy duty cast iron skillet of carbon steel skillet. Check my recipe video below to see how to make dolsot bibimbap in a skillet.

Watch How to make dolsot bibimbap in a skillet

Various vegetables and ground beef bulgogi are for making bibimbap

What is in Bibimbap Bowl

1. Vegetables

The vegetables used in bibimbap recipe are collectively called namul (나물). On their own, they are Korean vegetable side dishes. When you consider what vegetables to use, always strive for a color contrast to make it look more appetizing. Most typical bibimbap vegetables are:

  • soybean sprouts or mung bean sprouts – See my bean sprout side dish recipe for more detailed instruction.
  • spinach – Try my Korean spinach side dish recipe.
  • watercress – I prefer watercress over spinach because you can skip the blanching process.
  • carrot
  • zucchini (fresh or dried)
  • Swiss chard
  • radish
  • eggplant
  • bracken (gosari) – Needs a lot of work to prep beforehand (see my Yukgaejang recipe for the idea)
  • mushroom – it is not one of the “namul” vegetables, but mushrooms are always included in bibimbap. The most common mushroom used is shiitake mushroom, but other mushrooms are fine.

Important: Each vegetable should be cooked and seasoned separately to retain its taste and texture.

Here’s a tip: start by cooking the lightest colored vegetables (radish) first, and then progress one by one to the darker colored vegetables. That way, you can maintain each one’s natural color, and you will only need to use one skillet.

2. Meat (beef bulgogi)

The famous bulgogi bibimbap recipe uses traditional Korean marinated beef. The downside is that you will need to prepare the beef several hours, or up to a day, in advance.

When I make my bibimbap, I use my ground beef bulgogi recipe for my bibimbap bulgogi. It is much quicker (less than 15 minutes) and just as tasty as marinated beef. Ground beef bulgogi is also easier to mix with the rice and vegetables than the bigger chunks of traditional bulgogi beef.

3. Bibimbap Sauce

Ingredients for bibimbap sauce are placed on a basket tray

As important as vegetables and meat are in making bibimbap, you can’t ignore the bibimbap sauce. In fact, the battle to find the best bibimbap is with the sauce. This gently sweet and spicy bibimbap sauce recipe uses gochujang, and it is simple and quick to put together.

Ingredients for bibimbap sauce:

  • gochujang
  • Korean plum extract -optional, but recommend
  • corn syrup or sugar
  • sesame oil
  • toasted sesame seeds

How to make bibimbap

Soybean sprouts are cooking in a pot
Cooked soybean sprouts are dressed with seasonings

For the soy bean sprouts: blanch them and drain. Season with a a mixture of 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 teaspoons Korean soup soy sauce, pinch salt, 2 teaspoon sesame oil, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, and 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions. Toss well.

White Korean radish is sliced into thin matchsticks
Korean radish is cooked to be soft and tender in a skillet

For the radish: slice into thin matchsticks. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the 2 teaspoons of minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add radish slices and a couple pinches of salt, and toss well. Cover with a lid and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Drizzle 2 teaspoon of sesame oil. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Zucchini slices are cooked to be tender and soft in a skillet

For zucchini: heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons garlic, zucchini slices, and salt. Stir fry until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Add 2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon sesame seeds. Toss well

Green watercress are stir-fried in a skillet

For watercress: heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the 2 teaspoons of minced garlic and watercress; stir fry for 1 minute. Drizzle 2 teaspoon Korean soup soy sauce and cook until wilted.

Sliced shiitake mushroom are cooking in a skillet

For mushrooms: heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the 2 teaspoons minced garlic and the mushrooms; stir fry for 1 minute. Drizzle 2 teaspoon Korean soup soy sauce and cook until soft. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds at the end and toss.

Shredded carrots are cooked soft in a skillet

For carrots: heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add carrot and salt and toss together for 30 seconds. Pour in 2 tablespoons water to create steam and cover with a lid immediately. Cook for 1-2 minutes until soft. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds at the end and toss.

Seasoned vegetables, beef, and bibimbap sauce are ready to assemble bibimbap

Assembling Bibimbap

  1. Put a desired amount of rice on the bottom of a large serving bowl.
  2. Arrange the vegetables on top of the rice in alternating colors for a good visual presentation. Put bulgogi meat in the center.
  3. Place a fried sunny side-up egg on top.
  4. You can either drizzle the bibimbap sauce (about 2 tablespoon) directly over the rice bowl, or you can put the sauce in a small sauce bowl on the side next to the bibimbap so that your guest can add the sauce directly to the bowl in their desired amount.
A bowl of Korean bibimbap is on a wooden tray with gochujang sauce on the side

How to eat bibimbap

1. Mixing:

Your bibimbap presented in a nice serving bowl looks picture perfect and almost artistic, but it is about to get destroyed.

