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Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry – a quick and easy restaurant-quality dish that doesn’t skimp on flavor.
This easy stir-fry starts with quick marinated, lean strips of beef.
Once sliced, the beef is marinated in a simple mixture of cornstarch, soy sauce, baking soda and vegetable oil. This easy step gives the whole dish a head start on the flavor train.
Why add baking soda to the meat marinade?
According to Cook’s Illustrated, soaking in baking soda helps to tenderize the beef by raising the pH on the meat’s surface, making it more difficult for the proteins to bond excessively. This keeps the meat tender and moist when it’s cooked. A simple trick with a big payoff: tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef!
Marinate the beef in the soy sauce / baking soda mixture for at least 30-minutes. If you want to prepare the beef first, it can soak up all those umami flavors while you prep the vegetables and sauce. Don’t forget to start cooking the rice because this meal will be on the table in a flash!
What is the best cut of beef to use for this stir-fry?
Flank steak is always a favorite choice for this recipe. However, we’ve also had great results with sirloin and round steak too. Just use whatever lean meat you have on hand. You’ll need one pound of lean beef that can be cut into thin strips, about 2-inches long. Trim any visible fat from the beef before slicing.
Beef is much easier to slice when it’s firm so here’s a simple trick to make the prep quick and easy: Slice the beef while it’s still slightly frozen. If already thawed, pop the beef in the freezer for 30-minutes before you begin. Easy peasy!
Prep your favorite vegetables ahead to make quick work of the stir-fry.
The vegetables can be cleaned, sliced and prepped hours ahead of time. Broccoli, onions and carrots are a favorite veggie combo for this stir-fry. We also like to throw in a small can of drained water chestnuts if we have some on hand.
To prep the broccoli, cut the stalks into small florets, making it easier to cook quickly. If you prefer larger pieces of broccoli, consider steaming them for a few minutes, then draining before adding to the beef and broccoli stir-fry.
If you like scallions, feel free to add three or four with the sauce at the end. Even if you don’t sauté extra scallions in this stir-fry, be sure to sprinkle a few on top for a garnish. Toasted sesame seeds are also a must!
Once the beef and vegetables are sautéed, add the slightly sweet sauce to the skillet.
The sauce is made by whisking together:
- soy sauce
- oyster sauce
- sesame oil
- brown sugar
The sauce cooks up in just a few minutes, thickening and coating the beef and vegetables. I won’t judge if you double the sauce ingredients, just saying. If you love a saucy stir-fry, go for it!
Serve Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry over hot cooked rice for a complete meal.
If you’re ordered this dish in a restaurant and thought the beef was bland and tough, and the vegetables overcooked, don’t despair. The homemade version is so much better, and the recipe is practically fool-proof! If you do all the prep ahead, it’s even great for company because it cooks in a flash.
An amazing dish made in a few easy steps:
- Combine the marinade ingredients, add the beef and toss to coat;
- Whisk the sauce ingredients together;
- Prep the vegetables;
- Quickly sear the beef in a hot skillet or wok;
- Sauté the vegetables;
- Return the beef to the pan and add the sauce;
- Serve over rice! Done and done 🙂
Are leftovers good reheated?
Yes indeed! Gently rewarm the beef and broccoli stir-fry in the microwave, or enjoy it cold. I guess we’ve all eaten cold leftover take-out Chinese at one time or another. I’ve not tried freezing this dish because it’s never around that long. I bet you’re going to love it too!
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Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry
- Wok or large skillet
For the marinade:
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound flank, round or sirloin steak, trimmed of fat and sliced thin against the grain
For the sauce:
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- ⅓ cup oyster sauce
- ⅓ cup water, or substitute chicken or beef broth
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil, optional
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
For the stir fry:
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 3 small onions, cut into wedges
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into match sticks
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- scallions, sliced for garnish
- 1 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
- hot cooked rice for serving
To prepare the marinade:
- In a medium bowl combine 1 teaspoon cornstarch, baking soda, 3 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil. Add the sliced steak and toss to coat. Cover and set aside for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours, stored in the refrigerator.
To prepare the sauce:
- Combine all the sauce ingredients and whisk until blended. Set aside.
To prepare the stir-fry:
- Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half the beef in a single layer, if possible, and cook until browned on one side and crisp around the edges. Turn the beef slices and continue cooking for about 2 minutes more, or until no longer pink. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with another tablespoon of oil and more sliced beef until all meat is browned.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil into the now-empty pan. Add the onion, carrots and broccoli and stir fry for 4-5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper flakes. Sauté, stirring constantly until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Return the cooked beef to the skillet, along with any accumulated juices. Whisk the sauce mixture again to blend then add to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and serve over hot cooked rice, garnished with sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds.
- If you don’t have fresh ginger on hand, use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.
- Optional: Add 3 or 4 fresh sliced scallions at the same time as the sauce. You can also add water chestnuts or other vegetables as desired.
Originally published January 2013, updated April 2020
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