Ground beef is so versatile, you’ll see everything from curry and stir-fries to meatballs and steamed buns on this list of Japanese ground beef recipes.
Not only is ground beef inexpensive, but it’s super-rich in flavor and incredibly easy to work with.
Full of protein, vitamins, and antioxidants, ground beef is also readily available and pretty easy to work with.
That makes these Japanese ground beef recipes perfect for busy weeknights.
Serve them with rice, noodles, or a generous helping of bright veggies, and watch as those plates are all but licked clean.
Let’s dig in!
1. Gingery Ground Beef (Soboro Donburi)
This recipe is Japanese home cooking at its finest.
Simple, quick, and loaded with incredible flavor, you can have this dish on the table in a matter of minutes.
Of course, that doesn’t count the cooking time of the rice.
But if you’re anything like me, you’ll have cooked rice ready to go in the fridge for a last-minute meal.
Then it’s just a matter of cooking the beef with some soy sauce and brown sugar.
The ginger goes in once it’s browned, warming just long enough to release the natural oils.
2. Hamburger Steak (Hambagu)
This recipe will look quite familiar if you’ve ever had Salisbury Steak.
It’s a cross between a burger patty and a meatball, made using ground beef and seasonings.
In this case, you’ll need panko breadcrumbs, pepper, and nutmeg, along with a splash of milk and an egg to ensure this stays nice and tender.
The egg will keep it from falling apart, binding everything together, so you can cook this as one piece.
3. Asian Ground Beef Rice Bowls
As much as I love a thick piece of juicy steak or perfectly roasted pork, they’re neither quick nor budget-friendly, at least, not like ground beef is!
So for a lightning-fast meal that doesn’t break the bank, you’ll just have to try this beef and rice bowl recipe.
Served with a fried egg and runny yolk for added indulgence, this meal would be great at any time of the day.
I think it’s best with a drizzle of Sriracha over the top and a few crispy onions, too.
4. Japanese-Style “Meat and Potatoes”
Are you and your family pretty traditional? Do you have friends coming over who are less than adventurous when it comes to eating out?
If so, you’ll love this simple yet tasty meat and potato dish.
To be honest, you wouldn’t even know this is a Japanese dish if you didn’t see the title.
Full of onions, wine, and broth, it tastes a lot like most stews you’ll find right here in the US.
But there’s just a hint of warmth coming from the ginger and a nice kick of salty soy sauce.
5. Quick Japanese Curry
For me, it’s a little unusual to see ground meat in a curry. I’m so used to big chunks of chicken or shrimp.
But in this case, where the curry flavor is milder in favor of something with more umami goodness, the rich beef really works.
I actually like to think of this more like a ground beef stew since you’ll use Worcestershire sauce, potatoes, carrots, and onion.
6. Japanese Curry Bread (Easy Karé Pan)
If you’re on the hunt for a grilled cheese recipe to change up your boring routine, you’ve found it. This is one tasty twist on the classic grilled sandwich.
This recipe is very similar to the one above; only it contains fewer ingredients.
That said, you could use the leftovers from the curry if you have any.
I love the addition of kabocha squash, which is a little bit like pumpkin. If you can’t find it, pumpkin or sweet potato will work fine.
Although this recipe calls for American cheese, I recommend going for something with more flavor.
For example, something smoky will pair nicely, or a simple mature cheddar is never a bad choice.
7. Japanese Curry Pan-Fried Beef Buns
These look a lot like dumplings, and they’re not far off. The only real difference is that the dough for the wrapper is thicker and more bread-like.
You’ll use yeast and curry powder to make a lightly spiced dough that needs kneading and then time to proof.
While the dough rises, you’ll have time to make the ground beef filling, which is easier to work with if it has time to cool.
Like dumplings, they’ll need to be fried first to create a golden crust, and then they need time to steam.
8. Japanese Croquettes (Korokke)
Once you take a bite of these crunchy and delicious croquettes, you’ll never go back to plain old mashed potatoes.
The filling is a simple blend of potatoes, ground beef, and onion. Season to your liking and then mold into whatever shape you like.
I find the classic croquette shapes allow these to cook faster and keep the filling warm. However, if you go for balls, you might not get an even golden finish.
Just remember not to overcrowd the pan when it comes time to cook.
If you deep fry too many at once, the oil temperature will drop, and they won’t turn crispy.
9. Ground Beef Sukiyaki
Sukiyaki traditionally consists of slow-cooked meat that’s usually cooked at the table in a hot-pot style.
It has a slightly sweet broth that often uses soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.
Once the meat of choice is cooked, you’re supposed to add the broth along with noodles and veggies, so it can all finish cooking together.
This is a fast version, using ground beef rather than chunks of steak. But it’s still similar.
You’ll cook the meat first and then add the sauce and your chosen extras.
10. Menchi Katsu (Ground Meat Cutlet)
Texture is hugely important in cooking and no more so than in Japanese food. That’s why you see so many dishes coated in breadcrumbs.
When you add rice or noodles to so many meals, it’s nice to have that added crunch.
In this case, you’ll make patties similar to those described in the second recipe.
They’ll then get coated in egg and panko breadcrumbs before frying until golden and crisp.
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