Salty-sweet, caramelized bits of ground beef piled high into rice bowls. A quivering fried egg that spills into golden splendor when you break it with a spoon. Korean Ground Beef Bulgogi Bowls are the best kind of 15-minute dinner!
Ground Beef Bulgogi Bowls are the easy, accessible way to enjoy BIG Korean flavor — FAST! 15-minutes from start to finish!
If you crave that addictive, salty-sweet, garlicky Korean bulgogi flavor — this is the meal for you.
I made these on a whim, when I had a pound of ground beef and not much else. I modified my Korean Beef Bulgogi recipe and voila — Ground Beef Bulgogi Bowls were born!
What are Ground Beef Bulgogi Bowls?
Ground Beef Bulgogi Bowls are rice bowls with Korean bulgogi-flavored ground (mince) beef. A fried egg on top makes for such a delicious and simple meal to make at home.
Ground beef is not traditionally used in bulgogi. But it’s such an easy, accessible substitute!
Cook marinated ground beef until caramelized and crispy. Pile on top of rice. Add toppings of choice. That’s it!
An easy, customizable, one-bowl meal that’s FULL of Korean bulgogi flavor!
FYI Bulgogi is a catch-all Korean term for meat that’s cooked quickly over a flame. Literally translated, “fire meat,” — it’s got a salty-sweet-garlicky profile that can sometimes be spicy.
A minimal list of ingredients makes this an easy family favorite.
- Ground Beef. Extra-lean works best. Otherwise, it will be very greasy and oily.
- Onion. You’ll need 1 large onion. 1/2 is grated to a juicy pulp and placed directly into the marinade. The other 1/2 is diced and sauteed at the beginning of the cooking process.
- Garlic. Gives bulgogi that essential garlickly flavor. Don’t skimp on the amount!
- Soy Sauce + Sugar. The sauce base for the salty-sweet flavor that bulgogi is known for.
- Mirin. Sweet Korean cooking wine adds intense flavor and depth. A common addition to meat in Korean cooking so it doesn’t taste/smell too gamey.
- Sesame Oil. A fragrant, nutty drizzle of sesame oil completes the meal.
- Green onion + Sesame seeds. The garnish that every bowl of Korean food needs.
- Prep onion. Grate 1/2 onion on box grater into a juicy onion pulp. Dice 1/2 onion into chunks.
- Marinate ground beef. Mix ground beef with GRATED onion, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, Mirin, and sesame oil.
- Cook. In a wok, cook the DICED onion until soft and translucent.
- Add marinated ground beef. Crank up the heat and add the marinated ground beef. Cook until most of the juice has evaporated and the beef has taken on a lovely, caramel-brown color with crispy edges.
- Garnish. Add green onion and sesame seeds.
- Serve. Heap into rice bowls with a fried egg on top. Add toppings of choice. Happy eating, friends!
- Use a wok or cast iron skillet. For that charred, smoky flavor.
- Cook until caramelized. The ground beef will release a lot of juice. Cook until crispy and caramelized with a dark-brown color.
- Meal prep. Reheats well. Make once and organize into separate portions for easy lunch meals all week long!
To make a complete meal, add a cheerful, sunny side up egg. That’s the essential topping for Korean Ground Beef Bulgogi Bowls!
But these easy rice bowls are infinitely customizable.
- Swap out the rice for quinoa or grain of choice. Korean Purple Rice is also a nice base.
- Add sauce: Kewpie mayo, Sriracha, or Gochujang Sauce
- Serve with wraps: red or green leaf lettuce, perilla leaves, or roasted seaweed snack (gim)
Make it a complete meal and add:
- Pickled Ginger
- Steamed broccoli or other green veg
Why Ground Beef?
There are so many reasons to cook with Ground Beef. And this recipe stretches 1 lb to feed 4 people!
- Easy to find at most grocery stores.
- Familiar protein that’s kid-friendly and even the pickiest eater will eat.
- Requires little marinating time.
- Reheats well.
- Filling + full of protein.
Other kinds of Korean bulgogi to enjoy:
There are many different kinds of Korean bulgogi to enjoy. Some of my favorites:
- Korean Beef Bulgogi – the classic made with thinly sliced rib eye
- Chicken Bulgogi – kid-friendly and made with juicy, tender chicken thighs
- Spicy Pork Belly Bulgogi – fatty, crisp pieces of pork belly marinated with gochujang + pear
- Osam (Pork Belly + Squid) Bulgogi – tender, spicy bites of squid + pork belly
Ground Beef Bulgogi Bowls
- wok or cast iron pan
In a bowl:
- 1 lb extra lean ground beef
- 1/2 large onion, grated
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce (not the low sodium kind)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp Mirin (Korean sweet cooking wine) rice wine also works
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
In the wok:
- 1/2 large onion, diced
Assemble into bowls:
- 4 cups (cooked) rice
- 4 sunny side up eggs
- 2 green onions, chopped
- Cook rice, according to package directions.
- Prep the onion. Grate 1/2 onion on a box grater so that it becomes juicy, onion pulp. Dice the other 1/2 onion in a medium dice.
- Marinate ground beef. In a large bowl, add ground beef, grated onion, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, Mirin, and sesame oil. Mix until well combined with hands or a fork. Set aside.
- Cook. Heat a wok or cast iron skillet on medium heat. When the pan is hot, add 1-2 Tbsp neutral oil (I use grapeseed oil) and swirl around in the pan. Add onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Increase the heat to medium-high heat. Add the marinated ground beef and keep cooking, breaking apart big chunks with a metal spatula or wooden spoon. Initially, a lot of liquid will release from the meat. Keep cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated and the meat has turned dark brown in color with crispy edges, about 8-10 minutes.
- Garnish. Remove from heat and add green onion and sesame seeds.
- Assemble. Evenly divide rice among 4 bowls. 1 cup cooked rice is a generous portion so feel free to adjust, according to your preference. Evenly divide ground beef bulgogi over the rice. Top with a fried egg. Enjoy!