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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.

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  • So delicious! I forgot the baking soda step and didn’t miss it. I sautéed some chopped celery and carrot with the ground beef and served over jasmine rice. Next time I will tee it with ground chicken or turkey. 😄

  • Delicious! I added an over medium egg on top. It was MAGIC!!!

  • I make this all the time with ground chicken, and we love it! It’s easy and fast, and once you have the ingredients for the sauce in your cupboard, you can make it several times. I’ve made it with and without sugar, and I can’t really tell the difference.
    Recently, I’ve started grating zucchini and cooking it before the chicken to bump up the vegetables. You can’t really taste it (but I do like zucchini), and it stretches it a little bit. Great recipe!

  • Absolutely loved the flavour and the texture of this dish. I was out of hoisin but found a recipe on the internet to make my own. The crispness and freshness of the vegetables combined with the flavour of the meat and rice was perfection. I halved the recipe because there are only two of us and I am using the other half of the red pepper to make your bulgar salad tonight.

  • Super easy, fast, delicious, and importantly, works for the carb eaters and the carb avoiders in my house. Thanks for this simple and flexible dish!

  • My family absolutely loves this dish. Kids ask for it to made every week. I make more of the sauce, maybe about 1.5 servings. I add some steamed broccoli to the dish to pick up sauce right before serving. My family also loves a sunny side up egg on top. No nuts for our family

  • I love the flavors here but the overall texture is mushy. What do you think about using thinly sliced steak?

    • Hi Penelope, I think that would work well. 🙂

      • I am so looking forward to this recipe this weekend! Would you still recommend baking soda on the thin sliced steak? Trying to rid my freezer of meats before they expire

        • Hi Mel, you can skip the baking soda step if you’re using steak. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

    • This is one of my many favourites. I’ve prepared it as written and love the flavours of sesame, ginger & garlic & the textures that the peanuts and crunchy carrots bring. The quick stovetop to tabletop is a bonus! Nutritious & delicious!
      Once Upon a Chef….is like having a classically trained chef tutorial on demand…and I’m always recommending friends check it out:) Thank you so much!

  • So yummy and easy. It is definitely 6 good size portions. Will add chopped water chestnuts next time for a little crunch.

    • — Tracy Cockrell
    • Reply
  • This has become a favourite in my household. I also make it with ground chicken and it’s equally as good. I add extra veggies that I need using up for added crunch.

    • Excellent. I love tbe texture and flavor of this superb dish. My dish looked beautiful like in the picture; and tasted worthy of a chef. Thanks for sharing.

  • I served this tonight with my 3 and 9 year olds and they both loved it! I used a pound of ground turkey and substituted the other pound of meat with a diced zucchini and a carton of mushrooms I also diced up. I served it over a coconut rice, and had a bag of Asian salad mix as the topping that had wonton strips, in addition to the carrots, cabbage and other good stuff.

  • I was so excited to make this dish! Like another poster, I ended up making my own hoisin sauce (after a few failed grocery store runs). I used the hoisin recipe from Bon Appetite for cooking the meat but used the BBC version as a sauce topping. My wife and I really enjoyed this dish. We added a boiled egg to our bowl along with the other toppings listed. We were not fans of the velvety texture of the meat, so I may reduce the baking soda or leave it out altogether the next time I make it…but I will definitely be making this again! I’m also looking forward to trying this with the store-bought hoisin sauce to taste the difference.

    • Follow up post: this time, I made it with Lee Kum Kee hoisin and 80/20 ground beef (did not tenderize with baking soda). For us, the texture was fine without the baking soda. This was good with Lee Kum Kee hoisin, but I think I actually prefer it with the Bon Appetit hoisin!

  • This is my son’s favorite meal! In fact, as soon as he arrives home from college, he has requested that I make it for him on Thanksgiving Eve!

  • This was very tasty and SO easy! I followed the recipe exactly, but next time I will either drain the fat from the beef before adding the other ingredients, or try it with ground chicken. Maybe it’s because I don’t eat much undrained ground beef, but it just felt a tad too greasy for me.

  • This recipe has become a family favorite and is in our regular rotation of meals. It is perfect as written. The baking soda trick leaves the meat tender and not at all dry. We serve it over rice with shredded carrots, chopped red pepper, chopped cashews and cilantro. Delicious balance of textures and flavors!

