How To Make Japanese Hamburger Steak (Hambāgu) At Home-Japanese Taste

How To Make Japanese Hamburger Steak (Hambāgu) At Home

by Megumi Moriya

Main Beef Pork Weeknight Dinner Freezer-friendly Meal-prep friendly Kid-friendly Western

“Hamburger Steak” is one of the main Western-style dishes that is popular among Japanese children and adults. In Japan, hamburger steak is distinguished from the hamburger eaten between two buns by being called “Hambāgu”.

The main ingredient of hambāgu is ground meat. Particularly a mixture of ground beef and pork. You might think that hambāgu is similar to meatloaf, but actually it tastes more similar to beef steak, so you can enjoy a meaty and juicy texture when you eat it.

Usually, we use ground meat called “Aibiki-Niku” which is made of ground beef and ground pork to make hambāgu. You can use only ground beef or pork instead of using Aibiki-Niku, but Aibiki-Niku is thought to be the most well-balanced in terms of texture and Umami flavor, making it the best choice to make Japanese hambāgu.

In Japan, you can find hambāgu everywhere like in family restaurants, Western-style restaurants, Set-meal restaurants, and even served as a meal at school. There are also some specialty shops serving indulgent hambāgu served with cheese or demi-glaze sauce. Now you understand how much Japanese people like hambāgu!

Although hambāgu is a popular dish to enjoy at restaurants, it is also quite easy to make at home. As the ingredients are inexpensive and easy to get at supermarkets, hambāgu is often served in the weeknight meal rotation.

Since there are many types of hambāgu sauce, you can enjoy hambāgu with your favorite one. The most basic type of sauce is a demi-glaze sauce made of beef meat, bones, and vegetables, and it gives hambāgu a rich flavor. It takes so much time to make demi-glaze sauce if you follow the steps like authentic restaurants do. Instead, we will introduce an easy-to-make demi-glaze sauce that tastes close enough to the real one in this recipe.

There are 3 tips we would like to share with you for making the most delicious hambāgu:

  • Prepare lightly browned stir-fried onions. This gives the hambāgu a unique sweetness and complex umami flavor.
  • Mix the ingredients for hambāgu with your hand as opposed to using a spoon or spatula. This will give the hambāgu a better texture.
  • And the last tip is to toss each hambāgu patty from your right hand to your left hand in a straight way to release the air from the patty. This will help the hambāgu to keep its shape while cooking. 

If you can follow and master these three steps, we guarantee that your hambāgu will turn out absolutely delicious! We hope you’ll enjoy making our recipe. Let us know in the comments below how it turns out.


Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 50 mins

Total time: 60 mins

Total servings: 4

Difficulty: Easy

  • 250g Ground Beef + Ground Pork
  • 150g Onion
  • 15g Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp Milk
  • 5g Grated Garlic
  • Pinch of Nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp Ketchup (for the demi-glaze sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (for the demi-glaze sauce)
  • 100ml Red Wine (for the demi-glaze sauce)
  • 1 Tsp Soy Sauce (for the demi-glaze sauce)
  • 1 Tsp Sugar (for the demi-glaze sauce)
  • 20g Butter (for the demi-glaze sauce)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Expert's Tip

How To Make Japanese Hamburger Steak (Hambāgu) At Home

If you’re looking for another easy-to-make hambāgu sauce, this is a good choice. All you have to do is make the patties and then simmer them in this sauce. Just one pouch of prepared sauce will make your hambāgu perfect.


1) Gathering the Ingredients

Gather the ingredients together.

Note: For making the demi-glaze sauce, we recommend using Japanese ketchup and Worcestershire sauce.

2) Chopping the Onions

Chop the onion for the hambāgu patties. Chop them into small pieces like in the picture. You do not need to cut them too finely, but make sure that they are small enough to be bite-sized.

3) Caramelizing the Onions

Add 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add in the chopped onions. Once the frying pan is hot enough, set the heat to low and stir-fry the onions until they turn golden brown. It will take about 15 minutes. (Refer to the pictures to see the steps of browning the onions.)

Once the onions have caramelized, transfer them to a plate or bowl and set aside until cooled.

4) Making the Hambāgu Patties

Mix ground meat, stir-fried onion, bread crumbs, milk, salt & pepper, nutmeg, and grated garlic in a bowl.

Knead the meat with your hand in opening and closing motions (like in the pictures) until the mixture becomes sticky.

5) Shaping the Hambāgu

Divide the mixture into 4 portions and scoop out one portion. Then toss the patty from one hand to the other (see pictured) in order to release air from the hambāgu.

Make an oval or round indent into the center of the hambāgu with your fingers.

Repeat the same process for the other 3 portions left in the bowl.

Put them in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to help them maintain their shape before cooking. 

6) Cooking the Hambāgu Patties

Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook the hamburger patties for 2-3 minutes until the bottom forms a nice crust.

Carefully flip them over and continue cooking them over low heat, covered, for 8-10 minutes or until fully cooked. Then remove from the heat.

7) Making the Demi-Glaze Sauce

Make the demi-glaze sauce using the same frying pan. Do NOT wash it before using it to make the sauce. If there are any burnt pieces left in the pan, just wipe them off with a paper towel.

Add ketchupworcestershire sauce, red wine, soy sauce, and sugar into the frying pan and mix well to make a sauce.

Let the alcohol evaporate, then cook for 3-5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Once thick, add in the butter.

8) Topping the Hambāgu With Sauce & Serving

Place the hambāgu on a plate and spoon over the demi-glaze sauce. Feel free to add as much if you like. If you have some salad or french fries, place them on the plate, too.

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