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The Takeout Classic, Made Quick & Easy at Home!
My Mom is the queen of weeknight cooking, so it’s no surprise to me that her quick & simple stir fries like Sweet Sour Pork Stir Fry & Orange Chicken Stir Fry are some of PWWB’s most well-loved recipes. They’re some of my favorites too! Mom’s working her stir fry magic again today, this time with one of the most iconic Chinese-American dishes there is – Beef and Broccoli.
Mom made this beef broccoli stir fry recipe all the time when I was a kid & I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s similar to her Beef & Vegetable Stir Fry – simple to make, ready in 30 minutes with minimal cleanup, & always a crowd-pleaser – but we’re skipping the bell peppers & peas to double down on both the beef & the broccoli for an especially satisfying dinner.
If you’re new to the delicious world of at-home stir frying, there’s no need to feel intimidated. There are a couple of secrets to creating restaurant-worthy flavor, but they’re honestly really simple. First, choose a high-quality cut of beef (for me, that’s locally-raised Minnesota top sirloin!) & “velvet” it with a quick marinade to ensure it stays super tender. From there, the high heat of the wok takes over to stir fry the veggies, sear the extra-tender beef, & marry it all together in a savory-sweet homemade stir fry sauce.
Stir Fried Beef and Broccoli Recipe Highlights
If you love restaurant-style beef broccoli, you’re going to love this recipe. It’s…
QUICK & SIMPLE. Mom’s beef and broccoli stir fry is a super fast dinner made with only a handful of ingredients. Plus, it all comes together in one pan for easy clean-up. A weeknight dinner dream!
RESTAURANT QUALITY. Everything you love about your favorite takeout order…but made at home! A smart line-up of ingredients & simple stir frying tricks like velveting the beef guarantee restaurant-worthy results every time.
AN ALL-IN-ONE DINNER. This broccoli beef stir fry has everything you need, all in one dish: hearty beef, tender-crisp veggies, & comforting rice. A well-balanced meal that’s always super satisfying.
It’s hard to beat homemade! ♡ Read on to learn more about how to make Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry, or jump straight to the recipe & get cooking!
You’ll love this beef and broccoli stir fry recipe for its simple line-up of ingredients. If you keep your kitchen stocked with a few Asian pantry staples, you probably already have almost everything you need to make it!
Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
- Beef – We like to use top sirloin for stir fries since it’s accessible, affordable, flavorful, & tender all at once. To make any dish more special, we love using locally-raised Minnesota beef. It may come as a surprise, but Minnesota is home to over 16,000 beef farmers & ranchers who are dedicated to raising cattle in a manner that is both humane & environmentally conscious. The result is nutrient-dense & super delicious! Learn more! ⇢ All About Minnesota-Raised Beef.
- Beef marinade – A combination of soy sauce, cornstarch, Shaoxing wine (a uniquely savory-sweet Chinese rice wine), granulated sugar, & white pepper enables a process called velveting, which keeps the beef super tender as it cooks.
- Veggies – Plenty of fresh broccoli florets & sliced carrots, plus some aromatic garlic.
- Oil – When stir-frying it’s best to use a high-smoke point vegetable oil that can handle the heat of the wok. We like grapeseed oil, but other varieties like canola oil or avocado oil work well too.
- Stir fry sauce – This savory-sweet homemade sauce is a simple combination of beef broth, oyster sauce, cornstarch, soy sauce, & granulated sugar. If you prefer to use low sodium soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos, go for it!
What is the Most Tender Meat for Stir Fry?
We use top sirloin in this beef and broccoli stir fry recipe because it offers a great balance of tenderness, flavor, & affordability. If you prefer, feel free to use other cuts like round steak or flank steak when you make this beef and broccoli recipe.
The secret to an especially tender stir fry comes down to preparation. A few tips to change your at-home stir frying game…
- Slice the beef against the grain so it’s nice & thin. The grain of a steak is based on the direction its muscle fibers run. Slicing against this grain ensures each bite is buttery & tender, not tough & chewy. Tip! ⇢ Thinly slicing is much easier with chilled meat. Feel free to pop your steak in the freezer for a few minutes before slicing with a sharp knife.
- Velveting the meat. Velveting is a key technique in many Chinese recipes. By velveting, you marinate a protein in cornstarch, which seals in the moisture of the meat & keeps it nice & juicy in a super hot wok. If you’ve ever wondered why your homemade beef and broccoli stir fry isn’t as tender as it is at your favorite takeout spot, this is the trick!
