Mongolian Beef

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Mongolian beef is tender pieces of marinated flank steak tossed in a savory Asian-style sauce. Stir-frying the meat develops intense flavors and golden brown color in a short period. Crisp pieces of bell pepper are used for extra crunch and everything is served with steamed rice to soak up all that rich sauce.

Mongolian beef served in a bowl over white rice

Melt-in-your-mouth tender chunks of beef in a luxurious savory sauce will stop you in your tracks. This Mongolian beef recipe infuses pungent ingredients (garlic & ginger) and savory (oyster & soy sauce), with a hint of heat from whole dried chilis. Grab a bowl and load it up with delicious stir-fried marinated steak and vegetables for a meal that packs big bold Asian flavors.

I prefer to make this dish at home rather than order fast-food style take-out so I can control the ingredients used. Your kitchen is going to fill with caramel-like aromas as the beef and vegetables sizzle in the pan or wok. Make sure to clank your metal spatula against the pan a few extra times to make your family think you’re working extra hard, even though the recipe is so easy to prepare!

Stir-frying pieces of flank steak in a wok

How to make Mongolian beef

  • Briefly marinate the beef in baking soda to quickly tenderize the meat.
  • Make sure the wok is very hot before adding beef to quick start flavor development.
  • Sear the beef in a single layer for even and fast browning on the surface.
  • Stir-fry the aromatic ginger, garlic, and whole dried chili peppers together.
  • For a spicier sauce, add in red chili flakes or chili paste, like sambal oelek or sriraha.
  • Cook onions and pepper at the very end to keep crisp and vibrant in color.
  • Use a spatula to constantly stir the sauce as it simmers for rapid thickening.

Pouring oyster sauce over beef and vegetables in a wok

Spatula mixing Mongolian beef and vegetables in a wok

Flank steak works best

Flank steak is a top choice for this dish. It has a strong beef flavor, lean in fat and cooks quick. Stir-frying the beef first sears both sides of the meat in just minutes. To keep the meat tender and prevent overcooking, the beef is transferred to a plate while the vegetables get flashed in the pan.

The sauce really makes the dish stand out. It balances intensely savory notes with a hint of sweetness. Many recipes add brown sugar to coat the beef, but I use oyster sauce because of its deep caramel flavors, plus it already has sugar added in. No need to overload the recipe. The glossy sauce coats every slice of beef and it’s a bonus when it drips on the fluffy grains of rice.

Top down shot of a bowl on a table with Chinese Mongolian beef recipe

More Chinese recipes

Tenderize the meat with baking soda

Baking soda is the secret ingredient for tenderizing small slices of meat in a short period of time. This technique is often used in Chinese stir-fries to make more affordable cuts of beef extremely tender and easy to chew. The baking soda creates an alkaline environment on the surface of the beef. This reduces the protein’s ability to bond when cooked, making it more tender and juicy. (Source: Cook’s Illustrated)

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Mongolian Beef

Mongolian beef is tender pieces of stir-fried marinated flank steak tossed with bell peppers, dried chilis, and a savory Asian-style sauce.
Pin Print Review
4.06 from 18 votes
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Chinese

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ pound flank steak
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 teaspoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 6 dried red chilis
  • ½ cup diced white onion, ¾-inch dice
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper, ¾-inch dice
  • 1 cup diced green bell pepper, ¾-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions

Instructions 

  • Cut flank steak against the grain into ¾-inch cubes.
  • In a medium-sized bowl combine steak, baking soda, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, water, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, and sesame oil.
  • Allow beef to marinate about 10 minutes while preparing the sauce and vegetables.
  • In a small bowl whisk together oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and 2 teaspoons cornstarch.
  • Heat a wok or large saute pan over high heat.
  • Add 2 tablespoons oil, once hot add the beef and stir to coat.
  • Spread beef evenly in pan and allow to sear for 1 minute, stir and repeat, searing two more times, 3 minutes total cook time to brown the beef.
  • Add ginger, garlic, and dried chilis, stir-fry for 30 seconds.
  • Add onions and bell peppers, stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  • Slowly pour sauce into the pan, stirring until it thickens, about 30-seconds.
  • Taste beef and season with salt and pepper as desired.
  • Garnish with sliced green onions and serve hot with rice.

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Nutrition Facts
Mongolian Beef
Amount Per Serving
Calories 278 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 5g25%
Cholesterol 85mg28%
Sodium 1515mg63%
Potassium 675mg19%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 32g64%
Vitamin A 1305IU26%
Vitamin C 79mg96%
Calcium 45mg5%
Iron 2.7mg15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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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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16 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Fishstyx says

    Great Mongolian beef recipe! I made this past Friday and the only thing I added was celery but followed everything else you noted especially adding the vegetables at the end which ensures a crispness. I doubled the recipe since my family loves and had a craving for Chinese food and it was great the next day.
    Baking soda was a great tip… Thank You!!

  2. Lisa60 says

    This was great – everyone loved it. The leftovers heated up well the next day, too. I added a handful of snow peas in with the peppers for some more “green” and steamed some broccoli too.

  3. Judy Caywood says

    HAVE got to make this recipe. We get so hungry for good Chinese food. We have not found a good restaurant for it locally, plus I like preparing and knowing the ingredients that have gone into it. I guess I got spoiled when I lived in WA.

    I also wanted to thank you Jessica for making me aware of cooking with oyster sauce. So good.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I’ve typically seen the whole dried red peppers in the Latin section of the market. If not available, use red chili flakes. I would star with 1/8- 1/4 teaspoon, and add more depending on how hot you like your dishes.

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