This sweet and slightly spicy Korean ground beef and rice bowls recipe is one of my favorite fast meals on busy weeknights. Ground beef is always in our freezer or refrigerator, and everything else is in my pantry at all times. When it comes to making something easy in just a few minutes, this is definitely the star of my meal plan.
Korean Ground Beef & Rice Bowls
I love food. There is no way I can deny that. Seriously, food is life. As far back as I can remember, there is nothing that makes me feel better than getting into the kitchen to cook a meal for my family.
Sometimes, mealtime is something simple like pasta with a basic sauce. Other times, it's more complicated like a slow-cooked curry or perfectly cooked pastry. This Korean beef falls somewhere in the mix. Simple flavors combine to create a meal that is one of my all-time favorites.
When it comes to copycat or take out at home, Asian cuisine is my favorite to experiment with making. The bold flavors are always a hit at our dinner table. I pair this with some basic basmati or jasmine rice and create a meal that everyone at the table enjoys.
Can You Make This Dish with Ground Turkey Instead?
While it wouldn't technically be considered Korean ground beef anymore, you can definitely make this using ground turkey or ground chicken instead.
Ground beef gives a richer flavor, but along with that flavor comes a bit more fat. If you are watching your calories, fat content, or have a red meat restricted diet, then you can easily substitute the ground meat you prefer.
Note: This can even be made with a vegan ground beef substitute with great success. In fact, if you have access to Gardein or Morning Star ground meat crumbles, test it out for a different spin on this delicious dish.
Can I Use Beef Tips Instead of Ground Beef?
One of the biggest reasons we use ground beef is how easy it is to cook and that it is so affordable. If you prefer, you can easily use beef strips or slices of any other cut of beef you prefer. I love a good ribeye for this recipe when it is available. Slicing it thinly at an angle will allow for fast and easy cook time with tender beef every time.
Note: If using sliced beef instead of ground beef, your cook time will be cut significantly. Take note of the 160ºF safe cooking temperature for ground beef won't apply to sliced ribeye. An internal temperature of 145ºF is safe for most cuts of fresh beef.
Is Korean Ground Beef Keto Friendly?
This recipe as listed is not a keto-friendly meal. However, if you substitute the brown sugar in the recipe with a sugar substitute instead, you can easily turn this into a lower-carb recipe. In fact, it is a perfect choice for a keto meal that everyone at your table would love to have for dinner.
Ideally, if following a keto diet, you would have little to no carbohydrates. The carbs in this recipe come almost entirely from the brown sugar in the recipe. Without that additional, all other ingredients easily fit into the keto diet without adding extra carbs to your meal.
How Can I Make This a Low Carb Recipe?
To turn this into a low-carb recipe, you will first switch the brown sugar for a substitute. My personal favorite is Swerve Brown. It has the best 1:1 ratio when cooking. Another benefit to this is that you can so readily find it online but also at many retailers such as Whole Foods, Sprouts, Walmart, and even Target.
The second thing to note in this recipe is the rice option for serving. This is where you would want to substitute veggie rice like cauliflower rice or broccoli rice. You could also serve this ground beef over zucchini noodles or a Konjac noodle.
WIth those substitutes, the recipe is entirely keto or low-carb friendly and a great choice for any diet plan.
What Vegetables go With Korean Beef?
You will add some sliced green onions to this before serving, but of course, you need more veggies on the side. Typically, this is served with steamed vegetables or a tempura vegetable. I like it best with some sauteed or roasted broccoli and cauliflower. Other great options are roasted asparagus, roasted carrots, or steamed green beans.
A dash of teriyaki or soy sauce and a bit of fresh garlic and salt turn any of these vegetables into a perfect side for any Asian inspired meal. My kids especially love when I roast broccoli with garlic to go with this meal. Some more ideas are below.
- Baby corn
- Bamboo shoots
- Water chestnuts
- Broccoli Rabe
- Brussels sprouts
- Green beans
- Ground beef
- Garlic powder
- Brown sugar
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Ground ginger
- Black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Mirin (or rice wine)
- Salt (to taste)
- Cooked rice
- Sesame seeds
- Green onions
- Jalapeno or pepper slices
How to Make Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls
In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, brown sugar, soy sauce, water, sesame oil, mirin, ground ginger, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Whisk together until well combined, then set aside.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet on the medium-high heat setting and add the ground beef.
Cook the ground beef stirring regularly until no longer pink.
Pour the sauce into the beef and continue cooking an additional 2-3 minutes stirring the mixture together so the sauce coats the meat well.
If you like a little extra heat, you can add sriracha at this point.
Top with sliced green onions and sesame seeds to garnish before serving over rice.
For those who like more heat, you can top with additional sriracha, jalapeno slices, or other hot peppers.
If you enjoy beef on your menu as much as we do, then you'll also love this crispy Mongolian beef recipe. You may also love this Indian minced meat qeema recipe. Both are packed with flavor and easy to make for your family.
For a bit richer flavor, add 1 teaspoon hoison sauce to the mixture. This adds a unique umami that pairs well with the other flavors.
- 1 lb ground beef
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp water
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp sriracha
- 2 cups rice, cooked
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 3 green onions, diced
- In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, ground ginger, mirin, water, red pepper flakes, and black pepper and whisk to combine and set aside;
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet and add ground beef then cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes or until beef is no longer pink,
- Pour sauce mixture over ground beef and stir to combine then cook for an additional 2-3 minutes;
- If adding sriracha, add now and mix to combine;
- Garnish with sesame seeds and diced green onions;
- Serve over rice with additional sriracha or sliced jalapenos if desired.
This can be served with rice, noodles, cauliflower rice, or even zucchini zoodles.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 529Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 1090mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 3gSugar: 14gProtein: 35g