Easy Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry Prep
Like most stir fries, the majority of the active work in this beef and broccoli stir fry recipe comes from preparing all of the ingredients (slicing the beef, chopping the veggies, prepping the sauce, etc.). The actual cook time is super quick! Getting some prep work done ahead of time (aka mise en place) makes dinner ready even faster:
- Make the beef broccoli stir fry sauce up to 1 week ahead of time & keep it in the fridge.
- Chop the veggies, cutting the broccoli florets into pieces & your carrots into matchsticks. Then store them separately in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
How to Make Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
This beef and broccoli stir fry uses a combination of high heat & flavorful ingredients to make a delicious meal in no time. The most time-consuming part is the ingredient prep. Plan to spend about 20-25 minutes preparing the sliced sirloin, veggies, & stir fry sauce. The actual cooking only takes about 10 minutes!
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
Marinate the beef. Toss the thinly sliced sirloin in soy sauce, cornstarch, Shaoxing wine, sugar, & white pepper & let it rest while you finish your prep, about 20 minutes. Why? ⇢ This marinating process is called “velveting,” a common Chinese cooking technique that tenderizes & seals in the moisture of the meat, allowing the beef to stay super juicy as it cooks in the hot wok. TL;DR? Velveting guarantees restaurant-quality flavor & texture in your homemade beef and broccoli stir fry.
Make the homemade stir fry sauce. Simply whisk some beef stock, oyster sauce, cornstarch, soy sauce, & sugar in a small bowl – that’s it! Meal Prep Tip! ⇢ Feel free to make the beef broccoli stir fry sauce ahead of time – it’ll keep in your fridge for up to 1 week.
Stir fry the veggies. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok. Toss in the broccoli & carrots & cook for a few minutes until tender but still crisp. Shortcut! ⇢ For even faster results, feel free to steam the veggies in the microwave (that’s how Mom does it!). Check the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance.
Sear the beef & finish the stir fry. Bring the beef and broccoli stir fry together by searing the sliced sirloin with garlic & adding in the sauce & veggies. Toss to coat everything in sauce, & your beef broccoli stir fry is ready to go!
What to Serve with Beef Broccoli Stir Fry
As far as serving goes, plate up your beef and broccoli stir fry the same way you love your takeout!
At our house, we think it’s best served over fluffy white rice or brown rice. The rice naturally soaks up all the savory-sweet stir fry sauce. If you prefer an extra veggie-loaded, low-carb dinner simply swap the rice for quinoa or cauliflower rice. Finish each bowl with a big sprinkling of sliced green onions, toasted sesame seeds, or a dash of red pepper flakes for a kick of heat.
While this beef and broccoli stir fry is simple enough for any night of the week, it’s also so iconic that it’s fun to share with others. If you’re hosting dinner with friends, try adding some classic Chinese dim sum like eggrolls or pork shumai to make it a feast. There is nothing better!
I can’t wait for you to try Mom’s Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry recipe! It’s one of my all-time favorite childhood comfort foods & I’m so excited that you can enjoy it now too!
If you do give it a try, be sure to let us know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. We LOVE seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy cooking!
More Recipes Like This:
Staple Asian-American Recipes, from Mom’s Kitchen to Yours!
This Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry is one of my all-time favorite meals. Its quickness, ease, & restaurant-worthy flavor kept it on my Mom’s regular dinner rotation throughout my childhood. Mom is pretty famous here on PWWB for her quick & easy stir fries, so I’m really excited to share this family fave with you today!
Like any stir fry, there’s a decent amount of prep involved in getting the components ready to cook, but it’s all pretty quick & easy work – “velvet” thin sliced beef sirloin by marinating it with cornstarch to ensure it stays nice & tender, prep the stir fry veggies, & whisk together a quick homemade stir fry sauce. From there, the high heat of a skillet or wok takes over & dinner comes together in about 10 minutes!
We always serve this beef broccoli stir fry over white rice with lots of scallions & toasted sesame seeds, but stir fry is a naturally flexible dish, so feel free to adjust & make it your own. ♡ Happy cooking!
