This easy ground pork stir fry is my favorite way to use ground pork! It comes together super fast (25 minutes) because ground meat cooks so quickly, and it has hundreds of glowing reviews on Pinterest!
Recipe: $5.35 | Per Serving: $1.34 | Yield: 4
This delicious, flavorful, and super easy ground pork stir fry is sure to become an instant favorite at your dinner table! There aren't a lot of ground pork recipes on the Internet, but I love using it as my protein base, especially in stir-fries like this.
Why You'll Love this Easy Ground Pork Stir Fry Recipe
- This recipe is FAST! 25 minutes from start to finish!
- No fancy ingredients: really!
- A complete meal: tons of vegetables, plenty of protein, and balanced with complex carbohydrates.
- Versatile! Not into mushrooms? Swap them out for another veggie. Can't tolerate soy? Try coconut aminos instead!
- HUNDREDS, if not thousands, of readers have made and loved this recipe, and it still gets tons of reviews on Pinterest every week!
And after you've made this recipe, and decided you love ground pork, check out my list below of some of the BEST ground pork recipes!
This post was originally published in October of 2015. It has recently been updated (March 2022) for clarity, but the recipe and most images are the same. Thank you for all of your support over the years!
What to Make With Ground Pork
After you've made GROUND PORK STIR FRY, here are some of the other BEST ground pork recipes I've made and loved over the years!
- Vietnamese Bun Cha Meatballs
- Homemade Chorizo
- Miso Meatballs
- Herbed Ground Pork and Vegetable Soup (AIP)
- Pizza Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Homemade Italian Sausage Seasoning
- How to Make Homemade Sausage
When I first developed and posted this recipe back in 2015, there were very few ground pork recipes on the Internet. I recently updated this in 2022, and in the last 5+ years, ground pork has become a very popular meat option! Lucky for us, that means there are tons of recipes to make with ground pork!
In fact, there are even several ground pork stir-fries now! Ground pork is more popular in other cuisines - especially throughout Asia where we often had it in Japanese and Vietnamese dishes.
I swear, though, this is the absolute first ground pork stir fry recipe online - really, I hunted for ground pork stir fries and other ground meat recipes back in 2015 and did not have a lot of luck. So, rest assured, you're hanging with the OG here. 😉
Ground meat is my favorite go-to easy protein:
- You don't have to touch ground pork if you don't want to.
- It's super cheap
- It's already prepped for you.
- It cooks super fast.
- You almost can't overcook it.
- You can get high quality pastured ground pork from Moink! (Affiliate link for $20 off your first order!)
- You can find grass-fed ground beef for a great price (try Costco, Trader Joe's, or Sprout's)
- It makes some of my favorite foods: miso meatballs, homemade bolognese, breakfast sausage, burgers, American-style tacos...and this! Gingery, easy, cheap, ground pork stir fry!
In Japan they sell mixed ground meat - pork and beef - and that's often what I have used for this recipe because it's so good! If you can manage to get a combination of ground meats, I highly recommend you do so, then just mix it together before starting this recipe.
You could also use ground turkey or chicken, but you'll probably need to add a bit of oil to cook it.
Okay, let's dig in to this delicious recipe!
Ingredients for this Recipe:
We are keeping it SIMPLE.
- Ground pork
- Leafy greens of choice (spinach, bok choy, kale, chard, etc.)
- Veggies of choice - usually onion, carrots, and mushrooms, with ginger and garlic for tons of flavor.
- Sauce ingredients: rice vinegar, tamari or soy sauce, red pepper flakes.
- Brown or white rice for serving
- Green onions and sesame seeds for topping!
How to Cook Ground Pork
Ground pork is super easy to work with, but here's my favorite method: Place the ground pork into a hot skillet or wok, with or without oil. Let cook over relatively high heat for about 3-5 minutes, or until it is starting to get brown and slightly crisp on the bottom.
This is how we build flavor! This Maillard reaction provides additional flavor. As you can see in the picture above, the pork will start to brown on the bottom, and you can check it to make sure it is easy to remove and starting to crisp up before you flip it.
After flipping, you can let it brown on the other side, or start to break it up right away, depending on your preference and your timeline. As long as you brown the first side, you'll get plenty of flavor.
