Freezer-friendly Korean Beef

Freezer Friendly “Korean” Beef

Freezer-friendly Korean Beef
Korean Beef

If you’re looking for an easy, freezer friendly, ground beef recipe then look no further! I can’t say enough good things about this recipe, it’s one of my top recommendations to new cooks, and I always have this stocked in my freezer! It’s even kid-friendly, and such a delicious and unique way to use ground beef.

There are a number of recipes out there for “Korean” beef bowls like this one, but most don’t highlight how freezer friendly this meal is, so that’s what I want to focus on here. It’s simple to prep in a large batch (I usually do 3 lbs at a time), doesn’t take up much room in the freezer, and has very little quality loss when reheated. You’ll have to cook up some rice each time you reheat the beef, but picking up the microwave instant rice can reduce that effort drastically (especially if you’re reheating only one portion).

Is this dish authentic Korean food? No. That’s why I put it in quotation marks, however I use the name because this dish is commonly referred to as “Korean Beef Bowls”. The sauce is inspired by Korean BBQ sauces, but if you’re looking for authentic Korean beef, I highly recommend you check out this Beef Bulgogi recipe by Korean Bapsang.

Freezer-friendly Korean Beef

Key Tips – Freezer Friendly “Korean” Beef

Make 2-3 lbs at a time, and get multiple pans going!

  • When browning beef, you want to make sure that you don’t overcrowd the pan. When I’m making jumbo batches for the freezer, I usually split the meat between my two largest skillets. Once the meat has simmered in the sauce, and it’s time to serve, I’ll combine them into one pan and do a final mix to make sure the sauce is evenly distributed.
  • My grocery store sells ground beef in 3 lb packages at a slight discount, so that’s usually what I pick up for this dish!
  • Please note, on the recipe card, you can select “2x” or “3x” and it will automatically update the quantities for you!

Think about portion sizes as you package the freezer meals.

  • How much meat do you plan to defrost at one time? Will you defrost a whole batch to feed the family, or just 1 portion for you? Whatever the quantity is, make sure it’s packaged in its own bag. That will make it super easy to defrost when you want to use it. It’s difficult to separate into smaller portions once frozen.
  • My husband and I tend to eat large portions for dinner, so a 3 lb batch will be 4 total meals for us. When we prepare a 3 lb batch, we eat one portion that night, and pack the other 3 up for later.

Grab bags of microwave rice for an easy meal for 1.

  • I’m pretty picky when it comes to rice, but the microwaveable single-serve bags of rice are surprisingly good! If you plan to defrost the leftovers to prepare a meal for 1, having the instant rice on hand makes the process that much easier.
  • When I lived alone, this was a go-to easy meal for me after a long day.

Defrost portions in the fridge or in cool water.

  • The safest way to defrost a portion is to move it into the fridge a day ahead of time, though I’ll admit that this meal is frequently a last minute decision so that method doesn’t always work for me.
  • When defrosting meats (even cooked meats) you want to make sure they don’t spend too much time in the temperature “danger zone” for bacteria growth which is 40 °F – 140 °F. You can quickly defrost meat by submerging the container in cool water, but make sure the water isn’t warm and that you pay attention so the meat isn’t sitting out too long.
  • You can defrost the meat completely, or just enough to get it out of the bag and broken into a few sections – it’ll finish defrosting as it’s heated in the pan (though this will take some extra time)
Easy Freezer Friendly Korean Beef
Korean beef with portions in freezer bags for later.

Invest in some reusable freezer bags, or just use disposable zip bags

  • I highly recommend picking up some reusable freezer bags like these if you plan to make this often!
  • Using disposable freezer zip bags is another great option. If you only have normal zip bags on hand, those will work too, you just may end up with a little freezer burn on the food (which really isn’t a big deal).

Check out my guide on freezing fresh garlic to save some time in the kitchen.

  • If you’re looking for the convenience of pre-minced garlic, but the flavor of fresh garlic, freezing your own minced garlic is a great option! You’ll be surprised to find that the flavor of frozen garlic is nearly as good as fresh, without the sticky prep and clean-up. Read more about it here: How to Freeze Garlic.
Freezer-friendly Korean Beef

Dietary Restrictions – Freezer Friendly “Korean” Beef

Make this dish Gluten-Free.

  • This can easily be made gluten-free by using tamari soy sauce (a style of soy sauce that doesn’t contain gluten)

Make this dish Vegan

  • You can easily use a meat substitute to prepare a vegan version of this meal! I’ve tested this recipe with Impossible meat and the result was delicious, see the picture below!
Easy Freezer Friendly Korean Beef (with impossible meat)
This recipe prepared using Impossible brand vegan meat substitute!

A Note On Serving Sizes

Serving sizes are a very personal thing, making it very difficult for me to select a serving size that suits everyone. While this is listed as 4 standard servings, many people would prefer to have more than one serving. Plated in the photo is about 1.5 servings per bowl.

Freezer-friendly Korean Beef

Freezer Friendly “Korean” Beef

Quick and delicious ground beef simmered in a sauce inspired by Korean BBQ. This recipe is so easy to freeze and reheat for later! Serve over a bed of white rice, topped with green onion, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes.
4.84 from 12 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Korean
Servings 4



  • Mix brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, and ginger in bowl. Optionally, add a dash of MSG if desired.
  • Over medium heat, cook the beef until cooked through and no longer pink, drain the excess fat.
  • Stir in soy sauce mixture and simmer for at least 10 mins. The sauce should reduce, and the beef will darken in color.
  • Serve beef over a bed of white rice, top with green onion, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds.

To Freeze

  • Allow the beef mixture to cool to room temp, then portion it out into freezer-safe containers or zip bags. Fill each container with the portion size you plan to reheat all at once (you cannot easily divide it once frozen). Freeze for up to 3 months before using.

To Reheat from Frozen

  • Defrost the beef by moving the container to the fridge 12-24 hours in advance, or defrost the sealed container quickly in cool water. The beef doesn’t need to be fully thawed, just enough to get it out of the container and broken up into a few chunks.
  • Warm the meat in a skillet over medium heat until fully defrosted and sizzling, then reduce the heat to low until ready to serve. Serve over a bed of white rice, top with green onion, red pepper flakes, and sesame seeds.


This recipe can easily be made in a 2X or 3X batch! See the “key tips” section of this post for more info on making this recipe in bulk and freezing it for later! 
Keyword Beef, Freezer Friendly, Korean Beef, week night
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. 5 stars
    This is a staple recipe in our house! Havnt tried to freeze it yet but thats such a good idea, will try that next time we make it! My kids are picky eaters but they love this stuff!!

  2. 5 stars
    This is DELICIOUS and definitely in our weekly rotation for a quick meal. Its full of flavor and also reheats well.

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