Easy Beef and Broccoli

4.94 from 65 votes
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Beef and broccoli is a quick 30-minute meal. Thin slices of marinated meat stir-fry with fresh broccoli florets and red bell peppers. The ingredients simmer in a delicious savory sauce for an easy one-pot meal.

Chinese Beef and Broccoli

Preparing a classic beef and broccoli stir-fry is a sure-fire way to enjoy eating your vegetables. At least that was my parent’s tactic! Using a blazing hot wok or large pan, you can have a tasty meal loaded with protein and greens in just half an hour. I recommend serving with a big bowl of steamed rice to soak up all of the flavors.

The trickiest part of this dish is making sure those bite-sized pieces of beef are tender and tasty. Slicing the meat properly and marinating is key, while a quick sear in a hot pan adds another layer of flavor. The broccoli florets steam in the same pan then simmer with the other ingredients in a sweet and savory sauce.

Wok filled with pieces of meat and sautéed vegetables

How to make broccoli beef

  • Marinate the meat in soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch, honey, and sesame oil.
  • Boil water in the wok, add the broccoli and cook until tender, set aside.
  • Heat a wok or skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Heat vegetable oil, saute ginger and garlic until fragrant.
  • Add beef in a single layer and sear each side.
  • Add the stir-fry sauce, cook until thickened then add the vegetables to warm.
  • Serve with rice, cauliflower rice, or broccoli rice.

Beef selection

Flank steak, flat iron steak, or boneless beef short rib meat is recommended for this dish. They’re all quick-cooking types of beef with lots of flavors and varying amounts of marbling. Flank is the leanest cut and the short rib is very tender due to the extra marbling and minimal amount of connective tissue.

White bowl of broccoli beef stir-fry on a table with chopsticks

Avoid pre-cut beef

Avoid using pre-cut pieces sold at the grocery store marketed for “Stir-Frying.” Counterintuitive to what you think, these pieces tend to be a mix-match of cuts and have a tougher texture. Instead, thinly slice raw beef into no wider than ¼-inch thick pieces while cutting across the grain. This will ensure that it’s easy for the teeth to cut through and chew.

Closeup photo of tender pieces of beef and broccoli over white rice

Make a flavorful stir-fry

The steak marinade and stir-fry sauce contain a mixture of soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, and a hint of sweetness from honey or brown sugar. Shaoxing (Chinese rice wine) and beef stock are also used to flavor the base. The umami flavors are intensified by marinating the thinly sliced beef for at least 15 minutes before cooking.

The salty flavor compounds tenderize and infuse into the surface of the meat while adding other wonderful aromatics. During the stir fry process, the ingredients work harmoniously together to provide a rich flavor to the beef and broccoli. The sauce is thickened just enough by cooking the cornstarch to help adhere more flavor to each bite and create a beautiful sheen.

Chopsticks holding up a piece of beef with a plate of Asian stir-fry in the background

More Chinese recipes

What is a cornstarch slurry?

Cornstarch combined with a liquid is often used in Chinese cooking to quickly thicken sauces. Using cool liquids to hydrate the starch allows it to separate easier and be soluble for thickening. If you add the cornstarch directly to hot liquid, it will clump and result in a lumpy sauce. After adding the slurry, heat the liquid until it reaches just below its boiling point then cook until thickened.

Beef and Broccoli

Beef and broccoli is a quick 30-minute Chinese meal. Thin slices of marinated meat stir-fry with fresh broccoli florets and red bell peppers.
4.94 from 65 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Chinese

Ingredients 
 

Beef and Broccoli

  • 1 pound flank steak, flat iron steak or boneless beef short rib
  • cup water
  • 5 cups broccoli florets, 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 slice whole ginger, peeled, ¼” thick slice
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 1 cup sliced red bell pepper, 1/4-inch thick slices
  • black pepper

Marinade

  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry sherry, Shaoxing rice wine, sake or brandy
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon honey, or brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon sesame oil

Sauce

  • ½ cup beef stock
  • 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry, Shaoxing rice wine, sake or brandy
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions 

  • Make a marinade in a medium bowl by whisking together soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch, honey, and sesame oil.
  • Add sliced beef (cut against the grain in ¼” thick slices) and coat. Set aside for at least 15 minutes at room temperature, or refrigerate if marinating longer.
  • Make the sauce in a medium bowl by whisking together beef stock, oyster sauce, soy sauce, sherry, and cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved and no white lumps remain. Set aside.
  • Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat. Add ⅓ cup water and bring to a boil.
  • Add broccoli to the wok and saute until just tender and bright green, about 3 minutes. Transfer broccoli to a bowl and set aside.
  • Dry the wok with a paper towel then set heat to medium-high until very hot.
  • Add vegetable oil to the wok. Once the oil is hot, add the ginger and garlic clove, sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add the marinated beef in a single layer, cook without moving for 1 minute. Stir fry until no longer pink, about 1 minute.
  • Add the sauce to the wok and bring to a rapid simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the cooked broccoli and red bell peppers to the wok, stir-fry for an additional 1 to 2 minutes to warm.
  • Season with pepper to taste. Serve immediately with rice if desired.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 315kcal (16%)Carbohydrates 18g (6%)Protein 31g (62%)Fat 14g (22%)Saturated Fat 8g (40%)Cholesterol 68mg (23%)Sodium 1741mg (73%)Potassium 931mg (27%)Fiber 4g (16%)Sugar 5g (6%)Vitamin A 1875IU (38%)Vitamin C 149mg (181%)Calcium 88mg (9%)Iron 3mg (17%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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46 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Marie-Madeleine says

    Tried it. Easy to follow and really good. Served it with Yam glass noodles and made it with pork tenderloin…finally got crisp broccoli but still cooked!

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