Inspired by Korean cuisine, these Korean ground turkey bowls make for a delicious, easy meal. The ground turkey and green onion mixture is packed with flavor and the quick pickled veggies provide color, crunch, and an extra pop of flavor. Serve it all over a bed of rice with your preferred toppings for a complete meal.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This Korean ground turkey recipe has become a big hit in our family because it is an easy recipe for such a flavorful meal.
- It includes our favorite recipe for quick pickled veggies (our favorite because it is so easy!). You can make extra and add them to other Korean dishes, sandwiches, stir fry, etc.
- This ground turkey bulgogi inspired bowl is the perfect meal for an easy weeknight dinner.
- If you're looking for options for meal prep, this one fits the bill! You can easily divide out the ground turkey and rice into airtight containers, store in the fridge, and warm up quickly the next day.
- This Korean turkey bowl recipe is very easy to double if you have a big family to feed.
For the quick pickled veggies:
We HIGHLY recommend preparing the pickled veggies and including them in this recipe. While pickling something might sound overwhelming, we promise this is an easy recipe! All you have to do is put the veggies, vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a large bowl while you cook the rest of the meal and it will be ready to go when the meat and rice are finished cooking.
- Shredded carrots, red onion, cucumber - we love the combination of these veggies for the flavors, textures, and beautiful colors they add to the bowl!
- Rice wine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt - these are the ingredients you will need to create the pickling solution. We prefer the rice vinegar as it is a little milder in comparison to some other vinegars. We found that it provides a great pickled taste without being overwhelming.
For the rice:
Cooked rice - you can use whichever type of rice you'd like for this recipe, whether that is brown rice, white rice, or cauliflower rice. We recommend using 2 cups of cooked rice, but you can cook more if you prefer more rice in your bowls! You can cook this over the stove, in the rice cooker, or in the instant pot or buy steamable packs you can warm up in the microwave (these are available at Trader Joe's and likely in the frozen section at your local grocery store). If you are wanting to do a whole grains option with the brown rice, check out our recipe for a quick and easy way to cook brown jasmine rice with an instant pot.
For the ground turkey:
- Ground turkey - we like to use a lean ground turkey. You will need one 16-oz package. We prefer to use ground turkey for this recipe, but you can always swap it with ground beef if that is your ground meat of choice to make a Korean beef bowl or beef bulgogi inspired dish.
- Sesame oil or olive oil - either oil works great, but we love that the sesame oil adds additional flavor to the turkey.
- Green onions - you will need one bunch of chopped, green onions for this recipe.
- Fresh ginger and garlic - these ingredients help provide Korean ground turkey rice bowls with an amazing flavor.
- Low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos - if you need a gluten-free option, you can substitute the soy sauce with coconut aminos.
- Honey - if you don't have honey on hand, or dislike the flavor, you could also use maple syrup or brown sugar.
- Rice wine vinegar - you will need one tbsp of rice vinegar for this recipe. The acid helps complement the flavors perfectly.
- Sriracha or gochujang - to add a little extra flavor and spice! You can adjust the amount you use to your personal preference for the spice level. We have used Sriracha when we have made this recipe, but gochujang is a red chili paste often used in Korean food that you can use instead if you prefer its flavor.
Toppings of your choice:
Some options include sliced avocado and fresh cilantro (our favorite additions), edamame, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes or additional Sriracha or gochujang for an extra kick.
See the recipe card below for a complete list of ingredients and measurements.
Equipment You’ll Need
- Large bowl for pickling the veggies
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Cutting board and knife
- Rice cooker*, instant pot*, or saucepan
- Large skillet/frying pan
- Wooden spoon or rubber spatula
Step by Step Directions
For the full recipe instructions, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
First, prepare the quick pickled veggies. Thinly slice the red onion and cut the cucumber into thin rounds or use a vegetable peeler to get thin slices. Measure out the shredded carrots and place all the vegetables into a large bowl. Measure out the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt and pour it all on top of the veggies. Mix well until all ingredients are combined and all the veggies are coated. Let it sit while you are preparing the rest of the recipe and mix every so often to ensure all veggies are coated.
Begin cooking the rice according to your preferred method.
While the vegetables pickle and the rice cooks, begin to cook the turkey. Add the oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the ground turkey. Break the turkey up into small pieces as it cooks and let it cook for 4-6 minutes until it is no longer pink and completely cooked through. Drain any excess liquid.
Place the pan back on the stove on medium low heat. Add the green onions. Add the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, and sriracha. Mix well. Let the turkey continue to cook for 3-4 minutes until the liquid is mostly absorbed by the turkey meat and the green onions are softened.
Build your bowls by placing rice at the bottom of the bowl, then the cooked ground turkey mixture, the quick pickled veggies, and any other desired toppings.
Tips & Variations
- A traditional Korean dish might use toppings such as kimchi or a fried egg. Feel free to play around with the toppings and make it your own!
- If you aren't a fan of pickled veggies, you could top this dish with some of your favorite vegetables instead! For example, you could sauté bell peppers, carrots, green beans, zucchini, spinach, broccoli, or mushrooms.
- One fun topping we have loved on this bowl is the Crunchy Chili Onion from Trader Joe's. Give it a try if you have a Trader Joe's near you!
- These would also be delicious as the filling for Korean ground turkey lettuce wraps.
When shopping for ground turkey, you will see numbers such as 93/7. This is referring to the amount of lean meat (93%) to fat (7%). We have tried making this recipe with both 85/15 and 93/7 ground turkey, but really, any type will do! Note that if you use a 99/1 version the turkey may be too dry.
You can mix 1 tbsp of cornstarch with 1 tbsp of cold water and add it to the sauce to help it thicken up.
We recommend storing the rice, ground turkey, and pickled veggies separately in an airtight container and assembling each bowl when reheating leftovers. You can reheat quickly in the microwave the next day.
This recipe is dairy-free but is not vegetarian or vegan. To make it gluten-free, use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce and ensure all toppings/additions are gluten-free.
Looking for other easy dinners that use ground turkey? Try out some of these options!
- Buffalo Turkey Meatballs
- Sweet Potato Turkey Chili
- BBQ Ranch Turkey Smash Burgers
- Easy Skillet Lasagna
If you make this easy Korean Ground Turkey Bowl, please let us know how it turns out in the comments below and/or rate the recipe! Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram to show us your finished product—it makes our day every time we see you trying the recipes we love!
Korean Inspired Ground Turkey Bowls
For the quick pickled veggies:
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
For the rice:
- 2 cups of cooked rice (use the amount you prefer—this generally looks like using 1 cup of uncooked rice)
For the ground turkey mixture:
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
- 2 tsp sesame oil or olive oil (we prefer the sesame oil for the additional flavor it provides)
- 2 tsp minced ginger
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos or tamari for a gluten-free option)
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1-2 tsp Sriracha (depending on spice preference)
Toppings of your choice:
- Sliced avocado, fresh cilantro, edamame, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes or additional Sriracha for an extra kick.
- First, prepare the quick pickled veggies. Thinly slice the red onion. Cut the cucumber into thin rounds or use a vegetable peeler to get thin slices. Measure out the shredded carrots and place all the vegetables into a medium bowl. Measure out the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt and pour it all on top of the veggies. Mix well until all ingredients are combined and all the veggies are coated. Let it sit while you are preparing the rest of the recipe and mix every so often to ensure all veggies are coated.
- Begin cooking the rice according to your preferred method.
- Add the oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the ground turkey. Break the turkey up into small pieces as it cooks. Let the turkey cook for 4-6 minutes until it is no longer pink and completely cooked through. Drain any excess liquid.
- Place the pan back on the stove on medium low heat. Add the green onions. Add the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, and sriracha. Mix well. Let the turkey continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes until the liquid is mostly absorbed by the turkey meat and the green onions are softened.
- Build your bowls by placing rice at the bottom of the bowl, then turkey, and then your desired toppings.
- We HIGHLY recommend preparing the pickled veggies and including them in this recipe. While pickling something might sound overwhelming, we promise this is an easy recipe! All you have to do is put the veggies, vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a large bowl while you cook the rest of the meal and it will be ready to go when the meat and rice are finished.
- Use tongs or a fork to pick up the pickled veggies and add them to your bowl. If you use a spoon or ladle, you will likely carry a lot of the pickling liquid with it which can over power the flavor from the ground turkey.
- 2 cups of cooked rice generally equates to about 1 cup of uncooked rice. Look at the instructions on the package of rice you are using for specific directions, or use our recipe for instant pot brown jasmine rice here.
Nutrition facts for this recipe can also be found on My Fitness Pal by searching "BWB Korean Ground Turkey Bowls." The nutrition includes about 1/2 cup cooked rice, 4.5 oz turkey, and pickled veggies.
The nutrition content provided for each recipe is an estimate created through the My Fitness Pal database. Please be aware that the nutritional content of each recipe may vary based on the products you use, the precision of your measurements, and the source you use to obtain nutrition data. While we try to provide accurate information, we give no guarantee regarding the accuracy of the nutritional information provided.