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Make Ground Meat Soboro

Updated on December 20, 2015
Homemade Soboro
Homemade Soboro

Add Flavor to All Sorts of Dishes

Soboro means finely chopped meat that is seasoned with Asian flavors. It adds a blast of flavor to every dish you add it to.

I use it in homemade egg rolls and chow mein, toss some in fried rice and ramen and eggs, and just generally use it in everything that needs yummy, salty and sweet meat.

Luckily it's super easy to make and freezes well so it's easy to make big batches and freeze it for later.

Everything is Optional

All Recipe Ingredients Are Optional and Open to Change

Let's start with the most basic fact about Soboro, everything is optional.

Use what you have and what tastes good to you. Add more soy sauce. Stir in no sake. Use ground hamburger, ground turkey, ground lamb, vegetarian meat crumbles.

Recipes are just starting places. You are the one cooking and eating, make it how you want it.

Ground Meat Soboro Recipe

Soboro Recipe Ingredients

  • 1lb Any Ground Meat, can be beef, turkey, etc
  • 3-4 Tbsp. Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 cup Green Onions, finely chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, finely minced
  • 1 piece Fresh Ginger (2 Tbs chopped), finely minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Sake (opt)
  • 3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
  • 3-4 Tbsp. Oyster Sauce


  1. Chop green onions, garlic, and ginger as finely as you can.
  2. Heat a tablespoon or so of sesame oil in a nonstick pan. Use more sesame oil if using leaner ground meat such as turkey.
  3. Stir fry green onions, ginger, and garlic in hot pan until softened.
  4. Add ground meat and brown well.
  5. Add the sugar and stir until it gets a little caramelized.
  6. If using it, add sake and stir it in until it evaporates.
  7. Stir in the rest of sesame oil, the soy and oyster sauces and let simmer until liquid is almost all gone, but meat is still moist.
5 stars from 1 rating of Soboro Recipe

Step By Step Recipe Instructions with Pictures

Step 1 : Peel and Mince the Garlic

Take a clove of garlic and peel off the outer skin. Mince the clove finely with a sharp knife.

I often just use already minced garlic since I always have a jar of it in my fridge. It's much easier to just scoop out a little and add it to any recipe.

Peel and Mince Garlic


Get Minced Garlic

Spice World Fat Free Minced Garlic, 48 Ounce
Spice World Fat Free Minced Garlic, 48 Ounce

Minced garlic is so handy to have around, it's always in my fridge so I can just scoop some into whatever dish I'm making.


Step 2 : Peel and Mince Ginger

Use a vegetable peeler to remove the rough outer layer of a hunk of ginger, then finely mince it.

This is another item I buy pre-minced. It comes all prepared in a small jar that I can just keep in my fridge. Then I add a spoonful to all sorts of dishes. I've noticed having it on hand already prepared makes me try it in more dishes, and I've found it ginger tastes good in a lot of recipes I never would have expected.

Peel and Mince Ginger

Peel and Mince Ginger
Peel and Mince Ginger

Get Minced Ginger

Lee Kum Kee Minced Ginger, 7.5-Ounce Jars (Pack of 4)
Lee Kum Kee Minced Ginger, 7.5-Ounce Jars (Pack of 4)

Pre-minced ginger is great for adding flavor to various dishes.


Step 3 : Slice Green Onions

Cut off the bottom white parts of the green onions to snack on later, then chop the green parts finely.

Finely Chop Green Onions

Chop Green Onions
Chop Green Onions

Step 4 : Saute Green Onions with Ginger and Garlic

Add a dollop of sesame oil to a nonstick pan and heat it. Be a little careful, sesame oil has a low smoking temperature so you can't get it as hot as other oils.

When the oil is hot add the green onions, garlic, and ginger. Saute until the onions have softened.

Ground Meat for Soboro

You can use any ground meat for this recipe, whatever you have is fine.

It's easiest to find ground beef here, so that's what I usually use, though I most frequently make it with half ground sausage and half ground hamburger. Flavored ground sausage is especially a favorite around my house since maple goes really well with the sweetness of the oyster sauce.

If using ground turkey or other drier meat you may want to add extra liquid so it doesn't get too dry.

Step 5 : Brown Ground Meat

Brown whatever meat you are using, whether ground beef, ground chicken, minced pork, or ground turkey.

Cook to about 90% of what you would normally consider done, so the meat is still just a tad pinkish. Since it will spend several more minutes on the stove it will finish cooking then.

