This delicious gyudon beef bowl is based on a signature dish from a famous chain restaurant in Japan called "Sukiya" and now you can make it in your own kitchen! Thinly sliced beef cooked in a delicious dashi sauce with simmered onions, served on a bed of fluffy Japanese white rice. So much comfort in one bowl!
Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. Sudachi Recipes earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. See disclaimer for more info.
Difficulty level: ★★★☆☆
What is Gyudon?
Gyudon is a delicious bowl of thinly sliced beef and onions that have been simmered in a delicious Japanese dashi sauce. You can see how to make the tsuyu dashi sauce we use in this recipe here. The meat absorbs the flavours and the sauce is also poured over the rice, it's seriously so GOOD!
In Japanese, "gyuu" (牛) means cow, or beef in this context, and "don" (丼) is short for donburi, which means rice bowl. So the dish is only made with beef. Saying that, there is also a pork rice bowl called "butadon", you can check out my butadon recipe here!
The history of gyudon goes all the way back to Meiji era and used to be called "gyu-meshi" which literally means beef rice.
Where to eat gyudon in Japan
These days it's commonly served in popular diners in Japan such as:
It's cheap, quick and considered fast food.
What kind of beef is used in gyudon?
Gyudon is a fast food dish so you shouldn't use expensive cuts of beef for this. Restaurants such as Sukiya and Yoshinoya use "short plate" (beef belly). In the U.K this is known as the brisket part and includes flank steaks and skirt steaks.
These cuts of beef are known for being a little tough so it's important to cut them thin.
If you buy a thick piece of beef, you can cut it thinly yourself by putting it in the freezer for a little while. You don't want it to be rock hard, just firm enough that you can cut it very thin. I'd say 30 minutes per ½ lb (approx 225g) of meat.
I've heard that the meat used for philly cheesesteaks in the U.S work great for gyudon. If you live in the U.K, you can use "thin cut beef steaks" which can be found in supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda, they're not so fatty but they should still work.
This recipe replicates the feeling of fast food gyudon and needless to say, tastes amazing as well as being quick and easy to make at home!
Most ingredients are very easily accessible so why not try and make it today??
3 Tips and tricks to make flavourful gyudon
Gyudon is a relatively easy-to-make dish, but it's always hard to make easy dishes to satisfaction! Here are 5 tips and tricks to make easy yet flavourful gyudon at home!
Marinate the beef beforehand
When it comes to making gyudon, there's always a problem of sauce is good but beef itself is a bit bland. This marinating method helps avoid this problem.
This way, the beef has a more intense flavour.
Cook onions in beef fat
It's not essential but cooking onions in beef fat is a great tip to make gyudon!
That way the onions can absorb umami from the beef fat and eventually improves the overall flavour.
Using moderately fatty and tough beef
Did you know all of the gyudon chains like Sukiya, Yoshinoya and Matsuya exclusively use American (or sometimes Canadian) beef? While you can technically use wagyu for gyudon, if you want to recreate those chain restaurant's taste, extremely soft beef like wagyu is not suitable.
Choosing moderately fatty and not too soft beef are important. Cheap cuts are perfect for this fast food dish!
Other Donburi Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe, check out some of my other popular rice bowl recipes!
- Yakinikudon (Beef fried in a yakiniku BBQ style sauce and served on rice)
- Katsudon (Crispy pork cutlet and steamed egg served on rice)
- Butadon (Thick pieces of pork belly fried in a caramelised soy sauce served on rice)
- Garlic Teriyaki Chicken don (Flavourful chicken thigh coated in a garlic infused teriyaki sauce and served on rice)
- Oyakodon (Delicious pan fried chicken and steamed egg served on rice)
If we're talking about the gyudon from popular restaurants like Sukiya and Yoshinoya specifically, they use beef short plate (beef belly). See the post above for more options and information.
Donburi dishes used white, Japanese short grain rice. You can see how to cook Japanese style rice here. Yoshinoya in particular state on their website (Japanese) that they use Japanese white rice specifically blended to match gyudon's taste.
Gyudon（牛丼) literally means "beef bowl" in English.
In Japan, it's popular to garnish gyudon with chopped spring onions, pickled ginger or raw/soft boiled egg.
From Japanese perspective, I consider Gyudon as fast food or junk food, and I believe many Japanese people think that way too.