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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

Ingredients

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

Method

  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.

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  • Rebekah Gerard

    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!

  • 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!

  • Luke N

    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.

  • Lanew

    A very good, easy, healthy meal. I will definitely make it again, but I would absolutely use the Low sodium soy sauce per the recipe though. I only had the regular soy sauce on hand and with today's prices I wasn't going to go out and spend money to buy low sodium. If I still have only the regular soy sauce when I make it again I will only put in Half the soy sauce amount.
    I added very finely cut up scallions and fresh parsley while cooking it. I also added very small pieces of canned pineapple to the cooked portion.. The pineapple helped to reduce the full salt flavor as well.
    The pineapple was just the right amount of sweetness and if you have some fussy eaters the scallions, parsley, and pineapple are an easy way to get those added veggies and fruits into them.
    No need to season the rice because all the flavors of the meat mixture will all merge together.

    Thanks Lanew, so happy 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!