Mongolian beef is one of those recipes that I love to cook at home. I mean, who doesn’t love dishes that taste like Chinese takeout?
It’s the sweet and savory sauce that really makes Mongolian beef stand out in a sea of Chinese beef dishes though. The strong flavor of ginger and garlic is incredibly addicting.
And honestly, I’ll take anything that is served on top of a mountain of steamed rice. It is my happy place, after all.
It’s a little surprising just how flavorful this dish is, despite the fact that it comes together in less than 30 minutes from start to finish, including prepping the meat.
The sauce itself uses a bunch of ingredients that you most likely have on hand already. You don’t have to worry about running to the Asian supermarket or a specialty grocery store to gather up a bunch of more unusual ingredients.
Everything in this recipe is available in every US grocery store, far as I can tell, which is a relief when you are scrambling to put something together on a busy weeknight.
So what do you need to do to prep the meat, so each bite will result in succulent perfection?
My biggest tip for slicing the steak, especially if you are a little uncomfortable with slicing meat in general, is to stick the steak in the freezer for an hour before you start.
This will freeze the meat just enough that slicing becomes easier. It will feel like you are slicing a vegetable instead of a tender piece of meat.
This way, you can really slice the meat thinly, which is the way it is meant to be for a Mongolian-style beef dish. The thinner you slice the flank steak, the better it’ll absorb the flavor of the sauce, and it will come out with a buttery, tender texture.
In addition, it’s super important to make sure you cut the steak across the grain. If you make the mistake of cutting the steak parallel to the grain, you end up with long fibers that can make the meat chewy and rubbery.
Cut it perpendicular (or against the grain) so that those muscle fibers are as short as possible.
Flank steak is the cut I like to use because it’s inexpensive, and it’s easy to create nice and tender results. However, you can use sirloin steak instead if that’s what you prefer. I wouldn’t pay the extra money for it just to make this simple recipe, but it’s a fine option if that craving kicks in and you happen to have it on hand already.
This recipe is going to be your new favorite in the Asian stir fry department, and I hope that isn’t too presumptuous of me to say. I can at least tell you that it has become my favorite, and I could eat it pretty much every day.
The meat is so tender and juicy that it makes a truly memorable meal. The green onion adds a touch of tasty sharpness to the dish, adding dimension to the delicious and savory sauce.
Plus, this dish is also fantastic for leftovers, or even for meal prep. You can divvy it up with rice and serve a small salad on the side of fresh spinach or mizuna, or even a cold Asian cucumber salad.
Whenever I meal prep with this recipe, I look forward to lunch every single day.Print
Easy Mongolian Beef
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
Bursting with tender meat, this easy Mongolian beef recipe is a total flavor bomb. The quick, easy recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes. Read more.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 cup soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 pounds flank steak
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions, green parts only
- 2 cups cooked white or brown rice
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add garlic and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, then add soy sauce and water. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Stir in sugar until it is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Slice flank steak into strips, cutting against the grain. Place beef strips into a bowl and toss with cornstarch to coat lightly. Shake off any excess.
- Heat remaining oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add beef and cook until well browned on each side, working in batches if necessary.
- Pour soy sauce mixture into pan and add all of the beef and the green onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes, tossing to coat with the sauce, then remove from heat. Serve immediately over rice.
Recipe adapted from Table for Two.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Beef
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Dinner
Keywords: Mongolian beef, soy sauce, Chinese recipes, flank steak
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Mince Garlic, Grate Ginger, Slice Green Onion, and Measure Ingredients
Peel 4 cloves of garlic and mince them finely, or push them through your garlic press.
Peel and grate enough fresh ginger until you have 1 tablespoon total.
Slice enough green onions, green parts only, until you have 1/2 cup total. You can discard the white bulb, or save them for use in another recipe.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.
Step 2 – Make Sauce
Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a medium-sized saucepan and place it over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes.
Stir in the soy sauce or gluten-free tamari and water until combined. Bring the mixture to a boil.
Once it’s boiling, stir in the brown sugar until it is dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
Step 3 – Cook Steak
Slice the flank steak into thin strips, cutting against the grain. Add the meat to a bowl with the cornstarch, and toss to coat it lightly and evenly on all sides.
Heat the remaining oil in a wok or a large skillet over medium heat. Once it’s hot, add the meat and stir fry until it is browned on each side. You may need to work in batches, depending on the size of your wok or skillet.
Step 4 – Finish
Pour the sauce into the pan, along with green onions and any meat that you already cooked and removed while cooking in batches. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, tossing to coat with the sauce, then remove from the heat.
Serve immediately over rice. If you need some tips on cooking your basic grains, review our tutorials for perfectly cooking white rice or brown rice in the electric pressure cooker.
Can I Add Vegetables?
If you want to switch things up, you can definitely add some cooked vegetables to your beef stir fry. I personally like to add some broccoli or asparagus when I want to get my vegetables in for the day.
Some sauteed bell peppers and onion would make delicious additions as well!
For more Chinese-inspired recipes, try these Foodal favorites next:
What’s your favorite vegetable to add to this easy Mongolian beef recipe? Tell us in the comments below. And be sure to come back and rate the recipe once you try it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on January 13, 2013. Last updated March 9, 2020.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.