Korean BBQ Sloppy Joes

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Korean BBQ Sloppy Joes will be your new favorite weeknight meal – it takes a mere 20 minutes to throw together with only FIVE ingredients! Lean ground beef is sautéed with red bell pepper and green onions, tossed with store bought (or homemade) Korean BBQ sauce, and served on hamburger buns.

A sloppy joe on a white plate with Korean bbq sauce, green onions, and sesame seeds.

There’s nothing I love more than a meal that takes under 20 minutes to make – even better if it has minimal ingredients and easy prep. And even BETTER if I know my whole family will love it – and they sure did!

These sloppy joes are almost like Korean bulgogi, served on a hamburger bun. Authentic Korean Bulgogi is made with sliced beef and a homemade marinade, but using ground beef gives a similar flavor. You may also like to add some gochujang (Korean Chili Paste) for some extra flavor and spice to the sloppy joe mix.

As for the Korean BBQ sauce? Feel free to make your own, but I love using store bought as a shortcut. There are all kinds of prepared Korean BBQ sauce out there – some spicy, some not… I’ll share which kind I used and where to find it in this post!

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Lean Ground Beef – lean is best so you don’t have to worry about draining the fat away. You can also substitute ground turkey for a lighter option, or a vegetarian ground beef substitute for a vegetarian version.
  • Korean BBQ sauce – store bought or homemade (see below)
  • Red bell pepper – or any other color
  • Green onions – white and light green parts separated from dark green
  • Burger Buns – I used King’s Hawaiian buns – brioche or regular hamburger buns will work just fine.
  • Canola oil – for sautéing the veggies (or any other neutral tasting oil)
  • Sesame seeds – for garnish- if you want!
A korean bbq sloppy joe sandwich on a white plate with a skillet in the background,

Please scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe including ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.

How to make Korean BBQ Sloppy Joes

  1. First, sauté the bell pepper and white/light green parts of the scallions in canola oil in a large skillet (I used nonstick).
  2. Then, add the ground beef to the skillet and brown until cooked completely, breaking it apart as much as possible with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add the Korean BBQ sauce to the skillet and stir together, and simmer for a few minutes until it’s reduced and thickened a little bit.
  4. Then, add the dark green onion parts to the mix.
  5. Finally, scoop the filling onto burger buns (grill them in butter if you want them to be extra special!), garnish with more green onions and sesame seeds if you want to, and serve.
Process collage showing how to make the filling for korean beef bbq sloppy joe sandwiches.

Please scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe including ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.

What kind of Korean BBQ Sauce to use

Korean BBQ sauce is actually more like a marinade. There are many kinds – spicy, mild (original), and sauces made specifically for ribs, beef, chicken, pork, etc.

I used CJ Original BBQ Sauce for Ribs (and found it at my local Asian grocery store). But you can probably find a suitable product at your local grocery store with the other Asian ingredients or with the other BBQ sauces.

Overhead close up photo of a korean bbq sloppy joe sandwich.

What to serve with Korean sloppy joes

I served my spiralized cucumber sesame salad on the side (but I used sliced cucumbers instead of spiralized).

They would also be great with this Thai-Inspired Red Cabbage and Carrot Salad, or with salad greens mixed with this Sesame Miso dressing.

Other warm sandwich recipes

Sandwiches are great for dinner, especially if they are warm. Here are some other ideas:

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Square photo of korean bbq sloppy joe with cucumber salad on side.

Korean BBQ Sloppy Joes

Korean BBQ Beef Sloppy Joes will be your new favorite easy weeknight dinner! With only five ingredients, you can whip up these yummy warm sandwiches in 20 minutes.

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Course: Sandwich

Cuisine: Korean

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Servings: 4 sandwiches

Calories: 364kcal

Author: Elizabeth Lindemann

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat the vegetable oil (1 tablespoon) in a large skillet. Add the white and light green parts of the green onions, as well as the diced red bell pepper. Sauté until softened and starting to brown.

  • Add the ground beef (1 pound.) to the skillet and cook/brown completely, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon as you go.

  • Add the Korean BBQ sauce (1/2 cup) to the skillet. Stir together and bring to a simmer on low, simmering for 5 minutes or so uncovered until sauce has thickened. Stir in the dark green onions parts.

  • Divide the beef mixture into the hamburger buns (4), garnish with more dark green onion parts if you have them, and sprinkle with sesame seeds if using. Serve.

Notes

  • Alternatively, use slider buns for 8 small sloppy joe sliders.
  • There are many different kinds of prepared Korean BBQ sauce – spicy and mild, made for ribs or chicken, etc. I used CJ Foods Original Sauce for Ribs. Aim for one that goes with beef, but you also really can’t go wrong here! You can also make your own.
  • Lighten it up by using ground turkey instead of beef.
  • Make it vegetarian by using beyond meat or a suitable ground beef substitute.
  • Make it gluten free by using gluten-free buns.

Estimated Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts

Korean BBQ Sloppy Joes

Amount Per Serving (1 sandwich)

Calories 364 Calories from Fat 99

% Daily Value*

Fat 11g17%

Saturated Fat 3g19%

Trans Fat 1g

Polyunsaturated Fat 2g

Monounsaturated Fat 5g

Cholesterol 70mg23%

Sodium 851mg37%

Potassium 528mg15%

Carbohydrates 33g11%

Fiber 2g8%

Sugar 12g13%

Protein 31g62%

Vitamin A 586IU12%

Vitamin C 22mg27%

Calcium 94mg9%

Iron 4mg22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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