Korean Ground Beef

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Sweet and Spicy Korean Ground Beef with all the flavors of your favorite Korean BBQ but for a third of the cost and kid friendly!

Korean ground beef on rice
Korean Ground Beef

Korean Ground beef is the quick weeknight version of your favorite Korean restaurant. A plate of sweet and spicy beef made easier with the use of ground beef instead of short ribs.

Cooking with ground meat is an easy way stretch your dollar and you don’t have to sacrifice flavor. Two of our favorite dishes we’ve been eating recently have been Ground Kung Pao Chicken (1 Pan!) and Ground Orange Chicken (1 Pan!) which taste exactly like takeout, but much easier to make and with less fat!

The easiest, least expensive version of takeout you can make at home and with ground beef!

This recipe was originally posted with a wilted slaw. If you’d like to make the slaw it is listed in the notes under the recipe card.

If you look at the bottom (admittedly tiny) pictures you’ll see a creamy sauce on there. Here is one of my favorite hacks. I hesitate to even post it but we love it so much I’m going to.

If you’re a fan of Sriracha.

Japanese Spicy Mayo Recipe:

  • 2 cups Mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tablespoons Sriracha
  1. When you finish a bottle (or if you’re not close, use a new squeeze bottle) take off the top and wash it really well.
  2. Add the mayonnaise (we use light) to the bottle using a funnel into your almost completely empty bottle.
  3. Shake it up, test the flavor. Add more in 1 teaspoon at a time from your new bottle.
  4. When you’ve got the right heat level, shake really well then refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

In a day or so the flavors will meld together perfectly making the classic Japanese Spicy Mayo you love and pay way too much for in the restaurants. 😉 That’s what the lighter bottle in the background of the pictures below is.

Some tips for this Korean Ground Beef:

  • Make sure you drain off some of the fat you’ve rendered from the beef. Or use a leaner cut of beef.
  • You can have an even deeper flavor with dark brown sugar.
  • If you don’t have fresh garlic or ginger, use ground garlic and ground ginger in its place (1/2 teaspoon of each)
  • To make this taste more like takeout brown the beef really well and keep the chunks larger.

Want more Asian Food Recipes?

Tools used in the making of this Korean Ground Beef:
Sesame Oil: The flavor of sesame oil in this dish is unmistakeable and not really able to be substituted. Some Asian grocery stores will try and sell less expensive options that aren’t actually sesame oil, so just be sure the one you’re buying is authentic sesame oil.



Korean Ground Beef

4.96 from 66 votes
  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Korean
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sweet and Spicy Korean Ground Beef with all the flavors of your favorite Korean BBQ but for a third of the cost and kid friendly!


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger , minced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup lite soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 2 green onions , only the green parts

Wilted Slaw:

  • 6 cups napa cabbage , sliced
  • 2 carrots , grated
  • 2 green onions , diced from tip to tail, excluding the root
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Heat a large pan over medium high heat.
  2. Brown the meat with sesame oil, garlic and ginger.
  3. Drain 75% of the fat, add brown sugar, soy sauce, and Sriracha.
  4. Cook until the liquid has reabsorbed and the meat is shiny but not soupy.
  5. Top with green onions, toss together and serve.

Wilted Slaw:

  1. To make the slaw, put the Napa cabbage, carrots, sesame oil and canola oil in the skillet the meat just came out of.
  2. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the water has evaporated.

Recipe Notes

Wilted Slaw:

  • 6?cups?sliced napa cabbage
  • 2?carrots?, grated
  • 2?green onions?, diced from tip to tail, excluding the root
  • 2?teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1?teaspoon canola oil
  1. To make the slaw, put the Napa cabbage, carrots, sesame oil and canola oil in the skillet the meat just came out of.
  2. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the water has evaporated.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 4 Servings, Amount per serving: 346 calories, Calories: 346g, Carbohydrates: 32g, Protein: 26g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 942mg, Potassium: 599mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 28g, Vitamin A: 5215g, Vitamin C: 5.5g, Calcium: 59g, Iron: 3.5g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keywords: ground beef, Korean ground beef, Korean Ground Beef over Wilted Napa Slaw

Old photos of the recipe from when it was first posted.
Sweet and Spicy Korean Ground Beef with all the flavors of your favorite Korean BBQ but for a third of the cost and kid friendly!
Sweet and Spicy Korean Ground Beef with all the flavors of your favorite Korean BBQ but for a third of the cost and kid friendly!

