These Korean Ground Beef Bowls hit all the right flavor notes and are easy to make. This recipe is made with readily available ingredients without worrying too much about being authentic. You’ll enjoy the beef’s garlic ginger flavors paired with Korean kimchi all over a bed of greens and rice, topped with a touch of creamy sriracha mayo. These bowls are gluten and dairy-free, and perfect for family dinners where everyone can pick and choose what they’d like.
This recipe has been a long-time favorite in our house, and it’s always popular with our guests as well. You’ll find some authentic Korean flavors paired together with some not-so-authentic sriracha mayo to make an unforgettable bowl.
I’ve kept this recipe simple and use readily available ingredients so you won’t have any special orders. However, I have some extra options listed below as well.
We also love ‘one and done’ kind of meals, so this Korean Ground Beef comes together with rice and greens for a full dinner. So while this isn’t the most authentic Korean dish you’ll ever have, I know it will become an easy-to-make family favorite!
I did make these bowls for a guest who had spent 17 years in Korea. I wondered what he might think of my ‘what I have available in Montana Korean food’.
But lucky for me, he loved it and went back for 2nds! Although he did say he’d never had Korean food that tasted like it in Korea. So all in all definitely not authentic, but oh so delicious!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Ground Beef – is the more traditional meat with these flavors, but ground pork and ground turkey work here as well.
- Pear – adds sweetness and depth to the sauce and makes the base for the ginger and garlic flavors. You can use fresh, frozen, or canned pear. Just be sure whatever you buy is unsweetened with no added sugar. I also like to use a pear as the sauce base because it adds natural sweetness without the usual brown sugar often added in Korean beef recipes.
- Soy Sauce – gluten-free tamari and coconut aminos all work perfectly in this recipe. I usually use coconut aminos, and you’ll need to season to taste with sea salt. Tamari and soy sauce have more sodium so you won’t need to season the final ground beef as much.
- Garlic and Ginger – are essential flavors in this recipe and you can use a garlic press to speed up the prep time.
- Granulated Onion – is like onion powder but with more texture and it adds a toasty depth of onion flavor to this recipe. It’s easy to find in most spice sections and great in just about any dinner recipe. Just look for one that doesn’t have any added salt so you can add your own.
- Red Pepper Flakes – add a hint of spice, but I kept this recipe very mild. Also, there’s a bit more spice added to the mix with the sriracha mayo, so keep that in mind if you want to add more. Red pepper flakes are readily available, but if you can find Korean red pepper flakes at the store, definitely try them out. I just picked up a jar myself and they are so good and could be used in other recipes calling for red pepper flakes. It’s hard to describe, but the Korean red pepper flakes just have more chile flavor without more heat.
- Sesame Oil – you want to look for toasted sesame oil which adds a lot of flavor to the mix here. You can also use sesame oil in all sorts of Asian-inspired recipes including peanut sauce and stir-fries, so don’t worry about using up a bottle!
- Make it a bowl – with mixed greens, steamed rice, Korean kimchi, green onions, and sriracha mayo. A sprinkle of sesame seed is nice as a garnish, but definitely not necessary.
How to make this recipe step by step
Step 1: Blend all the sauce ingredients together until smooth.
Step 2: Next sauté the ground beef over medium-high heat.
Break it up into small bits with a wooden spoon.
Step 3: Add the sauce to the pan and stir to combine, then simmer on low until the sauce thickens and the flavors meld.
Step 4: Or you can follow the original Instant Pot instructions in the recipe notes.
Ways to serve this
- Serve this Korean beef bowl with mixed greens, steamed rice, Korean kimchi, sliced green onions, and sriracha mayo.
- You can keep this recipe paleo and grain-free by using steamed cauliflower rice.
- I like to prep all the individual parts of this recipe. Then refrigerate each in its own airtight container and assemble bowls to my liking. Over time the rice will get hard in the refrigerator, so I like to warm the beef and rice together on the stovetop before adding it to my bowl. This way you can easily make rice bowls throughout the week.
