Copycat Yoshinoya Beef Bowls


Copycat Yoshinoya Beef Bowls taste just like the popular fast food beef bowl recipe from Japan!


Remember that time I got paid to spend the entire summer in Japan in college (Camp Adventure, woot!) and gained like, 15lbs from drinking too much Peach Chu-Hi and eating WAY too many gyoza? I do.

Well there’s something else to blame for all the weight I packed onto my short little frame in 3 short months – Yoshinoya Beef Bowls. OH YES!

Yoshinoya is a fast-casual restaurant chain in Japan that’s famous for its beef bowls containing silky white rice and piles of thinly shaven, tender beef on top. Sounds weird – taste AMAZING.


They’re pretty much everywhere and you can get in and out in under 15 minutes, making it ideal for stopping in for a quick lunch, bite after work, nosh after the bars…

I was incredibly Japan-sick after I returned at the end of that summer, and vowed to recreate the dish I loved so much at home so I could have it anytime I wanted. Using only 6 low-fuss ingredients, I think I got pretty close!

Start by bringing beef broth, soy sauce or gluten-free tamari, mirin, and a little sugar to a boil.


This is mirin, by the way. It’s a Japanese cooking wine that you can get at any grocery store these days.


After the liquid is boiling, add in sliced onions.


Let them cook until they’re tender, about 5 minutes.


Finally, add in very thinly sliced beef loin. I’ve had my butcher do the slicing for me before, otherwise just pop the beef into the freezer until it hardens, then slice it. Unlike my thighs that summer, the thinner the better!

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Since the beef is sliced so thin, it literally takes a minute to cook in the hot broth. It’s kind of like Pho in this way.


OMG, that just reminded me of my INSANE first boss out of college who ate pho everyday for lunch. Eeek! Movingonmovingonmovingon! Pile the tender beef and onion slices over fluffy white rice, drizzle with some sauce, and you are set my friend!


Copycat Yoshinoya Beef Bowls

Serves 4


Copycat Yoshinoya Beef Bowls taste just like the popular fast food beef bowl recipe from Japan!


  • 1-1/3 cup beef broth
  • 5 Tablespoons soy sauce or gluten-free tamarin (dish will not be GF if using soy sauce)
  • 3 Tablespoons mirin
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1lb beef, sliced very thin (I used top sirloin)
  • white rice


  1. Bring beef broth, soy sauce, mirin and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and add onions. Cook until onions are tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add beef slices into the broth and cook until just barely done, about 1-2 minutes. Serve over white rice.


  • Tip: to slice beef or chicken thin, place into the freezer until nearly frozen, then cut.
  • Chicken version: substitute 1lb chicken breast for beef, use chicken broth instead of beef broth

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,


The sauce in this dish is so delicate. Neither salty, nor sweet – it is just right. Umami? Mixed with the melt-in-your-mouth beef and onions, I am sent straight back to the counter at my local Yoshinoya with just one bite.

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Don’t fear, beef haters, this recipe tastes awesome made with chicken broth instead of beef broth, and using sliced chicken breast instead of beef. Throw some broccoli or edamame in there, and you’ll be in Heaven!


Ugh, now I kind of want to read Memoirs for a Geisha. My copy is completely tattered from reading it nearly 5 dozen times after I returned home from Japan at the end of that summer. It’s funny how you can build such a strong connection with a place in such a short amount of time. I could easily move there tomorrow and call it home!

Alas, I’ll have to call the moving men another day. Poor Ben spiraled today and I sent him straight to bed after he got home from work. Thinking this ear infection has turned into something worse, so I’m off to play nurse for the night. :(

Oh! And the new IGE tour will come tomorrow or Wednesday. Still putting the final touches on, such as improving post navigation and bumping up the size and darkness of the font. My aging eyeballs can barely see a thing!

Have a great night!


Have you ever had the opportunity to study or live abroad?

My summer in Japan was the best summer of my life. Unlike studying abroad, it was free and I actually got school credit while getting paid. That said, a semester in Italy or New Zealand would have been awfully nice!

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  1. CherubMamma 11.21.2011

    This sounds absolutely delish! I’m going to have to try it soon. And with the onions being so soft like that, my cherubs might actually eat them too. :)

    I never got to study abroad. However, due to where I live in the country — I FEEL like I’m living in a different country right now!

    As for boss stories, I could totally hijack your blog comments with stories from the years I worked for Satan himself.

  2. Kelsey 11.21.2011

    did you get a new camera or a new lens? or something to make your photos look different?! it’s all beautiful!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 11.21.2011

      I did! Still learning how to use it AND deal with the darkness at 4:30pm!

