This Beef Stir Fry is a healthy 20-minute meal loaded with tender beef and tons of fresh vegetables in the best sweet and savory stir fry sauce. Serve it with rice or quinoa for a fast, easy dinner.
Families everywhere will love this easy Beef Stir Fry full of perfectly cooked beef, broccoli, snow peas, mushrooms, red bell peppers, and carrots in a delicious homemade stir fry sauce.
When the mood for takeout hits, pull out this beef stir fry recipe instead. It’s healthier and you can get it on the table in no time at all. Plus it’s easy to customize this stir fry recipe using any combination of protein or vegetables you have on hand.
Why You’ll Love This Beef and Vegetable Stir Fry
Here are a few reasons why we think you will love this stir fry.
- Easy to prepare: There’s nothing complicated about cutting up some beef and veggies and cooking them in a stir-fry sauce. You can prep the sauce over the weekend and even get the beef and veggies ready to go.
- No two stir fries are the same: The most amazing thing about stir fries is you can modify them each time you prepare them. No beef in the fridge? Use chicken or tofu. All out of peppers? Substitute with zucchini.
- Nutritious: You can feel good about feeding your family a simple meal packed with protein, fiber, and tons of vitamins and minerals from all the veggies.
Key Ingredients and Easy Swaps
Here is everything you need for this stir fry plus some easy substitutions if you need them.
- Flank Steak: Flank steak is lean, affordable, and comes out tender when cooked in a stir-fry. You can also use sirloin or any stir-fry style beef. Just make sure whatever you use is thinly sliced so it will cook quickly.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch seals in the juices and help the beef crisp up and brown on the edges. It also helps the sauce thicken and stick to the beef.
- Soy sauce: Use regular or low-sodium soy sauce. Or swap in tamari or coconut aminos.
- Vegetables: Stir fry works best with quick-cooking vegetables. Thai recipe uses broccoli florets, snow peas, mushrooms, red bell peppers, onions, and carrots. However, you can use whatever fresh produce or frozen veggies you have on hand. We also love using bok choy, cabbage, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, asparagus, and baby corn.
- Stir fry sauce: This quick and easy homemade stir fry sauce uses soy sauce (or tamari), chicken broth (or water), honey (or maple syrup/brown sugar), sesame oil, rice vinegar, fresh garlic, and fresh ginger. It also uses cornstarch as a thickener, but you could swap in arrowroot.
- Garnish: Add some crunch and color to this beef stir fry with sesame seeds, green onions, cashews, cilantro, or Thai basil.
- Shortcuts: Use a bag of frozen mixed veggies and store-bought stir-fry sauce or teriyaki sauce.
How To Make This Easy Beef Stir Fry
Just a few simple steps to make this stir fry.
1. Marinate the beef
Coat the strips of beef with cornstarch and place them in a bowl with the soy sauce and pepper. Leave the beef to marinate for a few minutes while you get the sauce and vegetables ready.
2. Prepare the stir-fry sauce
Mix all the ingredients together. Give the sauce a taste and make whatever adjustments you think necessary.
Here are some easy ways to customize the stir-fry sauce:
- Spicy: 1-3 tsp sambal olek or add red pepper flakes to taste
- Sweet: Double (or triple) the honey
- Sweet and spicy: Double the honey and add 1-3 tsp sambal olek or Sriracha
- Thicker: Double the cornstarch
- More savory: 1-2 tbsp oyster sauce or hoisin sauce
3. Cook the beef
Cook the beef in a single layer in a skillet with hot oil. The beef should brown up in about 3-4 minutes. Remove the beef from the skillet using a slotted spoon and set aside.
4. Stir fry the vegetables
Add more oil to the pan if necessary and cook the vegetables until they are tender crisp, about 4-5 minutes. Stir-fried vegetables should have some texture and crunch. Do not overcook the vegetables.
5. Mix it all together
Place the beef back in the pan, add the stir-fry sauce, and cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.
Ways To Serve Stir-Fried Beef
There are numerous ways to serve up this tasty stir fry. Here are some favorites:
- Grains: You can serve beef stir fry with any kind of rice; white rice, brown rice, wild rice, or even cauliflower rice. For a change of pace serving the stir fry over quinoa is also nice and adds more protein. You might also like to serve it with this Cabbage Fried Rice or this Egg Fried Rice.
- Noodles: Always the kids preferred choice with options like egg, soba, rice, buckwheat, udon, or glass noodle. If you are looking for a low-carb noodle option use zucchini or shirataki.
