This Beef and Broccoli has been one of my most popular recipes for over 10 years. Reader’s call it “AMAZING,” “incredible,” “10/10,” with “The BEST sauce – so much flavor!!” This Beef Broccoli recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients and a large skillet instead of a wok so anyone can make it any time!
BEEF AND BROCCOLI VIDEO
- chicken broth: use low sodium chicken broth so you can control the salt level. You can also use vegetable broth but chicken broth is more flavorful. Please DO NOT use water as I’ve tried this and will leave you with sad, wanting results.
- oyster sauce: If you have done a lot of Asian cooking, you probably have cooked with it before, and if you haven’t, you are going to love it! Oyster sauce is a staple in Asian cooking and a necessity in stir fry recipes. It is a thick, brown sauce with a balance between sweet and salty with an earthy undertone, due to the oyster extracts. You can find oyster sauce in the Asian aisle of any supermarket for only a few dollars. My personal favorite is Lee Kum Kee, which is just a few more dollars. Not all oyster sauce is created equal. The quality of oyster sauce will affect the flavor, so if you want the extra “oomph” to your dish, go with a good quality sauce.
- soy sauce: is used in the marinade. Use low sodium soy sauce or your chicken stir fry will be too salty.
- brown sugar: adds just a little adds sweetness to balance the oyster sauce. You may need more or less depending on personal taste.
- rice wine: should become a pantry staple if you do much Asian cooking. I use it in almost all of my Asian Recipes from my Beef Bulgogi to my Mongolian Chicken and Sesame Noodles. Rice wine is NOT rice vinegar- DO NOT switch them out. Rice wine adds a sweetness and depth of flavor; rice vinegar, on the other hand, will add an acidic flavor.
- Asian chili sauce: is used in the marinade. Use your favorite chili sauce like Sambal Oelek or sriracha. Use as much or as little as you like. We personally love heat so we add more to taste at the end.
- sesame oil: a “secret ingredient” that adds an irresistible, subtle nutty flavor.
- cornstarch: helps thicken the sauce to a glossy, luscious consistency without a raw flour taste.
- broccoli: cut the broccolini into bite-size pieces but not too small or they can easily overcook. The most import thing is to try and chop them uniformly so they cook evenly.
- Step 1: Slice your beef thinly. The key to this Beef and Broccoli recipe is to THINLY slice your steak across the grain. It doesn’t have to be razor thin like Beef Bulgogi, but between 1/8-¼ inch thick. Thin slices ensure steak that is seeping with flavor and buttery tender. It is much easier to thinly slice your steak if you freeze it for 30 minutes or so. You are welcome to freeze it longer, whatever makes it solid enough for you to handle because it will defrost in the marinade.
- Step 2: Marinate your beef. This is a step that many Beef and Broccoli recipes don’t take but it makes such a difference! We whisk all our marinade ingredients together in a freezer size bag – or whatever you are going to marinate your steak in and add your steak. The marinade consists of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sriracha, cornstarch, garlic powder and ginger powder.
- Step 3: Whisk together the stir-fry Sauce. When you’re ready to stir fry your Beef and Broccoli, whisk the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl consisting of Japanese rice wine (or dry sherry), chicken broth, oyster sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, we combine garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon peanut oil.
- Step 4: Stir fry. Heat 1 ½ teaspoons peanut oil (you can substitute vegetable oil) in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until very hot and sizzling. It is important that the skillet be smoking hot so that the beef will sear and not steam. Add beef to the skillet and break up any clumps; cook without stirring for 1 minute, then stir and cook until beef is browned and almost cooked through, about 1-2 minutes (it will cook more in the sauce). Don’t overcook or it won’t be as tender! Transfer beef to a large plate and cover. You will probably need to cook your beef in two batches so it sears and doesn’t just steam.
- Step 5: Stir fry AND steam broccoli. We heat additional oil in the now empty skillet then add our broccoli and saute for 30 seconds. Next, we add ¼ cup water, cover the pan, and lower heat to medium and steam the broccoli just until desired crisp- tenderness, about about 2 minutes. Push the broccoli to the sides of the skillet and add the garlic/ginger/red pepper/oil to the center of the pan, mashing the mixture with a spoon, until fragrant, about 15 to 20 seconds, then stir the mixture into the broccoli. So now not only is our beef infused with flavor but our broccoli is as well!
- Step 6: Combine! Finally, return the beef to the skillet and toss to combine. Whisk the sauce to recombine then add to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and beef is cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. And then dive into the best Beef and Broccoli recipe you have ever had!
Tips for Preparing the Beef
- sharpen your knife before slicing the beef
- freeze your beef for 60 minutes to make it easier to slice thinly
- slice your beef in thirds, then freeze what you’re not working with so the rest stays frozen
- slice your beef across the grain
- slice your beef into thin 1/4″ slices
- Cook’s Pro Tip: Slice your beef across the grain. You also want to take care to slice the beef ACROSS the grain. You can see the “grain” running through the meat in one direction. The grain is essentially the muscle fibers running through the meat. You want to cut perpendicular to the muscle fibers so they become as short as possible. If you cut it parallel to the grain you will end up with long muscle fibers AKA chewy, rubbery tough meat so cut AGAINST the grain!
Beef and Broccoli Sauce Tips
- use a neutral oil; you can substitute vegetable oil with another neutral oil but not flavorful or low smoking point oil like olive oil.
- use QUALITY hoisin and oyster sauce like Lee Kum Kee or Kikkoman (it DOES make a difference!)
- use rice wine and NOT rice wine vinegar
- you can substitute rice wine with pale dry sherry
- customize the heat with additional sriracha or chili sauce
- Cooks Note About Hoisin Sauce: If you aren’t familiar with hoisin sauce it it can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store and is like Asian BBQ Sauce. I use it all the time in my recipes so if you are interested in making my Mongolian Beef, Kung Pao Shrimp, Sesame Chicken, etc., then I promise it will not go to waste!
Cooking Beef Broccoli Tips
- make sure your skillet is smoking hot before adding your beef so it will sear on the outside and remain tender on the inside
- add beef in a single layer to sear otherwise it will steam
- cook your beef in multiple batches
- don’t overcook your beef initially because you will add it back to the skillet with your sauce
- cut your broccoli into uniform pieces
- feel free to substitute the broccoli for other veggies
- And above all, guard your Beef and Broccoli leftovers, if there are any, because I can guarantee this Better Than Takeout Beef Broccoli recipe will leave you craving more!
- Sweeten it up: with additional brown sugar or swap the sugar for honey.
- Add sweet heat: with Asian sweet chili sauce.
- Spice it up: add additional Asian chili sauce to taste.
- Add herbs such as Thai basil, coriander or cilantro.
- Amp up the garlic and/or ginger: for a stronger punch of flavor.
- Swap veggies: with your favorites or you can combine the broccoli with other veggies.
- Add crunch: with peanuts or cashews; take care to purchase raw, unsalted nuts so your recipe isn’t too salty. To elevate your cashews or peanuts, dry roast them in a skillet until toasted- YUM!
- Water chestnuts: are delightfully crunchy and easy to find at any grocery store.
- Sesame seeds: add a nutty sesame flavor. Take care to use toasted sesame seeds or toast them yourself.
- Fruit: pineapple, Mandarin oranges, chopped pineapple or mangos add a juicy, fresh, sweet dimension. They are the sweet ying to the umami yang– just like I used inn my teriyaki beef stir fry. If you’re intimidated by choosing or cutting mangos, check out this post here. For the oranges, fresh oranges hold together better but canned or super convenient.
- Ramen: stir in some cooked ramen directly into the stir fry instead of serving over rice.
What Vegetables can I add to Beef Broccoli?
This Chinese Beef and Broccoli recipe is delectable in its simplicity or you can mix and match the veggies based on what’s in your fridge, your favorites, what’s in season or what’s on sale. You will want to equally swap the broccoli for the other veggies to maintain the veggie/sauce ratio. Here are some great vegetables for stir fries:
- Bell Peppers
- Snow Peas
- Snap Peas
- Baby corn
- Bean sprouts
- Cabbage (green or red)
- Bok choy
- Rice. I like jasmine rice or brown rice but any rice will work. Just pop the rice in your rice cooker for a hands-off, easy side. You can also use microwave rice pouches if you’re making a serving for one or meal prep.
- Low carb. Cauliflower rice, quinoa or a blend of brown rice and any of the aforementioned options. You can also use low carb noodles such as zoodles or spaghetti squash.
- Noodles. Ramen, soba noodles, rice noodles or even linguine are a fun way to mix things up!
What sides go with beef broccoli?
