Japanese Hamburger Steak (Hambagu) ハンバーグ | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Hamburger Steak (Hambagu)

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: meat patty
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: Nami
Served with a red wine reduction sauce, this homemade Japanese hamburger steak (Hambagu) recipe is big on flavors. The meat is juicy and melts in your mouth. Perfect in a hot frying pan or summer grill outs!


For the Hambagu Patties

  • ½ onion (6.8 oz or 192 g)
  • 1 Tbsp neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc)
  • ¼ tsp kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt) (for onion)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ lb ground beef & pork combination (14 oz or 386 g) (See Notes)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) (20 g)
  • 1 tsp kosher/sea salt (use half for table salt) (for meat mixture)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp nutmeg

For Cooking

  • 1 Tbsp neutral flavor oil (vegetable, canola, etc) (to cook)
  • ¼ cup red wine (for steaming)

For the Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp red wine
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 3 Tbsp ketchup
  • 3 Tbsp tonkatsu sauce (or Worcestershire sauce)


  1. Gather all the ingredients.

    Hamburger Steak Ingredients

To Make Hambagu Patties

  1. Chop the onion finely. With the knife tip pointing toward the root, slice the onion to within 1/2 inch of the base. Make about 1/4 inch parallel cuts. Then slice the onion horizontally about 1/4 inch parallel cuts. Then cut perpendicular to the first slices you made. If the onions need to be chopped finer, you can run your knife through them in a rocking motion. Be sure to hold down the tip of the knife, otherwise the onions are going to go flying around the room.
    Hamburger Steak 1
  2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium high heat and sauté the onion until translucent. Season with ¼ tsp salt and pepper.
    Hamburger Steak 2
  3. Transfer to a large bowl and let it cool.
    Hamburger Steak 3
  4. Add the meat in the bowl and mix all together.
    Hamburger Steak 4
  5. Add an egg, milk, Panko, 1 tsp salt, black pepper, and nutmeg.
    Hamburger Steak 5
  6. Mix the meat well with your hands until the mixture gets sticky. If you want to keep your hands clean, use rubber gloves or use plastic bags.
    Hamburger Steak 6
  7. Pinch off 2 inch from the mixture and make 4 large patties (or 6 medium patties). Toss each portion from one hand to the other hand repeatedly about 5 times in order to release air inside the mixture (see the video link above). The hamburger steaks will crack while cooking if you don’t release the air inside.
    Hamburger Steak 7
  8. Make oval shape patties. The top shouldn’t be flat, more like round. Keep in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before cooking so that the meat combines together.
    Hamburger Steak 8

To Cook Hambagu

  1. In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat and place the patties gently on the pan. Indent the center of each patty with 2 fingers because the center of patties will rise with heat.
    Hamburger Steak 9
  2. Cook the patties about 5 minutes. Do not flip until nicely browned.
    Hamburger Steak 10
  3. After you flip, pour ¼ cup red wine and lower heat to medium-low heat. Cover and cook for 5 minutes to thoroughly cook the inside of the patties (adjust cooking time depending on thickness).

    Hamburger Steak 11
  4. Then uncover and increase heat to medium-high to let the red wine evaporate. When it’s almost gone, transfer steaks into individual plates. Do not wash the pan as you will make the sauce next.

    Hamburger Steak 12

To Make Sauce

  1. Combine the liquid sauce ingredients in a bowl.
    Hamburger Steak 13
  2. In the same pan (without cleaning), add butter and sauce ingredients and mix well.
    Hamburger Steak 14
  3. Lower the heat to medium low and let it simmer for a few minutes until alcohol smell is gone. While simmering, you can skim off the scum and fat.
    Hamburger Steak 15
  4. When the sauce thickens, pour the sauce over the hamburger steaks. Serve the hamburger steak with vegetables over your favorite side dish.
    Hamburger Steak 16

Recipe Notes

Ground meat: The good ratio for hambagu is 65% ground beef and 35% ground pork. I usually make with roughly 50-50 for convenience. You can make hambagu with 100% beef, however it will not be as juicy and soft as combined meat.


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.