Satisfy your Bibimbap craving in a fraction of the time with this recipe for Quick Korean Beef Bowls starring flavor-packed ground beef and all the traditional toppings.
Whenever I get to choose the dinner plans, Korean BBQ is always a clear winner. It’s hard to choose my favorite part of the experience, whether it’s grilling my own beef table-side or digging in to my favorite side dishes, like kimchi and cheesy corn. Now that I have four little ones, dining out has become increasingly rare… especially when open flames and/or table-side grilling is part of the equation!
To satisfy my bibimbap cravings, I created this recipe for Quick Korean Beef Bowls featuring all the essential flavors: garlic, ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar and chili paste, which is totally optional if you want to make this kid-friendly. Crunchy cucumbers and carrots, a yolky over-easy egg and a garlicky soy sauce all merry together perfectly in this endlessly customizable savory feast.
How to Make Korean Beef Bowls Ahead of Time
These Quick Korean Beef Bowls are perfect right out of the pan, but they also double as a meal prep dream. I like to make and store the crisper vegetable components separately (until ready to eat) so they don’t lose any of their vibrance. Cooked beef will keep in your fridge for up to four days, while cooked rice will stay fresh for three to four days.
When reheating your bibimbap, simply combine all the warm components (like the beef, rice and egg) and microwave in 30-second increments until warmed through. Then top with vegetables and hot sauce and enjoy!
How to Brown Ground Beef
It may be most familiar to cook your ground beef fast and quick, but trust me: A bit of patience will yield juicy and more complex-tasting beef for beef bowls and more.
Allow your ground beef to get to room temperature (about 15 minutes) before cooking to make sure the meat cooks evenly without steaming itself in the pan. Add the meat to a lightly-oiled skillet over medium heat in a single layer then break it into smaller pieces and let your pan do the rest of the work.
Pro Tip: By letting your beef cook for 5 minutes before breaking into chunks, it will gain color and a crispness that gets lost from mashing it up too early. After draining the grease, add your sauce ingredients to the beef and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly, about 3 more minutes.
What to Serve with Your Korean Beef Bowl
Bibimbap translates to “mixed rice,” which means one thing as far as I’m concerned: Don’t skip the rice. After that, the sky is the limit when it comes to topping your bowl. As long as you have a fried egg, a protein, vegetables, and some form of hot sauce for topping, you’re golden. Not into beef? Sub in tofu, chicken or even roasted sweet potatoes. Got leftover roasted vegetables or rotisserie chicken? Throw them in!
My dream bowl includes a yolky over-easy egg and plenty of spicy gochujang chili sauce. Once mixed, the yolk and Gochujang form their own magic secret sauce that coats each part of the bowl in savory, spicy deliciousness.
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce or Gochujang Chili Sauce (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup sliced scallions, white parts only (reserve green parts for garnish)
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- Cooked white rice, for serving
- Sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, fried eggs and sesame seeds, for serving (optional)
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, chili garlic sauce, garlic, ginger and scallions. Set the mixture aside.
- Add the ground beef to a large nonstick skillet set over medium-low heat. Cook, breaking apart the meat with a spatula, until browned. Drain any grease.
- Add the sauce mixture to the pan and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until the meat is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Spoon the ground beef over rice. Garnish with sliced green parts of scallions. Serve with sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, fried eggs and sesame seeds (optional).
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