10 types of donburi you should try to make at home

Raise your hand if you are one of those who always order a hearty bowl of donburi each time you dine at a Japanese restaurant.

Also known as Japanese rice bowl dish, a donburi consists of meat, fish, vegetables or other ingredients simmered together and served over rice.

The best thing about donburi is you can make one with ingredients that are already available in your fridge.

Enjoy your donburi with a bowl of miso soup and simple salad, and now you have a balanced meal.

This dish is perfect for those living alone or if you only need to make a meal for one.

If you are looking to spice up your dinner table, here are 10 types of donburi you can try to make at home:


Gyudon. Image by Pixabay.com

A gyudon is made up of a bowl of rice topped with beef and onion simmered in sauce.

The sauce is usually made from dashi (fish and seaweed stock), soy sauce and mirin (sweet rice wine).

It is believed that the dish came from gyunabe, a beef hot pot found in the Kanto region of eastern Japan.

People started to pour their beef hot pot over their rice and eventually it became recipe on its own.

Here is a little fun fact about gyudon; in the aftermath of the Great Kanto Earthquake 1923, the dish was one of the food items readily available for Tokyo residents who were devastated by the disaster.

During this time, gyudon gained its popularity among the Japanese regardless of their status.

Before the earthquake, the dish was widely known as food for the working class.

Read how to make it here, here and here.


Oyakodon. Image by Pixabay.

The term oyakodon is literally translated as ‘parent and child donburi’. It is because it contains both chicken and egg.

Together with other ingredients such as sliced scallion and onions, the dish is simmered together with sauce made with soy sauce and stock.

It is unconfirmed on how the dish came about but the term ‘oyakodon’ was first mention in a newspaper advertisement dated back in 1884.

Read how to make it here, here and here.


Katsudon. Photo by Unsplash.

If you are a fan of tonkatsu, this is the donburi for you. A tonkatsu is a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet.

According to historical records, a tonkatsu came about during the Meiji Era of Japan during the late 19th century.

The early version of the recipe was beef until the pork version of it was invented in 1899 at a Tokyo restaurant called Rengatei.

A katsudon is made with tonkatsu simmered in the sauce, caramelised onions and eggs before topping it on a bowl of rice.

Read how to make it here, here and here.


Another dish that came about during the Meiji era (1868-1912) was Japanese curry.

At the time, the British was ruling the Indian subcontinent. Anglo-Indian officers of the Royal navy then brought over curry powder from India to Japan.

A karedon is consists of thickened curry flavoured dashi poured over a bowl of ice.

It is derived from curry udon.

With instant Japanese curry easily available these days, a karedon is just too easy to make at home.


Once you master the art of making donburi sauce, it opens so many opportunities in making Japanese dishes.

The simplest donburi to make is tamagodan.

It is basically a scrambled egg mixed with sweet donburi sauce on rice.

Read how to make it here, here and here.


A simple scrambled egg is too simple for you? Level your egg dish up by making a crab meat omelette.

After putting it on top of hot rice, then you will have a tenshindon or tenshinhan.

This dish is named after Tianjin city in Northern China.

Read how to make it here, here and here.


For a more balanced meal, try to make chukadon.

It is consists of a bowl of rice with stir-fried vegetables, onions, mushrooms and meat on top.

The name chukadon literally means Chinese-style rice bowl.

For its history, it is believed the dish came from a Chinese-style restaurant in Tokyo back in the 1930s.

The stir-fry food is actually called happosai in Japanese which most people believed is inspired by Cantonese ‘Eight Treasure’ dish.

Read how to make it here, here and here.


Originally created by a restaurant owner in Hokkaido in the 1930s, a butadon is a one-bowl wonder made from stir-fired pork seasoned with soy sauce over steamed rice.

It is now not only a popular dish in Hokkaido but all over Japan.

The key of the dish is its thickly sliced pork cooked in a caramelised sweet and savoury sauce.

Read how to make it here, here and here.


Tempura donburi. Image by Pixabay.

Are you a fan of tempura? With tempura flour so easily available in supermarkets these days, you can turn your favourite vegetables into tempura at home now.

Serve your tempura over steamed rice and drizzle them with tentsuyu dipping sauce, then voila!

A tentsuyu (tempura sauce) is a simple sauce made from dashi, sake, mirin, sugar and soy sauce.

Now you have yourself a bowl of tendon or tempura donburi.

Read how to make it here, here and here.


Karaagedon. Image by Pixabay.com

Karaage is Japanese style fried chicken, made with marinated chicken and coated with starch or flour before deep frying them until they golden brown.

This process is different from making tempura which is not marinated and uses a batter for its coating.

The preferred part of chicken when comes to making karaage is the thigh but the breast will do too.

As for the sauce, mix soy sauce and roasted sesame oil together and add Japanese chili oil if you want it to be spicy.

Once you have your karaage, put it over steam rice and finish the dish of by drizzling Japanese mayo and the sauce.

For that extra green colour in your donburi, never forget to garnish it with green onion slices.

Read how to make it here, here, here.

Patricia Hului

Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight.

She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science.

She is currently obsessed with silent vlogs during this Covid-19 pandemic.

Due to her obsession, she started her Youtube channel of slient vlogs.

Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at Kajomag.com or Twitter at @patriciahului.

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