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Hoisin Beef Bowls

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Hoisin beef bowls are loved by adventurous and picky eaters alike! With customizable toppings, everyone gets to build their own bowl, making it a fun and tasty dinner.

Bowls with Hoisin beef and rice.

When chatting with other moms about the challenge of getting a well-balanced dinner on the table every night, they often assume that my children are good eaters. Well, I’m sorry to say: wrong! One of my kids, who shall remain nameless, tortures me every night by picking minuscule specks of onions, garlic, or whatever else out of her food. So whenever I find a new recipe that my whole family loves, I’m not just happy…I’m ecstatic.

These Asian-flavored hoisin beef bowls are a godsend: not only do they appeal to kids and adults alike, but they can also be made in just 30 minutes using ordinary supermarket ingredients. And the beauty of “bowls” is that everyone can create their own. Like it plain? Go for it. Want to dress it up with scallions, crunchy veggies, and cashews? You do you. Eating low-carb? Skip the rice and spoon the beef into lettuce cups. I promise, you can’t go wrong!

“Yes – all 5 family members enjoyed this! It’s a rarity to be celebrated.”


What You’ll Need To Make Hoisin Beef Bowls

ingredients for hoisin beef bowls
  • Ground beef: Serves as the main protein; using 90% keeps the dish relatively lean and eliminates the need to drain any fat after browning.
  • Baking soda: Acts as a tenderizer for the beef and also aids with browning.
  • Hoisin sauce: Infuses the dish with rich, sweet, and savory flavors. Use a good-quality brand, such as Lee Kum Kee or Kikkoman.
  • Soy sauce: Provides savory, umami flavor.
  • Tomato paste: Adds depth and richness to the sauce, contributing a subtle sweetness and a hint of acidity.
  • Asian sesame oil: Imparts a distinct nutty aroma and flavor, characteristic of Asian cuisine.
  • Sugar: Balances the salty, savory, and spicy flavors by adding a touch of sweetness.
  • Red pepper flakes: Infuse the dish with a subtle heat and spice; feel free to adjust to taste.
  • Garlic, ginger, scallions: These aromatic ingredients form the flavor base of the dish.
  • Jump to the printable recipe for precise measurements

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by mashing the ground beef with the baking soda. The baking soda raises the pH of the meat, helping to lock in moisture and make the beef melt-in-your-mouth tender.

While the baking soda works its magic, chop the ginger, garlic and scallions. Then prepare the sauce by mixing together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, tomato paste, sesame oil, sugar and red pepper flakes.

hoisin beef bowls sauce whisked in bowl

Once the beef is tenderized, brown it in a sauté pan until almost cooked through.

Ground beef in a skillet.

Add the garlic, ginger and light scallions.

adding garlic, ginger, and scallions to beef in skillet.

Cook for a few minutes, then add the hoisin mixture.

adding the hoisin mixture to the beef.

Stir until the beef is well-coated in the sauce and cooked through. The sprinkle with the remaining scallions.

cooked beef mixture with scallions.

Spoon the beef mixture over rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds, shredded veggies, chopped cashews, or whatever else you like!

assembling hoisin beef bowls for serving.

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Hoisin Beef Bowls

Hoisin beef bowls are loved by adventurous and picky eaters alike! With customizable toppings, everyone gets to build their own bowl, making it a fun and tasty dinner.

Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes


  • 2 pounds 90% lean ground beef
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons hoisin sauce, best quality such as Lee Kum Kee or Kikkoman (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger (see note)
  • 5 scallions, sliced, light and dark green parts separated

For Serving

  • Rice
  • Chopped cashews
  • Sesame seeds
  • Shredded veggies, such as carrots, lettuce or bell peppers


  1. In a large bowl, using your hands, mash the beef with the baking soda. Let it sit on the counter for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, tomato paste, sesame oil, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
  3. Once the beef is "treated" and ready to cook, heat the vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Brown the beef, stirring frequently and breaking into pieces, until just slightly pink, about 5 minutes. (I don't drain the fat - there's not that much and it adds flavor.)
  4. Add the garlic, ginger, and light scallions. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, a few minutes.
  5. Add the reserved hoisin sauce mixture and cook until the beef is well-coated and cooked through, about a minute. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  6. Gently stir in the remaining scallions and spoon the beef into bowls over rice. Top with sesame seeds, chopped cashews, and shredded veggies, if you like.
  7. Note: To get this dish done in 30 minutes, chop the garlic, ginger, and scallions while the meat is being treated with baking soda.
  8. Note: Check out easy guidance on how to peel, grate, and chop fresh ginger here.
  9. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The meat mixture can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 347
  • Fat: 19 g
  • Saturated fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 32 g
  • Sodium: 979 mg
  • Cholesterol: 99 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

See more recipes:


  • One of my family’s all time favorite recipes. I keep coming back to it!