How Do You Make Lean Ground Pork?
Pork is fatty - and that's one of the reasons why so many of us love it! If you've got poor quality pork, or you just aren't interested in the fat, you can definitely cook the pork and strain off some of the fat before adding the sauce and vegetables.
Be sure to drain it into a paper-towel lined bowl or some other vessel instead of dumping it directly into the trash. Please do not pour it down the drain!
You can also get grease bags, or use a grease saver or an old jar to save grease in the fridge. When it's full - use it for cooking or just toss it!
How to Make This Stir Fry with Ground Pork
- Get some rice going on the stove or in a rice cooker.
- Brown the pork - this part is KEY for developing flavor - brown it on one side before you stir it! See info above for more details!
- Add tamari / soy sauce and stir until cooked through.
- Remove from pan (or leave it in if you want and if your pan is big enough) - With the higher marbling of ground pork, you can also just keep it in the pan to continue cooking if you want while you add and quickly cook the vegetables.
- Add the vegetables (except leafy greens) and cook over medium-high heat until cooked to your liking.
- Add additional seasonings and leafy greens. Cook until wilted.
- Combine with the pork and serve over rice.
It's so easy! I love regular ginger pork stir-fry dishes (like shogayaki) as much as the next ginger-lover, but I've always struggled to find that perfect balance where the pork is cooked all the way, but still tender. Meat was also really expensive in Japan, so I got very used to using more affordable ground meats.
Plus, this recipe is so so easy! One large pan (or wok) is basically all you need.
Tips for this Recipe
- I really recommend browning the ground pork as listed in the recipe: plop it into the pan and let it brown on one side before breaking it up. This helps get that Maillard reaction on one side, which adds a ton of flavor! Check out the video for this recipe below if you want to see!
- Use what you have: many readers have told me they have added fish sauce, sriracha, broccoli, shrimp, bell peppers, and a variety of other vegetables.
- Add more of your favorites: I have made this recipe dozens of times (it is also a go-to recipe for my cooking classes!), and it is versatile. If there's a veggie here you don't like, swap it out for something you love. You can also use coconut aminos in place of the tamari/soy for a gluten-free and soy-free alternative.
- I like short grain brown rice with stir fry, as that's what I always ate in Japan. You can cook this in a rice cooker to keep things easy (it comes out perfect every time!), or use my tip below to measure out the right amount of water so you don't end up with mushy rice.
Tip for Cooking Brown Rice
I grew up without ever measuring water for cooking rice. (Honestly, we didn't use measuring cups or timers at all unless we were baking, and even then it was done very imperfectly - it was a big transition to start a blog where I have to measure everything perfectly!)
- In my experience, the best way to measure water for rice is using your fingers as your guide. See the image below.
- You want to place your 3 middle fingers somewhat flat atop the rice, and then fill the water up to the first knuckle of your middle finger. This usually comes to about 1 1/2 cups of rice when I'm making 1 cup brown rice in a medium pot.
- Next cover and just bring the water to a boil, and immediately reduce to a low simmer for 25 minutes. Keep it covered, but remove from the heat and let steam for 10 minutes.
If using a different kind of rice, I do recommend reading the instructions for cooking times, but you can still use my tip for getting the right amount of water!
Why this works:
The width of your pot will influence the speed of absorption and evaporation, so different pots will require slightly different amounts of water. I find that the range for short grain brown rice is usually between 1 1/2 cups and 2 cups of water.
If you're not confident in this method, I recommend measuring out the water, then using your fingers to watch where the water hits on your middle finger! This is an imprecise process and will take a few times to get it right, but it is a skill you can take with you whenever you find yourself using a different pan!
Tips for Making Healthy Ground Pork Stir Fry:
If you want to make this dish even healthier, here are a few tips!
- Buy the best pork you can afford! Fewer toxins in the fat and the meat = healthier ground pork! Again, I have found the best pork from Moink, but you can ask at your local farmer's market or just go for higher-quality brands.
- Use half ground pork and half ground turkey or chicken if you can't find good quality pork. As I mentioned, they often sell pork and beef mixed together in Japan, so I know this recipe works great with other meats. It's relatively easy to find organic ground turkey and chicken these days so feel free to mix it up.
