Quick Korean Beef Recipe (2024)

Published: · Modified: by Shadi HasanzadeNemati · This post may contain affiliate links .

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Korean beef and rice is a family favorite that comes together in less than 20 minutes and tastes better than take out. Enjoy ground beef browned to perfection with a delicious homemade sauce!

Quick Korean Beef Recipe (1)

If you love Korean flavors as much as we do, you'll love our Korean style recipes. If you haven't already, be sure to check out our Korean beef nachos, Korean beef bowls and Korean beef lettuce wraps - the nachos are a real crowd-pleaser!

Table Of Contents:
  • Why this recipe works
  • Ingredients
  • The secret to perfectly browned ground beef
  • Preparation instructions
  • Side dishes to serve
  • What to do with the leftovers
  • Notes and tips
  • Step-by-Step Recipe

Why this recipe works

  • Quick to make (only 20 minutes!): We all have those busy days that are so hectic that at the end of the day all we want is just a nice dinner on the table. Because you're using ground beef instead of sirloin, there is no marinating needed which saves a lot of time.
  • Needs just a few ingredients: This quick Korean beef recipe calls for a few ingredients such as ground beef, soy sauce and a few spices. This is a budget-friendly version of the classic Korean dish bulgogithat uses ground beef instead of thinly sliced sirloin. Serve it with rice and you're winning weeknight dinner!
  • Kid-friendly: Kids love this dish! This recipe is also highly customizable. You can even add different vegetables and serve with rice to make this into a dinner bowl that's healthier, quicker and tastier than take-out.


  • Soy sauce: My preference is to use low-sodium soy sauce when possible, but regular soy sauce works too.
  • Chili pepper flakes: It adds a little "kick" to the sauce. You can leave it out as it is optional.
  • Brown sugar: To balance the saltiness of the soy sauce, we need some brown sugar. Granulated sugar won't work in this recipe., however, honey can be an alternative if you don't use sugar.
  • Garlic and ginger: The amount of garlic and ginger added to this recipe depends on your preference. I'm pretty generous with both when it comes to making this dish.
  • Cornstarch: To thicken the sauce and make the dish a bit sticky, we need some cornstarch.
  • Ground beef: This is the key to our quick dinner, instead of classic sirloin that's used to make Korean beef, we are using ground beef which cooks in no time and is so flavorful when cooked with the sauce. It's best to use lean ground beef with 7% or less fat content.

The secret to perfectly browned ground beef

When it comes to browning ground beef, there is really one thing you should know: Use a large pan. Large pans offer enough space to the ground beef to be in one single layer and therefore brown better and faster. Let your pan heat completely before cooking the ground beef to get that nice brown color.

Also, don't stir constantly. Let the ground beef cook for a few minutes before stirring it. This would give the meat enough time to brown well.

Quick Korean Beef Recipe (2)

Preparation instructions

  • Combine soy sauce, chili pepper flakes, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and cornstarch in a small bowl.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan. Cook the ground beef over medium heat until no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the sauce to the ground beef mixture.
  • Cook for another five to ten minutes until the sauce thickens.
  • Top with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve with brown or white rice.

Kitchen Tip:If you like your ground beef to be even more flavorful, sauté one onion in some vegetable oil before adding it to the beef. It's a small step, but will add a lot of flavor.

Quick Korean Beef Recipe (3)

Side dishes to serve

You can serve this dish with instant pot white rice, instant pot brown rice, steamed vegetables like broccoli and carrots, noodles or cauliflower rice. This recipe is so easy to modify and it tastes great with almost everything!

What to do with the leftovers

This is one of those ground beef recipes that's perfect for meal prep. It keeps very well in the fridge and reheats well. Simply store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

To reheat, add one tablespoon of soy sauce before reheating to freshen up the flavor. It's best to reheat this dish in a pan over medium heat and avoid microwaving it.

Notes and tips

  • Fresh garlic and fresh ginger always bring more flavor to dishes like this. If you don't have fresh ingredients, use powdered garlic and ginger according to your tastes.
  • Use lean beef if possible. If using beef that has more than 7% fat, make sure to drain the excess fat otherwise your dish will be too oily.
  • You can leave the sugar out and use two tablespoons of honey instead.
  • What makes this dish super tasty is perfectly browned beef, so please don't skip this step and brown it all the way through (but make sure it's not dry!).
  • Feeding a crowd? You can double and triple this recipe easily to feed more people.
Quick Korean Beef Recipe (4)

More Recipes

  • Korean Beef Nachos
  • Korean Beef Bowl Recipe
  • Easy Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps
  • Instant Pot White Rice Recipe

Did you make this recipe? I'd love to hear about it! Please comment and leave a 5-star🌟 rating below. You can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or subscribe to our newsletter to get a free e-Cookbook!

