Korean Beef made with ground beef is a 20 minute Asian inspired meal that tastes as good as Korean BBQ. The combination of savory, sweet and spicy flavors makes this simple ground beef recipe completely irresistible!
If you love Korean food and budget-friendly meals, this Korean Beef recipe is sure to become one of your favorite dinners.
This tasty ground beef recipe is a fun twist on Korean Beef Bulgogi, but instead of using thin slices of meat marinated overnight, lean ground beef is quickly stir fried and then smothered in the most tantalizing, rich and mouthwatering 5-ingredient Korean sauce.
What is Korean Beef?
Korean beef, also known as Bulgogi, is made with thinly sliced meat that is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, brown sugar and Gochujan Chili Paste. The sliced beef is then grilled to tender perfection.
This Korean Ground Beef is a quick and budget friendly version of the delicious Korean restaurant favorite! Definitely the perfect easy weeknight meal!
Korean Beef Bowl Recipe
To make this beef stir fry a complete meal, I like to make tasty Beef Rice Bowls! Asian ground beef and rice served with quick pickled cucumbers and carrots. The absolute best easy family meal!
Ground Beef Bulgogi Ingredients
- Ground Beef: I use lean ground beef. If you use another type of hamburger meat, you may have to drain the excess fat.
- Ginger: I use peeled fresh ginger.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic is best.
- Soy Sauce: You can use low-sodium soy sauce, if preferred. To make this dish gluten free, use Tamari.
- Sesame Oil: Use toasted Asian sesame oil.
- Brown Sugar: If preferred, use honey.
- Gochujan Chili Paste or Red Chili Flakes: For an authentic flavor, Gochujan is a must.
- Cornstarch: To thicken the sauce, arrowroot or potato starch can be used as well.
- Green Onions: (Scallions), sliced.
Korean Rice Bowl Ingredients (Optional)
- Cooked White Rice, Brown Rice or Cauliflower Rice.
- Sliced Cucumbers
- Sliced Carrots
- Quick Pickling Ingredients: Rice vinegar, water, sugar, salt.
How To Make Korean Beef
- In a small bowl, mix the sauce ingredients.
- Brown the hamburger meat until cooked through.
- Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Pour the sauce over the ground beef mixture and let it simmer for 2 – 3 minutes.
You have questions? We have answers!
What Is Gochujang?
Gochujang is a chili paste with savory, sweet and spicy flavors. It is made from red chiles, glutinous rice (sticky rice) and fermented soybeans. This condiment gives Korean food its distinct and complex flavor. You can find it in the Asian area of your supermarket.
Can I make Korean Beef If I Don’t Have Gochujang?
Absolutely! Although the flavor won’t have that authentic Korean taste, red pepper flakes are a great substitute for this ground beef recipe
Can I Make This Recipe With Another Type Of Ground Meat?
Yes, you can make this recipe with ground chicken, ground turkey, ground pork or lamb.
Can Korean Ground Beef Be Made Ahead?
This easy ground beef recipe can be made 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You can also meal-prep bowls by storing the rice and the Korean ground beef into individual portions. You can top this tasty Asian inspired meal with the pickled veggies. It makes for a tasty and quick lunch to take to work.
What Is Korean Beef Called?
One of the most popular Korean beef recipes is called Bulgogi, also known as Korean BBQ beef or KBBQ. Bulgogi translates to “fire meat”, in reference to it’s cooking method, grilling on an open fire.
What Is Korean Beef Made Of?
Korean Bulgogi is beef marinated in a savory-sweet soy sauce based marinade that contains among other ingredients, ginger, garlic, brown sugar and sesame oil. The meat is then grilled to tender perfection and served with hot steamed white rice and an assortment of toppings and condiments like kimchi and pickled radishes.
What Cut of Meat Is Bulgogi?
Bulgogi is made with different beef cuts, especially tender cuts. The most popular cut to make Korean beef is ribeye. Other cuts like thinly sliced sirloin, brisket, flank steak and tenderloin are also used.
Korean Beef Recipe Tips
- If using other than lean ground beef, you may need to drain off the excess rendered fat.
- You can use garlic powder and ground ginger if you don’t have any fresh.
- It is important to use Pure Sesame Oil also known as Roasted Sesame Oil. The color of this oil resembles maple syrup and is very fragrant as it smells like toasted sesame seeds.
- This recipe cooks super fast. Have all your ingredients prepped before you start cooking the ground beef.
Take A Look At Some Of The Best Ground Beef Recipes:
- Instant Pot Chili
- One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese
- Greek Meatballs
- Taco Dip
- Cuban Picadillo
- Ground Beef Stroganoff
- Cabbage Roll Soup
- Stuffed Pepper Soup
- Beef Empanadas
- Sicilian Meatloaf
This post was first published in 2019 and has been updated to provide the reader with additional information.
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Korean Beef Bowl
For the Sauce
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil (toasted Asian sesame oil)
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Gochujang or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
For The Beef
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 – 2 teaspoons fresh ginger minced
- 2 green onions thinly sliced
- Cooked white or brown rice or cauliflower rice
- Seasoned thinly sliced cucumbers optional – see recipe in the notes area
- Seasoned Shredded carrots optional – see recipe in the notes area
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- If you would like to make quick pickled cucumbers and carrots, see the recipe at the bottom of this recipe card (NOTES). The pickled veggies will marinate while you cook the beef. If you are not making the veggies, simply go to the next step.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients. Reserve.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the ground beef and cook, breaking it into crumbles for about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until the beef is no longer pink.
- Pour the sauce over the beef and simmer for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring as needed.
- Serve over cooked warm rice topped with the vegetables. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
- Drain off some of the fat you rendered from the ground beef, if needed.
- You can substitute ground ginger if you don’t have fresh. Use between 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of dried ginger.
- Use pure sesame oil also known as roasted sesame oil. It is darker in color and more flavorful than regular sesame oil.
- To Make The Cucumbers and Carrots: In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, 1/2 salt, 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Mix well and pour over the cucumbers and carrots. Let the vegetable pickle while you make the beef.
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