Korean Ground Beef Recipe

This Korean-style ground beef recipe is a quick and easy dish that combines sweet and spicy flavors. It's perfect for a weeknight dinner, yet exotic enough for a dinner party. The addition of wilted slaw adds an extra crunch and freshness that perfectly balances the rich, savory beef.

Korean Ground Beef Recipe

Sriracha, a type of hot chili sauce, and lite soy sauce might not be common in all households, but they are integral to this Korean-style ground beef recipe. While at the supermarket, look for sriracha in the international or hot sauce aisle, and lite soy sauce near other Asian foods. Napa cabbage and fresh ginger are also key ingredients for this recipe that you may need to purchase.

Ingredients for Korean-Style Ground Beef and Wilted Slaw

Ground beef: This forms the base of the dish; lean ground beef is used to keep the meal healthy.

Sesame oil: Used to brown the meat, it adds a nutty, toasty flavor.

Garlic and fresh ginger: These add a sharp, spicy undertone to the dish.

Brown sugar: This provides a sweet counterpoint to the salty soy sauce and spicy sriracha.

Lite Soy Sauce and Sriracha: They give the dish its distinctive Asian flavor.

Green onions: Added at the end for a fresh, mild onion flavor.

Napa Cabbage: Used in the wilted slaw for its crisp texture and mild flavor.

Carrots: Adds a sweet, earthy flavor and a pop of color to the slaw.

Canola oil: Used to cook the slaw.

One reader, Ingaberg Baumann says:

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This Korean-style ground beef recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are incredible, and it's so easy to make. The combination of the savory beef with the sweet and spicy sauce is just perfect. Plus, the wilted slaw adds a refreshing crunch. It's now a staple in my dinner rotation!

Ingaberg Baumann

Mastering the Techniques

How to brown the meat: In a large pan over medium high heat, cook the ground beef with sesame oil, garlic, and ginger until browned.

How to drain the fat: After browning the meat, drain 75 percent of the fat from the pan.

How to make the Korean-style sauce: After draining the fat, add brown sugar, soy sauce, and sriracha to the pan. Cook until the liquid has reabsorbed and the meat is shiny but not soupy.

How to prepare the wilted slaw: In the same skillet used for the meat, combine napa cabbage, carrots, sesame oil, and canola oil. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the water has evaporated.

How To Make Korean Ground Beef

Craving for Korean barbecue? This Korean ground beef recipe has the right balance of sweetness and spiciness that everyone can enjoy, even the kids!

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes



  • 1lblean ground beef
  • 1tbspsesame oil
  • 3clovesgarlicminced
  • 1tspfresh gingerminced
  • ½cupbrown sugar
  • ¼cuplite soy sauce
  • 1tspSriracha
  • 2green onionsonly the green parts

For The Wilted Slaw:

  • 6cupsnapa cabbagesliced
  • 2carrotsgrated
  • 2green onionsdiced from tip to tail, excluding the root
  • 2tspsesame oil
  • 1tspcanola oil


  1. Heat a large pan over medium high heat.

  2. Brown the meat with sesame oil, garlic, and ginger.

  3. Drain 75 percent 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 where you cooked the meat.

  2. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the water has evaporated.


  • Calories: 460.59kcal
  • Fat: 29.83g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.53g
  • Trans Fat: 1.34g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 13.02g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.44g
  • Carbohydrates: 25.81g
  • Fiber: 2.46g
  • Sugar: 20.73g
  • Protein: 23.22g
  • Cholesterol: 80.51mg
  • Sodium: 745.49mg
  • Calcium: 175.50mg
  • Potassium: 801.08mg
  • Iron: 3.74mg
  • Vitamin A: 500.86µg
  • Vitamin C: 52.60mg

Elevate Your Skills With This Simple Tip

When browning the ground beef, make sure to break it up into small, even pieces. This will ensure that it cooks evenly and absorbs the flavors of the sesame oil, garlic, and ginger more effectively. Additionally, when adding the brown sugar, soy sauce, and sriracha, stir continuously to prevent the sugar from burning and to distribute the flavors evenly throughout the beef.

Time-Saving Hacks for Busy Cooks

Prep ahead: Chop vegetables and measure out ingredients in advance to streamline the cooking process.

Multitask: While the meat is browning, prep the slaw ingredients to save time and make the most of your cooking time.

Use pre-shredded vegetables: Opt for pre-shredded cabbage and carrots to cut down on prep time and make the recipe even quicker.

One-pan cooking: Cook the slaw in the same pan as the ground beef to minimize clean-up and save time on washing dishes.

Double the batch: Make a larger quantity and freeze half for a quick and easy meal on a busy day.

Substitute Ingredients For Korean Ground Beef Recipe

  • lean ground beef - Substitute with ground turkey: Ground turkey is a lean and healthy alternative to ground beef, and it works well in Korean-style recipes.

  • sesame oil - Substitute with peanut oil: Peanut oil has a similar nutty flavor and high smoke point, making it a suitable substitute for sesame oil in this recipe.

  • garlic - Substitute with garlic powder: If fresh garlic is not available, garlic powder can be used as a substitute, but in smaller quantities.