Step-by-Step Recipe

Quick Korean Beef Recipe (9)

Quick Korean Beef

Shadi HasanzadeNemati

Korean beef and rice is a family favorite that comes together in less than 20 minutes and tastes better than take out. Enjoy ground beef browned to perfection with a delicious homemade sauce!

4.51 from 103 votes

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Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 20 minutes mins

Total Time 20 minutes mins


  • ¼ cup soy sauce low sodium
  • ¼ teaspoon chili pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger or ½ teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 lb ground beef I used 93% lean
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 3 green onions chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds


  • In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, pepper flakes, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and corn starch. Set aside.

  • Heat vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. Saute ground beef until brown and no pink left. Add the sauce and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, heat the rice.

  • Serve cooked Korean beef over Jasmine rice and top with green onions and sesame seeds.


  • The key to make a delicious Korean beef is making a good sauce. Please taste the sauce to make sure it has enough flavor.
  • If you like this dish saltier, add one more tablespoon of soy sauce.
  • Use lean ground beef for this recipe if available. If the ground beef has a fat content higher than 7%, please discard the rendered fat after browning the beef.
  • Fresh garlic and fresh ginger always bring more flavor to dishes like this. If you don't have fresh ingredients, use powdered garlic and ginger to your taste.
  • You can leave the sugar out and use two tablespoons honey instead.
  • What makes this dish super tasty is perfectly browned beef, so please don't skip this step and brown it all the way through (but make sure it's not dry!).
  • Feeding a crowd? You can double and triple this recipe easily to feed more people.


Calories: 401kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 18gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 774mgPotassium: 297mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 60IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 2mg

Did you make this recipe? Let us know how it was by leaving a comment and a 5-star review!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Dolores Dougherty

    Quick Korean Beef Recipe (14)
    I made it for dinner it was very good!!!!


  2. Amy O

    Quick Korean Beef Recipe (15)
    This recipe is amazing and simple to make. I’ll be adding this in my meal rotation . Thank you for sharing it.


  3. Stephanie

    Quick Korean Beef Recipe (16)
    This was delicious! I ran out fresh garlic so I substituted for garlic powder, and it still came out delicious. This was quick and easy to make, and so full of flavor. I served it with white rice and steamed veggies (broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower).


  4. Terri J

    Quick Korean Beef Recipe (17)
    This was so easy to make! And so delicious!


  5. Becky

    Quick Korean Beef Recipe (18)
    made this and it came out just fine . everyone loved it.


  6. Natty

    Quick Korean Beef Recipe (19)
    Delicious, my teenagers love it!!


  7. Vickie

    Quick Korean Beef Recipe (20)
    I make this once a week or every other week! So easy to toss together! We like ours saucy so the rice gets a coating. I double or triple the soy/sugar blend sauce and throw in frozen peas and carrots and green onions. We don’t like ginger so I leave it out.


  8. Harold Burton

    this looks so delicious! My husband hates eggs, so I never make Frittata’s which is a shame. Have you tried freezing this or something similar. I’m thinking for my breakfast or lunch, I could make ahead. Let me know, much appreciated!

    Harold Burton


    • Shadi HasanzadeNemati

      This freezes very well!


  9. Beth

    Quick Korean Beef Recipe (21)
    This is the perfect recipe for me these days! Quick and a for sure family favorite! No leftovers with this dish!


  10. Suzy

    Quick Korean Beef Recipe (22)
    This is one of those meals we come back to time and time again. So tasty and so EASY to make!


  11. Lisa Jackson

    Quick Korean Beef Recipe (23)
    Loved it. Had ground pork instead of beef. Did onion first. As recommended. Also used double fresh ginger. Awsome


    • Shadi HasanzadeNemati

      Glad you like this recipe!


  12. Carolyn

    Quick Korean Beef Recipe (24)
    Hello Shadi, I made this dish tonight, it was so good. Typically, I season my ground beef with black pepper, onion powder, Sazon, Italian seasoning and paprika for flavor, and adding the sauce made the beef absolutely delish! My 12-yr old daughter gave the meal 2-thumbs up! Will definitely make again.


    • Shadi HasanzadeNemati

      Carolyn, thank you for your kind comment and review! We are happy to know you and your family loved this recipe!


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Quick Korean Beef Recipe (2024)


Why is Korean beef expensive? ›

“It's a very special breed because it takes a long time to get consistent cattle,” explains associate director Andrew Lee Chi-ho of the first firm in Hong Kong to import Hanwoo beef. “It takes five to 10 generations, 15 to 30 years, to get consistent marbling, flavour and good structure.”

