Skip the takeout and whip up a fast and fresh recipe for Easy Beef and Broccoli in 20 minutes or less. This one-pan meal stars tender beef slices and crisp broccoli stir-fried in the best garlicky soy sauce. There’s plenty of sauce (a.k.a. the best part!) so whip up a batch of rice or noodles as a side and dinner is done.
Table of Contents
Why You’ll Love It
- Fast, fresh and healthier than takeout.
- Tastes even better than your favorite Chinese restaurant!
- The most flavorful sauce. The combination of soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and ginger creates a flavorful and well-balanced sauce.
- Tender beef. Thinly sliced flank steak cooks quickly and remains tender.
- Made in a single pan so cleanup is a breeze.
Yes, you read that correctly … 20 minutes! As in, you are less than half an episode of Fixer Upper away from digging your chopsticks into a big ol’ bowl of the most flavorful, tender, saucy easy beef and broccoli.
The classic takeout dishes (think Orange Chicken, Pad Thai and Chicken Egg Rolls) were one of my many cravings during my second pregnancy so I decided a fast and fresh version of beef and broccoli was a must!
There are just two tablespoons of oil in this entire dish, and you better believe it’s still packed with all that sweet, tangy, garlicky soy sauce flavor. After all, isn’t the best part of beef and broccoli the gravy-like sauce?
It has to be thick enough to coat the tender slices of beef and the broccoli florets, without weighing down the entire dish. And most importantly, there has to be just enough sauce so that the accompanying rice also gets a chance to soak up all that glorious garlicky gravy.
Mouth watering yet? Grab your knife and get ready to slice and dice your way to the best beef and broccoli that’s guaranteed to kick those takeout menus to the curb.
- Cornstarch: Used both in the beef marinade and the sauce, cornstarch plays a crucial role in velveting the beef and thickening the sauce.
- Flank steak: Arguably the best cut of beef for stir-frying and my go-to cut for my Mongolian beef recipe, too. Slicing it thinly against the grain ensures tenderness, while its flat shape allows for quick and even cooking.
- Low-sodium soy sauce: This savory condiment forms the base of the sauce. Just like my recipes for pork and broccoli and chicken and broccoli stir-fry, using low-sodium soy sauce is essential.
- Light brown sugar: The sweetness of brown sugar complements the savory soy sauce, creating a well-balanced flavor profile in the sauce.
- Garlic: I use fresh but minced garlic from a jar works, too!
- Ginger: Freshly grated ginger adds a zesty kick and depth of flavor. I like to keep my ginger root stashed in the freezer because it lasts longer and is easier to grate from frozen. While it won’t have the exact same taste, you can substitute ⅛ teaspoon dry ginger for every 1 tablespoon fresh.
- Vegetable oil: For stir-frying, it’s essential to use an oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil. Soybean oil, peanut oil or canola oil are all suitable swaps.
- Broccoli florets: Opt for small broccoli florets for quick and even cooking. I highly recommend blanching the broccoli ahead of time to reduce the amount of time they need to be stir-fried.
- White onions: Add a hint of sweetness and mild onion flavor. Cut them into thin slices to ensure they cook evenly with the other ingredients.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
The Best Cuts of Beef for Stir-Fry
- Flank steak: Thin and flat, flank steak cooks quickly and remains tender when sliced thinly against the grain. And it’s budget-friendly, too.
- Chuck steak: Not to be confused with chuck roast, is a more budget-friendly choice. Since chuck steak’s grain runs vertically, cut it into long chunks, identify the grain inside, and chop the beef against the grain into smaller, thinner strips.
- Top sirloin: Intense flavor and tender texture make top sirloin steak a great choice for stir-frying.
- Skirt steak: Very similar to flank steak. Opt for the outside skirt as its more tender than the inside skirt.
- Beef tenderloin: This splurge-worthy cut is known for its juicy, tender texture. Despite being a leaner cut of beef, it’s guaranteed to add a melt-in-your-mouth quality, elevating any stir-fry.
Pro Tip for Effortless Slicing: To make slicing easier, place the steak in the freezer for approximately 15 to 30 minutes before cutting. This brief chilling period firms up the meat, making it easier to achieve thin, uniform slices.
Tips for Stir-Frying Beef
- Slice Against the Grain: Cutting against the grain shortens the muscle fibers, resulting in more tender pieces of meat. The grain refers to the pattern in which muscle fibers run within the meat.
- Thin Slices: Aim for thin slices to ensure quick and even cooking.
