Chicken Bulgogi {Dak Bulgogi} (Paleo, Whole30, Keto)

4 minute read

Paleo and Whole30 friendly juicy chicken thighs with a savory and sweet umami flavor that is delicious and gluten-free! One of the things I love so much about this dish is that it is soy free. Soy has become a highly processed ingredient that is genetically modified and treated with harsh pesticides like glyphosate (RoundUp). By marinating these tender thighs in sweet coconut aminos, earthy sesame oil, and some briny fish sauce, you get a delicious mouthwatering bite every time!

This is one of my family’s favorite weeknight meals and here are a few of my favorite dishes to serve it with!

There really is not wrong way to enjoy this delicious Korean barbecue chicken over the weekend or on a busy weeknight!  

Why Chicken is So Good For You!

We all know that chicken is a tasty and fantastic source of protein, but do you know why it is so good for you?  Chicken, along with many other sources of animal protein, such as beef, eggs and fish, are a complete source of protein.  This means that all nine essential amino acids are present and available to you when you eat these foods.  When it comes to nutrients, anything labeled as “essential”  means that your body cannot make or synthesize this nutrient, so it must be provided to your body by the foods you eat.

As mentioned above, there are nine essential amino acids that we must eat everyday to provide our bodies energy as well as the building blocks necessary in everyday functions such as growth and repair, immune support, and in the synthesis of our hormones and neurotransmitters.

The nine essential amino acids and their roles are [1]:

  • Histidine: necessary for the production of histamine and also plays a role in nervous system health
  • Valine: necessary in energy production as well as muscle growth and repair
  • Phenylalanine: building block for neurotransmitters like dopamine and epinephrine (adrenaline), and in the production of other amino acids.
  • Leucine: necessary in stimulating wound healing, muscle repair, and blood sugar regulation.
  • Isoleucine:  necessary in immune function and energy regulation.
  • Tryptophan: necessary building block for serotonin.
  • Methionine: necessary in detoxification, metabolism, and in your body’s ability to absorb selenium (supports thyroid health) and zinc (necessary in production of HCl in your stomach).
  • Threonine: necessary in skin and connective tissue health.
  • Lysine: necessary in hormone production and your body’s ability to absorb calcium (bone, heart, muscle and nerve health.)

Why Dark Meat Chicken?

Dark meat poultry is actually more nutrient dense that it’s white meat counterpart.  There are certain dishes I love to add white meat poultry and others that I love dark meat, this dish being one of them.  Dark meat poultry does contain more fat which gives it its juicy and delectable flavor, making it a great choice for grilling, salads, kababs and more.  Additionally, dark meat is also higher in nutrients such as vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B12 and C, as well as iron and zinc.

So grab some tender chicken thighs and let’s get cooking!

Dak Bulgogi (Chicken Bulgogi) Ingredients

Serves 6-8

6-8 Boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs*

1 cup Coconut Aminos

2 Tbsp Pure Sesame Seed Oil

2 Tbsp Fish Sauce

1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar

1 bunch Green Onions, julienned

1 tsp Ground Black Pepper

4 clove Garlic, finely minced

1” piece Ginger, thinly sliced or grated

1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds (opt)

How to Make Dak Bulgogi (Chicken Bulgogi)

1.  In a large bowl combine all of the marinade ingredients. 

2.  Add the chicken and flip over a few times to ensure that the marinade covers each piece. 

3.  Gently press the chicken down so that it is submerged as much as possible in the marinade. 

4.  Marinate at least 4-6 hours to overnight in the refrigerator.

5.  Preheat the grill to 425 degrees

6.  Grill each side of the chicken thighs for about 3-5 minutes per side depending on thickness and size.

*If you use bone in with skin, adjust cooking time to 7-10 minutes per side depending on size and watch for flames as the skin cooks.


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Q: Can I bake these in the oven?

A: Yes! Preheat the oven to 425 and bake for 10-12 minutes until the chicken is 165 degrees internal.

Q: Can I reuse the marinade?

A: No, once you have used a marinade, you cannot use it again.  However, you can boil and reduce it down in a sauce pan with a little pure maple syrup or honey to make a sauce to drizzle over the chicken once it’s done cooking.

Q: Can I marinate these up to 2 days?

A: Yes! And boy will they be tasty!  Just make sure to flip them around so the tops pieces marinate evenly with the bottom ones.

Q: Can I use chicken breasts for a dak bulgogi recipe?

A: Yes, you can use any cut of chicken you like, I will often use chicken breast as well!

If you like this recipe, check these out!

Paleo Korean Short Ribs: Savory, slightly sweet, rich Korean short ribs are what you have been missing this whole time!  You don’t have to go out to get these decadent mouthwatering ribs anymore!

The Ultimate Bacon Fried Rice: This is my favorite and the easiest fried rice dish, ready in less than 30-minutes and is a great side dish or main!

Chicken Bulgogi Bowls: My favorite way to enjoy dak bulgogi when I am craving something fresh and another salad just won’t do. 

Paleo Korean Flank Steak: Tender and juicy flank steak marinated in a Korean bulgogi style marinade is the perfect dinner when you are craving something special.

I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does. – Amy

Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links to the products and kitchen gear I love. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting Almond Milk and Cookies!


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Welcome to Almond Milk and Cookies where good food, health and lots of flavor go hand-in-hand!

I am a holistic nutritionist with an auto-immune disorder, a love of cooking, and a passion for holistic health.

Sharing what I make and eat with all of you…in hopes that you find inspiration here to fuel your body and feel your best with nutrient dense whole foods and clean eating.

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