44 In Beef/ Main Dish/ Rice/ Video

Gyudon Recipe (Beef Bowl)

Gyudon is another Donburi (rice bowl) dish like Oyakodon.  However, instead of eggs and chicken, Gyudon is all about beef.  It is a much heartier Donburi and therefore, very popular among men, teenagers to middle-aged.  Thinly sliced beef is cooked in sweet and salty sauce, which is piled on top of rice, and the rice absorbs all the flavorful sauce… it is just so good.  I guess you don’t have to be a man to like this.

Gyudon shops in Japan are very popular at lunch time.  If there are company offices, there are Gyudon shops.  “Salary-man” loves Gyudon because it tastes good and it’s filling, and also is quite reasonably priced.   You can get Gyudon for $3-4 in Japan, and that’s great for budget eaters.  I don’t know how Gyudon restaurants can do such low pricing because beef is not cheap in Japan.  Well, some people say they use pretty low grade meat that has a lot of fat.  However, the meat is so thin and seasoned well that it still tastes pretty good. (The Japanese chain Yoshinoya has stores in the US and their “beef bowl” is good, but nothing beats homemade with fresh ingredients.)

When you make this at home, you also want to use thinly sliced beef with some fat, but not necessarily cheap meat.  Red meat without any fat makes the beef tough and dry when cooked, so use a cut of beef with enough fat such as chuck shoulder roast.  You can ask your local butcher shop to cut “paper thin,” and they are most likely happy to do it for you.

Gyudon is easy to cook in no time at all, so it is a perfect dinner for a busy night.  With Sunomono and Miso Soup, you have a great meal.

Gyudon Recipe

Prep Time:

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2-3 servings



  1. Slice onion thinly, and cut sliced beef in 2" width.
  2. Boil Dashi in a pot and add sliced onion. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add soy sauce, sugar, and Sake and cook another 3-4 minutes. Add grated ginger.
  3. Add sliced beef in pot and stir. Cook about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour meat and sauce over rice and top with pickled red ginger.

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  • Ariel
    January 15, 2014 at 6:33 am

    HI! So I don’t have ingredients to make Dashi broth, but I have Hon-dashi in my kitchen and i’m wondering if I can mix that with water to create Dashi broth?
    If i can, can you please provide me the measurements for the Hon-dashi and water mixture?

    Thank you,


    • Noriko
      February 1, 2014 at 11:55 am

      yes you can use Hondashi to make quick Dashi. I don’t use Hondashi so I don’t know the exact ratio, but I’m sure it’s on its box or bag.

  • Yeni
    February 3, 2014 at 10:11 am

    I just tried making this and its definitely quick, easy and tasty. Thank you!

    • Noriko
      February 10, 2014 at 9:08 am

      glad you liked the recipe!

  • Ron
    March 11, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    Can you substitute the mirin with sugar

    • Noriko
      March 12, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      substitute with sake with a little sugar.

  • Tyler
    April 13, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    I used about 5 teaspoons of Rice Vinegar in place of the Sake and an extra teaspoon of sugar, and it came out fantastic!

    • Tyler
      April 13, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      i also exchanged half of the onion for green onions and it made a pretty garnish as well without compromising taste.

    • Noriko
      April 14, 2014 at 11:03 pm

      glad you liked it.

  • Donna
    May 13, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Can I substitute the dashi with anything? Surprisingly, I’m half Japanese and I don’t particularly care for the taste of dashi.

    • Noriko
      June 4, 2014 at 1:29 am

      Dashi is a key component for Japanese cuisine…but if you don’t like it, use just water instead of using sustitutes.

  • Jackie
    May 20, 2014 at 10:07 am

    I found a cut of meat at the grocery store that worked out pretty well. A ‘top blade steak, thinly slilced’ was a good substitute if you can’t find the paperthin cuts.

    • Noriko
      June 3, 2014 at 12:19 am

      glad you found the butcher who can do slicing!

  • Kim
    May 30, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! 🙂 It is delicious, especially when using the ichiban dashi’s extra flavor!

    • Noriko
      June 2, 2014 at 11:13 pm

      glad you enjoyed our recipe!

  • Gina
    June 18, 2014 at 2:32 am

    I want to make this for dinner tonight but my hometown doesn’t have dashi and Asian stores are like 2 hours away. Is there something I can do to substitute dashi even though it’s not by choice?

    • Noriko
      September 13, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      because there is a lot of flavor from beef and onion, you can use water instead of Dashi here. But this is an exception. Don’t make Miso Soup with water, for example, that will not work!

  • Nick
    August 10, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Can I use shabu shabu beef?

    • Noriko
      September 12, 2014 at 1:45 am

      sure if you don’t mind paying too much for that. You can use lower grade (still sliced paper thin) beef for Gyudon.

  • Kristy
    August 11, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! My family loved it!

    • Noriko
      September 12, 2014 at 1:40 am

      You’re welcome! Try other recipes too for your family.

