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These colorful Vietnamese-inspired 25 Minute Ginger Sesame Banh Mi Rice Bowls are full of fresh flavors and made so simply. The ground chicken, or pork, is cooked in a sweet soy chili sauce until caramelized around the edges. It’s then added to bowls of lemongrass rice. A fresh, bright, cucumber herb salad with chunks of avocado is spooned overtop along with quickly pickled carrots. There’s spicy mayo and extra sauce too. It’s a very yummy balance of spicy, sweet, and savory flavors. Altogether, these bowls are so delicious, plus quick to make.

25 Minute Banh Mi Rice Bowls |

If you’re not familiar with a Banh Mi sandwich, it’s a Vietnamese sandwich. It’s usually made with a baguette-style sub roll that’s layered with cripy pork or chicken. Then a spicy mayo is spread on top with pickled veggies, cucumbers, spicy chilies, and fresh herbs. It’s also traditional to add liver pate, but you’ll notice I left that out of these bowls. It’s not something I can easily find.

The flavors combined are fresh, with just the right amount of spiciness, and great umami flavors all around.

It’s such a yummy sandwich!

25 Minute Banh Mi Rice Bowls |

I’ve never made a traditional banh mi, they can sometimes be time intensive depending on the method used. But these bowls are the next best thing!

And so quick to make too, which we just love! These bowls aren’t traditional, but a nice, quick way to enjoy similar flavors.

25 Minute Banh Mi Rice Bowls |

The details on these bowls

To start, I do make my own lemongrass rice. It’s super simple but totally optional.

Lemongrass is such a star ingredient that’s so underused. When cooked, it has a subtle citrusy, lemony flavor with a bit of mintiness in there too.

It’s a very light refreshing flavor and I love cooking it into the rice. The lemongrass really compliments these bowls.

I cook the rice in coconut milk for a creamy, coconut flavor along with lemongrass paste and Thai jasmine rice. Simply let the rice steam while you prepare the bowls.

While that’s cooking away, I make the cucumber salad.

25 Minute Banh Mi Rice Bowls |

Lots of fresh herbs, I use a mix of cilantro and Thai basil. If you enjoy mint, add that too! Then, refreshing cucumber, avocado, toasted sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, a little spice from a serrano pepper, and a simple lime dressing.

Just toss everything together in a bowl, no fancy steps.

And now the meat. You can use chicken or pork, I usually do a mix of the two. Then a couple of shallots and garlic. Then add chili paste, tamari or soy, fish sauce, and maple syrup. Oh, plus some black pepper.

25 Minute Banh Mi Rice Bowls |

Now the KEY, pickled ginger. I added this at the last minute and it ended up being the most delicious addition. The picked ginger quickly caramelizes and becomes sweet and just addicting. You will love it.

25 Minute Banh Mi Rice Bowls |

Finish it up

Layer each bowl with lots of rice, then the meat, and any extra sauce. Top each bowl with the cucumber salad and spicy mayo.

Enjoy immediately…and that’s it! This takes less than 30 minutes to make and it’s delicious and fun! All those fresh herbs really make the difference.

25 Minute Banh Mi Rice Bowls |

Looking for other quick weeknight dinners? Here are some favorites:

Sheet Pan Poblano Chicken Fajita Bowls.

Cauliflower Tzatziki Bowls with Sweet Potato Fries

30 Minute Garlic Butter Chicken Pad Thai

Coconut Popcorn Chicken with Sweet Thai Chili Lime Sauce

30 Minute Sticky Thai Meatballs with Sesame Noodles

Better Than Takeout Sweet Thai Basil Chicken

Lastly, if you make these 25 Minute Banh Mi Rice Bowls, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

25 Minute Banh Mi Rice Bowls

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 530 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.


Cucumber Herb Salad

Banh Mi Meat


  • 1.  To make the salad. Combine everything in a bowl and gently toss. Season with salt
    2. To Make the meat. In a bowl, mix the tamari, fish sauce, chili paste, and maple syrup. Add 1/3 cup water. Set a few tablespoons of the sauce aside for serving, if desired.
    3. Heat the oil, meat, shallots, and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, breaking up the meat as it cooks, until browned, 5 minutes. Add the sauce. Cook another 5 minutes, until the meat is crispy. Add the pickled ginger, and let cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
    3. Spoon the meat over bowls of rice. Top with the herb salad, pickled carrots, and spicy mayo. Drizzle over the extra sauce. Enjoy!