- I also make these bowls for breakfast with 2 sunny-side-up eggs and it’s one of my all-time favorite breakfasts!
- In the summer months, we like to add thinly sliced cucumber for a fresh crunchy texture and an extra veggie.
No, it’s not authentic, it’s inspired by traditional Korean flavors with easy-to-find ingredients.
Remove the ground beef from the freezer, place it in a dish in case of leaks, and refrigerate for 10-12 hours overnight.
- To store – place any leftovers into individual containers and refrigerate for 4-5 days.
- Reheating – reheat the rice and beef together in a small skillet until warmed through and the rice softens. You may need to add a touch of water to keep it from sticking. Serve the warmed rice & beef mixture with the greens, kimchi, etc.
- To freeze – the Korean Ground Beef freezes well in an airtight container for up to 3 months. The other parts of this recipe need to be made fresh.
Meal Prepping Tips
- To meal prep this, you can assemble them as pictured above where the beef should mostly cover the rice. This really helps the rice not to get crunchy, and I’ve had good luck with bowls assembled this way lasting well for 2 days in the fridge.
- A more lasting option is to combine the Korean ground beef with rice, and then assemble the bowls. That way the rice doesn’t dry out as quickly.
- Or you can omit the rice altogether making this paleo, and just assemble the ingredients as a salad. Try layering the ingredients into a mason jar with the wetter ingredients like the meat and kimchi at the bottom and greens at the top. Assembled this way these jars easily last 4-5 days in the fridge.
Tips & Tricks
- This recipe was originally written with the Korean Ground Beef made in the Instant Pot. However, I’ve found it’s much easier to cook the beef on the stovetop and make rice in the Instant Pot. You will find the original cooking time for the meat in the recipe notes below.
- Shortcut Tip: In place of making your own sriracha mayo, you can sub in a good quality mayo, and add sriracha to your taste. Costco has had avocado oil mayo lately which is always a good bet!
I really hope you enjoy these Korean Ground Beef Bowls! If you get a chance to make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Korean Ground Beef Bowls
Korean Ground Beef:
- 1 tsp onion granules - no salt
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 cup coconut aminos - tamari, or soy sauce
- 2 tbsp minced ginger
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 pear - 7oz cored and cut into 1″ chunks, 1 1/2 cups (frozen or canned works too)
- 1/2 tso ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes - or Korean red pepper flakes
- 2 pounds ground beef
Korean Ground Beef Bowls:
- 8 cups mixed greens
- 1.5 cups Korean kimchi
- 2 cups long grain Jasmine rice - steamed, omit for paleo and Whole30
- 1 cup sriracha mayo - see notes, make the mayo with chili sauce recommended in the recipe to be Whole30
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
- sesame seeds
- If you're serving this Korean Ground Beef as part of my 'bowls' start by steaming rice. I add 1/4 cup per person to the Instant Pot and add equal parts of water before selecting the 'RICE' setting.
- Place the onion granules, sesame oil, coconut amino, ginger, garlic, pear, and black pepper into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the red pepper flakes and blend on low just to combine.
- To cook on the stove top, make the sauce and set it aside. Then sauté the beef in a large skillet over high heat. When it's no longer pink, pour in the sauce and bring it to a simmer. Continue to cook over low heat at a simmer until most of the sauce has been absorbed by the meat, 5-10 minutes. Season to taste and serve.
- Continue to cook over low heat at a simmer until most of the sauce has been absorbed by the meat, 5-10 minutes. Season to taste and serve.
- We like to place a pile of greens into a bowl, followed by kimchi, and steamed rice. Then top with the Korean beef and sriracha mayo to taste. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onions, and enjoy.
- Cool whatever extra beef you have and freeze it as part of meal prep for another day.
This recipe was originally published in 2019 but has been updated with nutritional facts, more tips and information, and the recipe has been altered slightly to be easier to make in 2023.