Korean Beef

4.62 from 21 votes

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This Korean Beef recipe is simple, tasty, and perfect for when you only have a minutes to get dinner on the table. Serve in lettuce cups or over rice. My Famous Butter Rice and Cilantro Lime Rice are both great options.

korean-beef on lettuce

A Healthier Korean Beef Recipe

Let me start this post by stating there is no way this is an authentic recipe for Korean Beef. BUT! That’s ok because I’m really good at creating waaaay better flavors and fast shortcuts in the kitchen when I do it all my way. So, this is a very simple-super-tasty-minimal ingredient-meal that is perfect on those days where I only have 15 to 20 minutes to get dinner on the table. BONUS: This healthier version using maple syrup in the simmering sauce. As you can see in the pictures, the meat is super moist and turns out so so good every time.

Need other ground beef recipes? Look no further! Here are a few of my favorites: The Best Sloppy JoesHamburger SoupSimple Sunday MeatloafThe Best Burger Recipe, and Easy Meatballs.

korean-beef on lettuce

This recipe is pretty straightforward, just make sure you have a plan for how to serve it! If you don’t know, don’t worry, I have some ideas listed below.


How to Make Korean Beef

Traditional Korean Beef is called bulgogi which uses marinated sirloin steak. Instead, this Korean Beef Recipe calls for ground beef which is much cheaper and with the combinations of flavor coming from the ingredients we get the same taste as traditional bulgogi. It’s faster, cheaper, and tastes just as great, win-win-win! For full recipe details see the recipe card down below. Here is what you can expect when making this recipe:

Cook Beef

Preheat a large skillet over heat. Add in beef and break apart as it browns with a wooden spoon. Once the beef is completely cooked, pour into a colander, and drain any excess fat off of the meat. Place meat back into the pan.

Reduce Heat + Add Remaining Ingredients

Reduce heat to medium and add in soy sauce, maple syrup, minced garlic, fresh ginger, red pepper flakes and sesame oil. Cook until the soy sauce reduces slightly. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. If meat mixture is getting dry, splash in some beef broth as needed or desired.

Add in Green Onions + Serve

Stir in green onion and serve hot. I like to serve in lettuce cups or over rice.

korean-beef on white rice

What to Serve with Korean Beef

There are a couple of ways you can serve Korean beef, here are a few:

Storing Leftovers

Any leftover Korean Beef can be stored in the fridge, in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I suggest making a double batch so you can meal prep the leftovers for the week ahead.

Make-Ahead Instructions

Even though this recipe is so quick to make already, making ahead of time can still be beneficial! The secret is to freeze your Korean Beef!

To Freeze. Make the recipe according to the directions. Let Korean beef fully cool then store in an airtight container or freezer bag, in the freezer for up to 4 months.

To Reheat. Thaw in the fridge overnight then reheat in a skillet. If the meat mixture is dry, splash in some beef broth as needed.

korean-beef on lettuce

More Meaty Recipes to Try!

The printable recipe card is below. Have a great day, friends!

korean-beef on lettuce
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4.62 from 21 votes

Korean Beef

This Korean Beef recipe is simple, tasty and perfect for when you only have minutes to get dinner on the table. Serve with rice.
servings 4 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1.25 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 small cloves of garlic finely minced
  • 1 inch ginger fresh, grated
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 green onions finely chopped
  • beef broth as needed


  • Preheat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in beef and break apart as it browns with a wooden spoon. Once the beef is completely cooked, pour into a colander, and drain any excess fat off of the meat. Place meat back into the pan.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add in soy sauce, maple syrup, minced garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and sesame oil. Cook about five minutes or until the soy sauce reduced slightly. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. If meat mixture is getting dry, splash in some beef broth as needed or desired. Stir in green onion.
  • Serve over brown right, in lettuce cups, or on its own.


Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 1177mg | Potassium: 617mg | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 60IU | Vitamin C: 1.8mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 3.9mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: bulgogi, korean beef, korean beef bowl, korean beef recipe

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Recipe Rating

40 Responses
  1. NE

    5 stars
    Saw on this on your Instagram feed and was inspired to make it for lunch. Delicious…absolutely delicious. Even my picky eaters had seconds. Thanks!