  • fresh ginger - Substitute with ground ginger: Ground ginger can be used as a substitute for fresh ginger in this recipe, providing a similar flavor profile.

  • brown sugar - Substitute with honey: Honey can be used as a natural sweetener in place of brown sugar, adding a touch of sweetness to the dish.

  • lite soy sauce - Substitute with coconut aminos: Coconut aminos are a gluten-free and lower-sodium alternative to soy sauce, providing a similar umami flavor.

  • sriracha - Substitute with gochujang: Gochujang, a Korean chili paste, can be used as a substitute for sriracha to add heat and depth of flavor to the dish.

  • green onions - Substitute with chives: Chives can be used as a substitute for green onions, providing a mild onion flavor and a pop of color to the dish.

  • napa cabbage - Substitute with bok choy: Bok choy can be used as a substitute for napa cabbage, offering a similar texture and mild, slightly sweet flavor.

  • carrots - Substitute with daikon radish: Daikon radish can be used as a substitute for carrots, adding a crisp texture and a slightly peppery flavor to the wilted slaw.

  • sesame oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil can be used as a substitute for sesame oil, providing a neutral flavor and high smoke point for cooking.

Elevate Your Presentation Game

  1. Elevate the ground beef: Mold the ground beef into a perfect circular shape using a ring mold to create a visually appealing base for the dish.

  2. Artful drizzle of sesame oil: Use a squeeze bottle to create a delicate and precise drizzle of sesame oil around the edge of the plate, adding a touch of elegance to the presentation.

  3. Garnish with green onions: Finely chop the green onions and sprinkle them over the top of the ground beef, adding a pop of color and freshness to the dish.

  4. Nestle the wilted slaw: Carefully arrange the wilted slaw alongside the ground beef, creating a visually stunning contrast of textures and colors on the plate.

  5. Balance with a touch of sriracha: Use a small brush to add a subtle touch of sriracha to the plate, creating a visually striking accent without overpowering the dish.

  6. Incorporate edible flowers: Introduce edible flowers as a delicate and sophisticated garnish, adding a touch of refinement to the overall presentation.

Essential Equipment for Ground Beef Recipes

  • Large skillet: A large, flat-bottomed pan used for sautéing, searing, and frying. It provides ample space for cooking the ground beef and other ingredients.

  • Chef's knife: A versatile and essential kitchen tool for chopping, mincing, and slicing ingredients. It is used for preparing the garlic, ginger, and green onions in this recipe.

  • Cutting board: A flat surface used for cutting and preparing ingredients. It provides a stable and safe area for chopping the vegetables and other items required for the recipe.

  • Grater: A kitchen tool used to grate or shred ingredients such as carrots. It is essential for preparing the vegetables for the wilted slaw.

  • Measuring cups and spoons: Used for accurately measuring and portioning ingredients such as brown sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

  • Wooden spoon: A versatile utensil used for stirring, mixing, and tossing ingredients while cooking. It is essential for combining the ground beef with the sauce and for preparing the wilted slaw.

  • Skimmer: A utensil used for removing excess fat or impurities from the surface of a dish. It can be used to skim any excess fat from the ground beef while cooking.

  • Large mixing bowl: Essential for combining and tossing the ingredients for the wilted slaw. It provides ample space for mixing the vegetables and dressing.

Preserving Perfection: Storage and Freezing Guidelines

  • Once the korean-style ground beef has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Make sure to press out any excess air before sealing to prevent freezer burn. Label the container or bag with the date and contents for easy identification.

  • When stored properly in the refrigerator, the ground beef will keep for up to 3-4 days. This allows you to enjoy the leftovers for a quick and delicious meal during the week.

  • If you want to keep the korean-style ground beef for longer, freezing is an excellent option. To freeze, portion the cooled meat into individual serving sizes or family-sized portions, depending on your preference. This way, you can easily thaw and reheat only what you need without having to defrost the entire batch.

  • Wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place them in a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag. This double layer of protection will help prevent freezer burn and maintain the quality of the meat.

  • When properly stored in the freezer, the korean-style ground beef will maintain its best quality for up to 3 months. However, it will remain safe to eat beyond that time, but the texture and flavor may start to deteriorate.

  • To thaw the frozen ground beef, transfer the desired portion from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight. Alternatively, you can use the defrost setting on your microwave, but be sure to cook the meat immediately after thawing to prevent bacterial growth.

  • Reheat the thawed korean-style ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until it is heated through and steaming hot. You can also reheat it in the microwave, stirring occasionally to ensure even heating. Serve the reheated meat over a bed of wilted slaw or your favorite vegetables for a quick and satisfying meal.

Reviving Leftovers: A How-To Guide

Here are the best methods for reheating leftover korean-style ground beef:

  • Stovetop method: Place the leftover korean-style ground beef in a skillet or pan over medium heat. Add a splash of water or beef broth to help moisten the meat and prevent it from drying out. Stir occasionally until the beef is heated through, about 5-7 minutes. This method allows you to quickly reheat the beef while maintaining its texture and flavor.

