Sesame Beef

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Make homemade Chinese takeout-inspired Sesame Beef in less than 30 minutes! Tender and juicy flank steak cooked in a sweet and savory sesame sauce is the perfect way to make healthier takeout at home.

235 CAL 4g CARBS 12g FAT 26g PROTEIN
1 Comment

This easy, restaurant-style Sesame Beef is one of those meals you will want to make every week. It's ready in less than 30 minutes, tastes like takeout, and is always a hit with its sweet, sticky sesame sauce. Serve it with some egg fried rice or chow mein for a dinner everyone loves.

Sesame Chicken is one of the most popular Chinese takeout dishes around, just behind Orange Chicken and Beef and Broccoli. But have you tried Sesame Beef? It's truly one of the best. 

While many times sesame beef is flash-fried or deep-fried at Chinese restaurants, you can make this healthier version at home that still packs in so much flavor. Trust me, you won't miss all the extra oil. 

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When it comes to this tasty dish, it's really all about the seared steak and sauce. The sauce is savory, slightly sweet, and has a great punch from ginger and garlic. It's so good! Then paired with perfectly cooked steak, this dish truly makes your takeout dreams come true. 

As I've said before, it's so much healthier to make your own Asian take-out favorites at home, not to mention easier on the wallet. In fact, if you already have the ingredients this recipe can be even faster than ordering takeout. 

Sesame beef with black sesame seeds and green onions in a bowl.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here is everything you need to make this sesame beef recipe. 

  • Flank steak: This recipe will work with lots of different cuts of beef including flank steak, skirt steak, sirloin steak, or any beef that's appropriate for stir-frying.  It also works with chicken, pork, and tofu if you want an alternative to beef.
  • Flour or cornstarch: To get the outside of the steak crispy, add some cornstarch or flour to coat the beef. This also helps the sauce to thicken.
  • Sesame oil: Sesame beef needs some sesame flavor and that comes from sesame oil. Toasted sesame oil has the most flavor, but regular works as well.
  • Garlic and ginger: These aromatics are essential so the sauce has lots of flavor and some zing. Try to use fresh garlic and ginger if possible. 
  • Soy sauce: Some sesame beef recipes call for dark soy sauce, but since that isn't something I often have on hand, I just use regular. Coconut aminos or tamari can be used as well.
  • Brown sugar: Sesame beef should have some sweetness. traditionally sugar is used, swap in honey or agave if you prefer.
  • Rice vinegar: To balance the sweetness and add an acidic note, rice vinegar is added to the sauce. White vinegar would also work.
  • Beef broth: To add a nice savory note to the sauce, beef broth works great. Chicken broth would also work. Or you can up the amount of soy sauce and just use water.
  • Sesame seeds: Add some crunch and extra sesame flavor by garnishing the dish with some sesame seeds.

How do you make Sesame Beef?

Follow these simple steps to make this delicious stir-fry recipe. 

  1. Prepare the steak: The first thing I do when making Sesame Beef is to preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then cut my flank steak into strips. I set those aside. Since steak can be hard to slice, pop it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes before slicing if you have time. This will firm up the meat and make it so much easier to slice thinly.
  2. Make the sauce: Whisk together the beef stock, brown sugar, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and ginger.
  3. Sear the beef: Toss the beef with flour or cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Make sure the beef is well coated with flour or cornstarch. Add some olive oil to an oven-safe pan, skillet, or Dutch oven until it's heated up medium-high to high heat. Add the steak to the pan in a single layer and sear it on both sides for about 1-2 minutes per side. You may have to cook the steak in batches. Overcrowding the pan will cause the steak to simmer or boil and result in a tough steak. 
  4. Add the sauce: Add the sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the sauce thickens. If for some reason the sauce doesn't thicken, add a slurry of cornstarch and water to the pan. 
  5. Garnish: Finish the dish with sesame seeds and green onions.

Add vegetables: If you would like to add some broccoli, red peppers, or other vegetables to this dish, it's quite easy. After searing the beef, remove it from the pan and set aside. Add the vegetables to the pan and cook on medium-high heat, stirring often, until tender-crisp.

Then add the beef and sauce to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1-2 minutes until thickened. You may need to double the sauce, and add cornstarch, to make sure there is enough sauce for the vegetables. 

Ways to Serve Sesame Beef

There are so many delicious ways to serve this dish. Here are some favorites:

  • Lettuce wraps: Lettuce wraps are a great low-carb way to serve up the meat. Add your favorite toppings like sliced cabbage, Sriracha, or bean sprouts.
  • With rice: This beef also goes great over white or brown rice or cauliflower rice.
  • With noodles: Serve this sesame beef recipe over noodles. Rice noodles, ramen, high-fiber spaghetti, or veggie noodles make a great base for beef.
  • Grains bowls: Eat with your favorite grains and vegetables.  We love adding it to Asian Noodle Bowls or Rice Bowls
  • Salads: This beef goes great over salad too. Any kind will do but I'm partial to this Chinese Chicken Salad (sub beef for chicken).
  • Spring rolls: How about letting the beef cool a bit and then wrapping it in a rice paper roll for a new twist on an Asian spring roll?

Healthy sesame beef in a bowl with black sesame seeds and a spoon.

Add Vegetables

I love to add veggies to this dish to round it out. You can do this in several ways:

  • Right into the main dish: Add the veggies right to the skillet with the Sesame Beef. Some of my favorite vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, edamame, cauliflower, and sugar snap peas.  After searing the beef, remove it from the pan and set aside. Add the vegetables to the pan and cook on medium-high heat, stirring often, until tender-crisp. Then add the beef and sauce to the pan
  • On the side: This is delicious with some Roasted Bok Choy, Asian Broccoli, or Broccolini. For something quick, buy a bag of frozen vegetables in those steamable bags. Cook it in the microwave according to package directions and put it in with the steak when you get it out of the oven.
  • Add to veggie noodles: Use veggie noodles as your base and add the Sesame Beef on top.

No matter how you slice this Sesame Beef recipe, it's good to the last bite — and then you'll want to make it all over again. Slice, cook, eat, repeat!

The Recipe
Sesame beef with thinly sliced flank steak in a sesame sauce in a bowl with sesame seeds.

Sesame Beef

235 CAL 4g CARBS 12g FAT 26g PROTEIN
1 Comment
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  • 1 1/2 lb lean flank steak, cut into strips
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds

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In a small bowl, whisk the beef stock, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, and white vinegar together. Set aside.


In another bowl, toss the beef with salt, pepper, and flour.


In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the beef in one layer. Cook for 1-2 minutes on one side until seared and then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes on the other side. Cook in batches if needed.


Add the sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the sauce thickens. If for some reason the sauce doesn't thicken, add a slurry of cornstarch and water to the pan.


Turn off the heat. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and serve.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1/2 cup (150g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 235
Calories from Fat 109
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 12g
Saturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 78mg
Sodium 292mg
Total Carbohydrate 4g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 2g
Protein 26g

* 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.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
1 Comment
On Sesame Beef
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Jill Doying
February 18, 2016 - 17:16
Add a Rating:
Super delicious! I made this with Carne Asada beef since it was half the price of Flank Steak and they look the same :) I honestly don't know my cuts of meat all that well. It crisped up in the oven and the sauce stuck divinely to the meat. I felt like I was eating at a fine restaurant, it was so good.
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