Gyudon (Japanese Beef Rice Bowl): Melt-in-Your-Mouth Magic

Easy Beef bowl gyudon recipe

After indulging in street delights like okonomiyaki, yakitori, or takoyaki and slurping up some udon soup, I felt the need for a more substantial course. And what better way to fill up than with the wholesome goodness of grains? I’m talking about the donburi – Japanese rice bowl. Among the various options, I specifically like Gyudon, the Japanese Beef Rice Bowl.

Gyudon stands out as one of the most beloved members of the donburi family. The term “donburi” refers to a Japanese dish consisting of a bowl of rice, often topped with a flavorful combination of ingredients simmered together. The word “don” is derived from the bowl (donburi) itself, while “buri” means to heap or pile.

Best Gyudon recipe
Japanese beef and onion

Back to the Gyudon, its name says it all: “gyu,” means beef, and “don” refers to a bowl of rice. This simple yet satisfying beef-over-rice dish typically consists of thinly sliced beef cooked in a sweet and savory soy-based sauce, and served over a bowl of steamed rice.

Gyudon is a perfect choice if you want to seek a quick and satisfying meal. You can find this Beef Bowl in Japanese restaurants and even fast-food chains.

Beef gyudon recipe with egg in rice Japanese
My homemade beef donburi with egg on rice

The key ingredients for this Japanese beef dish are pretty simple: beef, rice, and onion. If you want a good Japanese Beef and Rice, keep your eyes on the simmering part. You need to have the balance of flavors and textures: the interplay of sweet and savory, the contrast between the tender beef and crisp onions.

In my first attempt, I let it simmer for too long. The sauce was almost drained out, leaving me with beef that could rival shoe leather in terms of tenderness. I nailed it the second time. For this Gyudon recipe, I added an egg on top to enhance the flavor and add a rich and creamy texture.

Miso soup in Japan
Homemade miso soup – tofu vegetable soup

In Asia, the rice bowl is often served with soup. So, I made miso soup too. Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup consisting of a broth made from fermented soybean paste called miso. It’s often mixed with other ingredients such as seaweed, tofu, green onions, and sometimes vegetables or fish. I made Vegan Miso Soup with mushrooms and tofu.

Anyway, here is how to make Gyudon – Japanese Beef Rice Bowl – and miso soup.

Original Gyudon Beef Bowl with Egg and Miso soup

A quick and satisfying meal, whether during a lunch break or after a long day.
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Japanese
Servings 4
Calories 580 kcal


For the Gyudon

  • 1 lb thinly sliced beef such as sirloin or ribeye
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin sweet rice wine
  • 2 tbsp sake Japanese rice wine
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup dashi stock or beef/chicken broth
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups white rice
  • Green onions chopped (for garnish)
  • Pickled ginger optional, for serving

For the Miso Soup

  • 4 cups dashi Japanese soup stock
  • 3 tbsp miso paste white or red
  • 1 cup tofu cubed
  • 1 cup seaweed wakame, soaked and chopped
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms optional


Making the Gyudon

  • Cook the rice according to the package instructions.
  • In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar until the sugar dissolves. This creates the flavorful sauce for the Gyudon.
  • In a large skillet or pan over medium heat, add thinly sliced onions and cook until they become translucent. Add the thinly sliced beef to the pan and cook until it's no longer pink.
  • Pour the sauce over the beef and onions. Stir to combine and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Pour in the dashi stock (or broth) and simmer for an additional 5-7 minutes until the flavors meld and the liquid reduces slightly.
  • In a separate pan, fry four eggs sunny-side up or as per your preference.
  • Place a serving of cooked rice in a bowl, spoon the beef and onion mixture over the rice, and top with a fried egg.
  • Garnish with chopped green onions and serve immediately. You can add pickled ginger for extra flavor.

Miso Soup recipe

  • In a pot, bring the dashi to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Add the tofu and seaweed to the simmering dashi. If you're using mushrooms, add them as well.
  • In a small bowl, dissolve the miso paste in a few tablespoons of the hot dashi.
  • Add the miso mixture to the pot, stirring gently to combine. Be careful not to boil the miso, as high heat can reduce its flavor.
  • Allow the soup to simmer for about 5 minutes, ensuring all ingredients are heated through.
  • Add sliced green onions just before serving.
Keyword beef, gluten free, homemade, japanese, rice, soup, vegan

There you are, a complete Asian meal – simple, hearty, and packed with flavors that just hit the spot.

Best types of donburi

Donburi, the comforting and flavorful Japanese rice bowl dish, comes in various types, each with its unique combination of ingredients that dance harmoniously on a bed of steamed rice. Here are some popular donburi varieties:

Gyudon: As mentioned above, it’s a classic beef donburi that features thinly sliced beef simmered in a sweet and savory soy-based broth.

Katsudon: This delightful Katsu Donburi stars a crispy breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet (tonkatsu) or occasionally chicken (chicken katsu), accompanied by egg and onions. The cutlet is simmered in a soy-based broth until the eggs form a luscious, custard-like layer.

Oyakodon: Literally translating to “parent-and-child bowl,” oyakodon features a combination of simmered chicken and eggs.

Katsudon - a Japanese rice bowl with chicken and egg on rice
Katsudon – Chicken and egg on rice bowl recipe

Tekkadon: If you love fish, tekkadon with slices of fresh, raw tuna (maguro) if for you. Often adorned with a drizzle of soy sauce, grated wasabi, or seaweed, it’s a simple yet exquisite option for sushi lovers.

Tendon combines crispy tempura—vegetables, seafood, or a mix of both—served over rice. If you like tempura, this variety is for you.

Unadon: Unagi, or grilled freshwater eel, takes the spotlight in this type of Japanese rice dish.

Unadon - Japanese rice bowl recipe

Chirashi Don means “scattered bowl.” This sashimi bowl features a colorful assortment of sashimi-grade fish (salmon), vegetables, and other ingredients atop a bowl of rice.

Kaisendon translates to “seafood bowl,” and true to its name, it’s a treasure trove of fresh, raw seafood (fish, octopus) over a bed of rice.

Soboro Don: Soboro refers to seasoned and finely minced meat, often chicken or beef, cooked with soy sauce, mirin, and sugar until it achieves a crumbly texture. It’s not just about the meat; Soboro Don can also include other toppings like scrambled eggs, green onions, and sometimes peas.

Whether you crave the savory comfort of beef, the crispiness of tempura, or the fresh simplicity of seafood, there’s a donburi waiting to satisfy your taste.

Johanna Cleveland
About the author

Hi, I'm Kate, the creator of Happy Baking Days. I'm a food lover, recipe creator, and kitchen explorer. I have amateur baking knowledge gained from years spent in the kitchen with my grandma and mum, where I graduated slowly from dusting work surfaces with flour and licking the spatula to the finer arts of pastry and meringue. Now in my own kitchen, I put all those years of training into practice, experimenting with recipes and ingredients from around the world. Join me as I share my culinary journey and favorite recipes that make cooking a delightful experience.

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating