Easy Korean Beef Rice Bowl takes about 20 minutes to whip up, so quick and easy, loaded with flavor for under 400 calories!
Korean Beef Rice Bowl
When I created these easy Korean Beef Rice Bowls, they were so dang good that I knew I had to share. When I worked full-time in Manhattan years ago, my office was two blocks from Koreatown, and I loved having lunch there with coworkers. Since then, Korean food has become more popular, with Korean restaurants popping up everywhere. But if you don’t live near one, you can get the same great taste at home with this spicy Korean beef dish. More of my favorite Korean recipes are this Gochujang-Glazed Salmon, Korean Grilled Chicken, and Turkey Gochujang Meatballs.
Frequently Asked Questions: Gochujang
What does gochujang taste like?
One essential ingredient you will need for this rice bowl recipe is gochujang sauce. It’s a Korean condiment that’s a little spicy and sweet and has a distinct flavor only found in Korean cuisine. It also comes in a paste, requiring you to thin it down with a little water and sesame oil. If you can’t find it at your local supermarket, there are a lot of different brands on Amazon.
Is gochujang gluten-free?
Gochujang typically contains wheat, but not all brands do. If you’re gluten-free, check the labels first! And while we’re on the topic, soy sauce isn’t gluten-free either, so substitute tamari or coconut aminos.
What is a good substitute for gochujang?
Sriracha is probably the closest sub for gochujang, but it’s not exact. You might need to mix it with a little hoisin sauce or sugar and sesame oil to get closer. I highly recommend using gochujang if you can find it!
How do I make these Korean beef bowls mild?
If you’re not a fan of spicy food or are serving these bowls to spice-adverse family members, omit the red pepper from the beef and leave the gochujang on the side. Everyone can add as much (or little) sauce as they prefer.
Korean Beef Bowl Ingredients
- Soy Sauce: Choose a low-sodium soy sauce.
- Light Brown Sugar: Two teaspoons add a hint of sweetness.
- Sesame Oil: You’ll need one teaspoon of oil.
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: If you want the beef to be mild, omit or reduce the pepper.
- Ground Beef: Buy 93% lean ground beef.
- Garlic: Crush two cloves.
- Ginger: Fresh ginger is best. You can store it in the freezer in a zip-locked bag and grate it with the skin still on.
- Brown Rice: I’m obsessed with frozen brown rice from Trader Joe’s. It takes three minutes to heat up, and the texture is perfect. If you live near a TJ’s, it’s a must!
- Cucumber: If you use an English or Persian cucumber, there’s no need to peel it. Just thinly slice it.
- Gochujang: Gochujang is what makes these bowls! Add more or less depending on your heat preference.
- Sesame Seeds and Scallions for topping
How to Make Korean Beef Rice Bowls
- Korean Beef Sauce: Combine the soy sauce, two tablespoons of water, brown sugar, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes in a bowl.
- Cook the Beef: Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over high heat, spray with oil, and add the ground beef. Cook for about five minutes, breaking up the meat with a spoon.
- Simmer: Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and cook for a minute. Pour in the sauce and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
- Assemble: Place rice in each bowl, top with beef, cucumbers, Gochujang, sesame seeds, and scallions.
Meal Prep Korean Beef Bowls
My family always eats up these rice bowls when I make them, so I’ll often double the recipe to have extra for leftovers. The cooked beef lasts up to four days in the fridge, so the leftovers are great for lunches. You could also make lettuce wraps with the meat to switch it up.
To pack for lunch:
Store the beef, rice, sesame seeds, and Gochujang in one container and the cucumbers and scallions in another. Reheat the rice container until warm and top with the veggies.
The variations for these Korean beef rice bowls are endless. Let’s dive in!
- Protein: Swap beef for lean ground turkey or chicken or even shrimp. If you’re vegetarian, use crumbled tofu.
- Extra Protein: Top your bowl with an over-easy fried egg.
- Vegetable Options: You can add just about any veggie. Sauteed mushrooms, bok choy, matchstick carrots, or edamame would all work.
- Pickled Veggies: Mix in pickled onions, cucumbers, or carrots. Kimchi would also be good.
- More Spice: Garnish with sliced fresh jalapeños.
- Rice Alternatives: For fewer carbs, serve the Korean beef over cauliflower rice, zoodles, or sliced cabbage.
More Bowl Recipes You’ll Love
- Spicy Gochujang Tofu Bowl
- Slower-Cooker Banh Mi Rice Bowls
- Spicy Sriracha Tofu Rice Bowls
- Teriyaki Shrimp Quinoa Bowls with Mango-Cucumber Salsa
- Ahi Poke Bowl with Mango
Korean Beef Rice Bowls
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce*
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- cooking spray
- 1 pound 93% lean ground beef
- 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 small sliced cucumber, skin on
- 2 tablespoons Gochujang Sauce, or more if desired*
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 sliced scallions, white and green parts
- Combine the soy sauce, 2 tablespoons water, brown sugar, sesame oil and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.
- Heat a large deep nonstick skillet over high heat, spray with oil and add the ground beef. Cook, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute.
- Pour the sauce over the beef, cover and simmer on low heat 10 minutes.
- To assemble the bowls, place 3/4 cup rice in each bowl, top with scant 2/3 cup beef, cucumbers, Gochujong, sesame seeds and scallions.