    • — Michele M on May 14, 2024
    • Reply
  • I have tried a lot of different recipes that are similar to this, but this is the best by far! Absolutely delicious! I love the fact that you are only using a small amount of sugar. The flavor of the sauce is great and has me wondering what else I could use it on. If you like a flavorful, slightly sweet taste you will love this beef bowl. I added chopped coconut dusted cashews on top…best meal I have made in a long time hands down and super easy to make. Thank you for this great recipe! One of my new favorites for sure.

    • — Andee on April 25, 2024
    • Reply
  • I make this for our family about a dozen times a year, and it’s delicious every time. Comfort food! If you don’t have fresh ginger, no worries. This works with dried ginger — to taste. Not sure how much I shook in there, but it was quite a bit. Tastes great, although I miss the tang and crunch of the fresh ginger. Also, if you don’t have a bottle of soy, three small Chinese restaurant packs of soy will do it. Each is just about a tablespoon. I used mine in a pinch tonight. Then, a half hour later, my son found the bottle of soy at the back of the fridge (of course!), and we splashed in a bit more. Anyway, thank you for a popular family staple!

    • — Laurie Head Atkinson on April 15, 2024
    • Reply
  • Just made this for dinner and it was really good! Made as written. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • — Kay on March 26, 2024
    • Reply
  • Would this recipe work with strips of beef sirloin?
    Thank you

    • — Diane on March 25, 2024
    • Reply
    • Unfortunately not — sorry!

      • — Jenn on March 26, 2024
      • Reply
  • another delicious one – you’re the best!

    • — Jennifer Dubler on March 7, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this for dinner tonight and it was AMAZING. Like virtually all the recipes on this site, it was very flavorful and so easy to make. The baking soda makes a huge difference. I also briefly cooked some mushrooms, broccoli and red pepper strips to serve with it but ended up mixing them right into the beef. Delicious! Thanks, Jenn for another winner.

    • — Janet on March 6, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this with ground venison and it was so delicious. My husband is new to hunting and we eat very little ground beef, so finding ways to use all the venison we have has been a struggle. My husband said it tasted like something from a restaurant and he would order it every time. I sautéed some veggies in a little of the sauce and we served it all over rice. All of the chopping prep with the veggies took a while but next time I might try a bag of frozen stir fry veggies. Will definitely be making this again!

    • — Kaitlyn on February 25, 2024
    • Reply
    • I started reading your comment and thought, “Did I already make a comment on this?!”. I too made it with ground venison and it was DELISH. My husband said I could make this again anytime (at least, I think that’s what he said – his mouth was full!). I served ours over some torn up fresh spinach and sticky brown rice, then topped our bowls with cucumbers, bell peppers, sesame seeds and cashews. Really enjoyed it. I chopped up everything earlier in the day so when it came time for supper, cooked the rice then did the meat portion as it cooked up so quickly. Yummy.

      • — Beverly on March 3, 2024
      • Reply
  • Delicious! Adding it to the dinner rotation. I might 1.5x the sauce next time. We ate it with rice, carrot, and green pepper.

    • — Laura E on February 19, 2024
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Made recipe without changes except to cut out excess carbs we served on bed of chopped Romaine. Reminded us of Asian Lettuce Wraps, but faster. So good!

    • — Delight2cook! on January 15, 2024
    • Reply
  • Super tasty, delicious, easy to make comfort food! We loved it!!!

    • — Tara on July 7, 2023
    • Reply
  • So good and easy! I made it with 93% turkey and was glad to see the note about skipping the baking soda step. Also added sliced mushrooms, broccoli florets and sliced red bell peppers to the cooked meat, at the same time as the garlic/ginger/scallions. Increased the sauce by half to accommodate all the veggies and it turned out just right, plenty of delicious sauce! I served it over brown rice with an easy, crunchy slaw on the side. Definitely going in my “quick weeknight meal” file.

    • — Anna McAllister on June 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • Excellent flavours! Quick and easy to make.

    • — Joanne on June 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • Yes – all 5 family members enjoyed this! It’s a rarity to be celebrated. Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Diane on June 16, 2023
    • Reply
  • This was delicious. I cooked it for my adult son. I think my grandchildren would have liked it, too. Everything always takes much longer to prepare than expected. If I had planned ahead, I would have done all the chopping and slicing a day ahead, along with mixing the sauce. I doubled the sauce recipe and added water at the end to make it juicier. It was very flavorful even with the added water. I served some butter lettuce leaves on the side for lettuce cups. I also served cole slaw on the side. Thank you, Jenn. This rice bowl is fun, versitile, and delicious and healthy. I added red pepper in same thin strips as carrots, and cilantro on the side. I’m going to add it to my recipe file.