  • Microwave method: Transfer the leftover korean-style ground beef to a microwave-safe dish. Cover the dish with a damp paper towel to help retain moisture. Microwave on high power in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the beef is heated through. This method is quick and convenient, but be careful not to overheat the beef, as it may become dry or rubbery.

  • Oven method: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover korean-style ground beef in an oven-safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Heat the beef in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until it is heated through. This method is ideal if you have a larger quantity of leftover beef and want to reheat it all at once while maintaining its moisture and flavor.

  • Steaming method: Set up a steamer basket over a pot of simmering water. Place the leftover korean-style ground beef in a heat-proof dish and set it in the steamer basket. Cover and steam for about 5-7 minutes, or until the beef is heated through. This method helps to gently reheat the beef while preserving its moisture and texture.

Regardless of the method you choose, be sure to reheat the korean-style ground beef until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure food safety. Once reheated, you can serve the beef over freshly cooked rice, noodles, or in lettuce wraps for a delicious and satisfying meal.

Did You Know This About Korean-Style Ground Beef?

The Korean-style ground beef recipe is a popular dish in Korean cuisine. It combines the savory flavors of soy sauce and sesame oil with a hint of spiciness from the sriracha. This dish is a delicious and easy way to enjoy the flavors of Korean cooking at home.

Budget-Friendly Meals: Yay or Nay?

This Korean-style ground beef recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients, such as lean ground beef, garlic, ginger, and napa cabbage, are affordable and readily available. The use of simple pantry staples like brown sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil also contributes to its cost-effectiveness. The overall verdict for this recipe would be an 8/10, considering its affordability, delicious flavors, and ease of preparation. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $15-$20, making it a budget-friendly and satisfying meal option.

Is This Dish Healthy or Not So Much?

The Korean-style ground beef recipe has both healthy and unhealthy aspects. On the positive side, it uses lean ground beef, which is a good source of protein and lower in saturated fat compared to regular ground beef. The recipe also incorporates garlic, ginger, and green onions, which offer various health benefits and add flavor without relying heavily on salt.

However, there are some areas of concern:

  • The recipe calls for a significant amount of brown sugar and soy sauce, which can contribute to high sugar and sodium content
  • Sriracha, while adding a spicy kick, also contains sugar and sodium
  • The wilted slaw is cooked in the same skillet as the meat, potentially absorbing excess fat

To make this recipe healthier, I suggest the following modifications:

  • Reduce the amount of brown sugar by half and consider using a low-sodium soy sauce to minimize the dish's sugar and sodium content
  • Increase the amount of vegetables in the wilted slaw by adding more carrots, green onions, and even other vegetables like bell peppers or zucchini to boost the nutrient density of the meal
  • Use a separate pan to cook the slaw to avoid absorbing excess fat from the meat, and consider using a non-stick pan or cooking spray to minimize the amount of oil needed
  • Serve the ground beef mixture over a bed of brown rice or quinoa for added fiber and nutrients, or use lettuce wraps for a low-carb option
  • Garnish with fresh herbs like cilantro or mint for added flavor and health benefits

Our Editor's Take on This Delightful Recipe

This Korean-style ground beef recipe is a delightful fusion of flavors. The combination of savory soy sauce, spicy sriracha, and sweet brown sugar creates a perfect balance. The addition of garlic, ginger, and green onions adds depth and freshness. The wilted slaw provides a refreshing and crunchy contrast to the flavorful beef. Overall, this dish offers a harmonious blend of Korean-inspired elements and is sure to tantalize the taste buds.

Why trust this Korean Ground Beef Recipe:

This Korean-style ground beef recipe offers a delightful fusion of flavors, combining savory soy sauce and aromatic sesame oil with a hint of heat from sriracha. The use of fresh garlic and ginger adds depth to the dish, while the brown sugar provides a touch of sweetness. The inclusion of napa cabbage and carrots in the wilted slaw adds a refreshing and crunchy element to the meal. Trust in the balance of these ingredients for a delicious and satisfying dining experience.

Want to share your experience making this Korean Ground Beef Recipe or discuss variations and serving suggestions? Join the conversation in the Recipe Sharing forum section!
What can I substitute for ground beef in this recipe?
You can substitute ground turkey, ground chicken, or even crumbled tofu for a vegetarian option. Each substitution will bring a slightly different flavor to the dish, so feel free to experiment and find the option that best suits your taste preferences.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can make this recipe ahead of time. The flavors actually develop even more if you let it sit for a few hours or overnight. Simply reheat it gently on the stove before serving.
Is there a way to make this recipe less spicy?
If you prefer a milder flavor, you can reduce the amount of sriracha or omit it altogether. You can also adjust the level of spiciness by adding a bit more brown sugar to balance out the heat.
Can I use regular cabbage instead of napa cabbage for the slaw?
Yes, you can use regular cabbage if napa cabbage is not available. The texture and flavor will be slightly different, but it will still work well with the dish.
Can I freeze the leftovers?
Yes, you can freeze the leftovers. Allow the dish to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. When you're ready to enjoy the leftovers, simply thaw and reheat it on the stove.

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