One of my favorite ground beef recipes, this flavorful Korean ground beef is served over cauliflower rice.
Ready in just 20 minutes, it's a truly easy recipe that makes a delicious and complete meal.
I really like ground beef. It's cheap, readily available, very versatile, and when you buy the vacuum-sealed packages, it lasts for quite a while too. It also freezes easily and thaws well.
So I always have a few packages in the fridge or in the freezer. I mostly use them for easy everyday recipes such as burgers, meatballs, casseroles, and meatloaf.
But when I want to make something special and especially flavorful, I make Korean ground beef.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty ground beef recipe. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Soy sauce: I use reduced-sodium soy sauce in most of my recipes. I find that traditional soy sauce is too salty. Obviously, you can also use a gluten-free alternative.
Honey: Just 1 tablespoon is needed to balance out the tang of the soy sauce. You can use a sugar-free syrup if you'd like.
Cornstarch: To slightly thicken the sauce. I only use 1 teaspoon.
Red pepper flakes: They don't make the dish very spicy. They merely add a hint of spice.
Avocado oil: This oil has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, making it an ideal cooking oil.
Ground beef: I use a lean mixture - 85% lean and 15% fat. Leaner than this is too dry, in my opinion.
Minced garlic and ginger: You can mince them yourself or use the stuff that comes in a jar. Freshly minced is naturally more flavorful.
To finish the dish: A drizzle of sesame oil and a sprinkle of sliced green onions.
Making Korean ground beef is easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Your very first step is to prepare the sauce. Simply whisk together the soy sauce, honey, cornstarch, and red pepper flakes.
Now, cook the meat in some oil until no longer pink, breaking it up into crumbles as you cook.
Next, drain the beef, return it to the skillet, and add the garlic and the ginger.
Stir the sauce into the beef. Cook until heated through and the sauce thickens.
Off heat, drizzle the dish with sesame oil, sprinkle it with sliced green onions, and serve.
The sesame oil is very important here, so please don't skip it. Do remember that you should only drizzle the sesame oil after cooking this dish. It's a fragile oil that burns easily, so it's not suitable for high-heat cooking.
Frequently asked questions
It's more of an interpretation of the classic recipe. Truth be told, I've never seen ground beef in a Korean barbecue restaurant.
But this recipe does feature a wonderful combination of Korean-inspired flavors and textures. And the sauce mixes really well into the crumbly meat. This means you don't need to marinate the beef prior to cooking.
According to the USDA, the best way to thaw ground beef is overnight in the refrigerator.
Use spices! It's actually easy to flavor this meat because of its crumbly texture - the seasonings you add easily mix in.
In this particular recipe, garlic, ginger and soy sauce add wonderful flavor. In other recipes (such as these spicy meatballs), I use spices such as chili powder, cumin, paprika, and oregano.
I like to serve this dish on a bed of cauliflower rice. If you don't mind the carbs, rice would be a natural choice, obviously.
You can keep the leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
This is one of those dishes where the leftovers taste just as good as the freshly made dish.
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Easy Korean Ground Beef
- ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce (or use a gluten-free alternative and add salt as needed)
- 1 tablespoon honey or a liquid sugar-free alternative
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 lb. lean ground beef (85/15)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
To finish the dish:
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions green parts only
- In a small bowl, prepare the sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, honey, cornstarch, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the beef and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, breaking it up into crumbles as you cook, about 5 minutes.
- Drain the beef. Return it to the skillet. Add the garlic and the ginger to the skillet and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Stir the sauce into the beef. Cook for 2 more minutes, until heated through and the sauce thickens.
- Off heat, drizzle the dish with sesame oil, sprinkle it with green onions, and serve.
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