  • Diana
    August 24, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    What kind of beef do you recommend for this recipe? The Japanese market is far from where I live. 🙁

    • Noriko
      September 8, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      as long as it’s thinly cut meat (paper thin), usually works. You can partially freeze meat and slice as possible as you can.

  • Panjita
    September 4, 2014 at 2:30 am

    I have tried this recipe with a slight of substitution. I dont have Sake, so I substitute it with mirin, but I omit the sugar because mirin is already very sweet. The result is quite nice for my taste, very savoury. Nice 🙂

    But some people said that the fishy smell (from Dashi) quite strong, so they cant hadle the taste. Can you give advice for that matter?

    Actually in your site, you said that Sake will neutralize the fishy taste, but unfortunately I dont have one… 🙁

    • Noriko
      September 8, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      you can substitute Dashi with water.

  • annie noegroho
    September 6, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. Its delicious and easy to cooked. My sons very like it. ^_^

    • Noriko
      September 8, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      grad you and your son liked our Gyudon recipe!

  • Dan
    September 17, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    First off, I want to say that this is a great recipe! The whole website is great for me since I am learning how to cook properly (IE not just making pasta), which I appreciate very much.

    Because I couldn’t find any dashi or bonito flakes at the stores near me (haven’t checked out the Asian food store for it yet), I substituted vegetable broth for it; the other reason for the substitution is because my father is allergic to fish but if I were to do the dish for myself I’ll do it right; meaning, using dashi as described!

    Thank you again for this wonderful website; it has helped tremendously.


    • Noriko
      September 17, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      glad we can help. If you would like to make vegetarian version of broth, you can use Kombu dried kelp whick could be purchased at asian grocery stores or online stores. We have Ichiban Dashi recipe and you can skip Katsuobushi. Good luck making Japanese food for your family!

  • Cristina
    September 20, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Hi Noriko,

    Thanks for sharing all your recipes with us who loves eating japanese food. Now i would like to start of making this gyudon recipe. I would like to know if i can use cooking rice wine (morita ryori-shu) that i bought in mitsuwa instead of Sake or its the same thing?

    Thanks again.


    • Cristina
      September 20, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Hello again!

      I just make the Gyudon and its really good. Thank you very much for this recipe. I guess the cooking rice wine works really well too… Maybe some day i will buy Sake to find out the difference…My family surely will enjoy this one… Now on to the next recipe… Have a great day to all.


      • Noriko
        September 20, 2014 at 9:12 pm

        glad you liked our Gyudon Recipe! Getting right kinds of seasonings and ingredients for Japanese cooking is important to make authentic Japanese food. And you’re doing right! Come back for many more recipes of Japanese Cooking 101!

    • Noriko
      September 20, 2014 at 9:10 pm

      that’s exactly what we use, cooking sake (ryorishu).

  • sian
    October 19, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Hi, I want to make it with dashi pack and usually when I prepare it, I bring it to boil and then simmer for 5 mins ish. But for this recipe, should I just keep it boiling after every step, like after adding the onion, sauce and beef. Thanks!

    • Noriko
      October 24, 2014 at 9:06 pm

      hope you like our Gyudon recipe!

  • Mike
    December 28, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    I’ve made gyudon a few times from different recipes. This was the easiest and actually the best tasting one I’ve had though I did substitute the dashi since I’m not a fan. Instead I used a combination of beef stock, water and soy sauce which came out pretty good.

    Thanks for the recipe and the site. It’s given me some great variety in my eating.

    • Noriko
      December 28, 2015 at 11:41 pm

      thanks for your comment! Glad our Gyudon recipe works out for you.

  • Tjhie Oktavianes
    March 27, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Thanks for the recipe Noriko san, this is the easy way to eat gyudon.. better than eat in yoshigyu

  • Danny and Emily
    August 10, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    We bought thin sliced bottom round kobe beef from our asian market and it was marbled perfect. We were not sure what we wanted to make with ot and found your recipe. It was excellent! The rest of the ingredients were already in our fridge or cupboard. We were so anxious to eat it we forgot to put the pickled ginger on top. I like hondashi for those impromptu dinners when you only need a small amount and have not prepared a batch of dashi because it is so time consuming. Thank you! Already a fan of your website 🙂

  • Hayley
    August 12, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    Is it ok to use ginger from a jar or will this effect the flavour? And is there a good substitute for the sake that will retain a similar flavour? I’m not keen on using alcohol.
    I love this dish when I’m out and I’m dying to try it at home. Thank you

    • Noriko
      August 19, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      The alcohol in Sake would be evaporated during cooking, but the flavor stays. If you still don’t like using alcohol in your cooking, you can just omit it.

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    […] Cooking Method: https://www.japanesecooking101.com/gyudon-recipe-beef-bowl/ […]

  • stella luna
    October 27, 2016 at 12:01 am

    thank you for awesome recipes but i have i question i live in a region where i can’t find dashi or it’s Ingredients what can i use for a sbutitute ?

  • K
    October 29, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Stunning! Absolutely loved it, thank you for sharing.