Spicy Beef Bulalo Recipe

This spicy beef bone soup gets amped in flavor from the chilis.

What is Bulalo?

This hearty soup recipe is a super comforting meal, especially when served on rainy days. Bulalo is made by stewing beef shanks with garlic, onion, corn, and leafy greens such as cabbage. What makes this such a popular Filipino beef soup dish is its incredibly tasty broth. This is created by tenderizing the beef shanks over a long period of time, thereby infusing the broth with its flavor as well as that of the other ingredients.

It is best served with hot rice with fish sauce as an optional dip.

Tips To Making Spicy Beef Bulalo

The recipe below adds a spicy twist to the classic beef bulalo where we added green finger chilis or siling haba to the flavorful beefy and aromatic broth: 

1 Clean the beef shanks thoroughly before cooking. 

In order to make a clear broth, the beef shanks should be cleaned thoroughly under running water. When you begin to boil the broth, scum from the meat will float to the top. Use a spoon to remove these impurities from the broth. These particles are just protein from the meat and are completely safe and edible even if you do not remove them completely. The purpose of removing these impurities is simply to make a clear broth.

2 Don’t have a big enough pot? Use sliced or cross-cut beef shanks. 

This spicy beef bulalo recipe uses bone-in beef shanks, which can either be bought whole or sliced. Whole bone-in beef shanks are the big cuts of bone, while the cross-cut beef shanks are from the same part, just cut up into smaller sections. While both will yield a delicious bulalo, the difference can be seen in how much bone marrow can be consumed when the beef is tender. Sometimes, when cross-cut beef shanks are boiled for long periods of time, the marrow may melt into the broth.


3 You can control how spicy your bulalo will be with the sili

Aside from adjusting how many pieces of sili to add, you can adjust the spiciness of the bulalo by adding or removing the sili seeds. The seeds contain most of the chemical that makes the sili spicy, so removing the seeds before adding them into a dish can reduce the spiciness as well. Alternatively, the longer you leave the sili in the soup, the spicier it will be! If you have leftovers and are happy with how spicy your bulalo is already, we suggest removing the sili before storing it in the refrigerator or you might find your bulalo spicier than you intended. 

Spicy Beef Bulalo Recipe

Stephanie Cueva
This spicy beef bone soup gets amped in flavor from the chilis.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Dishes, Soup
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 6


Spicy Beef Bulalo Ingredients

  • 1 kilogram bone-in beef shank (bulalo)
  • 1 medium red onions
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 2 ears corn cut into 3
  • 2 pieces green finger chili (siling haba)
  • 1 tablespoon patis (fish sauce)
  • 1 small head cabbage quartered
  • 1 bundle bokchoy
  • 2 tablespoons green onions chopped
  • water as needed


  • In a deep pot over medium heat, boil about 1 liter (4 cups) water. Add the beef shank, onions, and whole peppercorns. Simmer for 3 hours or until meat is fork tender. Replenish with more water as needed to prevent it from drying out.
  • Add the corn, and simmer for another 10 to 15 minutes. Add siling haba and crush them in the soup to add spice.
  • Add fish sauce, cabbage, bokchoy, and green onions. Serve piping hot.
Keyword bone broth, easy soup recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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