Instant Pot Gyudon

gyudon

Learn how to make Gyudon (牛丼) aka Japanese Beef Bowl! Easy to make this popular classic Japanese comfort Beef Rice Bowl. Al dente rice top with tender buttery beef in sweet-savory caramelized gyudon sauce.

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Japanese Beef Bowl

What is Donburi

Donburi (丼 or “bowl”) is a style of Japanese rice bowl dish where meat, vegetables, seafood, or other ingredients are served over rice in big rice bowls.

Some of the most popular donburi are Gyūdon (牛丼; Beef Rice Bowl), Tendon (天丼; Tempura Rice Bowl), Oyakodon (親子丼; Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl), and Butadon (豚丼; Pork Rice Bowl).

gyudon recipe

What is Gyudon

Gyudon (牛丼), aka Japanese Beef Bowl, is a popluar classic donburi. It’s a Japanese rice bowl dish top with beef and onions simmered in a sweet-savory dashi sauce. A well loved Japanese comfort food.

Gyudon in Japan and Asia
Gyūdon in Tsukiji Market (top); Fastfood 𠮷野家 Yoshinoya Beef Bowl (bottom right); Beef-Bowl Style Ekiben (Railway Bento Box) we enjoyed on our Tokyo to Kyoto bullet train ride (bottom left)

Flavors: The gyudon sauce is soooo good! Beefy, buttery flavors imparted from the marbled beef short ribs, blended with the sweetness from caramelized onions and mirin, bursting with umami flavors from dashi, soy sauce, and mushrooms. Pair with aromatic rice, refreshing green onions, sweet-vinergary, slight spicy Japanese pickled ginger.

Textures: Al dente rice, crunchy juicy mushrooms, tender buttery beef, green onion crunch, tender thin-sliced pickled ginger, and a silky smooth soft-boiled egg.

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What you need to make Gyudon

Here are the ingredients for cooking Gyudon in Instant Pot:

gyudon ingredients

*Note: Eggs and Shimeji (beech) mushrooms are optional.

Shimeji Mushroom (Optional)

shimeji mushroom

Shimeiji mushroom is commonly known as beech mushroom. It pairs very well with beef and adds more crunchy-juicy texture to this dish. 

Gyudon Sauce

These are the sake, mirin, and Japanese soy sauce we used to form part of the tasty gyudon sauce.

sake, mirin, Japanese soy sauce

Sake 

This Gekkeikan sake is decent enough to consume as a warm drink and cheap enough to use for cooking.

If you don’t have or don’t want to use sake, you can substitute it with Shaoxing wine, dry sherry wine, or water.

Mirin 

Mirin (Japanese: 味醂 or みりん) is a type of Japanese sweet cooking rice wine. It’s similar to sake, but with lower alcohol content and higher sugar content.

Three of the most common types of mirin are hon mirin (true mirin), shio mirin (salt mirin), and shin mirin (new mirin).

Try to use Hon Mirin for this recipe because it tastes a lot better than Aji-Mirin (a substitute for real mirin).

Japanese Soy Sauce

Kikkoman Organic Soy Sauce is an excellent choice for this gyudon recipe. This soy sauce may taste stronger than your usual soy sauce. Please remember to adjust it to your taste.

*Important Note: Different brands or bottles of the same brand of soy sauces can vary in their sodium levels, tartness, aroma, texture, and taste. As always, make sure to taste & adjust the amount accordingly.

How to Make Gyudon

Ease Level – Super Easy: You can make gyudon in Instant Pot with minimal preparation, few ingredients, basic cooking skills, and simple equipment.

Cooking Time: From start to finish, you can make this gyudon meal in 40 minutes. 

It’s really simple to make gyudon! You first saute the beef, mushrooms, & onions, then make the gyudon sauce. Then, you pressure cook the rice, simmer the beef in gyudon sauce. Finally, layer the ingredients, then serve, and enjoy.

Step-by-Step Guide: Instant Pot Gyudon

Japanese gyudon recipe

Step 1

Prepare Gyudon Ingredients

There aren’t many ingredients to prepare to make this yummy gyudon! 😀

prepare onion and mushroom

Onion: Slice up a small onion.

Green Onions: Finely slice the green onions for garnish.

Mushroom (Optional): Cut off the bottom ends of the mushrooms, then give them a quick rinse.

Step 2

Lightly Brown Sliced Beef in Instant Pot

Press “Saute” button to “Sauté More” function to heat up your Instant Pot. It’ll switch to “ON” on the screen.

Instant Pot Saute More

Wait until it says “HOT” on the screen (takes roughly 8 minutes).

*Pro Tip: Make sure your Instant Pot is as hot as it can be to induce a Maillard reaction.

