Broccoli Beef Recipe

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

top view of easy Beef and Broccoli in a black skillet

BEEF AND BROCCOLI RECIPE

  • TENDER BEEF. The slices of beef are so juicy and tender thanks to slicing thinly, not overcooking and a marinade with tenderizing properties.
  • FLAVORFUL BEEF. The beef soaks up the savory essence of the marinade infused with soy, hoisin, chili sauce, ginger and garlic.
  • RICH, AROMATIC SAUCE. The secret ingredient of the the savory soy, ginger, garlic sauce is oyster sauce that’s packed with irresistible sweet, salty umami flavor. You won’t find a better sauce!
  • PERFECLTY COOKED BROCCOLI. The broccoli is stir fried and then steamed so it emerges caramelized and perfectly crisp-tender.
  • SIMPLE PREP. Most of your time is spent slicing the meat beforehand, so when its “go” time, you simply whisk together the sauce ingredients and stir fry the beef and broccoli – bam! 
top view of best beef and broccoli recipe on white rice with green onions with chopsticks


 
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BEEF AND BROCCOLI RECIPE INGREDIENTS

The best Beef and Broccoli recipe needs the best sauce!  This sauce is savory, salty, rich, gingery, garlicy and as spicy as spicy as you want it with plenty of umami. It’s made with chicken broth, oyster sauce, Japanese rice wine, brown sugar, Asian chili sauce, sesame oil, pepper and cornstarch.  Once you have everything stocked (if you don’t already), you’ll be ready to make this recipe at a moment’s notice – AND all of my other Asian recipes!

  • 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.
tender beef in skillet being cooked for Broccoli Beef

HOW TO MAKE BEEF AND BROCCOLI

Our Beef Broccoli recipe is very simple but has some hands-off time due to the marinating.  I actually like that we prepare the marinade first because then when it comes to actually stir-frying our beef and broccoli, it comes together in a snap! Let’s take a closer look with step-by-step photos (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • 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.
thinly sliced flank steak on a cutting board showing how to make Broccoli Beef
  • 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.
flank steak in a plastic bag with marinade showing how to make Beef and Broccoli
  • 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. 
marinade in a glass bowl with a wire whisk showing how to make beef and broccoli
  • 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.
thinly sliced flank steak searing in a black skillet showing how to make beef and broccoli recipe
  • Step 5: Stir fry AND steam broccoliWe 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!
stir frying broccoli in a black skillet with garlic and ginger showing how to make beef and broccoli
  • 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!
side view of Chinese beef and broccoli in a black skillet

Broccoli Beef Recipe Tips & Tricks

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 ShrimpSesame 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!

BEEF WITH BROCCOLI RECIPE VARIATIONS

While this Beef and Broccoli recipe is just right for us, you can adjust it to make it just right for YOU and your family’s personal tastes.

  • 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: 

  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell Peppers
  • Snow Peas
  • Snap Peas
  • Zucchini
  • Celery
  • Asparagus
  • Baby corn
  • Edamame
  • Bean sprouts
  • Cabbage (green or red)
  • Spinach
  • Bok choy
beef and broccoli with white rice and chopsticks

WHAT TO SERVE WITH THIS BROCCOLI BEEF RECIPE?

Broccoli Beef is explosively flavorful so it pairs well with plain white or brown to soak up all the sauce and for a neutral textural component because sauce is SO flavorful. Here are some options:

  • 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:

Beef with Broccoli Recipe FAQs

IS CHINESE beef AND BROCCOLI GLUTEN FREE?

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.

How to Thicken Beef Broccoli Sauce

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. 

