Better-Than-Takeout Beef and Broccoli — It really is BETTER than takeout and it’s definitely FASTER!! This EASY Chinese restaurant copycat recipe is a family favorite that’ll go into your regular rotation!!
Easy Beef and Broccoli Recipe
This recipe is adapted from my copycat P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef recipe, which is a reader favorite that comes together in less than 20 minutes.
The same goes for this recipe — it’s easy and ready in a flash. I have seen beef and broccoli recipes that require marinating the beef first, like my 15-Minute Sheet Pan Beef and Broccoli, but this is not one of them, which is a real time saver.
This Chinese beef and broccoli is full of umami flavor and pairs nicely with steamed rice or cauliflower rice. It’s best the day it’s made, but leftovers can easily be reheated in a skillet and enjoyed for days afterward.
What’s in Beef and Broccoli?
To make this easy recipe (including the irresistible beef and broccoli sauce!), you’ll need:
- Flank steak
- Olive oil
- Sesame oil
- Low-sodium soy sauce
- Dark brown sugar
- Broccoli florets
- Green onions
What’s the Best Cut of Beef for Beef and Broccoli?
I use flank steak and have not tried other cuts of beef. I have read recipes that call for skirt steak but I haven’t tried it
How to Make Beef and Broccoli
To a large bag, add sliced flank steak, cornstarch, and toss to coat.
In a medium saucepan, sauté garlic and ginger until the garlic is fragrant. Then add soy sauce, water, brown sugar, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and allow it to boil for a couple minutes before reducing the heat and simmering until the sauce is slightly thickened and reduced.
While the sauce is simmering, in a separate skillet, sear the steak. Top the seared steak with broccoli, pour in the soy sauce mixture, and toss the beef and broccoli to coat it evenly with the sauce. Simmer for a few minutes, or until the broccoli is as crisp-tender as desired.
I like to finish this homemade beef and broccoli with green onions and sesame seeds, but they’re optional.
How to Thicken the Beef and Broccoli Sauce
One optional step which will depend on the texture and consistency of the sauce in your pan, and personal preference, is that if the sauce on the thinner or runnier side, and you want sauce that clings better to the beef and broccoli, you can make that happen in 60 seconds.
Dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 tablespoon of water, which is called a slurry, and add that to the pan. Stir and simmer for about 60 seconds, and your sauce should be nicely thicker at that point.
If your steak was very well coated in cornstarch, the residual cornstarch may be enough to thicken the sauce. But if it’s not, you can thicken it up in a hurry by adding a cornstarch slurry.
If you add 6 full cups of broccoli like I did because I am a broccoli fanatic, the natural waters and juices that escape when the broccoli cooks, will thin out your sauce and you’ll likely want to use a slurry.
What to Serve with Beef and Broccoli
This easy beef and broccoli stir-fry pairs well with your favorite Asian sides. Some of my go-to’s are:
- Rice or cauliflower rice
- Fried rice (omit the chicken in this recipe for a veggie version)
- Fresh spring rolls (can be made veggie)
- Roasted veggies
- Simple green salad
Tips for the Best Beef and Broccoli
The cornstarch in this recipe is non-negotiable. It helps the beef crisp up a little when seared and it thickens the sauce.
To make this recipe gluten-free, make sure your soy sauce is certified gluten-free. I know that’s important for many of my readers and wanted to mention it.
Don’t overcook the broccoli because there is nothing worse than mushy broccoli, especially in a stir-fry. If in doubt, I always prefer more crunch than more soggy.
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- 1 to 1.25 pounds flank steak, sliced into thin strips, no more than 1/4-inch thick
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 1 to 2 teaspoons ginger, or to taste (fresh or dried is okay, use less dried than you would fresh)
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed (light may be substituted)
- 4 to 6 cups broccoli florets (dependent on preference for broccoli)
- 2 to 3 green onions, sliced into 1/4-inch long segments
- red pepper flakes, optional and to taste
- sesame seeds, optional for garnishing
- To a large ziptop bag, add the steak, cornstarch, seal, and toss to coat. Set aside while preparing the sauce.
- To a medium saucepan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and heat over medium-high for about 1 minute, or just until garlic is fragrant, taking care not to scorch it.
- Add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and allow it to boil for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened and reduced. While it simmers, sear the steak.
- To a large skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, and the steak. Cook over medium-high or high heat until steak is cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes, flipping the pieces intermittently to ensure even cooking.
- Add the broccoli.
- Evenly drizzle in the soy sauce mixture, noting it will bubble up dramatically. Toss the beef and broccoli to coat evenly with the sauce. Simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes at medium-high, or until the broccoli is as crisp tender as desired.
- Optional — If your sauce hasn't thickened up as much as you'd like and your broccoli is done or nearly done, and you want a sauce that clings better and isn't as thin, simply dissolve 1 tablespoon cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water (called a slurry), add it to the skillet, stir for about 1 minute, or until your sauce has thickened to your desired level. Since I used 6 cups broccoli, the natural water and juices that escaped from it thinned out my sauce, so I needed to use a slurry.
- Turn off the heat, add the green onions, and stir to incorporate.
- Optionally, evenly sprinkle with red pepper flakes (makes the dish taste more authentic and gives it flavor without adding much heat), optional sesame seeds, and serve immediately.
- Adapted from P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef.
- Recipe is best warm and fresh but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 783Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 1300mgCarbohydrates: 91gFiber: 26gSugar: 37gProtein: 53g
The nutrition information takes into account all of the sauce and since it's not likely you will consume all of the sauce, the stats will be lower than indicated.
More Easy Asian Recipes:
15-Minute Sheet Pan Beef and Broccoli – EASY, HEALTHIER than going out for Chinese because it’s baked, and FASTER than calling for takeout!! So much FLAVOR in this family favorite! It’ll go into your regular rotation!!
Skinny Broccoli and Mixed Vegetable Stir Fry – Skip takeout and make your own fast, easy, and healthy stir fry! Think of all the money and calories you’ll save!!
Better-Than-Takeout Cashew Chicken – Juicy chicken, crisp-tender vegetables, and crunchy cashews coated with the best garlicky soy sauce! Skip takeout and make your own restaurant-quality meal that’s easy, ready in 20 minutes, and healthier!
Easy Better-Than-Takeout Chicken Fried Rice – One-skillet, ready in 20 minutes, and you’ll never want takeout again after tasting how good homemade is! Way more flavor, not greasy, and loads of juicy chicken!
Healthier Orange Chicken — Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this HEALTHIER orange chicken at home in less than 10 minutes!! EASY, authentic, and so INCREDIBLE that you’ll never miss the fat and calories!!
Easy Better-Than-Takeout Shrimp Fried Rice — One-skillet, ready in 20 minutes, and you’ll never takeout again!! Homemade tastes WAY BETTER!! Tons more flavor, not greasy, and loaded with tender shrimp!!
Originally published October 2, 2019 and republished October 14, 2020 with updated text and a new video.