  3. Stephanie 11.21.2011

    I studied abroad for one month in the summer in Costa Rica! I took classes during the week in the capital, but the weekends were free to travel places :) I lived with a Costa Rican family, too, which was cool!

    As for crazy bosses, I worked at an ice cream store one summer/fall, and though the boss was kind-hearted she also had a temper, and yelled at us for making our ice cream cones “too big”!

    By the way, love the new site design!

    • Stephanie 11.21.2011

      Oh yeah, also studied/had fun in France for two weeks in high school :D A week in Paris + a week in southern France living with a host family = bliss

  4. Kelly 11.21.2011

    Oh Camp Adventure, my roommate had many stories from her Summer in Germany with them. I kind of wish I could go, but at least I’ll get to be abroad this summer, I’m PUMPED!
    Hmm, as for bosses, my two bosses just incredibly unprofessional. Good times.

  5. Katrina 11.21.2011

    I felt the same way after returning from a visit to Europe. I was heavy into English lit and obsessed with Ann Rice. I reread my copies of the vampire chronicles over and over. All my studying and living has been stateside…which accounts for my unhealthy addiction to good ol’ southern food. . . and the status of my thighs.

  6. There’s a whole load of Yoshinoya outlets in Singapore, but I’ve never gone to any of them primarily because everyone I know says that it isn’t worth it. :( The recipe looks so simple though! I’d love to try it with minced chicken or something.

  7. ana 11.21.2011

    I’ve been to Costa Rica and Mexico twice but never for more than a week – still awesome experiences! This looks awesome. You should give us a pho recipe some time :) I can’t imagine eating it every day, though!

  8. Studying abroad were my favorite parts of college by far. I was lucky that my school had a winter session so you could study abroad for 5-6 weeks without missing an entire semester. My winters in Greece and Ecuador were both amazing!

  9. OK, so i’ve been reading you in my google reader at work for months now, and i just clicked over today… the site redesign looks AMAZING!!!! I love it!!!

  10. Cindee 11.21.2011

    That looks amazing! I just found Mirin for a teriyaki dish, now I’m going to have to try this.

    As for crazy bosses, mine was the craziest. Worked for him for 15 years and there wasn’t a day that went by that we all rolled our eyes and went with it. Crazy!

  11. Grace 11.21.2011

    There’s tons of Yoshinoya’s in California! It is just as delicious in CA as it is in Taiwan (the only other place I’ve had Yoshinoya). :)

    I had a boss who kept calling me by my coworker’s name (Christina), and called Christina my name. She sometimes got it right but usually didn’t. We both happen to be Asian but that’s where the physical similarities stop – its pretty hard to get us mixed up. And when she got corrected, either by one of us or one of our other coworkers, she said it didn’t make a difference since, “we’re all the same.” She didn’t have any trouble with any of the other staff’s names, just us Asians… Needless to say, I didn’t stay in that job long.

  12. Lindsey 11.21.2011

    I went on a 3 week exchange to France in high school but that is about it. I would have loved to stayed longer and actually gone to school there now but at the time I didn’t see it like that.
    I had a boss that used to nap under her desk and actually lay on the floor and throw temper tantrums! It was crazy now that I think back to it – and it was only a few years ago!

  13. Allyson Jo 11.21.2011

    Looks so good, I think I will try this sometime this week! I love to travel! Especially while being so young!

  14. Jane 11.21.2011

    Wouldn’t you laugh your butt off if your old boss read your blog and didn’t realize you were talking about her!! :d

    • Iowa Girl Eats 11.21.2011

      She’d *totally* know I was talking about her! She even knows what a nut case she is (she just doesn’t care!)

  15. Karina 11.21.2011

    I studied abroad in Vienna, Austriafor five months in 2007, and then returned to southern Austria for a month this last summer. Austria is one of my favorite countries in the world. Summer-great for drinking white wine (Austria is famous for their Rieslings), and sitting outside in the Wachau wine valley. Fall-the new wine comes out, called Sturm, and it gets you really happy really quickly, and the Austrians love to sit outside in the restaurant vineyards (Heuriger) and drink the new wine and party. Winter-Christkindlmarkts are these outdoor Christmas markets where they sell crafts, hot alcoholic beverages, gingerbread, appetizers, and they have them in all the main plazas decorated with beautiful Christmas lights….oh, Austria is so wonderful. I miss it so much! You would probably really like it Kristen!

    That being said, they eat alot of meat in Austria. I got tired of meat being every meal’s main event. Also, I got tired of the weird meatless bready but somehow still soggy ‘souffles’ they served when I tried to order vegetarian entrees. :p But that may have just been the catering at the place I lived this last summer….

