Overhead photo of Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps

Foods I never need to add to my grocery list because they end up in my cart each week no matter what:

  • Applesauce. Because kids.
  • Wine. See above.
  • Eggs. Egg Salad for president.
  • Applegate Farms Salami. Can’t stop / won’t stop.
  • Ground beef.

Even if I don’t have a concrete plan in mind for using ground beef, I buy it anyway. It’s an inexpensive protein option, super versatile, and most importantly, Lincoln loves it. And if you have a toddler then you know you gotta ride that “foods we don’t complain about eating” train as far as humanly possible before its inevitable derailment.

While ground beef is spaghetti-bound at least once a week, I also frequently use it to make Skillet Tater Tot CasseroleTaco Chili, and Incredible Italian Meatballs (here are all my ground beef recipes in case you need some inspiration!) My newest creation though, Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps, is rising to the top of my ground beef faves list!

Korean Beef over rice

Watch How to Make It!

What is Korean Beef?

If you’ve never tasted the flavors of Bulgogi, a Korean beef dish that inspired these lettuce wraps, you’re in for a real treat. Thinly sliced beef is flavored with soy sauce (we’re going with gluten-free Tamari here,) sugar, sesame, garlic, and green onion then grilled or stir fried. The beef has that savory/sweet flavor that keeps you going back for bite after bite.

Well, I decided to make this traditional dish weeknight friendly by using ground beef instead of sliced steak! All you do is brown ground beef with green onions and garlic then simmer for a minute with a 5 ingredient sauce. Scoop over fresh lettuce cups filled with cooked rice for a 3-bite taco-type dish. 15 minutes + fridge and pantry staples = total home run!

Kid Friendly and Low Carb Options

To make this meal toddler-friendly, I turned the Korean ground beef into Korean Beef Bowls by scooping the meat mixture over rice. If you want to go the low carb route, you could swap the white rice for cauliflower rice which I think would be super tasty sauteed in either sesame or garlic-flavored wok oil. Or scoop the meat mixture into lettuce cups as shown, minus the rice. Whichever way you go, this gluten-free dinner recipe couldn’t be easier nor more delicious. Go give it a try!

Hand holding Korean Beef lettuce cup made with ground beef

How to Make Korean Ground Beef

Start by heating 2 teaspoons sesame oil in a large, 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1lb ground beef, the chopped white and light green parts of 2 green onions, and a dash of white pepper (or black pepper if that’s all you have on hand) then saute until cooked through. Add 2 cloves minced garlic then saute for 30 seconds.

Next, drizzle in a mixture of 1/4 cup LOW-SODIUM gluten-free Tamari, 2 Tablespoons coconut sugar (could sub in white sugar or honey,) 1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (or more or less), 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds then saute for 1 more minute.

That’s all she wrote! Scoop white rice into lettuce cups then top with the green parts of the chopped green onions, plus more toasted sesame seeds, and dive in. I hope you love this craveable, seriously simple weeknight dinner recipe! Enjoy!

Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps on a platter with rice

More Quick and Easy Ground Beef Recipes

Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps

4.5/5 (20 REVIEWS)


Korean Beef Lettuce Wraps are ready in just 15 minutes! This easy, gluten-free dinner recipe is made from kitchen staples and is even better than take-out.


serves 4

  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1/4 cup LOW SODIUM gluten-free Tamari or soy sauce (dish will not be GF if using traditional soy sauce)
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut sugar or white sugar or honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (or more or less)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 2 green onions, chopped - white and light green parts, and dark parts divided
  • white pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 head butter or Boston Bibb lettuce, leaves separated


  1. Add rice and 1-1/2 cups water to a small saucepan then bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low then cover and simmer for 10 minutes (water should just barely be at a simmer.) Remove pan from heat then let sit for 5 minutes before removing the lid and fluffing with a fork. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together gluten-free Tamari or soy sauce, coconut sugar, chili garlic sauce, ground ginger, and sesame seeds in a small dish then set aside.
  3. Heat sesame oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and white and light green parts of green onions then season with white pepper and cook through. Add garlic then saute for 30 seconds. Pour in sauce then saute for 1 more minute.
  4. Scoop cooked rice into lettuce leaves then top with Korean beef mixture, green parts of green onions, and extra toasted sesame seeds if desired.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.