This post may contain affiliate links, please see our privacy policy for details.

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.
View Recipe Comments
25 Minute Banh Mi Rice Bowls |

Add a Comment

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 5 stars
    I got a little create with extra toppings and kimchi. Just yea across the board. Really makes it feel like I’m getting Banh mi from the local Vietnamese cushion shop but somehow even better. Loved loved this recipe and will be making it again.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Parsley and Thai Basil are great options! Please let me know if you have any other questions! xT

      1. @Jb Not sure why you think that’s notable. Lots of people don’t know how to pronounce it correctly — just like lots of people don’t know how to pronounce many other words correctly. Just like you don’t know basic punctuation rules — viz., an exclamation like “nah” must be set off with a comma from the rest of the sentence — yet, somehow, you are still allowed on the internet. Go figure.

    1. A bahn mi sandwich is a culinary fusion between Vietnamese and French cuisine. Although it translates to bread, it is also been known to refer to this common street food. This bowl is inspired by the ingredients in a Vietnamese sandwich. Makes sense to me.

    2. Parsely pls no. Its the wrong flavour profile. Thai basil, mint and fresh coriander would be more in keeping with Vietnamese cusine and will taste delicious stirred through the rice.

  2. 5 stars
    Delish! Everyone in the family enjoyed this dish. I made extra chicken, and the leftovers are so good, too. I also added edamame, for an extra veggie. Great recipe!

  3. The flavors all together are delicious. I had a bit of a problem though with the chicken not crisping up and getting brown. The skillet was hot and I put the onion/garlic and meat all in at once but it just got too watery. I had to scoop out the water. Will definitely make again and ensure that the stovetop is on high. Even when I added the sauce it never crisped up. Flavors though- yum! and we did not add any salt to anything because there was enough in the sauce that we drizzled over the top afterwards. Definitely loved the pickled carrots too.

    1. 5 stars
      Have made this before and it is delicious! But I’m wondering now – and can’t remember what I used last time – you refer to “chili paste” but the link goes to curry paste. Which is better?

      1. Hi Ursula,
        Thanks so much for making this recipe!! I like to use chili paste, I’m not sure why that link goes to curry paste. Sorry about that! xT

        1. Perhaps have your team adjust that? I assumed curry was correct and used that instead. Still turned out well but probably different than intended.

    1. Hi Diane,
      Sorry, it’s 1/3 cup of water:) Please let me know if you have any other questions! xT

  4. 5 stars
    Okay this is the third recipe of yours I’ve tried this week which means this is the third banger recipe I get to add to the rotation to keep things interesting! You keep hitting home runs. Thank youuuu!