  2. 15 Minute Chow Mein Recipe | Lauren's Latest

    […] if you feel like you need some protein with this meal check out my Korean Beef Recipe or Better Than Take-Out Crispy Sesame Beef. Chicken or shrimp would be super good […]

  3. Noelle

    5 stars
    Last night I bought ground beef for burgers but something came up and we needed up eating out. I stubbled across this recipe just now and made it! I needed something to make for dinner that I could reheat after volleyball this evening. It tastes yummy. I did add some Gochujang and lemongrass because I had it one hand. Also we will put the meat and some rice in the lettuce I bought for the burgers and eat it like that! Dinner is done. Thanks.

  4. Sarah

    5 stars
    I made this and it was SO GOOD. I added just a dash of red chili flakes for a little heat to it, but it was sooo tasty. Served with steamed veggies and rice. Wonderful quick supper after a long day at work!

  5. Easy Week Night Meals | This Sweat Life

    […] All you have to do is add everything listed to your skillet after browning the beef.  That easy.I usually serve this with jasmine rice and edamame. You can find frozen edamame in the grocery store. My mom likes to get the beef in strip form or something easier to eat than ground beef but we’ve always eaten it ground and just mix it in with the rice. The sesame oil gives so much flavor! Recipe from Lauren’s Latest. […]

  6. Healthy Recipes : #Healthier Korean Beef is a great #weekday dinner! - Fitness Magazine | Magazine numéro 1 fitness, mode de vie, santé, bien-être, workouts

    […] -Read More – […]

  7. Jean

    I made this recipe tonight and was disappointed in the blah taste. Followed your recipe for everything. I googled some other similar recipes and found they all included ginger, either fresh grated or dry and red pepper flakes. Will try to doctor up the leftovers of which there are plenty.

  8. Linnea

    I am saving this recipe. My Sister turned me on to Bul-go-gi (sp?) as her ex’s step mother is Korean. This sounds like a simple way to fix it.

    By the way, I don’t know if others are having the same problem as I am, but the pictures in your posts are very elongated. All the text is all in one paragraph. I will have to come here on your posts to read them…

  9. Oksana

    5 stars
    Looks delicious and easy! Such a perfect recipe for a weeknight! 😊 Can’t wait to try it as lettuce wraps for me and hubby and serve it with rice to our kiddos 😃

  10. Sydney

    4 stars
    This looks delish! I’ve tried other Korean beef recipes but this has way less sugar and looks super simple! Adding to next week’s meal plan! 🙂

  11. Lindsay Hester

    5 stars
    I just made this recipe last week and boy oh boy, It will most definitely be added to the recipe arsenal. This is so easy to make and has so much flavor. I love fast, easy meals for week nights, and this one is perfect. Husband loved it! I served it with homemade fried rice. Yum, yum, yum!

  12. Brittany B.

    This looks SO incredibly delicious! We love Korean food and were always looking for new weeknight recipes. I am definitely adding this mean to our menu this week!

  13. Barbara

    5 stars
    Thanks Lauren love your blog… I love your pictures of New York ..Being from Canada and I haven’t been there as yet do enjoy the sites….Have travelled to many places in the states but not to New York …on my bucket list. We are going to have the Korean beef today with rice….your doing a wonderful job I know how hard it is to run a household plus all the rest as I I had 3 boys and life is busy when there young and to manage it all is like a puzzle…👍❤️🎈 All my best ..Barb

  14. Karen H

    5 stars
    Made this tonight for dinner, and it was delicious! I used ground turkey instead of beef, and added some better than beef bouillon to keep the beef flavor. It was still fantastic!

  15. Michelle

    5 stars
    Wow! This meal is absolutely delicious! My husband said this is moving to the top of his list of favorite dinners…looks like it will become a regular in our house. We made ours with ground turkey since that’s what I had on hand and it was still really yummy!

  16. Donna J.MacNeir

    1 star
    I find the “white girl from Canada” to be insensitive and rude. I just dont know what means, given the number of years you have lived in the States; that your husband has some type of job for the US government, and you live in a diverse City.

    1. Sarah

      5 stars
      How can it be rude if you don’t know what it means? Being diverse has nothing to do with her nationality and race–it meant she isn’t Korean, chill.

  17. Emma

    I actually have all of the ingredients on hand and I was needing a new ground beef recipe. Can’t wait to make this tomorrow night!!! (p.s. There is a typo on step 3: right/rice)

  18. Judy DeLacy

    Hi Lauren, That has got to be one of the easiest recipes I’ve seen in a long time…and it sounds pretty darn tasty too. If you put up your rice when you first start cooking the meat, both should be done at about the same time. Add a veggie and you literally have a complete meal in no time at all. Thanks for posting this ~ ~ I can’t wait to try it. Stay warm and safe. ♥