Sweet and Spicy Korean Ground Beef with all the flavors of your favorite Korean BBQ but for a third of the cost and kid friendly!
The easiest, least expensive version of takeout you can make at home and with ground beef!

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  1. This has become one of our weeknight staples – it’s just so quick, simple, and delicious!

    I cut the sugar to a heaped tbsp and add some chopped red chillies on top. I love it served over coconut rice or plain jasmine rice.

    Thank you for a wonderful recipe!

  2. This has become my family’s favorite dinner. Everyone asks for this-unlike anything else in our dinner rotation. Tonight, we will have stir fry vegetables and rice as a side. Thanks for the great recipe!

  3. Made this for dinner tonight and it came out great. Made exactly as recipe called for — I mixed my sriracha, brown sugar and soy sauce together before pouring into pan with beef. Great flavor overall!

    Slaw came out good too — need to slice my cabbage thinner/smaller next time to pair well for eating w/ ground beef though.

    Will definitely be making this again!

  4. We loved everything about this recipe! served with basmati rice, the slaw, along with the siracha mayo. Delicious!! Making it a second time tonight.

  5. Great recipe but 1/2 cup of sugar was too much, had to drain the syrup it formed and had to had like a 1/2 cup more of soy sauce, and it is still sweet. Will try next time with less sugar. Thank you.

  6. My two picky eaters and hubby loved this dinner. I thought it was a bit sweet; but hey, no complains here! Thanks for this great and simple recipe.

  7. This was amazing! I looove Korean bulgogi, but I’ve never been able to successfully recreate it at home. This tastes just like bulgogi, only so much quicker, and cheaper. My husband inhaled his, and I had to act quick to save some for lunch tomorrow. 🙂 This will be going into heavy rotation.

  8. This was really great! Question, in the Wilted Cabbage area, step 2 says to ‘cook until the water is evaporated.’ There isn’t any water in the list of ingredients. How much water is supposed to be used?

  9. This was not only an easy dish to make, it was a hit. A true Korean taste. I always like to add more garlic and also added more siriacha. Will definitely be making this again.

  10. Our family are this up. No leftovers. Hot
    Damn so good! Sooo good! Pop an egg on top, put it over some jasmine rice, and you are good to go!!

  11. Do you think toasted sesame oil would ruin the flavor?
    I’ve already got a bottle of that, but I’m willing to buy normal kind.

  12. Loveeee this recipe! Decided to try something new and it was a total hit. My daughter is extremely picky and barely ever finishes her food. I have to say, with this dish she stuffed her face. Haha she ate the entire plate and asked for seconds. Oh, and I’ll be adding a little more Siracha next time though, it was not noticeable this time around but none the less it was still delicious. I will most definitely be making this more often. Thank you!

    1. So glad you liked it and it won over a picky eater! I’ve got one at home too so I know it feels like a huge win when they love something! 🙂

  13. Delicious! I omit the sriracha because of the kiddos, but the meat is still extraordinary. Thanks for sharing such a fantastic and easy recipe. It has become a staple in our home since we first tried it.

  14. Just wanted you to know, this has become a staple in our family. I am a bit lazy with the slaw. I just buy a bag and I don’t even bother to heat it, I just add it after the fact. I reduce the sugar by a bit but by the time I mix it with the slaw and rice, it’s not too sweet. I do add a little extra heat to it and I cook finely chopped onion and pepper in with the ground beef to sneak in a bit more vegetables. Thanks for an easy, tasty, flexible weeknight supper we all like!

    1. We’ve never had leftovers, haha, but you can definitely freeze them in a freezer safe container once it’s cooled. So glad you love it so much!

  15. Omg this is fantastic, I am always looking for new dishes to keep dinners interesting and that taste good. Well this recipe definitely fills the bill, I did not make the same and only served it over rice, I also don’t use surfaces but I used ground pepper flakes, it added a heat that doesn’t hit you in the face but seems up on you. My family ?Loves it. This is delicious. I will definitely be making this again I think it will be a very requested dish. Sabrina you are a genius. Thank you!!

    1. Awww, that’s so sweet! You totally made my day! I’m so glad you made it and then came back to tell me about it!

  16. I have been making this recipe for awhile since I pinned it a few years ago. I just use a bag coleslaw just to make it even easier on myself. My whole family absolutely loves, loves, loves this dish! Thank you so much for sharing it. Such great flavors!

