Gyudon (Beef Bowl)

Gyudon (Beef Bowl)

With thinly sliced beef and sweet onions more than a bowl of steaming rice, this Gyudon (牛丼), or “beef bowl” is a mouthwatering Japanese vintage that will come jointly in minutes. The magic formula to tender flavorful beef is to gently simmer the meat in a broth created from dashi, white wine, and sake. The broth turns into a delicious sauce that percolates into the rice, flavoring every grain with hundreds of beefy goodness.

Gyudon (Beef and Bowl), is a classic Japanese dish made with beef and onions that have been simmered in a sweet and savory broth. Served over rice, this easy, satisfying meal comes together in under 15 minutes.

What is Gyudon

Though these times Japan is popular for their Wagyu beef, making use of cattle for meals is a relatively new principle that dates back again to the latter 50 % of the nineteenth century, when Japan opened its doorways to international trade. One particular of the first regions to welcome foreigners was Tokyo, which is why it’s no huge shock that Gyudon got its commence there.

As with most new ingredients that work their way into a culinary society, beef was to begin with in a way that was acquainted to Japanese men and women: as a hotpot (鍋 – nabé). The new dish grew to become acknowledged as Gyunabé (牛鍋), and it was the precursor to contemporary-day Sukiyaki, as nicely as Shabu Shabu, and Gyudon. In the latter portion of the nineteenth century, enterprising vendors started out offering gyunabe on best of a bowl of rice, as a kind of quickly meals, and ti was called Gyumeshi (牛めし – “beef rice”).

One of these suppliers was a guy named Eikichi Matsuda who was from a city referred to as Yoshino around Osaka. He opened a small stall at Nihonbashi Fish Market in 1899 marketing a hearty meal named Gyunabé Bukkake (牛鍋ぶっかけ – “covered in gyunabe”) to the employees at the industry. Following the Nihonbashi market was ruined in the course of the Excellent Kanto Earthquake, Matsuda moved Yoshinoya to the new market situated in Tsukiji in 1926. Gyudon remained a specialty of the Tokyo area right up until the mid 20th century when Yoshinoya started increasing outside the house of Tokyo.

Homemade Yoshinoya-style Gyudon (Beef Bowl) in a pan.

Gyudon Ingredients

The beef

To get an authentic Gyudon flavor, you need to use a cut of fatty beef. This not only keeps the slim slices of beef moist, but the body fat alone also contributes a easy richness to the sauce. Yoshinoya is famously picky about their beef and only uses quick-plate from American beef. They produced a stir in 2004 when the BSE scare (and the ensuing ban on US beef in Japan) brought on them to change their legendary beef bowl with a pork bowl. For context, this would be akin to McDonald’s halting product sales of hamburgers in the US and changing them with rooster burgers.

As stocks of low-cost US beef disappeared, Yoshinoya’s competitors Matsuya and Sukiya responded by sourcing beef from other nations, but Yoshinoya stubbornly refused to compromise on high quality and value, sticking with pork till the ban was lifted over two several years afterwards. Whilst some customers just switched brands, some faithful Yoshinoya fan’s went to the lengths of checking out the chain’s overseas places to take pleasure in their beloved Gyudon.

Limited-plate can be a bit hard to locate, which is why I like to use boneless quick ribs for my Gyudon. It tends to have very good marbling and is a little a lot more tender than brief plate. Irrespective of what minimize of beef you use, it’s crucial to slice the meat thinly from the grain. This is what tends to make it feasible to prepare dinner the meat for this kind of a short amount of time and however still have it come out tender. If you are pleasant with your regional butcher, you can try out inquiring them to cut it for you on a meat slicer, or you can evenly freeze the beef and then use a extremely sharp knife to slice it into sheets that are about 1/sixteen of an inch thick (~one.4mm).

The onions

I’ve attempted a bunch of distinct types of onions right here including Welsh onions, and leeks, but I always end up going back to simple previous yellow onions. That’s simply because they have a tendency to keep their condition the very best. Juicer kinds this kind of as sweet onions, are inclined to flip to mush when you cook them for way too long, and purple onions discolor, taking on an unappetizing gray appearance.

