Easy Korean Beef

Easy Korean Beef


Easy Korean Beef

A quick and flavorful Korean Beef recipe that can be made in just 15 minutes!

The Facts

The best place to start is in the name itself. Korean ground beef could likely not get any broader, and it was not until we started developing this recipe that we ever noticed it. This is a bulgogi style sauce served over ground beef (or sliced steak depending on the recipe) and typically eaten in a Korean BBQ setting or over rice. We first encountered the dish as a simple ground beef recipe served over white rice, and thus that was the subset we wanted to analyze.

The most distinguishing taste of this meal is the brown sugar / soy sauce combo. Of the recipes we looked at, most kept the ratio between these equal. More specifically, most recipes use ¼ cup of each per lb. of beef. While we felt the ratio was solid, we thought that when served over rice it wasn’t quite enough. So, with equal ratio we increased it to 1/3 cup of soy sauce and brown sugar. Additionally, just to give the sweet a slight edge, we added 1 Tbsp of granulated sugar.

Most recipes include ginger in the sauce, as did we, though we did include a bit more than average. Too much, however, can push the sauce closer to teriyaki which is not the desired taste. For another touch of acidity, we decided to include rice vinegar as well, which was not a common inclusion. We feel it helps boost the savory qualities in the dish.

Some Korean beef recipes really pack the heat with as much as 2 tsps of red pepper flakes. Surprisingly, in our set, this was the only source of spice (though I imagine many other hot pastes or sauces would work well). Perhaps more traditional recipes, ones that do not use ground beef, have more ideas on how to add heat. Our favorite part is not the heat, though, but rather the sweet and savory combo, so our spice is down at the minimum we observed, ½ tsp. Feel free to bump this up if you really enjoy spice.

When it comes to cooking the beef, we decided to expand. Almost none of the recipes included an onion. We felt onions do a good job of capturing sauce, so we put ½ of one in with the beef. Soy sauce adds quite a bit of sodium, but when it is over rice, we felt the flavor became just a bit muted. So, we added salt directly into the beef cooking step, which gives it enough flavor to still standout on the white rice. Some recipes serve less rice relative to beef as well, another valid way to make sure sufficient flavor is in each bite. Additionally, rather than save green onions for garnish, we incorporated them into this step as well. This gives the beef the right blend of flavors before the sauce gets in.

This dish is designed to pack a sweet and savory flavor over hot white rice. It has great flavor and requires little effort to throw together.

We would love to hear how your Korean Beef turned out!

Korean Beef

Easy Korean Beef

A quick and flavorful dinner!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Korean
Servings 6
Calories 339 kcal


  • 2 cups White Rice
  • 1 Pound Ground Beef (16oz)
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 Medium Yellow Onion diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 2 Green Onions chopped
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp Fresh Ginger minced
  • 1/3 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 2 tsps Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Red Chili Flakes
  • Sesame Seeds optional
  • 2 Green Onions chopped - optional


  • Cook your white rice according to its packaging.
  • Cook Ground Beef with the 1 tsp of Kosher Salt, 1/2 Yellow Onion, 2 Green Onions and minced Garlic until meat is no longer pink and onions are softened.
  • While meat is cooking, in a small bowl combine 1/3 cup Brown Sugar, 1 tbsp Granulated Sugar, 1/3 cup Soy Sauce, 1 tbsp Rice Vinegar, 2 tsps Sesame Oil, 1 tsp minced Ginger and 1/4 tsp Red Chili Flakes. Stir together until the sugar is fully dissolved.
  • Once the meat is cooked, pour in the prepared mixture and stir to coat all of the beef.
  • Allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes to let the flavor set in to the meat. Add more salt if necessary.
  • Serve over white rice and top with Sesame Seeds and additional Green Onions. Enjoy!
Keyword asian, bowls, korean beef, white rice
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