  16. Kayren 11.21.2011

    I did Camp Adventure, too!!!! What a great program! I spent one summer in Seoul, Korea (at Yongsan) and one summer in Japan also (in Atsugi). They were both awesome experiences!

  17. Maddie 11.21.2011

    Ugh this makes me want real Japanese food. I’ve still been meaning to make ramen with soba noodles with all of the seaweed and chili oil in it… haven’t gotten around to it yet. I also wish that there was some ice cream place that produced Beni Imo! That stuff was like crack.

  18. Jennie 11.21.2011

    This looks delish.

    I studied in Mexico twice and met my husband there. Oh to be back with a corona in hand enjoying an afternoon in the zocalo…

  19. Kendall 11.21.2011

    Yum! Looks delicious and so easy to make! That could definitely become one of my go to end-of-a-long-day dinner recipes!

    And I am currently living in Germany. We’ve been here for over two years now, and have about two years left. My husband is in the Air Force and this is where they sent us! Once the culture shock wore off, I was definitely able to enjoy Germany much better! It truly is a beautiful place. I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity.

  20. Kate 11.21.2011

    Yay! I lived in Japan for 4 years after college and LOVE Japanese food, but have also become a Grade A Japanese food snob as a result. It was THE time of my life, and I dream about it most days…sigh.

    Good work on the Yoshinoya – did you try anything else when you were there? takoyaki? Okonomiyaki? Where were you exactly?

  21. Lauren 11.21.2011

    Um, this looks delish! I totally understand the love for Yoshinoya. We’ve got them all over the place here in Beijing. I would gain loads of weight if it were close enough to justify going everyday. I’ve been living abroad for a long time.I teach internationally. I’ve lived in Cairo, Egypt for 3 years and now I’m in Beijing, China.I love how every time I move somewhere there are always certain elements that make is seem like home after a while. Reading your blog helps me stay connected to Iowa too!

  22. EM 11.22.2011

    I studied in Germany for a summer. I now live in Austria (going on ten years now.)

  23. tania 11.22.2011

    i just got a huge wave of nostalgia!!
    i visited japan for 3 weeks last november, and my hubby and i ate there for breakfast a few times… LOVED IT!!

    actually, i loved every single thing about japan in general :)
    Tokyo, the shinkansen, mount fuji, the subway, the people, the culture, etc etc…lol

    when we got back to Toronto, we were bowing to everyone as a hello or thank you, it took us a few days to re-adjust!
    love, love, loved Japan :)
    cant wait to go back on our 10 yr anniversary, 6 more yrs to go.

    p.s. awesome redesign :)

  24. Ashley 11.22.2011

    That looks delicious! I think i will try it with Chicken though, yum!

    And, I have a crazy boss. As like right now in the present, and I wouldn’t even know where to begin with the stories.

  25. Love the new colors of the blog, so purty :) I recently re-designed mine too and chose light blue and yellow as the colors, I love those combo.

    We have (did?, not sure if they are still around) Yoshinoya here in Southern California, I used to eat their bowls a lot in high school.

    My husband in Japanese but he was born here in the U.S. Someday we plan to go to Japan and vacation together and explore.

  26. This dish looks incredible, and I really like your re-design!!!

  27. Melissa 11.22.2011

    Those pictures are amazing! Making me want to get Japanese food for lunch :)

  28. This meal looks amazing!!!

  29. Recipe pinned, bam!

  30. Sarah 11.22.2011

    This looks SUPER yummy!I wonder if one could throw some broccoli in there too. I might have to try it.

  31. Morgan 11.22.2011

    This post made me very excited for my upcoming adventure! I’m off to S. Korea to teach English in Feb. I’m sure I will be eating similar things.
    I’ve also lived and studied in Italy and picked up some cooking tips along the way.
    I love all food!

  32. Lorrie 11.22.2011


    I’m a sophmore at UNI and before reading your blog I was living off of frozen meals and I had never cooked chicken. A Gamma Phi alum, Amanda F (now L), came and talked about healthy eating at a Gamma Phi PACE. She told us about your blog and I have been hooked ever since. I have already made 5 of your recipes and I plan on making more! I’ve found that I actually like cooking!

    I’m from Des Moines and I love it there, but I love to travel too! I did Camp Adventure last summer and loved it! I spent 3 months in Germany and I traveled to 7 diffferent countries! I just got my placement for next summer in Atsugi, Japan and I’m so excited to experience a completely different culture! I love your blog and I can’t wait to try more of your recipes! : )


  33. Sara 11.23.2011

    My family LOVED this! It was so good and very easy to make, my kind of meal!

  34. Was just catching up after being on a cruise all week and this recipe definitely caught my eye! I often shy away from Asian recipes because they tend to require too many ingredients but this one looks easy and delicious! Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving :)

  35. Another recipe I MUST make for my meat-eating fiance. I am always on the lookout for new meals for him because when it comes to meat, I am just not that creative. Your recipes have never let me down!!