Gyudon sauce

Simply because Gyudon originated as a hotpot, it’s well prepared in a comparable way with the beef and onions cooked in a savory sweet broth. I like generating mine with a blend of dashi inventory, white wine, sake, soy sauce, and sugar. The white wine contributes just a trace of acidity while incorporating a fruitiness that provides out the sweetness of the onions. The sake adds lots of umami, and the soy sauce seasons the broth.

If you are a die-hard Yoshinoya fan and want to get the same taste, you are likely to need to have to use Hondashi granules (which includes MSG) to make the dashi. Personally, I uncover this a tiny weighty-handed, ensuing in an artificial taste. That’s why I favor to use a batch of dashi well prepared employing my selfmade dashi recipe.

With thinly sliced beef and onions simmered in a sweet and savory broth, Gyudon is a classic Japanese rice bowl that comes together in minutes from just a handful of ingredients.

Gyudon condiments

While purists, tend to choose their Gyudon unadorned, I like incorporating toppings this kind of as benishōga (purple pickled ginger), scallions and sesame seeds, which add levels of texture and style. Here’s a listing of some of my favourite condiments for Gyudon:

  • scallions– Brown on white isn’t a extremely flattering look, and a sprinkle of scallions assists insert a splash of colour even though fortifying the taste of the onions in the Gyudon.
  • benishōga– benishōga or “red ginger” is younger ginger pickled in the tangy juices produced even though making umeboshi (pickled plums). Though these days the color is usually additional by means of different means, it was initially coloured by the red shiso leaves added to umeboshi. The tangy, salty pickles incorporate a nice color and flavor contrast to the beef, and the ginger will help smooth out the rough edges of the beef.
  • sesame seeds– toasted sesame seeds not only add a fantastic texture to the Gyudon, but they also give the donburi a great nutty flavor that pairs beautifully with the beef.
  • onsen tamago– onsen tamago, or “hot spring egg”, is basically a sous vide egg. It’s cooked in its shell at a hundred forty five.five levels F for about 45 minutes, which renders the egg white delicate and custardy although thickening up the yolk and offering it a prosperous buttery texture. Gyudon is a bit of an outlier amongst donburi’s in that it doesn’t consist of any egg, and including an onsen tamago on leading fixes this minimal oversight.
  • aonori– aonori virtually implies “green nori” and they arrive in flakes that can be sprinkled on leading of things. They are most popular for heading on dishes like oykonomiyaki and takoyaki, but they incorporate a contact of color and aromatic oceanic aroma which is a scrumptious take on surf and turf.

Gyudon (牛鍋)


Produce: two people

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: thirteen minutes

Overall Time: 15 minutes



For beef bowl

  • 1

  • 2

    sweet white wine
    (this kind of as Riesling or Gewürztraminer)

  • two


  • 2 one/2

    soy sauce

  • two


  • 250

    (quite thinly sliced)

  • 100

    (~one/two massive onion, thickly sliced

  • four hundred

    cooked brief-grain rice

For garnish

  • sesame seeds

  • 1

    (chopped, optional)

  • benishōga
    (purple pickled ginger, optional)


  1. Include the dashi, white wine, sake, soy sauce, sugar, and onions to a pan and provide to a boil more than medium-substantial warmth.

    Making Gyudon from scratch starts with the dashi and onion.
  2. Change down the warmth to keep a simmer and prepare dinner the onions till they’re mostly translucent (about 3 minutes)

    Simmering onions together with a dashi broth to make gyudon.
  3. Incorporate the beef, and switch down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Prepare dinner, stirring frequently until finally the meat is tender (about ten minutes). Change salt.

    Adding thinly sliced beef to the onions and dashi stock makes the best gyudon.
  4. Serve the beef over bowls of scorching rice, with some of the cooking liquid poured above the beef and rice. Garnish the Gyudon with sesame seeds, scallions, and benishōga.

    Finished Japanese gyudon that's ready to serve.

Diet Information

Gyudon (牛鍋)

Amount Per Serving

Calories from Fat 243

% Daily Value*

Whole Unwanted fat27g

Saturated Fat 10g




Total Carbohydrates59g

Nutritional Fiber 4g

Sugars 6g


Vitamin A

Vitamin C




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