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 63 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 dish sounded yummy but was a big bust! The spices all being on the outside meant each bite had bland ground beef, note to brown a little extra did not increase the flavor and turned the kids off. I thought it would be zippy and flavorful but it was so bland, even with extra seasoning afterwards, we gave up on it.

  2. Wow! New family favorite. Made the wilted slaw and served it with jasmine rice. It all went together perfectly. Can’t wait to make this for my grandkids.

  3. Flawless and delicious! Came upon this recipe in my search to not waste some left over ground beef. So easy with what I had in the kitchen. I did use normal kikkoman soy sauce as I didn’t have light on hand, and ground dried ginger. Still fantastic. Greatly appreciated the tips in the recipe too to drain the fat or I definitely would have had issues. Sautéed with some chopped onions and it was sealed to be a staple in my family dinners. Thank you!!

  4. This dish is SO good. My husband and I LOVE it. It hasn’t quickly become a favorite. This recipe doubles very easy to make a larger portion.

    The first time we made this we didn’t care for the slaw on the side. Now when I make it, I add a handful of shredded cabbage and carrots and the green onions at the very end and continue to cook for about 2 more minutes to allow the cabbage to wilt a little.

    Serve this on top of cooked white rice and a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds on top.

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I can’t wait to try the other Ground beef versions of my favorite Asian dishes.

  5. Made this and have had requests for it again… with a teenager!! When you first make it dont be shocked by the dark colour.

  6. Came out sooo good! My husband was skeptical but he loved it. I served it with steamed broccoli. I added more sriracha once served because I love spice. Will be making this again! Thanks for the recipe

  7. Looks like an easy weekday dinner to pair with a light cucumber salad…perfect for the summer heat! So ready for this.

  8. Made it once and now I make it weekly. Now I use the seasonings in burger patties and meatballs as well with a bit less sugar and a bit more spice but it’s delicious. Tha nk you

    1. That’s a great compliment to be added to a weekly dinner rotation! Thank you for taking the time to come back and letting me know.

  9. Easy to make. Delicious doesn’t cover it. I have made tacos, spread it over cauliflower rice, and just eat it with a spoon, dip chips in it….It is that delish. It is now a weekly feature at the dinner table.

  10. We loved it! I made it with venison. I added grated carrot and made extra sauce for our baked broccoli. My husband says we can add this to our stock recipes but I just can’t bring myself to regularly eat a dinner with so much added sugar. I’m going to try using grated sweet potato to see if we can really cut back the sugar. Thanks for an awesome inspirastion!

  11. This was so good. We always are getting giant packs of ground beef from Costco and finding another thing to make with it is wonderful. We did put about twice the ginger in it (we like a lot of ginger) and it was very tasty. Next time we might try making it as lettuce wraps.

  12. This is a wonderful dish that can be made in a jiffy. I didn’t have sesame oil but had sesame seeds which I added to the hot canola oil, which I almost all the time do. Since I don’t cook Asian food that often. I also didn’t have the spring onions, but added a little onion powder. It sure is a hit at home. But I feel the sugar should be reduced to 1/4 cup. Its a little too sweet. Maybe that’s how its supposed to be. I’d at least reduce it next time. But its a beautifully glossy, aromatic dish.

  13. Great Recipe. Wife was wondering if cabbage could be added to the dish and if so would it just mean increasing the ingredients to compensate for adding cabbage and the water it would give off?

    1. Cabbage is great with this dish but you’ll have to make it separately. There’s just so much water that comes from it, it’s not possible to make together.

  14. This dish is so easy and quick to prepare. I followed it to the letter, just added steamed broccoli to the meat at the end, then served over rice. It was delicious and I will definitely serve it again

  15. This was wonderful! My husband heard Korean Beef and kind of just shrugged until he got himself a bowl and hasn’t stopped saying how great it is since he took his first bite. Thanks for an quick and easy yet flavorful dinner tonight!  

  16. Made this for Sunday supper and it was fabulous ! 
    Made recipe exactly as posted and it came out perfectly. I will definitely prepare this again. 

      1. How do you know when it’s done? I kept waiting for liquid to go away but it never did, it tasted good but it was not shiny. Did I cook it too long or not long enough? Is it shiny first and soupy if cooked too long or soupy if not cooked enough?

        1. It sounds like maybe you needed to drain more of the fat. I used lean ground beef and needed to drain about 75% but maybe your was fattier and producing more liquid. Hope this helps!

  17. I made this for dinner tonight. I used turkey because I did not have any ground beef and haven’t gone to the store yet. It is like mother Hubbard’s cupboard right now. Had the rest of the ingredients to make this amazing dish. This exceeded my expectations. AMAZING!!!

  18. The recipe includes 3 green onions and then later 2 green onions but they only added to the dish one time (in the slaw). Should it be 5 onions or am I missing something?

    1. Two of the green onions are for use as a garnish – sorry, I left that out of the recipe but it’s been fixed!

  19. I’ve only had a few Korean dishes and loved them. This recipe sounds like a really good one! Thanks for sharing.

  20. That’s a new way to switch things up. I bet my husband would like it with the ground beef on top like that.. usually he won’t eat slaw of any kind (crazy, right?).

    1. My hubby hates cole slaw [works for me, I always end up getting his portion too!] but he loves this slaw. I think it is because it doesn’t have mayo and it is warm.

  21. Looks like something to have my husband make for our house. He seems to do a much better job at making ethnic dishes here. Now if only we could agree on the spice factor we would be all set lol

  22. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a Korean dish. This one looks pretty appetizing. Maybe I need to give it a try!

  23. We have Korean BBQ on occasion, but that’s the only time I really prepare any Korean-style cuisine. I need to branch out because this sounds incredible. Can’t wait to try it.

  24. This looks delicious! I bet this is just beyond incredible. Looks like a dish both my husband and I would enjoy! Yum

  25. This looks so delicious. I’ll definitely have to try this recipe soon. I think my entire family would enjoy it!

  26. I am all about Asian flavors and really appreciate this easier at home version of a favorite dish. I am sure the savory meat and crisp cabbage make for the perfect combo!

  27. That looks absolutely fantastic. I’ve never had wilted slaw before. I’d love to try this.

    1. Thanks! The flavor is great for all ages, my hubby and I definitely like to add a bit of spice after serving. Keeping it milder in the pan means the littles ones love it too 🙂