Skip to Content

Gingery Ground Beef (Soboro Donburi)

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.


Gingery Ground Beef (Soboro Danbury) with peas on a plate

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!

💌 Let's Stay Together

There are so many great ways to receive all of our latest recipes, meal tips, and inspiration.

Gingery Ground Beef (Soboro Donburi)

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


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari (gluten-free)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 cup frozen peas


  1. In a large skillet combine ground beef, soy sauce, ¼ cup water and sugar and cook over medium heat until beef is just browned, aout 8 minutes.

  2. Add fresh ginger and frozen peas, continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 more minutes.

  3. Serve over cooked rice.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories301
  • Protein21 g
  • Carbohydrates14 g
  • Total Fat22 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium728 mg
  • Total Sugars7 g

Gingery Ground Beef (Soboro Donburi)

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Beth

    Hi, I notice there is no water in the photo of ingredients and nothing mentioned in the recipe I really need to add a 1/4 of water?

    Yes you do need the water. It is industry standard to not include water in the ingredient list. Sorry for any confusion Beth.


    would this work with fresh broccoli instead of peas? My family and I do not like peas but the recipe sounds so wonderful otherwise.


  • Cathy

    Any thoughts on leaving out the sugar?

    Would probably be fine or you could substitute with a sugar alternative to still get the bit of sweetness.

  • Lynn

    I dont have any frozen peas would other frozen vegetables be ok


  • Rebekah

    It doesn’t say to drain the fat from the beef. Am I supposed to leave it in?

    If you are using 90% or higher lean beaf it's fine to leave the fat in. If you are using a higher fat content feel free to drain it. Hope you enjoy!

  • Aimee

    This is a family favorite, even with my very picky 9 year old. My husband, older son, and I eat it with a scrambled egg and pickled ginger. So delicious!

    Thanks Aimee, we are so happy you and your family love it!

  • Emily

    This is a household staple! Quick, and convenient as I always have these ingredients on hand. I serve it with rice made in the instant pot, and top it with kewpie mayo, sriracha, and cilantro.

    Thanks Emily, we are so happy to hear that!

  • Melinda

    This is SO delicious and SO easy. Also, super affordable; like six bucks to make. I just bought a bunch of beef and ginger as this is going to be a weekly staple for sure. I served it over fresh spinach instead of rice. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

    Thanks Melinda, we are so happy that you loved it!

  • Annie

    My husband and I love this dish! It's so easy and we always have everything we need on hand. It's definitely best with fresh ginger but in a pinch powdered works. We've made it 3 times already!

    Thanks Annie! So happy to hear you both love it!

  • Luke

    Very salty but decently tasty, which can be hard to pull off with super lean ground beef (I used 93%, with a tiny dollop of butter sear) and frozen veggies (added cauliflower, broccoli, and the peas). I blackened the broccoli before with plenty of pepper, plated it and seared the beef & remaining veggies in the pan, then combined it all will the liquids. I had to add a LOT of extra water (about 2 cups) to get the taste to even out but the salt palate never really reduced.

    Glad you liked this Luke, we will give it another test to confirm if the salt level needs adjusted.