Korean Beef and Rice Bowls

Rice bowls get a new twist by using delicious Korean flavors. Add some lettuce leaves so you can make fun lettuce wraps from your bowls at the table! 

Everybody loves rice bowls for dinner, right? Give yours a new twist by using delicious Korean flavors, and add some lettuce leaves so you can make fun lettuce wraps from your bowls at the table!

How To Add Korean Flavors To Your Cooking

For years I’ve enjoyed going to Korean restaurants. I love the flavors – spicy, sweet, vinegary! It’s all so good.

I decided to try changing up our usual rice bowl dinner by adding some of that Korean flare. It turns out that it’s not very hard to do. Most of the ingredients are already in my pantry, things like sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, and rice wine vinegar.

The one ingredient that wasn’t in my pantry that I’d say you should definitely try to find is Gochujang. Gochujang is a Korean fermented condiment (fermentaiton is a big thing in Korean cooking). It’s simultaneously savory, sweet, and spicy. It’s made from chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybean powder, barley malt powder, and salt. It’s sold at my grocery store in the Ethnic Food aisle near the soy sauce and chili pastes.

Marinating The Beef

This recipe starts by marinating the beef. I do this by measuring the marinade ingredients into a 13×9″ cake pan cake pan. The marinade is made of soy sauce, cooking oil (olive oil, grape seed oil, or vegetable oil), fish sauce, rice wine vinegar, and brown sugar.

Whisk all that together until the sugar is dissolved.

At this point, you’ll separate out some of the marinade to use as a dipping sauce later. You don’t want that portion to touch the raw beef. So pour 1/4 cup of the marinade into a separate bowl and set it aside for later.

Then add 2 pounds of beef strips to the cake pan and toss to coat. These only need to sit for 5-10 minutes in the marinade because it is very flavorful.

What Kind Of Beef To Use In Korean Rice Bowls

I use the beef strips that are sold already sliced. At my store they’re top round.

Note that the meat will be more tender and delicious if you buy a nice steak and slice it yourself but that’s much more time-consuming and expensive. I want this meal to easily fit into your (and my!) busy weeknight routine.

Also note that you can use leftover cooked beef. The instructions near the bottom of this article.

How To Make The Dipping Sauce

To the marinade that you poured into a bowl, stir 2 tablespoons of the Gochujang. This is going to be a rich sauce that you can dip your food in as you eat, or that you can drizzle over the rice bowls before serving.

If you’re serving the rice bowls with lettuce leaves so that people can make lettuce wraps from their bowls, then the sauce is wonderful spread onto a lettuce leaf before adding the other ingredients to your lettuce wrap.

What Vegetables To Use In Korean Rice Bowls

For this recipe, I’ve done a quick stir fry of broccoli and mushrooms.

However, if you want to make this recipe even easier and quicker, you can use some fresh, uncooked vegetables. I’d go with sliced cucumber, sliced mushrooms, sliced bell peppers, and some green onions.

How to Assemble the Rice Bowls

Assemble the Korean Rice Bowls by lining one side of bowls with butter lettuce leaves and the other side with cooked rice. Then top with the cooked beef strips, stir-fried broccoli and mushrooms, green onion, and black sesame seeds.

On the side, serve the Gochujang dipping sauce that you made earlier. This sauce is great drizzled onto a lettuce leaf and then topped with rice, beef, broccoli and mushrooms. Roll up lettuce leaf and eat burrito style. Yum!

Can You Use Leftover Beef In This Recipe?

You can make this recipe using leftover cooked beef, either from a roast or steaks. Slice the beef and then toss it in some of the marinade, just enough to lightly coat it. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then heat it up, either in the microwave or in a skillet, just until heated through.


Korean Beef and Rice Bowls

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Saute
  • Cuisine: Korean


The lettuce leaves lining the bowls are perfect for making lettuce wraps as you eat. Take a leaf of lettuce and drizzle some of the gochujang dipping sauce into it. Top it with some rice, beef, and veggies then roll it up burrito style and take a bite!


  • 1 and 1/2 cups uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup + 6 Tbsp. cooking oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 2 lbs. thinly sliced beef, like top round
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets and stems peeled and sliced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 18 butter lettuce or romaine lettuce leaves
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp. black sesame seeds


  1. Cook the rice according to package instructions. When done, fluff with a fork and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
  2. Meanwhile, into a 13×9″ cake pan measure the soy sauce, 1/4 cup of the cooking oil, vinegar, brown sugar, and fish sauce. Whisk with a fork until brown sugar is mostly dissolved.
  3. Into a small bowl, pour 1/4 cup of the soy sauce mixture. Add the gochujang to the bowl. Stir to mix and then set aside until ready to serve this as a dipping sauce.
  4. Into the cake pan with the remaining soy sauce mixture, add the beef strips. Toss to coat and set aside.
  5. Into a large skillet measure 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil. Heat over medium-heat. Add the broccoli and mushrooms and cook until darkened in spots and softened a bit, 5-7 minutes. Remove to a plate.
  6. Put skillet back on heat and add 2 more tablespoons of the oil. When hot, add half of the beef strips with whatever liquid clings to them. Cook stirring occasionally until cooked to desired doneness, about 4-6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  7. Repeat Step #6 with the final 2 tablespoons of oil and the final half of the beef.
  8. To serve, get out 6 soup bowls. Line half of each soup bowl with 3 leaves of lettuce. Line the other half of each bowl with some rice. Top rice with beef, broccoli, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with green onion and sesame seeds. Serve with the gochujang dipping sauce.

This post originally appeared in October 2018 and was revised and republished in March, 2021.

Korean Beef and Rice Bowls

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