- Velveting: One key to mastering Chinese food at home is a technique called velveting. This method involves marinating the meat in a mixture of egg white, cornstarch and sherry, creating a protective coating that locks in moisture and creates a tender, velvety texture. While traditional velveting may involve a longer marination process, this recipe includes an abridged version to streamline the cooking process without compromising on flavor or tenderness.
- High Heat: Stir-frying is done at high heat for a short duration. This quick cooking method helps to maintain the meat’s juiciness and tenderness.
Before you begin, make sure you have all your ingredients prepped and within reach. Chop your veggies, slice your meat and measure everything out. Stir-frying is a super-fast cooking method so being organized helps make cooking easier (and more fun!), so you can focus on making your beef and broccoli stir-fry taste amazing.
- Make the cornstarch mixture and marinate the beef. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water. Add the beef to the bowl and toss to combine.
- Make the stir-fry sauce. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and ginger. Set the sauce aside.
- Cook the beef. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the beef and cook, stirring constantly until the beef is almost cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a plate and set it aside.
- Cook the broccoli and onions. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan and once it is hot, add the broccoli florets and sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is tender, about 4 minutes.
- Combine beef and veggies. Return the cooked beef to the skillet, mixing it with the vegetables.
- Add the sauce and thicken. Pour this sauce over the beef and vegetables in the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until the sauce thickens slightly. Serve with rice or noodles.
What I love most about this recipe, other than being fast and family-friendly, is that I know exactly what’s going into it. Tune in to watch how easy it is to whip up this recipe using just a handful of simple ingredients!
- DON’T use regular soy sauce. Regular soy sauce will make this dish way too salty.
- DO prep everything in advance. Stir-frying is a fast-paced cooking method, so make your life easier by prepping all your ingredients before you start.
- DO blanch your broccoli. This added step ensures your broccoli florets remain bright green.
- EMBRACE the high heat. Stir-frying is all about quick cooking over high heat. Ensure your pan is properly preheated before adding ingredients to maintain the crispiness of the broccoli and achieve a perfect sear on the beef.
- BOIL the sauce to activate the cornstarch; it’s crucial for the thickening agent to work effectively.
- Steamed rice (a classic choice and my favorite to soak up all that saucy goodness!)
- Lo mein noodles or your favorite Asian-style noodles
- Fried rice
- Garlic bok choy
- Chinese garlic green beans
Absolutely! My number 1 tip for using frozen veggies in stir-fry is to ensure you account for the extra water they release if you don’t thaw them ahead of time. As the frozen veggies cook, they’ll release water, and as long as your pan is not covered and you’re using medium-high heat, that water should evaporate quickly.
To prepare beef and broccoli ahead, chop the vegetables, slice the beef and make the sauce in advance, storing them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, use a pan or microwave, being cautious not to overcook to maintain the dish’s texture. Reheating in short intervals and stirring intermittently can help evenly distribute heat.
Find more takeout-fakeout inspiration with additional quick and easy recipes.
- Easy Chicken Lo Mein
- Easy Chicken Potstickers with Soy Dipping Sauce
- Teriyaki Chicken Stir-Fry with Noodles
- Quick Chicken Chow Mein
- Sticky Pineapple Chicken
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch, divided
- 1 pound flank steak, cut into thin 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 3 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 4 cups small broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup sliced white onions
- In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water. Add the beef to the bowl and toss to combine.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch with the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and ginger. Set the sauce aside.
- Heat a large nonstick sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil and once it is hot, add the beef and cook, stirring constantly until the beef is almost cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef to a plate and set it aside.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan and once it is hot, add the broccoli florets and sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broccoli is tender, about 4 minutes. (See Kelly’s Notes.)
- Return the beef to the pan then add the prepared sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until the sauce thickens slightly. Serve with rice or noodles.
- DON’T use regular soy sauce. Regular soy sauce will make this dish way too salty.
- Stir-frying is a fast-paced cooking method, so make your life easier by prepping all your ingredients before you start.
- To guarantee bright green broccoli, blanch the florets in boiling water then drain and dry it very well before adding it to the pan. If you opt for this additional blanching step, reduce the cooking time of the broccoli to 2 minutes.
- Stir-frying is all about quick cooking over high heat. Ensure your pan is properly preheated before adding ingredients to maintain the crispiness of the broccoli and achieve a perfect sear on the beef.
- The sauce must come to a boil in order for the cornstarch to work as a thickening agent.
- ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!
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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.