- Add more vegetables. You know I'm all about easy ways to eat more vegetables, and this is a great opportunity to add in some cauliflower rice or other riced vegetables.
- Soak your rice overnight before cooking. This helps make rice more easily digested, and can increase our absorption of nutrients.
- Cook your rice in bone broth or nourishing vegetable broth instead of water. You'll get glutamine and glycine from the bone broth, or additional minerals and other nutrients from the vegetable broth.
When I first came to Japan, I ate this every week. I'd just buy meat and mushrooms and whatever vegetables were cheapest, so the price will vary based on your available vegetables.
(And if you make this, please drop a star rating in the recipe card below - it is a huge help to me and my blog!! 🤩)
Dietary Modifications and Substitutions:
- Paleo: Not as written, but you can swap the soy sauce for coconut aminos and fish sauce, and then use some other starch or base besides brown rice, such as cauliflower rice, roasted kabocha squash, or baked sweet potatoes.
- Vegetarian: No, but I'm sure you could omit the pork and try some other protein source!
- Gluten-Free: I have updated this recipe to be gluten-free as written, by using Tamari in place of regular Soy Sauce
- Low FODMAP: Feel free to skip the onions and garlic and stick with just the green tops of scallions / green onions to keep this low FODMAP. Some people will tolerate white rice better than brown rice, and note that mushrooms are medium-high FODMAP so you may want to cut that amount in half and add more Low FODMAP veggies like bell peppers and carrots.
PIN THIS RECIPE FOR LATER! THANK YOU!Print
This delicious Japanese-inspired ground pork stir fry is packed with flavor and is perfect for busy weeknights!
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice + about 1.5-2 cups water
- 8-12 oz (1/2-3/4 lb) ground pork or beef (or other ground meat)
- 1.5 cups mushrooms, cut into slices (fancy mushrooms like shiitake are great here, but any will do.)
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced into wedges or diced
- 1 cup carrots, julienned, or cut into match sticks, or grated*
- 3 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 4 cups chopped leafy greens - bok choy, spinach, kale, collards, chard, etc.
- 3 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce, divided (or for Paleo, use 2 T coconut aminos and 1 T fish sauce)
- 1/2 Tablespoon vinegar (rice wine vinegar, white, or apple cider)
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder or red pepper flakes
- garnish: sesame seeds and green onions
- Cook rice according to instructions on your package. I like to use a rice cooker. If using a pot on the stove, I recommend rinsing your rice 2-4 times, then placing in a large pot. I use the finger method (see above) to measure the rice, which usually comes to about 1 1/2 cups of water per 1 cup of rice. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil, then reduce to a lower simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from heat (but don't touch the lid!) and let "steam" for another 10 minutes off the heat before serving, if time allows.
- Heat a large pan or wok over high heat. Dump in the ground pork/beef and let cook, undisturbed for a few minutes until it is dark brown on the bottom. Flip and repeat on the other side.
- When the pork is cooked through, add 1 Tablespoon soy sauce and break up the meat, cooking until it is browned on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium-high. Drain off most of the oil, leaving enough to cook the vegetables (about a tablespoon or so). If you have lean meat, you might need to add a Tablespoon of butter or coconut oil. Add the onions and mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms are a little brown.
- Add the carrots and cook for about 5 minutes more. (Note: if using grated carrot here, just add with the next step with the leafy greens, no need to cook for the extra 5 minutes.)
- Add the ginger, garlic, chili powder, rice vinegar, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, and the leafy greens. Cook until wilted, then mix in the meat.
- Taste, add remaining 1 Tablespoon soy sauce if needed, and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve over rice and enjoy!
- You can use basically any vegetables for this, including bell peppers, green beans, and broccoli. Stir fries and rice bowls are great for using up any old vegetables in your fridge!
- I’ve also served this with both soy-sauce roasted kabocha squash and sweet potatoes instead of the rice, so feel free to keep it grain-free with some delicious roasted starches!
- To amp up the flavor: add sesame oil, fish sauce, coconut aminos, sriracha, or sambal oolek!
- Nutrition Label is for 12 oz ground pork
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Category: Stir Fry, Weeknight Recipe, Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Asian, Healthy
Keywords: ground pork, ground pork recipe, ground pork stir fry, Japanese stir fry