Korean Beef

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With a slightly sweet savory flavor and hints of umami, thanks to ingredients like soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger, this Korean beef recipe will be a hit with the whole family. Ready in just 30 minutes!

Korean beef over rice on a black plate

The Best Korean Beef Recipe

This Korean beef recipe is a simple version of classic beef bulgogi, which is typically made with thin strips of flank steak. It has all of the flavor but none of the work and I bet you have most of the ingredients on hand. (I don’t know about you but I am MUCH more likely to have ground beef in the freezer than flank steak!)

You can easily serve this as Korean beef bowls over rice or cauliflower rice. Or you can take inspiration from my Korean beef noodles recipe and serve it over noodles instead. Either way, it makes a quick and easy weeknight dinner!

A fork in a bite of Korean ground beef

Why You’ll Love This Korean Ground Beef

Here are a few reasons why this Korean beef recipe is one of my favorites.

  • Ready in 30 minutes. It’s perfect for busy weeknights as all you need to do is cook the ground beef, simmer with the sauce for a few minutes, and enjoy.
  • Uses common ingredients. There’s no fancy ingredients required to make this recipe. All you need is soy sauce, sesame oil, beef, and a few pantry staples.
  • Incredible flavor. This recipe tastes just like what you’d find in a restaurant, with the perfect balance of sweet, savory, and umami flavors.
Overhead view of Korean beef ingredients

What You’ll Need

This Korean ground beef recipe is made with just a handful of ingredients, including soy sauce and sesame oil. See the recipe card below for specific measurements.

  • Ground beef – I typically use lean ground beef. You could also make this recipe with ground pork.
  • Soy sauce – Adds the classic umami flavor to the beef.
  • Brown sugar – Sweetens the dish and helps to balance out the other flavors.
  • Garlic & ginger – I prefer grated ginger but ground ginger can be used too.
  • Sesame oil
  • Red pepper flakes – Optional but add more flavor.
  • Rice – For serving.

How to Make Korean Beef

There’s no need to order takeout – this Korean beef recipe comes together in under 30 minutes.

  • Cook the beef. Cook the ground beef over medium heat until browned. Drain excess grease.
  • Make the sauce. Whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, oil, and red pepper flakes.
  • Simmer. Pour the sauce over the ground beef. Stir. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy. Serve over rice in bowls.

Tips & Variations

This Korean beef recipe can easily be customized to your preferences. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Add some veggies. Feel free to customize this recipe by adding vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, or napa cabbage. Simply saute them with the ground beef before adding the sauce.
  • Marinate the beef. For extra flavor, you can marinate the ground beef in the sauce mixture for 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.
  • Adjust the heat level. Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes according to your spice preference. Omit it completely for 0 spice and add more for more heat.

A Korean rice bowl on a black plate

Serving Suggestions

I like to make Korean beef bowls over white rice but you can use brown rice or cauliflower rice too. Another option would be to serve it with noodles.

To keep things simple, I top mine with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds. However, feel free to experiment with different toppings like fried eggs, soft boiled eggs, and kimchi to add more flair.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

  • Fridge. Store leftover Korean beef in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. I recommend storing rice separately, so it does not absorb all of the sauce.
  • Reheat. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop before serving.

More Ground Beef Recipes

Korean Beef feature
5 from 2 votes

Korean Beef

With a slightly sweet savory flavor and hints of umami, thanks to ingredients like soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger, this Korean beef recipe will be a hit with the whole family. Ready in just 30 minutes!
Servings: 2 people
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes


  • 1 Pound Ground Beef
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 Teaspoon Ginger Grated or 1 Tablespoon Ground Ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • 2 Cups Cooked Rice
  • Green Onions Sliced (garnish)
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds garnish


  • In a large skillet or frying pan, cook the ground beef over medium heat until browned and cooked through. Drain any excess grease.
  • While the ground beef is cooking, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes (if using), in a small bowl.
  • Pour the sauce mixture over the cooked ground beef in the skillet. Stir well to coat the beef evenly.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together and the sauce to reduce.
  • Serve the Korean Beef over cooked rice in bowls. Garnish with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Last Step:

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Calories: 927kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 161mg | Sodium: 1786mg | Potassium: 787mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 74IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 6mg


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5 comments on “Korean Beef”

  1. Merrilynn Rhoads

    Flavor was great. Don’t think it had enough sauce Maybe needs to be doubled. Picture didn’t look like ground beef. Looked more like flank steak, which I might use next time

  2. 5 stars
    This is delicious!! I cook for 50 high schoolers frequently, and this is their favorite recipe! I can make it for anyone, and know they will love it. So easy, so good. Thank you!