  • One of my all time favorites! As a working mom weekday meals that my kids will eat that are yummy and balanced are a win for me! I make this with brown rice and cut the spicy out (I put a bottle of chili sauce on the table for the adults) and steamed broccoli. Left overs are rare!

  • Really tasty and fast, especially when you are craving Asian food—I added steamed broccoli, pea pods, red pepper, and mushrooms to increase the vegetables–served over rice, and sprinkler with cashews and sesame seeds! Delicious!

  • Another easy and delicious recipe. Everything that I’ve made from your site and cookbook has been fabulous. Thank you!

  • Really tasty. I wouldn’t add the extra sugar next time (I used honey). And we like spicy so I added more heat. Ate it over lettuce. I have made many great recipes form your website. Thanks

  • Another delicious, easy recipe!! I’m always searching for a new way to cook ground beef and this one’s a keeper!! BTW love your cookbook:)

  • I just made this for dinner and it is AMAZING! Thank you so much!

  • I made this with ground turkey for my hubby and 3 girls 13,10, 8 – Everyone loved it, and my husband asked why I didn’t make more! Have to double the recipe next time.

  • Have made this twice now and everyone absolutely loves it! Can’t wait to try it with some of the other suggested meat options. Two thumbs up!

  • Made these tonight. They were easy to prepare but sadly it wasn’t a big hit with the family. This is the only recipe from your site that hasn’t been a success

  • I just made this. My grocer didn’t have 90% ground beef so I bought cube steak and chopped it fine then followed the recipe exactly. So easy, so good! Yummy! I’m using your recipes daily. You’re my new best friend. I love the cookbook! Thanks Jen.

    • — Marcia A Taylor
    • Reply
    • So glad you’re enjoying the recipes, my friend! 🙂

  • I stay active a lot and this meal recipe looks perfect for my lunch meal. Thank you so much.

    • — Eric Cartagena
    • Reply
  • Made this last night for my husband and 2 boys (15 and 12). It was a huge hit. Next time I would use less red pepper flakes as my younger son thought it was a little spicy. Avocado was a great addition.

  • Absolutely wonderful!!

    • — Darlene Folger
    • Reply
  • I have tried several recipes from here and so far all have been a hit with my family. I made the Beef Bowls last night. I just cooked carrots and mushrooms in the beef mix for my kids. The sauce was delicious. Great with the rice for my kids and husband; I had it with salad. I will make again over the weekend because my daughter who is at college is coming home and really wants to try it. Great and easy to make. I have also pre-ordered your book and so looking forward to it. Thank you.

  • Amazing. Added more ginger and soy. Sautéed mushrooms, pea pods and red pepper and added on top along with toasted cashews. Hubby loved it. Thank you!

  • This was a huge hit! Topped it with edamame, shredded carrots, red pepper, avocado, cashews and cilantro. Family loved!

    Can you make this with ground turkey and still achieve the same flavors?

    Thank you, Jen! Can’t wait for your book!

    • Hi Alana, I do think it’d work with ground chicken or turkey (not extra lean) – skip the baking powder though. I’d love to know how it turns out!

  • My 11 year old fussy eater tried this recipe for the first time and said, ‘this food makes me happy!’. Thank you Jenn for another lovely family friendly recipe.

    • That makes ME happy, Karen. 😊

  • My family–even my little kids–just love these bowls. The preparation is simple, the meat is savory and delicious enough to jazz up plain white rice, and the vegetables can be added to or left off to suit the tastes of anyone in the family. My husband and I love ours with edamame, peanuts, carrots, red peppers, and more scallions. I have also made this recipe with oyster sauce instead of hoisin, and while it changes the flavor slightly, it is also delicious.

  • This has become a go-to weeknight dinner for our family. I’ve gotten lazy and stopped using the baking soda on the ground beef, but I don’t feel like it has a major impact on taste/texture. I cook the veggies a bit longer as well, to reduce the crunch. And sometimes increase the sauce to meat ratio!

  • Hi Jen ~
    My family loved this recipe! Wondering if this would work with ground chicken or turkey? And thank you for all your recipes – you make me love to cook! You’re my favorite – better than Ina 🙂

    • Hi Sue, so glad you like the recipes – even using my name in the same sentence as Ina’s is a huge compliment! 🙂
      I think you could use either ground turkey or ground chicken (I’d air on the side of ground chicken). Regardless of which one you choose (chicken or turkey), no need to treat it with baking soda.