In addition to rice, you can serve your Broccoli Beef with appetizers, soup, salad and/or fruit:
- Appetizers: You can turn Beef and Broccoli into a feast by pairing it with Chinese appetizers such as Crab Rangoons, Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Pineapple Cream Cheese Wontons, Sesame Chicken Egg Rolls, Sweet and Sour Chicken Egg Rolls or Chinese Chicken Wings. It is also delicious with potstickers, even though they are technically Japanese and not Chinese.
- Soup: Let the Chinese feast continue with soup! I love to warm up to Egg Drop Soup which is SUPER easy and always a sultry, satisfying favorite.
- Salad: This Beef and Broccoli recipe pairs wonderfully with a fresh, crunchy salad such as Crunchy Asian Salad, Chinese Salad, or Asian Pineapple Salad.
- Fruit: fresh fruit such as chopped pineapple is always an easy, welcome sweet stir fry side. Grilled Pineapple, Summer Fruit Salad, Perfect Fruit Salad, Creamy Grape Salad, and Pina Colada Fruit Salad are also fantastic.
Beef with Broccoli Recipe FAQs
As written, this recipe is not gluten free – but almost! To make gluten free, use gluten free soy sauce or tamari. You will also want to double check that your oyster sauce and chili sauce are gluten free. The rest of the ingredients are gluten free.
The cornstarch in the Beef and Broccoli Sauce will thicken as it simmers with the broccoli. If you still would like a thicker sauce, then just keep simmering until it reaches desired consistency.
Your sauce will become thicker the longer it is simmers. If it simmers to the point of too thick, don’t worry! It is easy to thin by whisking in additional chicken broth or water.
Tools Used in This Recipe
Beef with Broccoli Recipe
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- 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- pinch-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- peanut oil or vegetable oil
- 3 ½ – 4 cups broccoli florets, cut into bit size pieces
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 green onions, sliced (optional)
- Pour marinade ingredients directly into freezer bag and mix well. Add beef and massage in marinade. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate for 2-8 hours.
- When ready to make Beef and Broccoli, whisk the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
- In another small bowl, combine garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon peanut oil. Set aside.
- Drain excess marinade off of beef (if there is any).
- *Work in 2 batches if your beef cannot fit in one layer.* Heat 1 ½ teaspoons peanut oil/vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until very hot and sizzling. Add beef to the skillet and break up any clumps; cook without stirring for 1 minute, then stir and cook until beef is browned and almost cooked through, about 1-2 minutes (it will cook more in the sauce). Don’t overcook or it won’t be as tender! Transfer beef to a large plate and cover.
- Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil/vegetable oil to the now-empty skillet; heat until very hot and sizzling. Add the broccoli and saute for 30 seconds. Add water, cover pan, and lower heat to medium. Steam broccoli until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.
- Push the broccoli to the sides of the skillet and add the garlic/ginger/red pepper/oil to the center of the pan, mashing the mixture with a spoon, until fragrant, about 15 to 20 seconds, then stir the mixture into the broccoli.
- Return the beef to the skillet and toss to combine. Whisk the sauce to recombine then add to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and beef is cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, sprinkle with the green onions and serve.
- Hoisin Sauce is a Chinese Barbecue sauce and can be found in all supermarkets in the Asian aisle (alongside the oyster sauce). This recipe only calls for it in the marinade, so it is not essential, but definitely good to have in the pantry! (I use it in manny recipes).
- Rice wine is NOT rice vinegar– DO NOT switch them out. Rice wine adds a sweetness and depth of flavor. Rice vinegar, on the other hand will add an acidic flavor. I use “Kikkoman Aji-Mirin: Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning” which is commonly found in the Asian section of most grocery stores or you can Amazon it. I highly suggest you google image before you head off to the grocery store so you know exactly what you are looking for. The best substitute for rice wine is pale dry sherry.
- Oyster sauce: If you have done a lot of Asian cooking, you probably have cooked with it before, and if you haven’t, you are going to love it! Oyster sauce is a staple in Asian cooking. It is a thick, brown sauce with a balance between sweet and salty with an earthy undertone, due to the oyster extracts. You can find oyster sauce in the Asian aisle of any supermarket for only a few dollars. My personal favorite is Lee Kum Kee, which is just a few more dollars. Not all oyster sauce is created equal. The quality of oyster sauce will affect the flavor, so if you want the extra “oomph” to your dish, go with a good quality sauce.
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Recipe Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen