With healthy ground beef, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, a touch of honey, and plenty of green onions, this Korean Beef Bowl recipe is perfect for serving over rice with vegetables for an easy, wholesome meal. The best part? It can be on your table in 20 minutes flat!
This ground beef dinner is exquisitely easy-yet-excellent (much like Ground Beef Casserole).
So much so, it’s practically still cooling on the stove, but I had to rush over and share the recipe with you!
- This Korean beef bowl with veggies is fast; you can have it on your table in 20 minutes!
- You probably already have all of the ingredients around (especially if you regularly make stir fry recipes like this Egg Roll in a Bowl).
- It’s ideal for meal prep. All of the components can be prepped separately, then assembled for serving.
5 Star Review
“Affordable, balanced, quick, delicious…. checks all our boxes for a great meal for any night!”— Rebekah —
About this Recipe
These beef bowls are super-duper loosely based on Smitten Kitchen Crispy Rice Bowls, which have been one of our favorite easy dinner recipes we’ve tried lately.
- We served our sautéed Korean ground beef over steamed brown rice the first time and with quinoa the second; we were highly pleased with how they both tasted.
- A fried egg is another tasty way to finish off them off.
- You also can trade out the vegetables here for just about any you prefer or have around. I love the combination of beef and broccoli in Asian recipes (looking at you, Crockpot Beef and Broccoli, Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli, and Healthy Beef and Broccoli), so making this Korean beef bowl with broccoli is next on my list.
- Top off these Korean bowls with shredded carrots and thinly sliced cucumbers for garnish.
If you have time, let the vegetables sit in a mix of rice vinegar, sugar, and water to lightly pickle—the time the beef needs to brown will be enough, and you’ll adore yourself for making this upgrade.
How to Make a Korean Beef Bowl
You’ll find a number of major differences between this easy Korean beef bowl recipe and Deb’s version (particularly the ground beef), but the two recipes are wildly delicious, quick-and-easy, and take inspiration from Korean cooking. Neither claims authenticity. I hope you’ll try them both.
- Ground Beef. Lean ground beef (I used 93% lean) keeps this recipe light without sacrificing flavor.
For more great ground beef recipes, check out Ground Beef Dinner Ideas.
- Soy Sauce. Coats every morsel of the beef, giving it a delightfully salty, savory, umami flavor. I recommend using low-sodium soy sauce to ensure your beef bowl doesn’t become too salty.
- Garlic + Ginger. Tiny but mighty! Both garlic and ginger pack intense flavors that complement almost any stir fry recipe.
- Rice Vinegar. For a touch of acidity.
- Honey. Adding honey gives the dish a subtle, balanced sweetness without using any refined sugars (like brown sugar).
- Red Pepper Flakes. For a pinch of heat. If you like your stir fry extra spicy, feel free to add more red pepper flakes to take it up a notch.
- Pickled Vegetables. A fantastic addition that adds acidity, texture, and crunch to these spicy Korean beef bowls. I usually opt for Persian cucumbers and shredded carrots, but Quick Pickled Onions or radishes would also be great to try.
See the “Notes” section of the recipe card below to learn how I like to quickly pickle my cucumbers and carrots for this dish.
- Sesame Oil. Provides that unmistakable Asian flavor to this dish. Don’t skip this ingredient! Sesame oil is typically located in the Asian or international aisle of most grocery stores.
The Best Base for Korean Beef Bowls
The only thing left to decide is what to use as a base for your ultimate Korean beef bowl. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Rice. A classic and crowd-pleasing base for this beef bowl. We like brown rice for its whole-grain benefits. See Instant Pot Brown Rice for an easy cooking method.
- Quinoa. For a boost in protein content, serve your beef bowl on top of cooked quinoa.
- Cauliflower Rice. Make this a low-carb Korean beef bowl by serving it with cauliflower rice.
- Noodles. If you’re a fan of noodles with your stir fries, try this beef bowl with cooked soba, rice, or udon noodles.
- Quick pickle your vegetables, if desired.