    • — Janet on June 15, 2023
    • Reply
  • It was wonderfully rich and tasty. My husband loved it. I would probably add a half tablespoon of sambal orek or Sriracha next time since he likes extra spicy. It was a hit!

    • — Nadeshiko on June 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • Just made this tonight, flavors are wonderful just as written.
    Had a little trouble tracking down gf hoisin sauce, but Wegmans own brand has no wheat! Yea!
    Tonight on rice, maybe tomorrow on gf ramen noodles.
    Just spicy enough for me!
    Thanks Jen, another winner!

    • — Mary Glassman on June 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • Can you make this chicken instead of beef? What part of chicken would be best if you can.

    • — Dion on June 11, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Dion, I think this would work with ground chicken or turkey (not extra lean) – skip the baking powder though. I’d love to know how it turns out if you use one of these!

      • — Jenn on June 12, 2023
      • Reply
  • I used the recipe last night. Everyone loved it! Yet another great recipe from Once Upon A Chef. Thank you.

    • — Martha Reed on May 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • Delicious recipe! Made this last night and everyone enjoyed it! My son who is picky with meat even ate all of it! Thank you for sharing!

    • — Julie on May 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have made this several times & it was a hit.

    I browned the meat today to use tomorrow. I forgot to treat it. Is it too late if it is already browned?

    • — Marie on April 29, 2023
    • Reply
    • Yes, it’s too late if it’s already been cooked – sorry!

      • — Jenn on May 1, 2023
      • Reply
  • This was yummy! Next time I’ll cut back on the hoisin by a T and add a T of sriracha and maybe up the red pepper flakes. It was a tad too sweet and could use more heat IMO. Also as another reviewer suggested, I added some chopped up water chestnuts for texture. I will definitely do this again, adding the whole can next time.

    • — Kathy on April 16, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this at least 6 times because it’s a winner every time. I add raw veggies when the meat is cooking (celery, red pepper, a little broccoli) because that’s just how we roll in this house. I try to remember to add canned water chestnuts, too, but I usually forget.
    I make twice as much sauce as called for to be sure everything is well coated, then serve over rice. Don’t skip treating the ground beef first; it matters.

    • — Chris on February 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • Hi Jennifer,
    I just wanted to wish you and your family a happy Hannakah. You have been a part of my family for quite a few years now. There are very few special meals that don’t have at least one of your recipes (there are usually more).
    I appreciate the time you spend making us better chefs and making our families happy. It has also been a joy to see your children growing up.
    All the best for 2023.

    • — Sheila on December 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sheila, Thank you for such kind words — you made my day! Happy holidays to you and your family. 💗

      • — Jenn on December 20, 2022
      • Reply
  • This was a perfect dinner recipe! I went to the website because I had a pound of ground beef and found this recipe. I had everything on hand and it came together quickly and easily! Thanks Jen!

    • — Anne on December 14, 2022
    • Reply
  • I think this might be my favorite Once Upon A Chef recipe, yet! And that is saying something! Really excellent, flavorful, and fresh. Will be a regular on our rotation. Thank you!

    • — Ali on December 6, 2022
    • Reply
    • Also, I served with a quinoa/ brown rice blend the first night, then reheated the leftovers and served over a slaw for lunch the next day. So yummy and good!

      • — Ali on December 6, 2022
      • Reply
  • Amazing flavor. Quick to prepare. Will surely make it again

    • — Nean on November 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Could you make this with beef tenderloin?

    • — Doreen on November 12, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Doreen, I wouldn’t recommend it. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on November 13, 2022
      • Reply
  • I don’t eat meat. If I wanted to make this with something such as impossible “meat” would you still treat it with the baking soda?

    • — Melissa on November 6, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Melissa, If you’re going to use a meat alternative, you can skip the baking soda step. I’d love to hear how it turns out with the substitute!

      • — Jenn on November 7, 2022
      • Reply
  • Really quite tasty and so very easy! Totally recommend these for a relatively healthy and quick meal.

    • — Tiana on June 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • Just made this. Delicious! My husband and I are going to tweak because kids are grown and gone…..I will definitely increase the red pepper, and possibly (because we love salt) more soy. I served it with carrots, radishes, lettuce and cashews. Because I like to make a recipe, for the first time, exactly as written, I did serve with rice. Delicious. Trying to lose weight, though…..if served on shredded lettuce would be great.

    • — Lin J Quinn on June 9, 2022
    • Reply
  • So simple and delicious! Only substitution I made was red curry paste instead of tomato paste because it’s all I had. Good way to use ground meat! Thanks again for another great recipe!

    • — Heather on May 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made this tonight and it was very tasty! My picky eating daughter ate the whole bowel!

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