Simple, tasty, and easy-to-follow Japanese Hamburger Steak (Wafu Hambagu) recipe. Easy Japanese Recipes at

Wafu Hambagu (Japanese Hamburger Steak)

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: hamburger steak, meat patty
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Wafu Hambagu is a scrumptious Japanese-style hamburger eaten without a bun. The meat patty is prepared until moist and flavorful, and garnished with daikon, shiso leaves and enjoyed with a ponzu based sauce.


  • ½ onion
  • 1 ½ Tbsp neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc) (for cooking onion)
  • ¼ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • ½ lb ground beef (226 g)
  • ½ lb ground pork (226 g)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 clove garlic (crushed or minced)
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For Cooking Patties

  • 1 ½ Tbsp neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc)



  • ½ cup ponzu (See Notes for homemade recipe)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp yuzu kosho (optional to make it spicy)


  1. Gather all the ingredients.

    Wafu Hambagu Ingredients
  2. Mince the onion.
    Wafu Hambagu 1
  3. Heat 1 ½ Tbsp oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion until golden brown. Transfer to a large bowl and let it cool.

    Wafu Hambagu 2
  4. Mix panko and milk together.
    Wafu Hambagu 3
  5. When the onion cools down, add all the ingredients into the large bowl.
    Wafu Hambagu 4
  6. Mix all the ingredients together and knead the mixture until sticky (the mixture will become paler in color).
    Wafu Hambagu 5
  7. Divide the mixture into 4 portions. Put a little bit of oil on your hand to avoid the meat sticking to the hands.
    Wafu Hambagu 6
  8. Toss each portion of the mixture between your hands about 10 times to release the air inside the mixture (this will prevent the patties from breaking while cooking).
    Wafu Hambagu 7
  9. Make oval shape patties. The top shouldn't be flat like typical hamburger patties, it should be more round. Cover the patties with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cooking so that the meat combines together.
    Wafu Hambagu 8
  10. Meanwhile, peel daikon and grate finely. Squeeze the liquid out of daikon.
    Wafu Hambagu 9
  11. Cut off the edge of shiso and roll it up to chiffonade. If you use scallion instead, slice thinly.
    Wafu Hambagu 10
  12. To make the sauce, combine ponzu, yuzu kosho, and sugar and whisk all together until sugar is dissolved.
    Wafu Hambagu 11
  13. Heat 1 ½ Tbsp oil in a frying pan over medium heat and place the patties gently. Indent the center of each patty with fingers because it will rise and expand with heat. Cook the patties for about 3-4 minutes and do not flip until nicely brown.

    Wafu Hambagu 12
  14. Flip the patties and cover to cook on medium low heat for 4-5 minutes, or until the meat inside is cooked through.
    Wafu Hambagu 13
  15. Add the sauce to the pan and increase the heat to medium high. Pour the sauce over the meat with a spoon while cooking for about 2 minutes.
    Wafu Hambagu 14
  16. Move the patties to serving plates. Reduce the sauce a little bit while skimming off the fat (to make clear nice sauce). Pour the sauce into small serving bowl.
    Wafu Hambagu 15
  17. Place the grated daikon on top of the meat patties and garnish with shiso (or scallion). Pour the extra sauce on top when you eat.
    Wafu Hambagu 16

Recipe Notes

Daikon: Use top green part of daikon where it’s sweet and less bitter.


Ponzu: Homemade recipe, click here.

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.