Pickled Carrots: In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon salt. Microwave 1 minute, then whisk. Add 2 cups julienned carrots and toss well. Let sit 15 minutes to 1 hour. You can also add thinly sliced ginger and or jalapeños. 
LEMONGRASS RICE: Add 1 can coconut milk and 1/3 water to a medium-sized pot. Bring to a low boil. Add in 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice and 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste. Stir to combine. Place the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible. Allow the rice to cook 10 minutes on low and then turn the heat off completely. Let the rice sit on the stove, covered, for another 15-20 minutes (don’t take any peeks inside!).
2. After 15-20 minutes remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Note that rice can cook differently for everyone, this is just what works for me.
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25 Minute Banh Mi Rice Bowls |

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  1. 4 stars
    Came out delicious! Will definitely save this to make in the future. I used ground beef because that’s what I had on hand but still came out yummy . Took a bit longer than stated but worth it.

    1. Hey Mary Lynn,
      Fantastic!! Thanks so much for making this recipe and your comment, so glad it was a winner:)

  2. Can you tell me if the nutritional info includes the calories for the lemongrass rice, or is that separate? Also, do you use full-fat coconut milk? Important info for those of us tracking our diet. Thanks!

    1. Hi Barbara,
      The calorie count includes cooked rice, but not necessarily the lemongrass rice. Yes, I like to use full fat coconut milk. I hope this helps! xT

    1. Hi Jean,
      I really like using Thai Basil, cilantro, and anything else I have lying around! I hope this helps! xT

    1. Hey there,
      Awesome! I love to hear that this dish turned out well for you, thanks so much for making it and your comment! xT

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Are you able to find sriracha, gochujang, or sambal olek? Any of those would work well for you! Let me know if I can help with anything else! xT

  3. 5 stars
    I love this recipe, it’s on our weekly rotation! I go simple and just make regular rice and use plain shredded carrots: I feel like between the meat, the spicy mayo, and the cucumber salad, there’s tons of flavor. Anything with ground meat is a winner in my book for the easy prep! This does take me probably 45 minutes total from start to finish, just gathering/chopping/etc.

    Also I couldn’t give a flying butt if this is “authentic” — I’m not here for “authentic,” I’m here for bold flavors and easy dinners.

    Finally, my disclaimer in every comment I post on a recipe with fish sauce: don’t skip the fish sauce!! It really makes this.

  4. 5 stars
    The flavors for the pork in this are wonderful. I combined these flavors with another recipe (a pulled pork version), and it was great. Thank you for the recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    Second time making this took me just under an hour start to finish. I was juggling a toddler and at one point had to put everything on hold until my husband came home. I had to thaw the pork as it was frozen, and I took my sweet time cooking everything. Everyone – the key to the 25 minutes is start your rice first, then the pork, then the sides. It will come together as advertised, I promise!

    This is fast becoming a favorite meal! Thank you, Tieghan!

    1. Hi Kelly,
      I appreciate you making this dish and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it turned out well and didn’t take you too long:) xT

  6. 4 stars
    It was good! I loved the cucumber herb salad! Next time I will probably sub grilled chicken with a marinade instead of the ground chicken.

    This dish did take longer for me to prepare as well. Especially with preparing the pickled items. Prepare for at least an hour of prep time 🙂

  7. 4 stars
    Made this last night for dinner. The flavors are fantastic…loved it. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars, however, is time. This is not a “quick” recipe. I’m extremely fast with a knife, and a very organized cook. But by the time you julienne carrots and make the pickling liquid; prep the rice; chop all the stuff needed for the herb salad and the meat; make the spicy mayo; and then cook everything…’s not a quick meal. Rice itself takes 20 minutes to cook. That being said, it was delicious. I had to sub out chili sauce for chili paste because my grocery store was mysteriously out of the paste. The pickled ginger is a must…it really adds some zing to the dish. Overall….love it!

    1. Hey Julie! Thank you so much for giving the recipe a try! So glad you enjoyed it, I really appreciate this feedback! xT