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Gingery Ground Beef (Soboro Donburi)

  • Calories: 269
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)


  • 1 lb Ground beef
  • 1/3 cup 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 269
  • Protein 37 g
  • Carbohydrates 11 g
  • Total Fat 7 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2 g
  • Cholesterol 101 mg
  • sodium 1302 mg
  • Added Sugars 5 g

Gingery Ground Beef (Soboro Donburi)

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • 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.

  • Ignacio

    Very good, especially for how easy it is. I didn't add the water, but I think the soy sauce still provided enough liquid.

    So glad you loved it.

  • Kait

    This was super tasty! I used less soy and more ginger.
    Less sugar and about the same amount of water.

    So glad you enjoyed it! The more ginger the better in our opinion!

  • Bethany Taft

    This was super good and easy! Next time I'm going to add an onion and extra liquid so I can have some liquid left for serving.

    Sounds like a great idea! Glad you liked it!

  • Trish

    Loved this! Haven't cooked in ages but was wanting to make rice last night and saw this featured on my instragram feed. So simple but so good. Really nice to have something with a different flavor that wasn't intimidating to make. Had to sub out broccoli chopped small and per-cooked a bit for the peas so we were missing some of the flavor, but it at least added color. THANK YOU for making it easy to cook!

    You bet! SO glad you liked it!