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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. 5 stars
    This was really delicious! I didn’t have lemongrass so I used a bit of grated lemon peel. I suppose lime could’ve worked too. In the recipe it’s written as Chili’s paste but the hyperlink sent me to red Thai curry paste. I used Sambal olek instead and it was perfect! Will make this again for sure!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this & the whole family loved it! Didn’t need as much of the pickled carrots & used fresh lemon grass (broken up) for the rice. Def making again!

  3. Is this authentic? Of course not. But it is a delicious banh-mi-inspired, 25-minute dinner for your average home cook. That’s all it ever was supposed to be…

    Anyway… It’s a shame this recipe is shrouded in so much controversy because the flavors are so, so good. I’d recommend reducing the tamari by at least a third, if not half, as the meat came out really salty.

  4. 5 stars
    Tieghan you’ve done it again…. what a delicious recipe! This is the third recipe of yours that I have made…all three are 5 stars. I own a bakery and am constantly thinking of new ideas there, but when it comes to dinner time for my family, my ideas seem to go on hold! I am so grateful for your inspiration and delish flavours… thank you 🙂

    Of course I can never follow a recipe to a tee…

    *added 1/2 cup water with the tamari/soy and some white pepper
    *cooked rice with a whole lemongrass stalk (rough chopped and bruised for easy removal), and added a few kaffir lime leaves
    *omitted the avocado in the salad

    With a drizzle of siracha mayo, did indeed taste like a banh mi!

  5. 5 stars
    YUMMMM. I made some modifications because of what I had on hand.
    *No lemongrass paste – put in some minced lemon peel, garlic, onions and ginger and fish sauce – it turned out excellent.
    *No sushi ginger – had fresh ginger that I cut in and let simmer for a few minutes and that also seemed to work.
    *Fresh herbs – didn’t know what that all included and I only had cilantro.

    A delicious recipe that will be made again and again.

  6. While I do agree with the comments saying that this really doesn’t even slightly taste like banh mi, it’s still a delicious rice bowl! The flavor profile is so complex and all the pickled elements are just so good. My only modification for next time would be to cut back on the tamari…I found it to be a bit too salty. Otherwise, I’ll be making this again!

  7. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. I made this on a whim without realizing the only fresh herb I had was sweet basil, and I had soy sauce, not tamari. I’m very eager to try it again with thai basil, mint and cilantro! 100 percent agree that the lemongrass rice is a must-do.

    I used ground chicken, but I suspect this would also be delicious with crumbled tofu.

  8. 3 stars
    This one just didn’t do it for us. Part of the problem is the recipe itself. I printed it, and put the things I needed from the ingredients list on my grocery list. Unfortunately, the ingredients for the rice are not in the ingredients list….they were on the back page. So I had neither lemongrass nor coconut milk on hand. Had to sub plain basmati rice instead. It would be really helpful if all the ingredients were on the ingredients list! Also….it didn’t taste like the banh mi we have had. It was just sort of Asian crumbled pork on rice. I love most of these recipes but wouldn’t make this one again.

  9. I made this recipe a few weeks ago and it was so flavorful and delicious. My husband still raves about it. 10/10, would defiantly make again!

  10. 5 stars
    My husband goes out of town frequently for work. He requests this for me to make and for him to eat it for dinner in his hotel rooms. This is the first time I’ve ever had it. My mind is absolutely blown, and this is the first recipe I’ve also made of yours.