(Last Updated On: December 24, 2023)
This super easy Korean style ground beef recipe is bursting with unique flavors and amazing taste. The browned lean ground beef is smothered in a brown sugar soy sauce mixture, minced ginger, and sesame oil while pan frying with minced garlic. Sliced green onions and sesame seeds are added and served over a bed of white rice.
The next time you want to make something different for dinner, but you also want it to be an easy recipe that is quick and delicious, you can make this tasty popular Korean dish in a matter of minutes. To keep it simple, some side dishes that go well with this traditional Korean dish are buttered biscuits, mac and cheese or garlic bread.
🥢 Key Ingredients
- 2 pounds of lean ground beef (93%)
- 1/2 cup of low sodium soy sauce
- 2 cups uncooked white rice (one cup uncooked is 3 cups cooked)
- 1/2 cup of light brown sugar
- 6 green onions (sliced)
- 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
- 8 teaspoons of minced garlic – or fresh garlic
- 4 teaspoons of sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons of minced ginger – or fresh ginger
👩🍳 How to Make Easy Korean Style Ground Beef (Step-by-Step Instructions with Detailed Photos)
Step 1. Cook the White Rice
Prepare the uncooked white rice according to the directions on the back of the package. One cup of uncooked white rice makes approximately three cups of cooked white rice. You can adjust this amount for the size of your family if need be. While the rice is cooking, continue to the next step.
Step 2. Prepare the Brown Sugar and Soy Sauce Mixture
In a medium mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup of brown sugar together with 2 teaspoons of minced ginger, 4 teaspoons of sesame oil, and 1/2 cup of low sodium soy sauce. Mix until well blended into a brown sugar soy sauce mixture. Set aside for now.
Step 3. Brown the Ground Beef and Garlic
In a large skillet, brown 2 pounds of lean ground beef together with 8 teaspoons of minced garlic on medium-high heat. Chop the ground beef into pieces as it cooks. Brown the ground beef until no more pink is showing. After that, drain any excess ground beef grease from the pan.
Step 4. Add the Brown Sugar Mixture to the Ground Beef
After the meat cooks, pour the brown sugar and soy sauce mixture we set aside earlier into the frying pan together with the browned ground beef.
Tip: If you want the sauce to be a bit thicker, add a little cornstarch. To do that, mix 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch together with 1 teaspoon of water until the cornstarch is completely dissolved in the water with no lumps in it. After that, add the cornstarch mixture a little at a time to the ground beef mixture, stirring constantly, to get your desired thickness. You can add more cornstarch if needed, but be careful not to add too much.
Adding cornstarch directly to the sauce in the frying pan with the browned ground beef can make the cornstarch lump up. Mixing the cornstarch with a little bit of water first, eliminates that.
Note: This picture has a reflection from the camera in the bowl of brown sugar and soy sauce mixture. We apologize.
Step 5. Simmer the Ground Beef Mixture
After adding the brown sugar soy sauce mixture to the browned ground beef, bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the burner down to medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Most, but not all, of the liquid will be absorbed into the ground beef.
Step 6. Add the Green Onions
Slice the 6 green onions, including the green leaves. Discard the roots. Mix the green onions in the frying pan together with the ground beef mixture during the last part of the cooking process, then continue to simmer for about 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 7. Add the Sesame Seeds – then Serve as a Korean Beef Bowl
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds on top of the ground beef and onions, then simmer for 1 to 2 more minutes. Turn the heat off and remove the skillet from the burner.
To serve, make a rice bowl for each of your family members. To do that, fill individual bowls with the cooked white rice we made earlier. Then, add a couple of spoonfuls of the cooked Korean style beef on top of the rice. Or, you can do as we do. Wash and cut in strips some lettuce leaves. Put the lettuce leaves in between the white rice and the ground beef mixture in your bowl.
⭐️ Recipe Variations
- For extra flavor, sprinkle a little bit of table salt, black pepper, or any of your favorite seasonings to this Korean ground beef recipe.
- If you love hot and spicy Korean food, very lightly sprinkle some red pepper flakes on top of your serving of Korean style ground beef. It is wonderfully hot and tasty!
- If you prefer to do so, you can substitute brown rice instead of white rice.
- Toss in a few fresh bean sprouts right before you are ready to serve dinner.
- Make lettuce wraps. Wash a leaf of lettuce, fill it with the cooked white rice and cooked Korean style ground beef, then wrap it up and enjoy.
- Add your choice of julienne style cuts (very thin strips) of red, yellow, or green bell peppers.
We put leftover Korean ground beef in a bowl and cover it with a lid or plastic wrap. Then, we put it in the refrigerator until we are ready to serve it again for our next meal, which is usually within the next day or two.
Yes, you can freeze Korean style ground beef in a freezer bag or an airtight container made for the freezer. You can pre-make the sauce and freeze it, then use it when you are ready to make this recipe. Or you can make the entire recipe, minus the rice, and freeze it to serve another day. When ready to use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, then it will be ready to heat the next day.
Note: Soy sauce may not freeze completely due to the salt content, but this is normal and okay.
✏️ Final Thoughts
The best part about this authentic recipe is that it is so easy to make on a busy weeknight with basic ingredients. All you need is two pounds of ground beef and all the special seasonings. This recipe is a great way to get a delicious meal in when you are short on time and don’t want to go out to a Korean restaurant. The first time I tasted this recipe, I couldn’t believe how flavorful it was!
The blend of soy sauce together with brown sugar, sesame oil, minced garlic, and ginger bring out the Korean flavor so beautifully. Also, a lettuce salad and or fresh vegetables go great as a side dish, or any of your favorite Korean side dishes as well. And don’t forget, you can serve this Korean ground beef over a bed of shredded lettuce (minus the white rice), or as a lettuce wrap. Enjoy!
📝 Recipe Card
Easy Korean Style Ground Beef Recipe
- Cook the white rice according to instructions on the package. One cup of uncooked rice equals about 3 cups cooked. (You can adjust this amount for your size family)
- In a medium bowl, mix the brown sugar, low sodium soy sauce, minced ginger, and sesame oil. Set aside for now.
- In a large frying pan, brown the lean ground beef with the minced garlic on medium-high heat. Brown until no pink is showing in the ground beef.
- Add the soy sauce and brown sugar mixture we made earlier to the browned ground beef.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Slice the green onions, including the green leaves. Throw away the roots.
- Mix the green onions with the ground beef mixture. Continue to simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top of the ground beef mixture.
- Serve this Korean style ground beef with cooked white rice.
💖 More Recipes You Will Love
If you love to make delicious ground beef dinners, here are a few that are quick to fix and taste amazing!
- This lasagna recipe is pure Italian taste with flavorful spices, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, lasagna noodles, and topped off with more cheese. Delicious!
- These ground beef enchiladas are filled with lean ground beef, fire-roasted green chiles, and Mexican cheese blend, then topped with enchilada sauce and sprinkled with more cheese. Yum!
- These cabbage rolls are a favorite meal of ours for many years now. Made with lean ground beef, onions, and white rice that are wrapped in cabbage leaves, topped with tomato sauce, then baked in the oven for 2 hours. So simple and so good!
A wife, a mother to a son and a daughter, and a grandmother to three granddaughters. Flo loves sharing recipes passed down from her own mother, her mother-in-law, and her grandmother as well as new recipes created with her daughter, Tamara Ray.
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