- As a wrap: Forgo the noodles and rice and make a wrap out of your stir fry. You can use lettuce leaves like this Korean Beef Lettuce Wrap or stuff this beef stir fry into rice paper and roll it up.
- Garnishes: Don’t forgo these add-ins as they really do enhance the flavor of the stir fry. This beef and vegetable stir fry would taste great with green onions, scallions, toasted peanuts, cashews, or sesame seeds. You can also throw in some chopped cilantro or Thai basil.
Storage and Leftover Beef Stir Fry
Stir fries keep well in the fridge and are great for meal prep. They can even be frozen for later use.
- Fridge: Leftover stir fry keeps well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: Beef stir fry freezes well so stash it away for up to 4 months.
- Thaw: Thaw frozen leftovers in the fridge overnight.
- Reheat: Reheat the stir fry in a skillet on the stove over medium heat until warmed through. Or place it in the microwave.
Switch Things Up! Recipes Ideas
No two stir-fry meals need to be the same. Here are a few ways to change them up so you never get tired of eating stir fry.
- Swap the protein: Instead of beef, you can make a chicken stir fry, pork stir fry, or salmon stir fry. Make it vegetarian and use tofu, tempeh or seitan, or a combination of these. Just be mindful of the cooking time as each of these will cook at a different pace.
- Switch up veggies: Use whatever vegetables your family prefers. Try to choose local and seasonal veggies for the best flavor. You can even pick up a bag of frozen vegetables or pre-cut stir fry vegetables at the grocery store and throw them in to save some prep time.
- Modify the sauce: For a sweeter sauce feel free to add more honey or for a spicier sauce add chili paste. If you like a thick sauce mix in some peanut or almond butter.
- Add fruit: Stir fries aren’t just about veggies. Throw in some diced pineapple or mango.
Tips for a Really Good Stir Fry
Stir fries are quick and easy to make but here are some foolproof tips to make sure everything is perfectly cooked.
- Ensure the oil in the pan is hot: You want the beef and the veggies to start cooking as soon as they hit the pan and not sit and soak up the oil.
- Don’t crowd the pan: Make sure to cook everything in a single layer. You want the beef and the vegetables to touch the pan. If there is no room, use a bigger pan or cook in batches.
- Cut the beef and veggies to the same size: Make sure the beef and veggies are uniform so they cook up at the same pace. You don’t want some pieces to cook quicker than others.
How do you make stir fry beef tender?
Coating the beef in cornstarch helps the beef maintain moisture and cook up nice and tender. Make sure it is sliced thin as well. This keeps it tender and helps it cook quickly.
Cook time is also important so keep an eye on the beef so it doesn’t overcook. The beef should be removed from the pan as soon as it is nicely browned on the outside.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making this beef stir fry recipe.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure you get the perfect stir fry.
- Use a wok or large skillet so that the beef and veggies can cook in a single layer. Woks get nice and hot and work really well for stir-frying.
- Cook in batches as needed. Many times stir-fries don't come out because people try to cook the meat and veggies at the same time. To make sure the protein doesn't overcook, it should be cooked by itself and then set aside as soon as it is cooked.
- Add water or broth so the vegetables don’t stick to the pan.
Flank steak is the most popular beef used in stir fry as it is long and thin and absorbs marinades well. If you can’t find flank steak, sirloin or flat iron cuts are also good to use.
To thicken your stir fry sauce you can add cornstarch or arrowroot and it will thicken as it cooks. You can also add a touch of flour and whisk it gently into the sauce or you can cook the sauce in a pan over medium heat and let some of the water evaporate.
Beef Stir Fry
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- 1 lb flank steak, thinly sliced (or sirloin steak)
- 1/2 tbsp cornstarch (more for extra thick, for sauce)
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce (sauce)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or other high-heat oil)
- 1/2 onion, sliced thin
- 1 cup broccoli florets (smaller florets or cut in half)
- 1 cup snow peas
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
- 1 carrot, sliced thin (on the diagonal)
- 1/4 cup chicken broth (or vegetable, for sauce)
- 1 tbsp honey (or pure maple syrup or brown sugar, for sauce)
- 1/2 tbsp sesame oil (sauce)
- 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar (sauce)
- 1 clove garlic, minced (sauce)
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced (sauce)
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- Nutritional Information
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
This recipe works with any combination of vegetables you like. Plan to use 4-5 cups of veggies in total. For faster prep, use pre-chopped packaged stir-fry vegetables usually found in the produce section near the packaged lettuce, coleslaw, and greens.
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