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Gingery Ground Beef (Soboro Donburi)

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Calories: 301
Gingery Ground Beef (Soboro Danbury) with peas on a plate

Five ingredients, a few minutes and a hot skillet, and you’ll be digging into a delicious soboro donburi, a gingery ground beef that reminds us that the best Japanese recipes are often the simplest.

We’re Just Going to Say It. Japanese Home Food > Fancy Pants Restaurant Sushi.

This gingery ground beef stir-fry recipe is Japanese in origin, and often served simply over white rice—that’s how we love to eat it—as a soboro donburi (donburi just means that something is served over steamed rice as a rice bowl). Here in the U.S., Japanese food is often thought of as the height of fussiness—pristine slices of raw fish, carefully placed on perfectly-cooked sushi rice, or quickly seared slices of wagyu that cost a gazillion dollars. But the thing is, Japanese home cooking is actually super approachable, and—here’s the big secret—we like it even better than super-fancy Japanese restaurant food. It’s mostly very, very simple, and at the heart of its simplicity is a deep comfort—in other words, it’s exactly the kind of food we’re hungry for these days. This meaty, savory, gingery ground beef stir-fry comes together in minutes, has just five ingredients, and is a sure-fire family-pleaser.

ingredients laid out for soboro donburi ground beef, peas, ginger, brown sugar and soy sauce
ground beef, olive oil and brown sugar in a cast iron skillet

Soboro Donburi in Just 5 Ingredients

We didn’t make any changes to traditional Japanese soboro beef recipe, it really is just as simple as five ingredients. Well, plus the rice the soboro beef is served over, which is what makes it soboro donburi (remember, that means rice bowl). The word “soboro” refers to the fact that we’re using ground beef, and to the crumbly texture of the finished dish.

Here are the five ingredients you’ll need to make this gingery soboro beef with peas:

  • Ground beef. We used a typical 80/20 blend.
  • Soy sauce. Or, if you’re GF, it’s fine to use gluten-free tamaril
  • Brown sugar.
  • Fresh ginger.
  • Frozen peas.
ground beef, peas and ginger in a cast iron skillet
ground beef, peas and ginger cooked in a cast iron skillet

How To Make Japanese Soboro Beef

The crispy-crumbly texture and the meaty, savory flavors of this simple ground beef stir-fry are oh-so-lovable. Scooped over a pillowy bowl of steaming white rice, it’s a new (to us) kind of comfort food and we are ALL about it. Here’s how easy this gingery ground beef is to make:

  1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the ground beef, soy sauce, water and sugar and sauté until the beef is browned.
  3. Add the fresh ginger and frozen peas, and continue to cook until the peas are warmed through, and any liquid has mostly evaporated.
  4. Serve! Over warm, steamy bowls of rice. Soboro donburi is classically served with white rice, but brown rice would be fine, too.
ground beef, peas and ginger in a cast iron skillet soboro donburi with a spoon
sober donburi beef with peas and ginger on a plate

Tools You’ll Need:

Um, that’s it. This soboro beef recipe is just really, really easy. Come to think of it, this is sort of a genius recipe for times when you don’t even want to dirty a knife. Or for if you’ve just moved and can’t find any of your kitchen stuff—just break out a skillet and whip up soboro beef! No prob!

More Ground Beef Recipes

Got ground beef? GREAT! We’ve got ground beef recipes for you!

Japanese ginger beef on a plate with peas over rice with a fork

Do You Donburi?

Snap a photo of your finished gingery ground beef donburi and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you share it with, and then tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so we can see your handiwork! Happy eating!

Gingery Ground Beef (Soboro Donburi)

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Calories: 301


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari (gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas


  1. In a large skillet combine ground beef, soy sauce, water and sugar and cook over medium heat until beef is just browned.
  2. Add fresh ginger and frozen peas, continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Serve over cooked rice.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 301
  • Protein 21 g
  • Carbohydrates 14 g
  • Total Fat 22 g
  • Dietary Fiber 3 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • sodium 728 mg
  • Total Sugars 7 g

Gingery Ground Beef (Soboro Donburi)

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Pat C

    I'm really looking forward to making this recipe, it sounds delicious. I've already printed it ready to make in a couple of days but even though I've read through it 3 or 4 times I cannot see how many servings it's supposed to make....even where the nutritional info says per serving. Could someone please help?

    1 lb of ground beef will make 4 servings, giving each person a 1/4 lb of meat.

  • judi

    I have no fresh ginger. Can I use powederd ginger?

    In this case, fresh ginger really makes the dish! Ground ginger probably wouldn't work very well.

  • Annelise

    This sound wonderful! I only have a can of peas. I know it won't bring all the freshness and sweetness of frozen or real peas, but how different will the flavor? Would you recommend? Thanks!

    It might work just fine! Just be sure to drain them really well, and add them right at the very end to avoid overcooking.

  • Dick Oleen

    can someone comment further on how spicy this dish is?

    This recipe isn't spicy at all really—the fresh ginger adds a hint of warmth, but we wouldn't exactly call it spicy. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Trinity

    Delicious and oh so simple! A new family favorite for sure. Would you please share the nutritional data for this recipe?

    We're in the process of adding nutrition info to all our recipes! Hang tight! So glad you loved it.

  • Abbi

    SUPER tasty and SUPER easy! What more could I ask for???

    Thanks Abbi, glad you loved it! We LOVE when easy recipes are super tasty!

  • Michelle Harris

    My husband and I were pleasantly surprised by the amazing taste! I added sautéed, julienned white onions, red peppers (inspired by the cover picture of the website), minced garlic and lightly salt and peppered it. I also used 2 tablespoons of brown sugar instead of the white sugar, followed the rest of the recipe and wow! This is a definitely a keeper, especially since we love Asian dishes! Thank you for sharing.

    Thanks Michelle, we are so glad you both loved it!

  • Morgan Vander Maas

    This has become one of our go to TMP meals. Easy, warm, cozy crowd pleaser!

    Thank you Morgan, that is so great to hear!

  • Melissa

    Simple and tasty. Next time will reduce the sugar and increase the ginger and maybe add a little lime zest and juice.

    Thanks Melissa, so glad you loved it!

  • Samantha Joan aarnio

    Made it a few weeks ago and my family's only complaints were needs more ginger and where is the garlic...

    Using it again tonight to make Shepard's pie....

    Thanks Samantha, we are so glad you liked it! You can definitely throw in more ginger if your family prefers a stronger ginger taste!