- 1 ¼ pounds top sirloin, trimmed of excess fat & thinly sliced against the grain (see Recipe Notes)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (see Recipe Notes)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
- 2 small heads broccoli, cut into small bite-sized florets (approx. 12 oz or 6 cups florets)
- 2 medium carrots, peeled & sliced into 1 ½-inch matchsticks (approx. 4 ounces or 1 heaping cup matchsticks)
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil or high smoke point vegetable oil of choice, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- beef broccoli stir fry sauce (below)
- for serving, as desired: cooked white rice or grain of choice, thinly sliced green onions, toasted sesame seeds, etc.
for the stir fry sauce:
- ¾ cup beef stock/broth
- 1 ½ tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- Marinate the beef: Add the thinly sliced top sirloin to a medium bowl with the soy sauce, cornstarch, rice wine, granulated sugar, & white pepper. Stir to combine, coating the beef thoroughly & evenly. Set aside to rest at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. This is a great time to prepare the stir fry vegetables, chopping & slicing broccoli & carrots as indicated in the Ingredients List (above), & whisk up the stir fry sauce (Step 2, below).
- Prepare the beef and broccoli stir fry sauce: Meanwhile, as the beef marinates, prepare the stir fry sauce. Add all listed ingredients – beef stock/broth, oyster sauce, cornstarch, soy sauce, & granulated sugar – to a small bowl. Whisk to combine well, taking care to break up any lumps & bumps of cornstarch. Set aside for stir frying, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Stir fry the broccoli & carrots: Add 1 teaspoon of the oil to a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot & shimmering, add the carrots & broccoli. Lightly season with a small pinch of salt & cook, stirring often, until vibrantly colored & softened slightly, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a large plate or bowl & set aside. (Alternately, you can also prep the broccoli & carrots in the microwave. Place the broccoli florets & carrot matchsticks in a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle a little water over top, then loosely cover the bowl in plastic wrap & microwave for 1 ½ – 2 minutes, until the veggies are vibrant & tender.)
- Sear the beef: Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok or skillet. Add the garlic & give it a quick stir. Once the garlic is fragrant, reduce the heat to medium & carefully add the marinated beef from Step 1. Shake the pan to separate the slices of beef for even browning. Cook, tossing & stirring occasionally, just until browned, about 3-4 minutes.
- Finish the beef broccoli stir fry: Once browned, push the beef to the outside edges of the wok or skillet. Give the prepared stir fry sauce from Step 2 a good stir, then pour it into the center of the skillet, scraping the bottom of the skillet to release any browned bits from the bottom. Cook 1-2 minutes, until thickened slightly, then add the softened broccoli & carrots. Cook 1 minute longer, tossing & stirring frequently to bring the beef and broccoli stir fry together. Remove from the heat.
- Serve immediately, spooning the beef broccoli stir fry over rice or grain of choice. Finish with thinly sliced green onions & toasted sesame seeds as desired. Enjoy!
- Ingredient Notes:
- Beef: Feel free to use your tender steak of choice for this beef and broccoli stir fry. Top sirloin offers a great balance of tenderness, flavor, & affordability – that’s what I like to use. Cold beef is easiest to thinly slice for stir fry, so it’s helpful to pop the steak into the freezer to chill for 5-10 minutes prior to slicing.
- Shaoxing wine is Chinese rice wine with a rich & uniquely savory-sweet flavor. It’s readily available at Asian grocery stores or online & it’s absolutely worth the purchase if you love cooking Chinese dishes at home. Imperfect-yet-quick substitutes for the shaoxing wine in this recipe include mirin, dry sherry, or dry vermouth.
- Storage: While this beef broccoli stir fry is best enjoyed fresh, immediately after cooking, leftovers will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave, just until warmed through.
- 15-Minute Meal Prep: As is the case with any stir fry, there’s a bit of measuring & chopping required for this beef and broccoli stir fry, which is where all of this recipe’s active prep time comes from – the cooking process itself is very quick! If you’d like, you can do a little prep ahead of time to cut down on active work required at dinnertime. Pick & choose from the list below, or do it all & all you have to do at dinnertime is get cooking – easy!
- Chop the veggies: Prepare all of the beef and carrots, chopping & slicing as indicated in the Ingredients List, above. Store in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (10 minutes active time)
- Prep the stir fry sauce: Mix the stir fry sauce according to Step 2 of Recipe Directions, above. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (5 minutes active time)
Keywords: beef and broccoli stir fry, easy stir fry recipe, weeknight stir fry, broccoli beef, homemade beef and broccoli
Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.