Gyudon: A guide to Japan's tasty fast food!

Gyudon, or beef bowl, is a cherished one-bowl dish from Japan. Simple yet rich with its sweet and savory flavors, you can cook it with just a few ingredients!

What is Gyudon?

You might be looking for a quick yet wholesome meal on busy days. A hearty one-bowl meal like gyudon is perfect for such occasions. In Japanese, "gyu" means beef, and "don" refers to rice bowls, thus the term "Beef Bowl" in English. Rice bowl dishes are known as "don-mono," and there are many varieties, such as Raw Tuna Bowl (Tekkadon) and Grilled Eel Bowl (Unadon).

Gyudon can be made at home and is also a popular fast food dish. The dish features thinly sliced beef and onions simmered in a sweet-savory sauce reminiscent of sukiyaki. It is traditionally topped with ingredients like benishoga (pickled red ginger), sesame seeds, and eggs.

How to make Gyudon


With the right ingredients, you only need a pot and roughly 15 minutes!

  1. 1Prepare the ingredients - you need thinly sliced beef, sliced onions, and cooked rice
  2. 2Combine the seasonings - blend Kikkoman Soy Sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, and water in a pot.
  3. 3Cook the ingredients- cook the onions while the pot boils, add the beef, and simmer for 6-7 minutes.
  4. 4Serve - top the seasoned beef and onions over rice.

Try this recipe
Gyudon (Beef Bowl)

Key ingredients & pro tips


Thin slices are ideal as it cooks quickly and are easy to eat. In Japan, pre-sliced meat is widely available at the supermarket and butchers. If you can't find thinly sliced beef, purchase a fatty cut, freeze it slightly, then cut it into thin slices. Freezing it will make it easier to cut.


How you slice onions can affect the dish's texture and flavor. Cut onions along the fibers to make them crispy, and cut them horizontally to cut through the fibers to soak up the flavor. We suggest slicing them horizontally so that the flavors soak quickly.

Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is the base of the dish. There are various types of soy sauce, but we use Kikkoman Soy Sauce (dark). It has just the right amount of balanced saltiness and rich umami.


A sweet rice wine, mirin imparts gentle sweetness to the dish. It generally contains alcohol, and although the alcohol will burn out in the cooking process, you can choose an alcohol-free version or substitute it with water and sugar.

Sake (Cooking Sake)

A rice wine used in cooking and for drinking, it enhances the dish's depth of flavor. The alcohol will burn out in the cooking process, but if you're avoiding alcohol, simply replace it with equal parts water.

Benishoga (Red Pickled Ginger)

Ginger dyed red with ume vinegar. Ume vinegar is the liquid extracted from red perilla leaves when making umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums). Benishoga is a palate cleanser and a must-have topping for many Gyudon enthusiasts.

Gyudon variations

Once you have mastered the basic Gyudon recipe, why not explore further? You can load up the rice bowl with a few additions. For example, you could put an egg on top or add tomatoes. Raw and poached eggs are a popular topping for many rice bowls.When consuming raw, please source your eggs from a trusted place to avoid food poisoning.Another option is to cook the egg sunny side up. You could also add fresh or canned tomatoes when cooking the onions and beef. It pairs well with soy sauce and mirin's sweet and savory flavors, so try it!