  • Immediate hit!
    The first time I tried it the veggies tasted really raw, so next time we made sure to lightly saute them in soy sauce. Also, I didn’t have hoisin sauce so I used BBQ sauce instead. My husband also had the idea to drizzle oyster sauce on top after making the bowl. Delicious!

  • My family loves this meal. I add a 14.5 ounce bag of shredded cabbage/slaw along w/ the onions, ginger & garlic, just to give it a little more volume. The cabbage cooks down to almost nothing, but I like the flavor and texture. (Be sure to use the Hoisin sauce suggested in the recipe – it makes a difference.) I serve it over medium grain “sticky” rice, and the kids usually add a bit more soy at the end. Easy, fast & delicious. Perfect for a busy weeknight. (I’ve made this w/o the baking soda step, and it’s fine.)

  • I’m a Huge Fan of your Recipes! But oh boy did I get a little heavy handed with the baking soda! (maybe a Tbsp was too much?) Complete destroyed the 1st batch, so the second batch I skipped the beef treatment and just cooked it tender. Delicious… As always!

    • Hi Lisa, The baking soda should be 3/4 teaspoon – but glad it turned out the second time!

  • My whole family loves this recipe.I serve it with rice and lettuce wraps along with sirracha for anyone who likes a little more spice.

  • Flavor bomb and make again! I heeded other reviewers by making a combo of homemade hoisin and added peanut butter, rice vinegar, and honey to store bought hoisin. Agree with another reviewer as I did 1/5 lbs of hamburger and propose the flavor even better with only 1 lb hamburger. Thank you Thank you Jenn for all these great recipes!!

  • Thumbs up! Really moist beef and nice flavours (although my crew suggested a little less spice so I will cut back to 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes).
    There were many ‘Yums ‘ expressed around the dining table. My daughter asked if this recipe was from my new favourite website to which I replied ‘yes’.

  • I love finding recipes with lots of flavour–and this one definitely makes the cut. I made it twice in one week, once for my husband and the second time for kids and grandkidlets. Oh my, it is so fast and easy, but really delivers. The baking soda treatment renders the ground beef soft and moist, rather than crumbly and dry. Thanks for a great recipe, Jenn. I’ve emailed the link to friends already!

  • My kids (6 and 3) love this one! In fact, my 6-yr old asks to take leftovers for her school lunch. It’s super easy to make and freezes well. The recipes on this website never fail me!

  • This was simple to put together and wonderfully flavorful. Thank you for a great recipe!

  • I love so many of your recipes but thought this one was ok. I really wanted to love it because it looks and sounds so delicious. It was it too sweet for my taste.

  • So yummy! My family doesn’t want to go out for Chinese anymore. They loved it! Has anyone tried freezing leftover mixture? I’ve thought about putting it in wonton wrappers too. It might make a good appetizer?

    • It freezes well, Mindy. Glad your family enjoyed!

  • This was delicious. My mom, who is not even a ground beef fan, loved this. I served with steamed sticky rice, shredded green papaya seasoned with fresh lime, ground arbol chile & bit of fish sauce, and shredded carrots & cilantro.

  • This was delicious-and a hit with a bunch of my picked eaters. We have a Japanese exchange student staying with us-and she loved it too. I know she doesn’t like spicy food so I left out the red pepper flakes. I served Sriracha on the side for my husband and one of my sons. When I was making it my husband asked me where I got the recipe-and I said “Once Upon a Chef-she never lets me down.” And I was right-delicious!

  • I love, love, love this dish! So easy & quick to make! I’ve made this twice & even my fiancée, who is a picky eater, loves it! We tried using strips of beef last time & it was still really good. Thank you for the easy, no-hassle, easy clean-up dishes, as we don’t want too much of that during our 120+ weather in Arizona! Definitely adding this to our repitoire!

  • I have made this dish 4 times now for me and the hubby. It is so yummy! The last two times I used one pound of ground beef and a medium zucchini that I shredded, a handful of shredded baby carrots and a diced vidalia onion that I sauted up first and added it to the mixture at the end. A one bowl meal that is really good after being in the Georgia heat this summer. Thanks for this recipe!

  • I’ve made this twice now and all of us, including my three-year-old, love it. I omit chili flakes and extra sugar but add a squirt of sriracha. I notice a huge difference tenderizing the beef so for sure worth that extra step in my view. We serve it with rice noodles, lettuce, carrots, cashews, and sesame seeds. Thank you for another winning recipe!

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