    I was born in Japan and also spent a few years in Okinawa but I would love to go back as an adult (for a visit). We have actually been thinking about living in Belize after we spend a few years traveling the U.S. in our RV. We are retiring early (but “poor”) next December… Central America will offer more bang for our buck!

  36. Tiffany 11.29.2011

    HOLY HANNAH!…made this last night!~ hands down the closest i’ve had to REAL japanese beef!…sooo yummy!…you ROCK IGE!…thanks a million and p.s. saw Breaking Dawn TWICE as well and hands down the best! and my favorite movie in the series yet!…gooo twihard fans! LOL

  37. […] Iowa Girl’s easy-peasy Japanese beef bowls. […]

  38. Jamie 12.08.2011

    So, I’ve been oogling at this recipe for weeks now. I described it to my mom, who was off put by the fact that it was “boiled meat” and didn’t think it would come out tender and tasty. I told her “I trust Iowa Girl. I KNOW this will be good.”

    My GAWD. This was so yummy!! The meat was indeed very tender, the broth was exactly as you described it- delicate- and boy oh BOY those onions! After I finished eating I stood over the pot for a good 5 minutes fishing for more onions. =]

  39. Brianne 12.14.2011

    I lived in Okinawa and was so excited to find this recipe on Pinterest. I made it tonight but it wasn’t as flavorful as I thought it would be. I wonder if I did something wrong or if it shouldn’t have a “strong” flavor. Any ideas?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 12.14.2011

      You could try probably try adding more soy sauce for more flavor if you’d like!

  40. Maureen 06.19.2012

    Thank you thank you thank you!!!! I am so happy to have found this!!! I have been looking everywhere to find a beef bow recipe that doesn’t use dashi, as I am allergic to any and all kinds of fish! This is PERFECT!! I can’t wait to try it tonight! You are a lifesaver!

  41. Joy 11.12.2012

    My husband and I live in Japan right now and love the beef bowls! I have been wanting to cook this at home so thanks so much for the recipe! Will be trying this tomorrow!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 11.12.2012

      That is so awesome!! Hope you enjoy them! What part of Japan do you live in?

      • Joy 11.15.2012

        We live in Northern Kyoto Prefecture in a place called Maizuru. The recipe is amazing! Yummy!! We loved it!

  42. Ariel 11.20.2012

    Thanks for explaining how to do this. I’m stationed in Texas where there is absolutely NO YOSHINOYA! I can’t wait to try this recipe out!

  43. Karl Bishop 12.13.2012

    I lived in Denver many years ago and in the 70’s there was a restaurant chain called Beef Bowl. I loved it and they went out of business. I have always wondered how to duplicate it but never tried, but really wouldn’t know where to start.

    Anyway, after all these years I thought this morning that I would Google it and see what I could find. I had no idea that this was such a popular dish. I know what we are having for dinner tonight and I already have most of the ingredients including the pickled ginger, the best part. Wow. Thanks
    Karl Bishop

  44. meghan 01.02.2013

    Omg, so glad I found this page, even if no one posted in over a year. Yoshinoya was my saving grace in Japan as I didn’t like sushi back then lol I simply can’t wait to make this dish… Hopefully they will open one in Toronto sometime in the near future! Thank you so much for this!!!

  45. Christina 06.06.2013

    Excellent recipe! My son is addicted to Yoshinoya beef bowls. I tried your recipe and he said it’s “pretty close” and he has devoured the whole thing (1lb of beef) over white rice within a day!

    One thing I did differently is that instead of slicing my own beef, I just went to our local Marukai (I’m in California) and bought ribeye shabu-shabu (thinly pre-sliced beef), so my entire preparation time took no more than 10 minutes.

    For shabu-shabu, I suspect if you don’t have Japanese grocery stores near by, you could try Korean or Chinese supermarkets.

    thank you!!

  46. Dissapointed 10.22.2013

    I made this recipe as per your instructions and it tasted nothing like Yoshinoya’s beef bowl.

  47. Xephyr 11.30.2013

    Thanks for the recipe, it was great!! :) Simple, easy, and delicious!

  48. Susana 04.04.2014

    Would you happen to know the chicken bowl recipe? Anyone?

  49. Adam 04.04.2014

    Yoshinoya is totally disgusting. The bowls are 90% rice and the meat is some thin sliced, highly salty mystery meat.

  50. Kimberly 04.19.2014

    I went to Wal-Mart to get the Aji-Mirin they didn’t have it just a head’s up I’m in D’Iberville,Ms. Making this tonight!!

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