This easy Beef Stir Fry recipe is better than take-out and can be made in just 30 minutes! Flank Steak or Sirloin Steak is sauteed with a variety of colorful vegetables and coated in a quick and easy homemade teriyaki sauce.
Stif fry has to be one of the easiest and quickest dinners to make. It has tons of versatility and you can pack in lots of vegetables. You can have this on the table in about 30 minutes, which is faster than take-out can deliver.
What I love About this Recipe
- Better than take-out. This stir fry recipe is as good as any Chinese restaurant and it only takes 30-minutes to make.
- Simple and versatile ingredients. You can use a variety of cuts of beef in this recipe, as well as a variety of vegetables. You probably have everything you need for this without going to the store.
- 30 minute meal. prep it in 15 minutes, cook it in 15 minutes, and you are a dinnertime hero.
Best Cut of Beef for Stir Fry
The best beef for stir fry is either flank steak or sirloin steak. Our preference is flank steak, and that’s what we include in the recipe below, but sirloin works too.
Slice Beef Against the Grain
With either flank steak or sirloin steak cuts of beef, it’s important to be sure to cut against the grain (perpendicular to the grain). How you cut the meat is especially important if you’re using flank steak in this recipe, because flank steak is typically a tougher cut of beef. As we’ve discussed before, with beef, tenderness is largely determined by the cut of meat and how you cut it.
To find the grain of beef, look closely at the thin white lines on the meat. This will show you how the muscle fibers are aligned in the beef. If you’re using flank steak, the grain should be fairly easy to spot. It will be slightly harder to identify in more tender cuts.
Once you identify which direction the muscle fibers are running, cut perpendicular to the grain. Your goal when cutting against the grain is to cut through the fibers and shorten them. Ultimately, this makes it easier to chew since your knife has already done lots of the hard work for you by breaking up the muscle fibers. If you slice meat in the same direction as the muscle fibers (with the grain), you will have chewier pieces of meat that could have been avoided if it was sliced differently.
Also, thinner slices are better for this recipe. I prefer about ¼-inch thick. If it’s not easy to cut the beef this thin, you can place the beef in the freezer for about 15 minutes and it will make it easier to cut the beef when it’s slightly chilled.
A little about Flank Steak
Flank steak comes from the underside (abdomen). It’s a very distinct piece of beef because it has grains that run the length of the cut. It used to be a very inexpensive cut of beef, but it’s become very popular, and more expensive. Flank steak should always be sliced across the grain, or else it will be very tough and chewy.
A little about Sirloin Steak
The sirloin is one of the most well-known cuts of beef. Sirloin is the large primal section of beef in the hip section of the animal, just ahead of the rump. This primal cut is generally divided up into the top sirloin and bottom sirloin. The top sirloin is more flavorful and tender than the tougher bottom sirloin.
How to Make Beef Stir Fry
This dish requires a little more prep time cutting vegetables than many recipes, but it’s worth it.
- Prep the flank steak. First slice it into 1/4” thin (or thinner) slices, across the grain of the meat. Then, toss on all sides with cornstarch.
- Cook the steak. Place 1/2 tablespoon oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. Cook the beef in small batches, just until browned on both sides, flipping once, about 30-seconds on each side. Overcrowding the pan causes the beef to steam, not fry. Remove the beef to a plate.
- Prep the veggies Cut desired vegetables. We like red bell peppers, broccoli and snow peas, but other great options are mushrooms, carrots, bok choy or asparagus
- Cook the vegetables. In the same pan, place 1/2 tablespoon oil and cook vegetables for 4-5 minutes. They should still be crunchy. Set aside.
- Make the sauce. In a small bowl whisk together the sauce ingredients.
- Combine and serve over rice. Return the beef, veggies and sauce to the pan. Cook for 3-4 more minutes until warmed through and sauce thickens. Add green onions and sesame seeds for garnish, if desired. Serve warm, over hot cooked rice or noodles.
Tips for the Best Beef Stir Fry:
- Cut flank steak thinly, against the grain. Notice the directional lines in the meat grain and slice perpendicular to them. This will help ensure the beef is tender. If you cut along the grain then the meat will be tougher and chewier to eat. Also, the thinner the slices, the better.
- Use low sodium soy sauce. This will give the dish a better flavor and keep the sauce from tasting overly salty.
- Cook beef in smaller batches. You don’t want to crowd the pan because that prevents you from getting a nice brown sear on the meat.
- Cook rice or noodles. When you begin cooking the vegetables, start a pot of rice or noodles at the same time and dinner will be ready in less than 30 minutes
Make Ahead Instructions:
I like to make this recipe fresh but you can definitely prep it ahead of time. Cut the veggies in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Make the sauce by mixing all sauce ingredients and storing them in the refrigerator before using. You can also slice the meat ahead of time and store in the fridge until ready cook
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Beef Stir Fry Variations:
There are so many different ways to customize this recipe to your family’s tastes.
- Protein: Instead of sliced beef, you can use ground beef, or even chicken or shrimp
- Vegetables: We like bell peppers, broccoli and snow peas, but other great options are mushrooms, carrots, bok choy or asparagus.
- Pineapple: For a tropical twist, add some cubed pineapple to your stir fry. Fresh or canned will work, but drain the juice if using canned pineapple.
Beef Stir Fry
- 1 lb flank steak or sirloin steak thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 4 cups mixed vegables of choice broccoli, bell pepper (any color), snap peas, carrots, mushrooms, etc
- 2 medium green onions finely chopped optional garnish
- 1 tbps sesame seeds optional garnish
- Prepared rice (brown, white or cauliflower rice), noodles or quinoa
- 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp brown sugar (or maple syrup)
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- Place steak in bowl. Season steak with salt and pepper. Toss with cornstarch and stir to coat. Set aside while you prepare the vegetables and sauce.
- Prepare sauce ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In a large saute pan or wok, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the beef and cook until it's browned on all sides, fully cooked through. Most likely, you'll need to separate the beef into 2 small batches so that the beef isn't overcroweded in the pan. Remove the beef and any juices, and sest aside on a plate.
- Heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add vegetables. Cook approximately 4 minutes until slightly softened and lightly browned.
- When the vegetables are ready, add the beef back to the pan. Pour in the sauce and toss to coat. Let simmer 3-4 minutes to thicken the sauce and warm beef through.
- Serve warm over rice or noodles Add garnishes such as chopped green onions, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes and/or soy sauce, as desired.
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ONE MORE THING!
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Here are a few other links you may like:
- Ground Beef and Asparagus Pasta Toss
- How to choose the best cut of steak (Top 4 cuts)
- What everybody ought to know about beef cuts
- Buying a Cow. How Much Beef Is It?
- Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon
- Cows 101: Do Cows Sleep Standing Up?
- 5 Tips After You Buy a Cow
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