- Brown the beef with the soy sauce, garlic, and green onions.
- Whisk together the vinegar, honey, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Pour the mixture over the beef, stirring to coat. Remove from the heat, and stir in the sesame oil.
- Serve hot with rice (or base of choice) and desired toppings. ENJOY!
- To Store. Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a large skillet over medium-low heat on the stove. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Store the beef mixture and vegetables in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
This recipe makes a fantastic make-ahead lunch or dinner.
- Prep your vegetables in advance, and store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Portion your rice into storage containers, top with your desired serving size of the beef mixture, and finish with the vegetables.
- Store all the containers in the refrigerator, and grab them for quick lunches or dinners throughout the week.
What to Serve with Korean Beef Bowls
Looking for ideas on what to pair with these quick Korean beef bowls to complete your dinner menu? Here are a few of my favorite ideas:
- Broccoli. Korean ground beef and broccoli is a winning combination. Use steamed fresh broccoli, pickled broccoli slaw, or this Roasted Frozen Broccoli.
- Lettuce Wraps. Don’t miss my spot-on Lettuce Wraps recipe—they’re the perfect appetizer for any Asian dish.
- Tofu. Quick, easy, and crispy, I love making Crispy Tofu or Air Fryer Tofu with these simple Korean beef bowls.
- Salad. For an extra dose of daily veggies, add this Asian Cucumber Salad or Asian Cabbage Salad to your menu plan.
Recommend Tools to Make this Recipe
- Glass Food Storage Containers. Ideal for Korean beef bowl meal prep.
- Skillet. An invaluable kitchen tool for making stir fries, browning meat, and so much more! This option is also great.
- Measuring Spoons. Measure your beef bowl ingredients with these double-sided spoons for less cleanup.
The only thing that’s faster than making these quick Korean beef bowls…is eating them!
Did you love this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a review, and feel free to snap a photo and share it on Instagram or Facebook. I love to see my recipes come to life in your kitchens.
Frequently Asked Questions
While Korean beef is traditional, it is far from the only option. Feel free to experiment with other ground meat. Ground turkey, chicken, or pork would all would work well with these flavors.
For a gluten-free Korean beef bowl, make sure to swap the soy sauce for gluten free tamari.
I have only ever made this recipe with ground beef, so it would be an experiment to swap for thinly sliced or shaved beef (which is more like traditional bulgogi beef). If you give it a try, I’d love to hear about the results in the comments.
Korean Beef Bowl
FOR THE BEEF:
- 1 pound lean ground beef (I used 93% lean)
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce plus additional to taste, divided
- 1 1/4 cups minced scallions both green and white parts (from about 1 small bundle), divided
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic about 3 cloves
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons minced or finely grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes plus additional to taste
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil plus additional to tase
- Cooked brown rice quinoa, or cauliflower rice
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots see recipe notes to pickle them for an upgrade
- Thinly sliced seedless cucumbers Persian-style or English/hot house
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Pickle the carrots and/or cucumbers if desired (see recipe notes—I highly recommend).
- In a large skillet, brown the beef over medium-high heat, breaking it into small pieces, until it is browned and cooked through, about 5 or so minutes. When the beef is about halfway finished cooking, add 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and 2/3 of the scallions. Once the beef is completely browned, stir in the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
- While the beef cooks, in a small bowl, stir together the rice vinegar, honey, ginger, red pepper flakes, and remaining soy sauce.
- Pour over the browned beef. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, then stir in the sesame oil. Sprinkle the remaining green onion over the top. Taste and add extra soy sauce or red pepper flakes as desired (I added a bit more of each).
- Serve the beef hot, over rice, topped generously with the carrots, cucumber, and sesame seeds.
- TO PICKLE THE CARROTS AND CUCUMBERS: Place the vegetables in a medium bowl. Top with 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to coat the strands. Let marinate/gently pickle while you prepare the rest of the recipe. Drain then use to top the bowls.
- TO STORE: Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a large skillet over medium-low heat on the stove. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Store the beef mixture and vegetables in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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