What is the best beef in Korea? ›

In South Korea, locally bred Hanwoo is the meat of choice – and it's priced accordingly. It's more expensive than wagyu of comparable quality, but not as expensive as Kobe (bred in Japan's Hyogo prefecture), and it's double the price of a comparable cut of US or Australian beef.

What goes with Korean BBQ beef? ›

Start with a base of rice or quinoa, then top it with the bbq beef and your choice of optional toppings. I topped mine with shredded carrots, sugar snap peas and diced scallions. You could also add kimchi, cucumbers, bell peppers, broccoli or jalapenos. It's your bowl, make it your own!

Why don't Koreans eat beef? ›

The importance of cattle does not suggest Koreans ate an abundance of beef, however, as the cattle were valued as beasts of burden and slaughtering one would create dire issues in farming the land. Pork and seafood were consumed more regularly for this reason.

What cut of beef is bulgogi? ›

Bulgogi is typically made with almost paper-thin slices of the most tender cuts of beef. Rib-eye is the most common cut of beef with top sirloin coming in a close second.

Why do Koreans soak beef? ›

Soak the meat in cold water.

What is this? This will remove the myoglobin (what people think is "blood") from the meat. It will significantly reduce any gamey or irony taste from the meat.

What meat is eaten most in Korea? ›

Pork (30.1 kilograms) accounted for half of all meat consumption per capita last year, followed by chicken (15.7 kilograms) and beef (14.8 kilograms). This is likely due to the fact that pork is relatively inexpensive and is used in a variety of dishes, including grilled, stewed, dumplings, soup, and bulgogi.

Which is better Wagyu or Hanwoo? ›

“Wagyu feels like it melts in your mouth due to this high fat ratio, but one can also say that as a result it tastes relatively bland,” Hwang says. “Hanwoo is more balanced. It has a stronger flavour of beef and some more texture to chew on rather than just melting in your mouth.”

How do Koreans get their meat so tender? ›

Bulgogi sauce

Using generous amounts of garlic and sesame oil is necessary to create an authentic taste. To enhance the flavor and tenderize the meat, Koreans traditionally add a grated Korean pear to the marinade. It's simply the best way.

What cut of beef is used in Korean beef? ›

What Is The Best Beef Cut For Korean BBQ? Bulgogi (Sirloin Beef Strips) is the most well-known Korean BBQ beef cut. While others also like other cuts of beef for a Korean BBQ, there's no doubt that bulgogi the most popular not only in Korea but also in other countries like Australia.

Why is Korean beef so good? ›

Hanwoo cattle are known for their tender meat and rich flavor, which is attributed to the animal's diet of grass and grains. The Korean government has implemented strict regulations to ensure the quality of Hanwoo beef, including a grading system based on marbling, color, and texture.

What is Korean beef called? ›

Since Koreans consider Hanwoo beef a cultural icon and one of the top-quality beefs of the world, it is used in traditional foods, popular holiday dishes, or as a special-day gift. Hoengseong County is best known for its Hanwoo cattle, where the environment is well-suited for cattle farming.

What to serve with Costco Korean beef? ›

You serve it with rice and a side of kimchi. To enhance even more, add your favorite vegetables like carrots, broccoli, more onions and even some mushrooms. It's essentially like a stir fry, but very delicious.

How long to cook meat at Korean BBQ? ›

Grill the meat for about two to three minutes on each side, using the tongs to flip them. If you want to divide into sections for a crowd: Once grilled on both sides, use kitchen shears to cut each piece into three sections (one bone per section) and continue letting them cook for another minute.

What's so special about Korean beef? ›

Despite its high price, Hanwoo beef is preferred in Korean cuisine, as it is typically fresher and of better quality than cheaper imported substitutes. Kim et al. (2001) noted, "Hanwoo is regarded as a premium beef because of its high palatability and desired chewiness".

Why is Korean beef better? ›

Hanwoo beef is highly nutritious, packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. It is a breed of cattle that is native to Korea and is known for its high quality and flavor. Hanwoo beef is leaner than other types of beef and has less cholesterol and saturated fat.

Which country has the most expensive beef in the world? ›

The most expensive meat in the world is Japanese Wagyu beef, specifically the Kobe variety. Kobe beef comes from Tajima-gyu cattle that are raised in the Hyogo prefecture of Japan and is renowned for its high level of marbling, tenderness, and rich, buttery flavor.

What's the difference between Korean beef and American beef? ›

Did you know that the US beef cuts are usually around 22, French and English cuts are 35 and the Koreans beef cuts can go up to a staggering 120? However, the most popular cuts used today in Korea cooking is 50 including almost all the organs, head and tail.

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