  17. This was so delicious! My daughter, niece and nephew totally enjoyed it! Will definitely make it again, soon. I only did the beef with some jasmine rice, sprinkled with chives and sesame seeds….really really yummy!

  18. I made this without the slaw. I served it over rice with some quick pickled cucumber and the sriracha mayo. Best dinner I’ve had in quite awhile. There wasn’t a crumb left after my husband and I got done. This is definitely going in the dinner rotation. Thanks for the amazing recipe!!

  19. You WON’T be disappointed!! So easy, and SO good! I added a little bit of MaePloy and Soy sauce to the sauce when I wilted the slaw.

  20. I am obsessed with this recipe! I put it on rice, I have also put it on kale and butternut squash!! It’s a recipe I make weekly now.

  21. This is so, so good. The slaw and spicy mayo make it over the top delicious (for the adults, anyway – still trying to get my kids to eat those veggies!). For those concerned about sugar, I double this and don’t add any extra sugar – effectively cutting the sugar in half. It is still wonderful. A true family favorite.

  22. Really, really good! What’s even better is it is a very fast meal, using an economical, and just a bit different to get out of a dinner slump.

    I doubled the recipe so we’d have leftovers for lunch but otherwise followed the recipe exactly.

    I served with steamed rice and the cabbage. The cabbage really adds to the dish. I was in a rush so I used prepackaged shredded cabbage and carrots.

  23. Wonderful Recipe! Instead of making the slaw i sauteed carrots, mushrooms, and the white part of the spring onions in some Sesame oil. Piled it all on and topped it with some nice kimchi and seseame seeds

  24. Wow, really tasty, super easy, and both my picky boy eaters (8 and 6) liked it! Only change was half the sugar.

  25. I tried this tonight. I added small cuts of carrots for some texture. My only negative is that it is over the top sweet so I would only add half the sugar next time. The family liked this!

  26. Is there any version of this that is more… mild… I love spice, but my wife is a little on the weaker side of the spectrum lol. Maybe subbing a sweet ginger sauce or a teriyaki? Definitely want to try this as is though…

  27. I don’t normally comment on recipes but holy goodness this was delicious!! I eyeballed the ginger and did extra garlic so both those may have been extra. I also free styled the Sriracha. But otherwise followed the recipe. I put over rice, garnished with the wilted cabbage, and sprinkled some sesame seeds on top (not in recipe but a good add). My family LOVED it!! We’ll be making often.

  28. This was SOOO delicious!! I used 1.5 lbs of ground meat, and added 50% more of the rest of the ingredients. I used the wrong measuring cup and accidentally added too much soy sauce, but no problem – just added a bit more brown sugar. The extra sauce gets soaked up by the rice, and it’s just so good! For something as mundane as ground beef, this recipe is cram packed with flavor!! Thanks for the great recipe, I can’t wait to try your others!

  29. Tried this last night and OMG it was so good. Super easy to make and we actually did the slaw as a side because we only had 3 cups of cabbage. I tried a similar recipe recently and this was WAY better. Thanks so much for posting!

  30. Made this last night and O.M.G this was hands down delicious and easy! Family loved it! Will definitely be making this dish again!

  31. 10/10 WILL MAKE AGAIN!
    I Made this over the weekend and it was DELICIOUS. I didn’t deviate from the recipe, and I can’t think of a way to change it that would make the recipe better.
    I will say that the ground beef dries out a bit when reheated. Any suggestions there, or is it just best to not make extra?

  32. Ohhh my! New favorite in our house! Thank you so much. I made cauliflower rice for the first time, this served with the rice?! Heaven!

  33. I made this for dinner tonight and the whole family loved it!
    A few changes I made was adding 3x the Sriracha (we like spicy) and I added Bok Choy to the wilted slaw.
    Thank you so much for a new innovative way to use ground beef!
    We will be definitely be making this again!!!

  34. We loved this recipe!!!! It is spicy and sweet. Leaving the hamburger in larger chunks, as recommended, made a great looking dish. Definately adding to my recipe box! Really a great change from the usual 1 dish hamburger meal!!!

  35. This recipe turned out great, delicious. I did add some shiitake mushrooms just because. The siracha mayo really takes it up a notch. I’m excited now to try more of the recipes on this site.