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This beef and broccoli is a popular Chinese take-out meal and it’s also easy enough to make at home. It’s also healthier than most take-out meal options. With juicy tender beef and crisp broccoli brought together in a rich brown sauce, this quick dinner is as colorful as it is delicious. Serve it over hot rice for an authentic Chinese take-out dinner. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}

Beef and broccoli in a skillet close up

Beef and broccoli is one of those dishes that should be on your fixed weekday dinner menu, because it’s so easy to make, healthier than takeout, and extremely delicious. If you’ve been ordering takeout, I highly encourage you to try making it at home once. This takeout-style Chinese beef and broccoli is extra saucy and quick to prepare. The recipe does not require a wok and you can still get that authentic taste.

I couldn’t wait to share this recipe with you because…

  1. You can cook everything in one pan. No extra blanching for the broccoli required!
  2. The dish is extra saucy and goes great with rice.
  3. No wok needed! You can use a flat skillet and still get that restaurant-style taste.

Ingredients

Which cut of beef to use

My personal favorite cut for beef and broccoli is flank steak, and the second best is skirt steak. I wouldn’t use a fancy cut such as a strip because it’s quite expensive and the result is not as good. 

What if you need to use a cheaper but tougher cut of beef? Keep reading to learn the secret of extra tender and juicy beef.

How to create tender beef using a tough cut

If you have to use a tougher cut, for example, brisket, chuck, round roast etc., your best bet is to use the baking soda method. It is a common practice in Chinese restaurants to create extra juicy and tender beef. All you need to do is add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (NOT baking powder) to the marinade, mix it in and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking. 

Other vegetable alternatives

If you wish to add other types of vegetables to this dish, it’s totally OK!

You can use 1 cup of sliced carrots, sliced red peppers, snap peas, or snow peas to replace half of the broccoli.

If using carrots, add them at the same time you cook the broccoli, so they will be steamed together.

For vegetables that cook faster, you can add them halfway through steaming the broccoli, and steam them for about 20 to 30 seconds. Then return them to the pan at the end of cooking, at step 6.

Mise en place

Your table should have the ingredients below before you start cooking: 

  • Marinated beef
  • Chopped broccoli florets
  • Mixed sauce
  • Ginger and garlic in a bowl

When you start cooking, you will need to move very quickly to avoid over-cooking the beef. So it’s important to have everything ready to go.

The wok vs. skillet debate

I always recommend home cooks use a flat skillet instead of a wok. This is because you can use a skillet to create very similar results, and sometimes even better results, if you’re cooking on an electric stove. (I wrote about 10 reasons not to use a wok and Wok vs. Stir Fry Pan – Which is the Right Tool for You?, if you’d like to read more on this topic.)

Chinese beef and broccoli uses a very flavorful sauce. It makes skillet cooking more tolerable. Plus, in the case of home cooking, you have a less powerful stove and might need to cook the food in more than one batch. So you will benefit from using a skillet on an electric stove because you will have a larger contact surface to sear the food properly. 

Although you can use almost any nonstick skillet to make takeout-style beef and broccoli, a deeper pan such as this nonstick deep pan works best, because you will spill less when stirring the food. If you do want to use a wok on an electric stove, get one of those with a large bottom that can cover the biggest heating element on your stove.

How to cook beef and broccoli

Cooking beef and broccoli is super easy!

  1. Steam the broccoli in the skillet using a small amount of water
  2. Sear the beef
  3. Add the aromatics and give it a quick toss
  4. Add the sauce and the broccoli
  5. Stir everything together until the sauce thickens
Cooking beef and broccoli step-by-step

That’s it!

Lastly, if you prefer a spicy beef and broccoli, add a splash of chili oil or sriracha to spice up your dish! 

This beef and broccoli is very saucy so you’ll have enough sauce to douse your rice. When you prepare dinner, don’t forget to start the rice at the beginning. So the rice and main dish will be ready at the same time for a delicious Chinese dinner!

Chinese Beef and Broccoli (牛肉炒西兰花)

More takeout style stir fry recipes

  • Sweet and Sour Chicken (Without Deep-Frying)
  • Real-Deal Beef Chow Fun
  • General Tso Tofu
  • Takeout-Style Orange Chicken
  • Stir Fried Chicken with Black Bean Sauce

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This beef and broccoli is a popular Chinese take-out meal and it's also easy enough to make at home. It's also healthier than most take-out meal options. With juicy tender beef and crisp broccoli brought together in a rich brown sauce, this quick dinner is as colorful as it is delicious. Serve it over hot rice for an authentic Chinese take-out dinner. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}

Chinese Beef and Broccoli (牛肉炒西兰花)

This beef and broccoli is a popular Chinese take-out meal and it's also easy enough to make at home. It's also healthier than most take-out meal options. With juicy tender beef and crisp broccoli brought together in a rich brown sauce, this quick dinner is as colorful as it is delicious. Serve it over hot rice for an authentic Chinese take-out dinner. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}

To make this dish gluten-free, use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine, and use tamari instead of soy sauce.

Author: Maggie Zhu

Course: Main

Cuisine: Chinese

Keyword: takeout

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 2 to 4 servings

Ingredients

Meat and Marinade

  • 450 g (1 lb) boneless flank steak , skirt steak, or other cut (*see footnote 1)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (Optional) (*see footnote 1)

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (or beef stock)
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (*footnote 2)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar (or white sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Stir-fry

  • 1 head broccoli , cut to bite-size florets
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil) (*Footnote 3)
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger , minced

Instructions

  • Slice the beef against the grain into 0.5 cm (1/4 inch) thick slices or 1-cm (1/2 inch) sticks. Transfer to a small bowl. Add soy sauce, peanut oil, and cornstarch (*Footnote 1). Gently mix well by hand until all the slices are coated with a thin layer of sauce. Marinate for 10 minutes while preparing the other ingredients.

  • Combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a medium-sized bowl. Mix well.

  • Add 1/4 cup water into a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until the water begins to boil. Add the broccoli and cover. Steam until the broccoli just turns tender and the water evaporates,1 minute or so. Transfer broccoli to a plate. Wipe the pan with a paper towel held in a pair of tongs if there’s any water left.

  • Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Spread the steak in a single layer. Allow to cook without touching for 30 seconds, or until the bottom side is browned. Flip to cook the other side for a few seconds. Stir and cook until the surface is lightly charred and the inside is still pink.

  • Add the garlic and ginger. Stir a few times to release the flavor and fragrance.

  • Return the broccoli to the pan. Stir the sauce again to dissolve the cornstarch completely and pour it into the skillet. Cook and stir until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Transfer everything to a plate immediately. Serve hot as a main dish.

Notes

  1. If you need to use a cheaper but toucher cut of beef, for example, chuck, brisket, or round roast, add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the marinade and marinate the beef for 30 minutes before cooking. This method tenderizes the beef and will create a very juicy result.
  2. Dark soy sauce will add an appetizing dark color to the sauce with a hint of caramel taste, but you can skip it if you don’t have it. If you skip the dark soy sauce, you can add 1/2 teaspoon molasses to enhance the flavor.
  3. If you do not have peanut oil, you can drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil at the end of the cooking after turning off the heat and mix together. It will boost the flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving , Calories: 291 kcal , Carbohydrates: 13.9 g , Protein: 26.6 g , Fat: 14.3 g , Saturated Fat: 4.2 g , Cholesterol: 48 mg , Sodium: 790 mg , Potassium: 487 mg , Fiber: 1.5 g , Sugar: 4.5 g , Calcium: 45 mg , Iron: 2 mg

This post was published in Nov. 3, 2017 and updated by May 10, 2022.