To eat, use whatever method you like to mix everything up. Keep in mind, however, that the easiest way to mix bibimbap, and the way most local Koreans do it, is NOT TO USE THE SPOON to mix it.

  • Use a pair chopsticks first. Holding each chopstick in one hand, use a cross pattern to break-up the runny egg yolk and egg white into pieces.
  • You can then hold both chopsticks in one hand and toss the rice and vegetables to mix the sauce in.
  • Only as a final step, complete the mixing with a spoon to coat everything in the bowl. See my tutorial video to understand better.

2. Serving:

Take a big spoonful into your mouth and savor every component – the rice, meat, and vegetables coated in a savory gochujang sauce. Since bibimbap has a ton of vegetables mixed in a bowl already, you don’t need any additional side dishes except kimchi.

Bibimbap is typically served with a light soup made with soybean paste, such as my arugula soybean soup or kale soybean paste soup recipe in my cookbook.

Bibimbap is mixed in a stone bowl with a spoon

Vegetarian or Vegan Bibimbap

Turning my traditional bibimbap recipe into a vegetarian or vegan bibimbap is easy. Simply omit the beef (meat) and egg. You can replace with tofu to add extra protein if you wish. My pan-fried tofu recipe is a great to use in place of beef. The crispy, nutty taste of the tofu will enhance the chewy texture.

Other bibimbap dishes

If you love bibimbap, you will love these Korean rice dishes:

Tried this recipe? Please take a moment to leave a star rating & comment below. I love hearing from you and it helps other readers, too.

A bowl of Korean bibimbap is on a wooden tray with gochujang sauce on the side

Bibimbap (Korean rice bowl with beef and vegetable)

The colorful display of vegetables makes this world famous Korean bibimbap a wholesome and healthy meal. This bibimbap recipe can become vegetarian or vegan if you omit the beef and egg.
5 from 2 ratings

Ingredients

For bibimbap sauce

For bibimbap

For bibimbap vegetables

  • 1 lb soybean sprouts
  • 1 lb Korean radish, sliced into thin matchsticks
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced
  • 1 bunch watercress, sliced
  • 6 oz shiitake mushroom, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced into thin matchsticks

For vegetable seasonings

Instructions 

For the bibimbap sauce

  • To make the bibimbap sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well; set aside.

For the bibimbap vegetables

  • For the soybean sprouts, blanch them and drain. Season with a a mixture of 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 teaspoons Korean soup soy sauce, pinch salt, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, and 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions. Toss well.
  • For the radish, slice into thin matchsticks. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the 2 teaspoons of minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add radish slices and a couple pinches of salt, and toss well. Cover with a lid and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Drizzle 2 teaspoon of sesame oil. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  • For zucchini, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons garlic, zucchini slices, and salt. Stir fry until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Add 2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon sesame seeds. Toss well.
  • For watercress, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the 2 teaspoons of minced garlic and watercress; stir fry for 1 minute. Drizzle 2 teaspoon Korean soup soy sauce and cook until wilted.
  • For mushrooms, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the 2 teaspoons minced garlic and the mushrooms; stir fry for 1 minute. Drizzle 2 teaspoon Korean soup soy sauce and cook until soft. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds at the end and toss.
  • For carrots, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add carrot and salt and toss together for 30 seconds. Pour in 2 tablespoons water to create steam and cover with a lid immediately. Cook for 1-2 minutes until soft. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds at the end and toss.
  • For eggs, heat oil in a skillet and fry eggs to sunny-side up.

Assembling Bibimbap

  • Put a desired amount of rice on the bottom of a large serving bowl. Arrange the vegetables on top of the rice in alternating colors for a good visual presentation. Put bulgogi meat in the center. Place an sunny-side up egg on top. You can either drizzle the bibimbap sauce (about 2 tablespoon) directly over the rice bowl, or you can put the sauce in a small sauce bowl on the side next to the bibimbap so that your guest can add the sauce directly to the bowl in their desired amount.
Calories: 891kcal, Carbohydrates: 106g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 37g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Monounsaturated Fat: 15g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 299mg, Sodium: 1891mg, Potassium: 1468mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 23g, Vitamin A: 5934IU, Vitamin C: 69mg, Calcium: 242mg, Iron: 7mg
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