Brown Ground Meat

Browned Ground Beef

Browned Ground Beef
Browned Ground Beef

Step 6 : Add Sugar

Once the ground meat is browned sprinkle the sugar over top and then stir it in. Keep stirring until sugar coats the meat and gets a bit caramelized.

Add Sugar to Ground Meat (whoops! ignore green onions in picture)

Add sugar to soboro
Add sugar to soboro

Step 7 : Add Sake

If you are using Sake stir it in now and keep stirring until it basically evaporates.

Step 8 : Add Oyster Sauce

Add the oyster sauce over top.

Add Oyster Sauce

Add oyster sauce to the ground meat
Add oyster sauce to the ground meat

Get Oyster Sauce

Lee Kum Kee Panda Brand Oyster Sauce (18 oz.)
Lee Kum Kee Panda Brand Oyster Sauce (18 oz.)

The first few times I made it I didn't have oyster sauce. The Soboro turned out fine, but it is so much better since I expanded my horizons and bought it.


Step 9 : Add Soy Sauce

Pour the soy sauce over top of the ground meat.

Add Soy Sauce

Add soy sauce to soboro
Add soy sauce to soboro

Step 10 : Stir in Sesame Oil

Add the sesame oil, then stir the meat thoroughly so everything is well mixed.

Add Sesame Oil

Add sesame oil to the soboro
Add sesame oil to the soboro

Step 11 : Cook the Liquid Off

Let the meat simmer until liquid is almost all gone but the meat is still moist. The meat will absorb all the flavors as the liquid cooks off. Once it is dry it is ready to use.

Dry the Soboro and It's Ready to Use

Dry the Soboro
Dry the Soboro

Use It At Any Temperature

You can use Soboro at any temperature you want.

Use it hot in ramen.

Use it warm in eggs.

Use it room-temperature in your bento box.

Mix Soboro Into Everything

Use soboro anywhere you want to add an Asian flair and you would normally use ground beef.

Ideas include:

  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Chow Mein
  • Egg Rolls
  • Wonton
  • Noodles
  • Rice
  • Ramen
  • Bento Boxes
  • Vegetables
  • Lentils
  • Onigiri
  • Stir Fry
  • Tacos
  • Gyoza Dumplings
  • Meatloaf (don't brown the hamburger)
  • Enchiladas

Meat Soboro Used in Chow Mein Before the Noodles

Meat Soboro Used in Chow Mein
Meat Soboro Used in Chow Mein

Soboro Storage

Soboro should not be kept at room temperature for long, it is meat after all. But because it is dried out a little it keeps longer in the fridge. I always use mine within 3 days just to stay safe.

It really stores perfectly in the freezer though and that's almost always the way I store my Soboro. Just seal it up in a Ziploc and use it whenever you are ready.

Shiso Beef Soboro on Tomato Recipe

The video below shows a nice little meal using a different sort of soboro. Use his recipe or just use the soboro recipe on this page and use his as a starting point on how to use it.

Shiso Beef Soboro on Tomato Recipe


  • 200g ground beef
  • 1 med size tomato
  • 40g green onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 8 shiso leaf
  • 1 tbsp sake

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • Wasabi (flavored) paste

Shiso Beef Soboro on Tomato Recipe

Chicken Soboro Donburi Recipe

The video below shows another version of soboro and yet another use for it. I love soboro alongside eggs and rice, it tastes so good!

  • 1/2 lb (225g) ground chicken
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Mirin
  • 1 Tbsp Sake
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 15 green beans
  • Steamed Rice

Get instructions here: Chicken Soboro Don

Chicken Soboro Donburi Recipe

Lots and Lots of Soboro

Because soboro is so good and addicting and useful, I usually make it much larger batches.

It's so easy to scale up the recipe and just cook a bunch at once that usually we do it 5 pounds of hamburger at a time.

After cooking, once it cools, just divide it into individual portions and put it in the freezer. It keeps for quite a while and it's so easy to just defrost a bit to stir into whatever.

The only problem is that it gets used up so fast I never have enough in my freezer.

© 2013 Alisha Vargas


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    • AlishaV profile image

      Alisha Vargas 3 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      Thanks! Just be aware, it's addicting!

    • Richard1988 profile image

      Richard 3 years ago from Hampshire - England

      this really looks amazing! I love trying new foods and love different spice mixes so I will definitely try this one soon. Thanks for sharing your lovely recipe!