This Japanese hamburger steak is so delightfully tender and and juicy with scrumptious flavors that are truly irresistible. Paired with homemade demi-glace sauce, this easy hambagu is the perfect dish to add your dinner rotation.
What is Japanese Hamburger Steak?
Japanese Hamburger Steak, also known as Japanese Hamburg Steak or Hambāgu (ハンバーグステーキ), is a popular dish in Japan that’s served in family restaurants (famiresu) and also enjoyed at home thanks to its easy preparation.
Similar to Salisbury steak, Japanese hamburger steak is a tender and juicy hamburger patty made of ground meat, sautéed onions, panko breadcrumbs, egg, and milk.
Served with a sweet and tangy demi-glace sauce, hambagu is the ultimate comfort meal that’s not only simple to make, yet has irresistible flavors that the whole family will love.
Japanese hamburg steak is also incredibly popular in Korea by the name of Hambak Steak (함박스테이크), and it was easily one of my favorite dishes as a child to have with a bowl of rice.
I remember being so obsessed with the dish that I would always ask my mom to include it in my lunchbox, as opening my school lunch to this glorious piece of hamburger steak would make my entire day.
Still to this day, every bite of hambagu still gets my tastebuds dancing with joy, and I’m confident it will instantly brighten your day as well.
What do I need to make Japanese Hamburg Steak?
This easy hamburger steak recipe calls for simple ingredients from your kitchen, hence why they are often my go-to for my emergency meals.
Here is everything you’ll need to make your own Hambagu:
- Ground beef: This recipe calls for all ground beef, but please feel free to add in a half ratio of pork if you prefer. Using fresh (not previously frozen) meat will produce the best results.
- Panko breadcrumbs & milk: to be mixed together into a paste to add to the patty mix.
- Although the traditional recipe calls for these ingredients separately, we will be combining the two in creating a panade, to make them extra tender and moist during the cooking process.
- Using whole or 2% milk will produce the best results, to add rich moisture to the patties.
- If you don’t have any panko breadcrumbs on hand, you can substitute with regular plain breadcrumbs.
- Onion & garlic: for the aromatics.
- Egg: Adds extra moisture to the meatballs, and acts as a core component to bind the mixture together.
- Ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper: to season the overall mixture.
- Butter, flour, sugar, mirin, soy sauce & ketchup: for the homemade demi-glace sauce.
And that’s it! All the ingredients you’ll need to make your own Japanese hamburger.
These hamburger steaks come together very quickly on the pan, so I recommend having all the side dishes ready to go prior to preparing the patties.
Tips & tricks to make the best hamburger steak
Try not to use extra lean meat that has a low-fat percentage.
A little bit of fat is a core component in making the patty tender and juicy, in the same fashion when making meatballs. I recommend using beef that is 80-85% lean to make the best meatballs.
Sauté the onion before adding to the mixture.
As hamburger steaks cook quickly in the pan, sautéing the onion will add wonderful aromas and natural sweetness to your Hambagu.
Simply heat up some oil in the pan, lightly season with salt, and sauté until the edges are golden brown. Another important tip is to make sure the onions are cooled completely before adding to the patty mixture.
Use your hands to shape the patties.
Using your hands to combine the ingredients will ensure that all the ingredients are mixed the most evenly. You can also use a pair of disposable gloves to get this job done.
Once the mixture comes together, scoop a portion with your hands and toss it back and forth between your hands to remove the air pockets before forming them into tight patties.
This will help the patty keep its shape while cooking and prevent it from cracking.
Use a non-stick pan and indent the patties.
Japanese hamburg steak is very delicate in texture and easily falls apart without proper handling, so it is incredibly helpful to use a non-stick surface to cook the patties.
Moreover, to ensure that the meat books evenly, make an indentation in the center of each patty when it goes on the pan. This also helps the patty hold its shape during cooking.
Can you prepare hamburger steak ahead of time?
Yes! Hamburger steak makes for a great freezer-friendly meal that can be made in advance for late-minute dinners. The recipe can also be easily doubled or tripled to make a bigger portion to save for a later time.
Simply form the patties as instructed, place on a parchment lined baking sheet to freeze until solid, then wrap them individually in wax paper to place in an airtight container or bag to place back into the freezer.
Japanese hamburg steak will be good up-to 4 months in the freezer. To cook, simply defrost them overnight to cook in the pan the same way as you would with fresh patties.
What to serve with Japanese Hamburger Steak
Hambagu is versatile in flavor and pairs well with so many side dishes, which is a huge plus in switching up your weeknight dinners.
I personally like to serve them simply with a side of rice, or with some mashed potatoes and sautéed vegetables (or salad) as demonstrated in the photos.
The demi-glace sauce can also be used as a gravy to add amazing flavor to your side dishes, which makes preparation a breeze!
I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious hamburger steak recipe, and as usual, please leave a comment below or message me on Instagram with any questions you may have. Happy cooking everyone!
Other easy Dinner recipes you may like:
- Yaki Udon (Stir Fried Udon Noodles)
- Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles)
- Omurice (Japanese Omelette Rice)
- Oyakodon (Japanese Chicken & Egg Rice Bowl)
- Bulgogi Udon Stir Fry
Melt-In-Your-Mouth Japanese Hamburger Steak
- Combine panko breadcrumbs and milk in a small bowl. Set aside while preparing the other ingredients.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and add onion. Lightly season with salt and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.
- In a large mixing bowl, add ground beef, soaked breadcrumbs, sautéed onions, garlic, egg, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until evenly combined.
- Scoop a portion of the meat and toss back and forth between your hands before forming into a tight patty.
- Heat oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Place the patties on the pan, indent the center, and cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Serve with demi-glace sauce and enjoy!
To make the demi-glace sauce:
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir to combine. Once it turns light brown, add mirin, sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, and water. Cook for about 2 minutes until the sauce is thickened.