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Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls

These Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls are a super easy and flavorful 30-minute dinner that you’ll come back to again and again!

Sweet, savory, and mildly spicy Asian-flavored ground beef served over fluffy white rice and topped with a sprinkle of green onions and sesame seeds…this is one of the best ground beef recipes I’ve ever made!

And on those busy weeknights when you just want to get dinner on the table in a hurry – but you still want it to be delicious – these Korean beef bowls with rice are the perfect choice.

They’re inspired by a Korean BBQ dish called bulgogi, which translates literally to fire meat (fire referring to how it’s cooked – over a fire or on the grill – rather than meaning that the dish is fiery hot).

Traditionally, it’s made with thinly sliced beef, such as ribeye or sirloin, that is marinated with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, sugar, and other ingredients.

This “Americanized” version uses ground beef, skips the marinating, and is cooked in a pan on the stove along with all of those yummy ingredients to flavor the meat, which makes it much quicker and easier.

I’ve been eyeing up recipes for this dish for a long time. I love Asian food, but I’ll admit I was a little skeptical about using ground beef and also the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of sauce.

And now I’ll admit that I was totally wrong, and I’m so glad that I finally decided to give it a try. It’s been on repeat in my kitchen for months now!

So simple yet so delicious, the ground beef is actually the perfect choice and, because it’s so tasty, it doesn’t need a ton of sauce.

And talk about fast! In the time it takes to cook the rice, you can prep the rest of the ingredients and cook the beef. Heck, you might even finish in less than 30 minutes!

Korean ground beef in a skillet with a serving spoon with a pot of cooked white rice and small bowls of green onions and sesame seeds on the side

Ingredients you need:

Note: Ingredient amounts are in the recipe card below.

  • Long-grain white rice (I use basmati or jasmine rice; regular long-grain white rice works too)
  • Lean ground beef (90% recommended)
  • Garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Brown sugar (dark or light; I use dark)
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Sriracha
  • Green onions
  • Sesame seeds

Soy sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, and sesame seeds can usually be found in the international/Asian foods section of the grocery store.

Here’s a look at how to make Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls:

Note: This is just a brief overview of the steps. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe with detailed instructions.

2 images; one of cooked rice in a pot with text that says cook the rice; the other of cooked ground beef in a skillet with a wooden spoon with text that says cook ground beef until no longer pink, drain grease
2 images; one of garlic and ginger added to the skillet with the ground beef with text that says add the garlic and ginger, cook, stirring, for one minute; the other of the brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sriracha added to the skillet with text that says add brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sriracha, stir
2 images; one of the ground beef mixture simmering in the skillet with text that says simmer for another minute; the other of the finished dish with green onions and sesame seeds on the side with text that says serve beef over rice, top with sesame seeds and green onions, enjoy

Tips & Tidbits:

  • I use basmati or jasmine rice because I love the extra nutty flavor, but regular long-grain white rice works too. For a lower-carb version, try it over cauliflower rice.
  • I like to use 90% lean ground beef, but you can really use any kind of ground beef you’d like. Just be sure to drain off any excess grease once it’s cooked.
  • Not into beef? Try ground turkey, chicken or pork instead.
  • If you have extra ginger, peel it, wrap it, and freeze it to use another time.
  • If your store is out of fresh ginger, look for the squeezable bottles of ginger, usually in the produce section. They’re the next best thing (I keep a bottle in my fridge and use it all the time).
    • In a pinch, you can use about ½ teaspoon of ground (dried) ginger, although the flavor won’t be quite the same. Fresh is best!
  • Add as much or as little of the sriracha for the heat level you want. For me, the 2 teaspoons gives this dish a mild to medium amount of heat that is perfect and isn’t burn-your-mouth hot.
    • No sriracha? Use crushed red pepper flakes (start with ¼ teaspoon and add more if needed).
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
    • This recipe is great for meal prepping. Put a serving of rice in a microwave-safe container, top with a serving of beef, sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds, cover, and refrigerate. Heat in the microwave when ready to enjoy.
two Korean ground beef and rice bowls with a bowl of cooked broccoli in the background

For 4 servings, since we’re only using one pound of ground beef, the portions may be a little smaller than what you are used to, but it’s actually surprisingly filling.

The perfect easy way to bulk up and round out your meal is by serving this with some veggies. My favorite is steamed or oven-roasted broccoli…which I usually just put right in the bowl with my beef and rice.

A vinegary cucumber salad would also go great with this, as would some kimchi.

Or how about some homemade egg drop soup or air fryer egg rolls?

I hope you try this Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls recipe and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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More Asian-style recipes you might like…

If you make this recipe, I’d love to know how it went! Please leave a star rating and comment below. Thanks!

Korean ground beef and rice bowl with a fork, green onions and sesame seeds on the side

Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls

These Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls are a super easy and flavorful 30-minute dinner that you'll come back to again and again!
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Estimated Calories: 508

Ingredients

  • 1⅓ cups uncooked long-grain white rice, I use basmati or jasmine rice (you should end up with about 4 cups of cooked rice)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef, I use 90% lean
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about a heaping tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup (packed) brown sugar, dark or light (I use dark)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha, add more or less to taste
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Instructions

  • Cook the rice according the package instructions.
    While the rice is cooking, proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  • In a large skillet (I use 10-inch skillet), cook the ground beef over medium-high heat until it is no longer pink, breaking it up into small crumbles as it cooks, about 4 to 5 minutes. If needed, drain off any excess grease.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, for one minute.
  • Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sriracha; stir to combine. Simmer, stirring frequently, for another minute.
    Note: This is not a saucy dish, so there won't be much at all. We're basically just flavoring the beef.
  • Divide the rice evenly among 4 bowls and top each with ¼ of the ground beef mixture. Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons of green onions and ½ teaspoon sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Notes

  • I use basmati or jasmine rice because I love the extra nutty flavor, but regular long-grain white rice works too. For a lower-carb version, try it over cauliflower rice.
  • I like to use 90% lean ground beef, but you can really use any kind of ground beef you’d like. Just be sure to drain off any excess grease once it’s cooked.
  • If your store is out of fresh ginger, look for the squeezable bottles of ginger, usually in the produce section. They’re the next best thing.
    • In a pinch, you can use ½ teaspoon of dried ground ginger (although the flavor won’t be quite the same). 
  • Add as much or as little of the sriracha for the heat level you want. For me, the 2 teaspoons gives this dish a mild to medium amount of heat that is perfect and isn’t burn-your-mouth hot.
    • No sriracha? Use crushed red pepper flakes (start with ¼ teaspoon and add more if needed).
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

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