Gyudon (Beef Rice Bowl) Recipe

Gyudon is a type of Japanese rice bowl with a tasty topping made from shaved beef simmered with onions. As recipe developer Cecilia Ryu explains, its name comes from a combination of the words "gyu," which means "beef," and "don," which means "bowl." In addition to the beef, rice, and onions, the dish also includes a savory-sweet sauce. "The gyudon sauce," Ryu tells us, "is spooned over the meat and rice so that the rice can absorbs all of the delicious sauce."

As for the type of meat used in gyudon, Ryu explains that "shaved ribeye is the best type of meat for this recipe because it is a very tender cut." She does say that you can use another cut of beef if you prefer, but insists that "using shaved or very thinly sliced meat is very important for this dish because it adds to the tenderness of the meat."

Assemble the ingredients for the gyudon (beef rice bowls)

The main ingredients for this beef rice bowl are shaved beef and cooked white rice, while for the sauce you'll need an onion, soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, and dashi. Ryu uses homemade dashi in this recipe and you can, too, if you wish — here's Andrew Zimmern's dashi recipe if you'd like to give it a try. You can also use a powdered mix, or Ryu says you can even use water in place of this ingredient. She does say, though, that "the dashi will give the dish more umami."

Prepare the onions and beef

Before you can start cooking, you will first need to peel and chop the onion, of course. You'll also need to chop the beef. Even though it is already shredded, Ryu suggests you take the clump of meat and cut it into three pieces. "The simple purpose of cutting the meat," she explains, "is to make smaller pieces."

Cook the onions and beef

Cook the onions in the dashi, soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar for about 5 minutes over medium heat. This should allow enough time for the onion to soften up a bit. Add the beef, then cook everything for 10 more minutes. Stir the mixture as you add the beef, then every so often as it cooks. This, Ryu says, is to keep the meat slices from sticking to each other. Once the broth has reduced and the beef is cooked, turn off the heat.

Build the rice bowls

Divide the rice between two bowls and top it with the beef/onion mixture, not forgetting the pan juices. If you want to dress up the rice bowls, you can use poached eggs, shredded scallions, sesame seeds, and/or shichimi togarashi. Ryu says that gochugaru or crushed red pepper can be used in place of this last-named ingredient, noting that "it adds a little spicy kick to the dish, but it isn't necessary," so you can always just skip it (or any of these other garnishes) if you prefer.

While the gyudon is best when it's hot and fresh, if you don't intend to eat both bowls at once, the leftovers can be refrigerated for 3 days. If it'll take you a little longer to finish it up, the dish can also be frozen.

Gyudon (Beef Rice Bowl) Recipe
5 from 27 ratings
This beef rice bowl, AKA gyudon, makes for a flavorful lunch or dinner option.
Prep Time
Cook Time
beef bowl with onions
Total time: 25 minutes
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dashi
  • 3 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sake
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 1 ½ tablespoon sugar
  • ½ pound shaved rib eye
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
Optional Ingredients
  • 2 poached eggs, for serving
  • shredded scallions, for serving
  • sesame seeds, for garnish
  • shichimi togarashi (or red pepper flakes), for garnish
  1. In a large saucepan, combine the sliced onion, dashi, soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. With a sharp knife, cut the shaved rib eye horizontally twice, into 2-inch long strips.
  3. Add the sliced beef in pieces and simmer until the broth has reduced and the beef is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the meat slices from sticking together.
  4. Divide rice evenly between 2 bowls and top with the beef and onions and sauce. Garnish with shredded scallions, poached eggs, shichimi togarashi, and sesame seeds as desired.
Calories per Serving 667
Total Fat 24.2 g
Saturated Fat 10.3 g
Trans Fat 1.4 g
Cholesterol 78.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 72.4 g
Dietary Fiber 2.1 g
Total Sugars 12.6 g
Sodium 1,780.2 mg
Protein 31.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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