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Korean Sloppy Joes

These Korean Sloppy Joes are the perfect spicy twist on the traditional sloppy joe. Made with Korean spicy flavors and topped with a quick and yummy pickle topping. These are perfect for sliders, burger buns, lettuce wraps, or rice bowls.

Korean sloppy joes in a skillet with green onions on top


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I love Korean flavors and love incorporating them into my favorite meals. Like these Korean Chicken Wings made in my air fryer and this Kimchi Fried Rice. So you can imagine my excitement when I saw Rachel Ray making these Korean Inspired Sloppy Joes on her tv show, 30-minute meals. Let me just say, I was dying to try out the recipe and it became an instant hit in our house. 

I’ve adapted it to fit our taste, using fish sauce where Rachel uses Worchestire and some other tweaks and changes. Either way, this recipe is straight genius and a perfect twist on a traditional American classic. 

Be warned, this recipe is spicy, depending on the spiciness of the gochujang (Korean red chili paste) you use in the recipe. The pickle topping helps quite a bit but this recipe is definitely more for the grown-ups.

How to Make Korean Sloppy Joes

This is a two-part recipe where you will need to start by making a quick pickle and then head over to the stove to make the meat mixture. This recipe needs the pickles on top to bring out the dynamic flavor of the beef and pork mixture. We left off the pickles once and realized how necessary they are for this recipe. 

First, use a mandolin and slice your cucumbers thinly and place them in a bowl or mason jar. Add rice vinegar, granulated sugar, chili flakes, salt, and sesame oil and pour over the pickles. Shake or stir until the mixture is combined and the pickles are covered. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

Next, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. I like to use my 12 inch cast iron as it’s large enough to easily hold all the meat in this recipe. Add your ground beef, ground pork, onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook until the meat has browned and is no longer pink. Drain off excess grease.

Then add your soy sauce, fish sauce, grated pear, gochujang, chicken broth, brown sugar, and sesame oil and stir. Cook for about 2-3 more minutes until the sauce is heated through.

korean sloppy joe in a skillet

Place on sliders, hamburger buns, or in lettuce wraps. Top with pickled cucumbers and enjoy. 

korean sloppy joe on slider bun with pickles on top

Recipe Notes

  • An apple can be subbed for the pear if you can’t seem to find one.
  • If you have leftover meat, freeze it for later.
  • The pickles can last on the fridge for a few weeks. It’s great on salads, sandwiches, or on their own as a snack.

Looking for more quick weeknight meals? Try these out:

Korean Inspired Recipes

Korean inspired recipes that I love.

Watch this video tutorial and see how I make these sloppy joes from start to finish.

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5 from 2 votes

Korean Sloppy Joes

These homemade Korean Sloppy Joes are perfect for hamburger buns, sliders, or lettuce wraps. They are full of amazing flavor and can be made in less than 30 minutes from start to finish.
Course Main Course
Cuisine korean
Keyword Korean Sloppy Joes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 378kcal
Author Tanya



  • 2-3 small Persian cucumbers thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Korean Sloppy Joe Meat

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 4 green onions chopped, whites and greens separated
  • 1 Asian pear or Bosc pear cored and grated on large side of box grater
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 inch ginger root grated
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/3 cup gochujang Korean paste
  • 1/4 cup Beef or chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Mini slider buns, large hamburger rolls, or lettuce wraps


  • Place sliced cucumbers, rice vinegar, white sugar, chili flakes, salt, and sesame oil in a bowl or mason jar. Stir to combine. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  • Heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, pork, chopped yellow onions, white parts of the chopped green onions, chopped garlic, and grated ginger. Stir and cook until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Drain any excess grease.*
  • Then add your soy sauce, fish sauce, grated pear, gochujang, broth, brown sugar, and sesame oil and stir. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the sauce is heated through. Top with green parts of green chopped onions. 
  • Place on sliders, hamburger buns, or in lettuce wraps. Top with pickled onions and enjoy.



*You may need to drain excess grease if using meats that have a higher fat content. Extra-lean meats may not need draining. 
If using extra-lean meats, add a little oil to the skillet before browning so that the meat does not stick. 
You may use all ground beef if you prefer not to use ground pork. 
This is perfect for freezing as well. 


Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 991mg | Potassium: 484mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 186IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2mg
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Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Under no circumstances will be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information.

Recipe Adapted from Rachel Ray.

5 from 2 votes
Recipe Rating


Saturday 15th of July 2023

This recipe was amazing – so tasty. I’ll definitely be making it again.


Monday 17th of July 2023

Thank you, Marcia! So happy you liked the recipe :)


Tuesday 18th of October 2022

What a recipe! A huge hit! Will be making again and again....and again!


Tuesday 16th of June 2020

Made these for lunch today - so delicious!


Tuesday 16th of June 2020

Thank you so much Mali :)

Urmila Sriskanda

Saturday 30th of May 2020

Just wondering how long you can store your cucumber pickle in the fridge?


Saturday 30th of May 2020

Great question. I usually keep them for up to a week. I add them to salads and tacos throughout the week.