Does it get any better than one pot and 15 minutes? These Korean Beef Bowls fit the bill! Delicious homemade dinner is on the table no matter how busy your day might be. Paired with perfectly steamed rice and your favorite toppings, this is a recipe you’ll go back to over and over again.
This recipe is exactly what I like to offer up on my website. It’s easy, tastes amazing, and, it’s EASY! I need to stress that it’s easy. So easy. Just take a peek at the ingredients! These are staples I always have at home. After discovering this delightfully simple and delicious recipe, I’ll keep a few packages of ground beef in the freezer. You never know when a busy day will come to bite. These bowls always save the day!
Pro tip: buy a big knob of ginger and keep it in your freezer. I find it even easier to grate when it’s frozen! Fresh ginger isn’t exactly an every-day ingredient for me, so it’s nice to be able to keep it for 6 months and have it on hand whenever I’m whipping up a recipe like this. Who wants to go to the grocery store for one ingredient? Not me!
Click “Jump to the Recipe” at the top of the page or keep on scrolling to the recipe card for full ingredient amounts and recipe instructions. Below you’ll find substitutions, tips, tricks, and all the extra information you need to answer any questions!
- Sesame oil – Toasted or regular. If you’d rather use mild-flavored oil, you can use vegetable, canola, peanut, grapeseed, sunflower, or safflower oil.
- Garlic – Fresh is best! You can use jarred instead if that’s what you have handy.
- Ginger – Freshly grated.
- Red pepper flakes – Use as much or little as you like. Leave them out completely if spice isn’t your forté!
- Ground beef – Lean or extra lean will work best so you don’t have to drain away all that delicious flavor from the sesame oil, ginger, and garlic.
- Brown sugar – Use more or less as you see fit.
- Soy sauce – Low sodium is my go-to.
- To serve – Spooned over steamed rice, and topped with lots of green onion and sesame seeds.
How to make Korean beef bowls
- Aromatics: Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Beef: Add the ground beef and cook, while breaking it into pieces, until completely browned. Cook off any excess moisture if needed.
- Sauce: Add the brown sugar and soy sauce to the skillet. Stir, and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce has reached your desired consistency.
- Finish: Scoop the beef into bowls of steamed rice and garnish with green onion and sesame seeds.
Lean or extra lean beef is highly recommended for this recipe. If you’re using regular ground beef, cook it first, remove any excess fat, then add the sesame oil, garlic, and ginger.
Can I use other types of meat for Korean beef bowls?
Maybe you have some other type of ground meat in your fridge, maybe you want something leaner, or may you just plain-old don’t like beef. Whatever it is, I’ve got you covered.
- Ground chicken or turkey: These types of lean ground meat may require some extra oil. Start with the 2 tbsp of sesame oil called for in the recipe, and drizzle more into the pan, as needed, if you see the meat drying out as it cooks.
- Ground lamb or pork: The antithesis of ground poultry. These meats are so delicious, and we can thank their extra fat as one of the reasons why. If you’re worried about the dish turning out too greasy with these meats, cook the meat and drain the fat first before adding the sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and pepper flakes.
How to make perfect rice
Become a rice-steaming PRO with my simple instructions! Perfect rice guaranteed every time with no draining, no mush, and no crunchies.
White rice (Jasmine and Basmati):
- Rinse the rice well. My favorite method is to add the rice to a fine-mesh sieve and place it in a bowl. Fill the bowl with water, scrub the rice, and lift the sieve. Drain the water from the bowl, and repeat until the water is mostly starch-free. It’ll never be perfect.
- Add the rinsed rice to a pot that has a nicely fitted lid. Add cold water and salt to the pot. You’ll want 1 1/4 cups of water and 1/2 tsp salt for every 1 cup of Jasmine rice you’re using, or 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp salt for every 1 cup of Basmati rice.
- Bring the pot to a boil over high heat without the lid. Once bubbling, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with the lid.
- Cook for 12 minutes, then remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, still covered with the lid, for 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a rubber spatula or, better yet, a rice spoon. (If you have one!)
- Rinse the rice well. Check out step 1 above to see how I do it.
- Add the rinsed rice to a pot that has a nicely fitted lid. Fill the pot with water, use about 6 cups of water per 1 cup of rice you’re using.
- Bring the pot to a boil over high heat without the lid. Partially cover the pot with the lid to prevent spilling over. Cook the rice for 30 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and drain the rice in a colander. Quickly transfer the rice back to the pot. Cover the pot, fully, with the lid. Let the rice steam inside the pot for 10 minutes. Fluff with a rubber spatula or rice spoon.
Toppings for Korean beef bowls
I kept mine simple, and classic with green onion, sesame seeds, and some extra red pepper flakes. There are days when I feel like having fun with this recipe! Give these toppings a try:
- Egg: sunny side up, boiled, pickled; however you like it.
- Pickled carrot and cucumber
- Slice chilies
- Hot sauce
- Shredded cabbage
How to store leftovers
Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and they will last for 3-4 days. You can also store your leftovers in the freezer for 2-6 months.
The easiest way to reheat leftovers is, simply, in the microwave. Reheat at 30 second – 1 minute intervals, stirring in between. You can also reheat your leftovers in a skillet over medium heat. I suggest keeping some broth or water handy. Add a splash if you find the beef is drying out.
I love one pot recipes! Check these out:
- Turkey Chili
- One Pan Pork Chops and Potatoes
- Chicken and Mushroom Coconut Curry
- Spring Risotto with Asparagus and Peas
- Creamy Pasta with Bacon and Peas
- Tortellini Soup
Korean Beef Bowls
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp ginger freshly grated
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 lb ground beef lean or extra lean*
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce low sodium
- 2 tbsp green onion chopped
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until lightly browned.
- Add the ground beef and cook, while breaking it into pieces, until completely browned. 4-5 minutes. Cook off any excess moisture if needed.
- Add the brown sugar and soy sauce to the skillet. Stir, and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce has reached your desired consistency.
- Scoop the beef into bowls of steamed rice and garnish with green onion and sesame seeds.