Tender and tangy Slow Cooker Korean Beef is a perfect low-and-slow Crockpot recipe for when you’re scrambling back from vacation to real life. Great for meal prep or freezing for later, you can set it and forget it. Includes easy Whole30, paleo, and gluten-free swaps.
Happy New Year, y’all! I am trying out a relatively simple resolution this year: avoid internet drama. And I love internet drama. I’m not talking about socio-political fighting, I’m specifically talking about enjoying the trainwrecks as people join seemingly innocuous interest groups and then try to subvert the cause: macramé enthusiasts calling people who crochet “trashy;” that woman in your neighborhood swap group who complains about free things; and, my god, the battle royale erupting in the underbelly of food message boards over Instant Pots vs. Crockpots.
I, myself, shall remain Switzerland. All kitchen accoutrements have their place. I love my slow cooker and I’m gonna keep on slow cooking in it. Sure, some single-use kitchen appliances are extraneous… But you cannot compare a crockpot to, say, a quesadilla maker. Because a quesadilla maker, I mean, just, why? You love quesadillas that much? But you don’t own a frying pan and a knife? But I’m not dying on that hill.
To be fair, with enough time and technique none of us would need any electrical gadgets to make, say, Korean Beef, much less a Crockpot. Hell, there’s a guy who has a whole Tik Tok channel dedicated to cooking meals using only hotel room amenities. I’m sure we could all stand to be a bit more resourceful, even though there’s nothing wrong with convenience.
We should just be a little more respectful and a little less judgmental about the different tools we use to cook and, on occasion, fall so deeply in love with we are willing to fight for their honor. Different recipes call for different efforts; enjoy the process in whatever way fits your life best. Unless we’re talking about the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer. In which case, get the hell outta my kitchen.
Tips for Making Slow Cooker Korean Beef
- Trim any large chunks of excess fat off your beef prior to cooking. You’ll get enough from the marbling throughout, and excess fat won’t render, it’ll just turn gummy.
- Save time and use a microplane to grate your fresh ginger instead of chopping.
- Since you’re pureeing the sauce ingredients anyway, you can substitute canned pears (in juice, not syrup) for fresh, just drain and rinse thoroughly first.
- Re-sauce to your taste. Don’t use it all if you don’t want to.
- Leftovers freeze beautifully for future use. Make it into a different meal by stuffing into lettuce wraps or making Korean-style tacos.
What to Serve with Korean Beef
- Serve over cauliflower rice or steamed white rice.
- Or, stuff into lettuce wraps (we like boston bib or iceberg “cups”) and top with shredded carrots and pickled radishes.
- Simple sides that you can drizzle extra sauce on work well – think steamed broccoli, roasted cauliflower, seared snap peas, or sautéed zucchini.
What Cut of Beef Should I Use?
Keep in mind that different cuts of beef will cook a bit differently. The recipe is written using flank steak, which is tender, mildly fatty, and very flavorful. But you can absolutely use more economical cuts! Try chuck roast or tri-tip. If using a tough cut like chuck roast, cook on low 6-8 hours. Be sure to scale up the sauce if your cut is larger.
Make It Your Way
- Whole30, Paleo and Grain Free: use arrowroot powder to thicken, and be sure to use coconut aminos for the sauce. Serve over cauliflower rice or stuff into lettuce wraps.
- Gluten Free: use gluten-free tamari in the sauce.
Storing and Reheating
FRIDGE: place leftovers in a sealed container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
FREEZER: cool completely, then transfer to gallon zip lock bags (for easy flat storage) or an airtight container. Freeze up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, then reheat.
REHEAT: warm individual portions in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in-between. Warm larger portions in a 2-quart pot over a medium flame.
Other Slow Cooker Classics You’ll Love
- Crockpot Apple Cider Pulled Pork
- Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Spicy Chicken Taco Soup
- Crockpot Bolognese over Roasted Spaghetti Squash
Did you make this Slow Cooker Korean Beef? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- 2 lb flank steak, excess fat trimmed, divided into 3-4” chunks
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 1 tbsp water
- sesame seeds, for garnish
- green onion, for garnish
- cauliflower rice or steamed rice for serving
- ½ c beef broth
- ½ c coconut aminos, or soy sauce, or tamari
- 1 ripe pear, cored and diced
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1.5" knob fresh ginger, peeled and minced or grated with a microplane
- 1.5 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- Sprinkle the onion across the bottom of the slow cooker, then place the beef on top.
- Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender and blend on high until very smooth.
- Pour the sauce over the beef and onions. There is no need to stir.
- Program the slow cooker to high 4 hours, or low 6-8 hours. Cook until the beef is very tender and can be easily shredded with the tines of two forks.
- Remove the beef using tongs or a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate; shred using two forks.
- Strain the sauce from the onions into a 2-quart sauce pot, then bring to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk the cornstarch or arrowroot powder and water to form a slurry. Pour the slurry into the sauce and simmer until it thickens, 1-2 minutes.
- Return the beef to the slow cooker with the onions. Pour the thickened sauce over the beef and onions, then toss.
- Serve over white or cauliflower rice, and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. Alternatively, stuff into lettuce wraps and garnish with pickled carrots and radishes. Serve immediately.
- For Whole30, Paleo and Grain Free: use arrowroot powder to thicken, and be sure to use coconut aminos for the sauce. Serve over cauliflower rice or stuff into lettuce wraps.
- For Gluten Free: use gluten-free tamari in the sauce.
- Fridge: place leftovers in a sealed container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezer: cool completely, then transfer to gallon zip lock bags (for easy flat storage) or an airtight container. Freeze up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, then reheat.
- Reheat: warm individual portions in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in-between. Warm larger portions in a 2-quart pot over a medium flame.