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Korean Inspired Beef Bulgogi Bowl

This ground beef bulgogi bowl is served with crisp quick-pickled cucumbers, tender carrots, fluffy rice, and a delicious homemade bulgogi sauce infused into the beef. It falls somewhere between bulgogi and bibimbap. This recipe is gluten free with a plant based option.

Looking for more Asian-inspired flavors? Try my teriyaki bowlcreamy peanut sauce noodles, or gluten free general Tso’s chicken.

What You’ll Love About This Recipe

  • Flavorful – Korean beef bulgogi bowls are a flavorful traditional Korean dish.
  • Easy – This easy dinner is simplified by making a ground beef version instead of thin slices of sirloin steak beef like in traditional beef bulgogi.
  • Affordable – Steak prices are high right now, but using ground beef makes this meal very affordable.
  • Quick – This Korean beef bowl recipe comes together in under 30 minutes, making it great for a busy weeknight.

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make bulgogi beef bowls:

  • Olive oil.
  • Green onions – both the green and white parts are cooked in the oil before the beef to add extra flavor to the meat.
  • Ground beef – I prefer using a local 80/20 blend but use lean ground beef if you’d like.
  • Persian cucumbers – use English cucumbers if you can’t find Persian.
  • Carrots – grated or sliced.
  • Fluffy white rice –  such as jasmine rice. Use brown rice if that’s your preference.
  • Sauce ingredients – coconut aminos (or reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari), green pear such as D’anjou or Asian pear, rice vinegar (also called rice wine vinegar), brown sugar, garlic, ginger, toasted sesame oil, pinch of salt, and black pepper.
  • Optional toppings: toasted sesame seeds or extra green onions.

How to Make A Beef Bulgogi Bowl: Step By Step

Here are some quick visual instructions. The full instructions and ingredient list will be in the printable recipe card below!

1. Make the quick-pickled cucumbers. Add the sliced cucumber to a medium bowl along with granulated sugar and rice vinegar. Stir to combine and set aside.

2. Make the sauce. Add the sauce ingredients to a medium bowl. Stir to combine then mix in the ground beef with your hands until well combined.

3. Cook the carrots. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with half of the olive oil. Saute carrots until slightly softened then remove them from the skillet.

4. Cook the beef. Add the rest of the olive oil and the green onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes then add in the seasoned beef. Cook until no pink remains.

5. Assemble. Serve over a bed of rice with carrots, quick pickled cucumbers, spicy kimchi, toasted sesame seeds, and a drizzle of kimchi mayo (optional).

Quick Tip: For even more flavor, let the ground beef marinate in the bulgogi sauce for 45 minutes before cooking it.

Storage

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.

How can you make this beef bulgogi rice bowl using what you already have? Here are some ideas…

  • No ground beef? – although not traditional, you can use a different type of meat such as ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork instead.
  • No rice vinegar? – use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
  • No brown sugar? sub coconut sugar.
  • No pear? – you can also use an apple, but choose something sweeter than a green apple.
  • No carrots? – add any other veggies such as bell peppers, bok choy, snap peas, etc.
  • Make it plant-based – use crumbled tofu or walnut meat (combine 1.5 cups of cooked green or brown lentils and 1 cup of finely chopped walnuts).
  • Add-ins – red pepper flakes, gochujang, or gochugaru for spice, and bean sprouts or cauliflower rice for more veg.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is bulgogi vs bibimbap?

Bulgogi is a Korean food that translates to fire meat whereas bibimbap is a mixed rice bowl with a variety of cooked, fresh, and pickled toppings. These easy beef bulgogi bowls are a mixture of the two.

What beef is bulgogi made of?

Typically, bulgogi is made using paper-thin slices of beef such as rib eye or top sirloin steak.

What veggies go with bulgogi?

You can use just about any veggies with bulgogi, but mushrooms, green onions, bell peppers, snow peas, cucumber, and carrots are commonly used.

More Asian-Inspired Dishes

I hope you love this Beef Bulgogi Bowl! If you make it, be sure to leave a comment & a star rating so I know how you liked it!

Korean Inspired Beef Bulgogi Bowl

A beef bulgogi bowl with quick pickled cucumbers, carrots, kimchi, black sesame seeds, and a drizzle of kimchi mayo.
This ground beef bulgogi bowl is served with crisp quick-pickled cucumbers, tender carrots, fluffy rice, and a delicious homemade bulgogi sauce infused into the beef. It falls somewhere between bulgogi and bibimbap. This recipe is gluten free with a plant based option.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Serving Size 4

Ingredients
 

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

Bulgogi Sauce

Bowls

  • 2 carrots thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions – white and green parts sliced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • cooked rice for serving
  • kimchi for serving (optional)
  • kimchi mayo for serving (optional)

Instructions

  • Add the sliced cucumber to a medium bowl along with granulated sugar and rice vinegar. Stir to combine and set aside.
  • Add the sauce ingredients to a medium bowl. Stir to combine then mix in the ground beef with your hands until well combined.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat with half of the olive oil. Saute carrots until slightly softened then remove them from the skillet.
  • Add the rest of the olive oil and the green onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes then add in the seasoned beef. Cook until no pink remains.
  • Serve over a bed of rice with carrots, quick pickled cucumbers, spicy kimchi, toasted sesame seeds, and a drizzle of kimchi mayo.

Notes

See the blog post for helpful tips, storage, and FAQs.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

No ground beef? – although not traditional, you can use a different type of meat such as ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork instead.
No rice vinegar? – use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
No brown sugar? sub coconut sugar.
No pear? – you can also use an apple, but choose something sweeter than a green apple.
No carrots? – add any other veggies such as bell peppers, bok choy, snap peas, etc.
Make it plant-based – use crumbled tofu or walnut meat (combine 1.5 cups of cooked green or brown lentils and 1 cup of finely chopped walnuts).
Add-ins – red pepper flakes, gochujang, or gochugaru for spice, and bean sprouts or cauliflower rice for more veg.

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