How to Thin Beef Broccoli Sauce

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.

side view of beef broccoli with chopsticks picking up a piece of tender beef

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top view of easy Beef and Broccoli in a black skillet

Beef with Broccoli Recipe

Beef and Broccoli that is literally better than any Chinese takeout and easier than you might think! It’s bursting with tender slices of beef that are SO juicy, SO flavorful as they soak up the marinade and then slathered in savory soy, ginger, garlic sauce.  The rich flavor is complimented by crisp-tender broccoli florets and hot steaming rice.  This Beef Broccoli recipe uses easy to find grocery store ingredients and a large skillet instead of a wok so anyone can make this any time!   And you are going to make this Beef and Broccoli recipe ALL THE TIME!  
Servings: 4
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

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Ingredients

Beef Marinade

Sauce

Extra

  • 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)

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

Don’t miss the “how to make” recipe video at the top of the post!
  • 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

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158 Comments

  1. Mary says

    I made this last week my husband LOVED it. It was so easy to make. I used ribeye steak because I had it. It was worked out great. I love all your recipes that I have tried from you. thanks so much We are neighbors by the way. I also live in Carlsbad!!

    • Jen says

      What a small world! I’m so pleased you’re loving my recipes and that this beef and broccoli was another hit, thank you!

  2. Taylor Krahl says

    This is the first time I’ve ever commented on a recipe. This was incredible. We changed nothing and kept talking about how delicious it was in between bites. 10/10.

    • Jen says

      Yessss! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment Taylor, I’m thrilled it was a huge hit!

  3. Linda says

    This was better than I expected. Very easy to make and a lot of it can be prepped in advance. I bought egg rolls from our local Chinese restaurant and steamed some rice to go with it. Great recipe!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Linda, I’m so pleased you enjoyed it! Your whole meal sounds perfect!

  4. Stephanie says

    AMAZING beef & broccoli! Like ALL of the recipes you create, the ingredients & spices are combined to make flavor bombs in every bite. The Chinese food in our area is so bland, I should print off your Asian recipes to give them, show them how it should be done…LOL.

    • Jen says

      LOL, thanks Stephanie! You know I can never tolerate bland food in my kitchen ;)!

  5. Delia White says

    This recipe is a winner! No unusual ingredients and the perfect amount of heat.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Delia, I’m so pleased you loved it!

  6. Ellen says

    This was absolutely delicious!! The BEST sauce – so much flavor!! Worth all the steps and separate bowls and ingredients and marinating time. I used top round steak and marinating it was key I think to it being tender. I will be checking out more of your recipes for sure. Thanks!!

    • Jen says

      Welcome to my site Ellen, I’m so pleased you loved this recipe! I hope you enjoy exploring more of my recipes and hopefully discover many new favorites!

  7. Connie says

    This was fantastic. Who needs Chinese take out. Thanks for a wonderful blog with amazing recipes.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Connie, I’m so pleased you’re loving my recipes!

  8. Lisa Malchow says

    Excellent recipe!!! Got an amazing Pampered Chef Sauce/stir-fry pan for Christmas, so this was the first ‘stir-fry’ I made with it, and it did not disappoint!!! After looking at the reviews, I added celery, red pepper and shallots. Added the peach jam at the very end to add a tinge of sweetness! Hubby loved!

    • Jen says

      What a way to kick off your new pans! I’m so pleased it was a hit!

  9. Mariel says

    Omg, Jen this was amazing! I made it for dinner tonight and I will be adding it to my rotation. Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much, Mariel! I am so happy this is being added to your rotation! I hope you have a wonderful week and find more recipes to enjoy!

  10. Jeff B. says

    I had to scroll through so much BS just to get themactual recipe. I finally found the recipe at the very end. I was so angry that I went to another recipe site and was quite happy with the results. Thanks for wasting my time.

    • Jen says

      Hi Jeff, I’m sorry you were so frustrated. You will always find a “jump to recipe” button at the top of the page and it will take you straight to the recipe.

      • Rose Stewart says

        That’s too bad, you missed out on a winner of a recipe. FYI there is a button that says “Jump to Recipe” to save yourself time.

  11. Teresa says

    ***** stars. Fantastic! What a meal. The flavors were on point, as good as a great Chinese restaurant. Made for a birthday dinner, everyone was very complimentary. Definitely going on repeat.

    • Jen says

      I’m so thrilled that it was a hit with everyone! Glad it’s a keeper!

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