Now, add 2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil in the Instant Pot’s inner pot. Make sure you cover the whole bottom with oil.

brown beef in Instant Pot

Brown the sliced beef in Instant Pot to about 70% doneness, then set aside. 

*Pro Tip: Make sure you cook the sliced beef in batches to avoid overcooking them. We’re just enhancing the flavor of the overall dish with a bit of Maillard reaction.

brown sliced beef

Step 3

Saute Mushrooms & Onions

*Note: Sauteeing the mushrooms is an optional flavor-enhancing step. This adds a bit of flavor, but it’ll take roughly 6 to 7 minutes. If you’re short on time or not using mushroom at all, skip and proceed to saute the onion.

If necessary, add more vegetable oil in Instant Pot.

Add beech mushrooms in Instant Pot, then saute until lightly brown (roughly 6 to 7 minutes).

saute mushroom and onions

Add sliced onion in Instant Pot, then saute for another 3 minutes.

*Pro Tip: Most of the onions will break down & melt into the sauce after pressure cooking. If you want to serve the beef with some sliced onion, set aside half of the onion slices and mix them in after pressure cooking.

Step 4

Deglaze Instant Pot

Pour ¾ cup (188ml) cold water in Instant Pot. Then, deglaze by scrubbing all the flavorful brown bits off the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Give it a quick mix.

deglaze

Step 5

Pressure Cook Rice & Gyudon Sauce

Add 2 tbsp (30ml) Japanese soy sauce, 2 tbsp (30ml) mirin, 2 tbsp (30ml) sake, ⅛ teaspoon (0.5g) roasted sesame oil (optional), 1 tbsp (14g) white sugar, and ½ tsp (1.5g) dashi powder in Instant Pot. Give it a quick mix.

add soy sauce, mirin, sake, roasted sesame oil, white sugar, dashi powder

Layer a trivet in Instant Pot, then carefully place a bowl with 1 cup (230g) Calrose rice on the rack. Pour 1 cup (250ml) cold water in the bowl of rice.

*Note: Ensure all the rice is soaked in water.

pressure cook calrose rice

With Venting Knob in Venting Position. Close the lid. Then, turn Venting Knob to Sealing Position.

Pressure Cooking Method: Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 6 minutes, then Natural Release for 10 minutes

Instant Pot High Pressure at 6 minutes

After 10 minutes, release the remaining pressure by turning Venting Knob to Venting Position.

When the Floating Valve drops, open the lid carefully.

Optional Step – Cook Eggs: When the Instant Pot is pressure cooking, you can prepare soft or hard boiled eggs on the stove top to serve with your gyudon.

Step 6

Fluff Rice & Thicken Gyudon Sauce

First, remove rice bowl and trivet.

Then, bring the gyudon sauce mixture to a simmer with the “Saute” function.

fluff calrose rice

Fluff the rice with a rice paddle, then set aside. 

Allow the gyudon sauce mixture simmer and thicken to your desired thickness.

Finally, taste and adjust seasoning by adding more soy sauce or salt if necessary.

*For Reference: we didn’t have to add any additional soy sauce or salt. 🙂

Step 7

Fully Cook Sliced Beef

Once the gyudon sauce mixture is thickened to desired thickness, turn off the heat.

Add back the partially cooked beef and all its’ meat juice in Instant Pot.

Add in the set aside onion slices (if you’ve previously set them aside).

Give the beef mixture a quick mix, and use the residual heat to fully cook the beef.

Once the beef is fully cooked, remove them from heat, then serve immediately to avoid overcooking.

beef gyudon sauce

*Side Note: You may notice the above pictures have no beech mushrooms. That’s because we tested some batches with mushroom and some batches without the mushrooms. Both ways turned out tasty! 😀

gyudon beef and mushroom

Step 8

Serve Gyudon

First, add calrose rice to a serving bowl.

Then, layer the sliced beef on top of the rice.

Finally, drizzle the tasty gyudon sauce all over the beef.

Japanese beef rice bowl

Garnish with finely sliced green onion, pink ginger (optional), and soft boiled egg (optional).

Serve immediately, and enjoy! 😀

What to Serve With Gyudon

Lots of tasty options for you to serve with Gyudon!

You can pair this Beef Bowl with another main dish like California Roll, Sashimi, Tempura, Chicken Karaage, Tonkatsu Japanese Pork Cutlet.

If you like to serve it Teishouku (定食) Style – the whole meal deal, serve it with a bowl of Miso Soup on the side with some of your favorite side dishes.

You can make tasty sides like Ramen Egg, Agedashi Tofu, Japanese Potato Salad, Tamagoyaki, Kabocha Squash, Chawanmushi, other Japanese vegetable side dishes, or Tsukemono 漬物 (Japanese pickled vegetables).

Japanese Gyudon

Enjoy this tasty Japanese Comfort Gyudon!

5 from 1 vote

Instant Pot Gyudon

Author: Amy + Jacky
Learn how to make Gyudon (牛丼; Japanese Beef Bowl)! Easy to make this popular classic Japanese comfort Beef Rice Bowl. Al dente rice top with tender buttery beef in sweet-savory caramelized gyudon sauce.
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Servings 3 - 4
Total Time 40 mins
Rate this Recipe

Ingredients

  • 350 grams marbled beef (boneless short ribs or chuck roast) , thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable oil
  • 150 grams Shimeji mushroom (Beech mushrooms) , quartered (optional)
  • 1 (173g) onion , roughly sliced
  • ¾ cup (188ml) cold water
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) Japanese soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) mirin
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) sake
  • teaspoon (0.5g) roasted sesame oil (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5g) dashi powder

Pot-in-Pot Rice

Garnish

  • Green onions , finely sliced
  • Pink ginger
  • 2 - 3 (190g) eggs , soft boiled, beaten, or poached (optional)

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Instructions 

  • Prepare Gyudon Ingredients: Slice up a small onion. Finely slice the green onions. Cut off the mushrooms’ bottom ends, then give them a quick rinse.
  • Lightly Brown Sliced Beef: Press "Saute" button to "Sauté More" function to heat up Instant Pot. Wait until it says "HOT" on the screen.
    Add 2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil in the inner pot. Make sure to cover whole bottom with oil.
    Brown sliced beef in Instant Pot to about 70% doneness, then set aside.
    *Pro Tip: Brown the beef in batches to avoid overcooking. We're just enhancing the flavor of the overall dish with a bit of Maillard reaction.
  • Saute Mushrooms & Onions: If necessary, add more vegetable oil in Instant Pot. Add in beech mushrooms, then saute until lightly brown (roughly 6 to 7 minutes). Add in sliced onion, then saute for another 3 minutes.
    *Pro Tip: Most of the onions will melt into the sauce after pressure cooking. If you want to serve the beef with some sliced onion, set aside half of the onion slices, then mix them in after pressure cooking.
  • Deglaze Instant Pot: Pour ¾ cup (188ml) cold water in Instant Pot. Then, deglaze by scrubbing all the flavorful brown bits off the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Give it a quick mix.
  • Pressure Cook Rice & Gyudon Sauce: Add 2 tbsp (30ml) Japanese soy sauce, 2 tbsp (30ml) mirin, 2 tbsp (30ml) sake, ⅛ teaspoon (0.5g) roasted sesame oil, 1 tbsp (14g) white sugar, and ½ tsp (1.5g) dashi powder in Instant Pot. Give it a quick mix.
    Layer a trivet in Instant Pot, then place a bowl with 1 cup (230g) Calrose rice on the rack. Pour 1 cup (250ml) cold water in the rice bowl. Ensure all the rice is soaked in water.
    With Venting Knob in Venting Position. Close the lid. Turn Venting Knob to Sealing Position. Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 6 minutes, then Natural Release for 10 minutes. Open the lid carefully.
    Optional Step - Cook Eggs: When Instant Pot is pressure cooking, prepare soft or hard boiled eggs on the stove.
  • Fluff Rice & Thicken Gyudon Sauce: Remove rice bowl and trivet. Fluff rice with a rice paddle, then set aside.
    Bring the gyudon sauce mixture to a simmer with the "Saute" function. Allow the gyudon sauce simmer and thicken to desired thickness. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more soy sauce or salt if necessary.
  • Fully Cook Sliced Beef: Once the gyudon sauce is thickened to desired thickness, turn off the heat.
    Add the partially cooked beef and its juice in the Instant Pot. Add in the set aside onion slices (if any). Give the beef mixture a quick mix. Allow the residual heat to fully cook the beef. Once the beef is fully cooked, immediately remove them from heat.
  • Serve: Add calrose rice to a serving bowl. Layer the beef on top of the rice. Drizzle the gyudon sauce all over the beef. Garnish with finely sliced green onion, pink ginger (optional), and soft boiled egg (optional). Serve immediately, and enjoy!

Notes

Rate Amy + Jacky's Recipe: If you've tried our recipe, don't forget to rate the recipe in the Comments section. Thank you!
Calories: 409kcal
Course: Main, One Pot Meals
Cuisine: Asian, Japanese
Keyword: gyudon, gyudon recipe, japanese beef bowl, japanese beef rice bowl, japanese gyudon

Nutrition

Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 133mg | Sodium: 667mg | Potassium: 481mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 120IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 3mg
gyudon recipe | japanese beef bowl | gyūdon | japanese beef rice bowl | 牛丼
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