Gyudon (牛丼), a Japanese beef bowl dish that’s both incredibly flavorful and amazingly satisfying is one quick meal perfect for a weeknight dinner.
Made with thinly sliced beef simmered in a savory-sweet sauce, this rice bowl recipe screams comfort and satisfaction.
It’s a classic Japanese dish that’s been popular for over a century.
Not only this popular beef rice bowl is extremely easy to put together, but it’s also known as a naturally balanced meal the whole family would love.
In Japan, it’s a dish that’s on the household’s weekly dinner menu and a heavy rotation.
Thankfully, it’s simple to put together and only takes a few ingredients to make.
From the kitchen to your table, 15 minutes is all you need to get this dinner ready.
In this post, I’ll show you how my grandma and mom make Gyudon.
While they stay traditional and serve their beef over freshly cooked white rice, I like to stay healthier and serve over a bowl of brown rice.
Also, serving this dish over a poached egg is fairly common in Japan, I opt out of this egg add-on.
It’s the extra step I often don’t have much time for, and frankly, I don’t care much for the running egg.
With or without the egg, it’s a perfect dish to serve when you look for something savory, something comfy, and something quick and easy.
Gyudon is a quick meal to make when you are in a hurry but want something that’s filling and nutritionally satisfying.
It’s juicy, flavorful, and savory. It’s often men’s favorite dish to eat at home and in a restaurant.
While layers of flavors make this dish truly something to crave, it’s really a simple recipe you can make with just a few main ingredients.
- Thinly sliced beef: Gyudon’s key ingredient is undoubtedly the beef. Grab a pack of thinly sliced beef. To shorten the cooking time, go for the paper-thin beef you can easily find at Asian grocery stores. Alternatively, you can slice the beef yourself but be sure to freeze the beef for 10 minutes before slicing. This will help keep your beef firm while slicing and makes the process easier. Rib-eye is my go-to cut of beef, but feel free to pick chuck or other cuts. Thankfully, the recipe isn’t too fussy or rigid.
- Onion: Thinly sliced onion is a must and without it, it won’t taste the same. Trust me. I tried. The sweetness coming from the sauteed onion truly gives the ‘umami’ essence that makes this dish the tasty one. Cut thin so it won’t add extra cooking time.
- Sauce: Gyudon sauce really is made with staple Japanese cooking flavoring ingredients: soy sauce, sugar, and sake. It’s simple but the combination truly works to bring out the sweet and robust flavor.
How to Make Gyudon
Gyu don is a simple Japanese dish anyone can make. Here are the 4 easy steps:
Sautee the thinly sliced onion until it comes translucent and tender. About 3-4 minutes.
To the same pan, add the beef slices and cook for a few minutes.
Add sugar first to the beef and onion. When the sugar dissolves, add the soy sauce and sake.
Cover with a lid and simmer for about 4-5 minutes. Serve over a bowl of brown rice and enjoy!
- 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 lb thinly sliced beef (chuck or rib eye) (12 oz)
- 1 Tbsp neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc)
- 2 green onions/scallions (optional)
For the Sauce
- 1 Tbsp sugar (adjust according to your preference)
- 2 Tbsp sake (substitute with dry sherry or Chinese rice wine; for a non-alcoholic sub, use water)
- 2 Tbsp mirin (substitute with 2 Tbsp sake/water + 2 tsp sugar)
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 3 servings cooked Japanese short-grain rice (1 ½ rice-cooker-cups (180 ml x 1.5 = 270 ml) yields roughly 3 servings (3 US cups); see how to cook short-grain rice with a rice cooker, a pot over the stove, an instant pot, or a donabe)
- pickled red ginger (Beni shoga or kizami Beni shoga) (to garnish)
- Gather all the ingredients.
- Thinly slice the onions, cut the green onions into thin slices (save for garnish), and cut the meat into 3" (7.6 cm) pieces.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the onion until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the meat and sugar to the pan, and cook until the meat is no longer pink.
- Add sake, mirin, and soy sauce.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
- If you like to add the egg, slowly drizzle the beaten egg over the beef. Cook covered until the egg is almost done (don't overcook it). Remove from the heat.
- In a large donburi bowl, add steamed rice and put the beef and egg mixture on top. If you'd like, drizzle over the remaining sauce. Top with green onion and pickled red ginger. Enjoy!
Tips to Make Delicious Gyudon
- Cook the onion until tender – When the onion is cooked, it gives a natural sweetness to the dish. Don’t add the beef until the onion is tender.
- Check the flavor after you add all the seasonings – The egg will dilute the flavor a bit, so you may want to add more seasonings if you prefer a stronger taste.
- Remove the frying pan from the heat when the egg is no longer runny -Remaining heat will continue to cook, so don’t overcook the egg.
- You can keep the beef and egg leftover mixture in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days, and in the freezer for up to 3-4 weeks.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 704Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 1396mgCarbohydrates: 63gFiber: 2gSugar: 14gProtein: 37g