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This 30-minute Mongolian beef recipe is the tastiest version you’ll try! It has thin strips of tender beef with a totally irresistible yet easy to make savory-sweet sauce.

I think you’ll also like my Beef and Broccoli and Easy Orange Chicken for more takeout-style meals at home.

a skillet with mongolian beef

Why you’ll love it

The delicious sticky sauce in this straightforward and easy Mongolian beef recipe is made from scratch with ingredients you have in your pantry. You don’t even need a wok, so what are you waiting for!? This Asian-inspired classic is better than takeout.

I bet you’ll enjoy my homemade Mongolian beef even more than PF Chang’s! It’s inspired by them, but making this favorite is way better since you know exactly what goes into it. This family-friendly dinner is sure to go in the rotation.

What is Mongolian beef?

  • It actually originated in Taiwan, so it’s not from Mongolia at all! It’s a Chinese American takeout favorite that draws inspiration from Chinese cuisine. It typically has juicy beef, onions, and a flavorful sauce with brown sugar, garlic, soy sauce, and ginger.

What you’ll need

  • Beef – flank steak most often used since it’s a good balance between taste, tenderness, and cost
  • Cornstarch – it has two purposes: to help thicken the sauce and also tenderize the meat a bit
  • Olive oil – for sautéing
  • Scallions – a pop of freshness
  • Sauce – our best Mongolian beef sauce has brown sugar, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes (for a gentle warmth, not making it spicy), ginger, low-sodium soy sauce, and water
ingredients for mongolian beef in prep bowls

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

How to make Mongolian beef

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

Prep the ingredients. Slice the steak into thin ribbons, and toss with the cornstarch in a bowl. In a different bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients until combined.

cooking steak in a skillet for mongolian beef and adding sauce

Heat up some of the oil in a skillet until very hot. Working in two batches, add half the steak. Cook for a minute, then flip and cook for another minute. Once browned, transfer to a plate. Add the rest of the oil, then repeat for the second batch of steak.

tossing steak in a skillet with scallions and mongolian beef sauce

Pour the sauce into the skillet, and let it bubble while scraping up the browned bits. Add in the scallions, and return the beef. Toss with the sauce until the steak is cooked through and the sauce has thickened up.

Helpful tips

  • Be sure to prep ahead of time vs. as you go along. The recipe goes quickly once you start the cooking process.
  • The key to getting perfectly seared steak with a crispy crust is to not overcrowd the pan, or else it’ll steam. We’re cooking the meat in two batches. Use the largest skillet you own. A 12″ skillet works great. You can do more than two batches if needed!
  • Not sure how to cut flank steak? It’s against the grain, so picture skipping across train tracks (the lines in the meat).

Substitutions and variations

  • This recipe has been tested multiple times, so I recommend trying it as written prior to experimenting.
  • If you prefer a little more zing, double the ginger and crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Flank steak is commonly used in this recipe, but you can use skirt steak, sirloin, or New York strip steak. You want a quick-cooking steak, not stew meat.

What to serve with Mongolian beef

  • Mongolian beef is great served over steamed rice or noodles. I like jasmine rice best, or try chow mein noodles.
  • Stir fried veggies or Spring Rolls are a great pairing.
  • I sprinkled some sesame seeds on top for garnish in the photos, but that’s totally optional!

Leftovers and storage

  • It’s best fresh, but you can keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat slowly over a low heat in a saucepan.
  • I don’t recommend freezing this one as the texture will change, but you can if absolutely necessary.
a bowl of mongolian beef over rice with chopsticks

If you made this restaurant-quality Mongolian beef recipe from scratch, leave a review below! Tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram if you made this or any of my recipes.

a skillet with mongolian beef
5 from 3 votes

Simple Mongolian Beef

This 30-minute Mongolian beef recipe is the tastiest version you'll try! It has thin strips of tender beef with a totally irresistible yet easy to make savory-sweet sauce.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound flank steak
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 small bunch scallions (green parts only) cut into 1" pieces

Sauce ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions 

  • I recommend prepping all ingredients before starting this recipe as it goes fast. Slice the steak against the grain into 1/4" thick pieces, then add it to a bowl and toss it with the cornstarch.
  • Add the sauce ingredients to another bowl and whisk together.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a large skillet (I use a 12" one) and let it heat up on your largest burner over medium-high heat until HOT (4-5 minutes on my gas stove).
  • You will cook the beef in two batches to get the best browning. Add half the steak to the skillet in a single layer and let it cook undisturbed for 1 minute, then flip, using tongs, and cook for another minute. It should release easily once it's browned. Transfer to a plate. Repeat for the second batch, adding the third tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet.
  • Add the sauce to the skillet and let it bubble for about 30 seconds, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom, then add in the scallions and also return the beef to the pan. Toss with the sauce and let it cook for another 1-3 minutes or until the steak is cooked to your liking and the sauce thickens up. Take the skillet off the heat and serve immediately.

Notes

  • This recipe is quite family-friendly as written. If you prefer a little more zing, double the ginger and crushed red pepper flakes.
  • The low sodium soy sauce should add enough salt to the recipe, but if you find it needs extra salt & pepper, simply add some at the end.
  • I typically serve this recipe with rice, but that’s optional! I measure out 1 cup of uncooked rice to serve 4, but feel free to make as much rice as you normally do. Start the rice before the beef so that it’s ready at the same time. 

Nutrition

Calories: 336kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 68mg, Sodium: 836mg, Potassium: 516mg, Fiber: 0.5g, Sugar: 18g, Vitamin A: 97IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 55mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Hi! Iā€™m Natasha.

Salt & Lavender is a recipe blog with a focus on delicious comfort food using everyday ingredients. Beat the weekday grind with hundreds of easy-to-follow and hassle-free recipes!

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Saw this on Insta and saved the recipe. WHO doesn’t love a great, fast, easy, tasty steak-y recipe?!

    Recipe is perfect as written, mine turned out exactly as pictured in the post. I appreciate that it contains common staple ingredients, it’s easy to follow and comes together in minutes as promised.

    Now that I have it down, next time I’ll prob make a few tweeks. Definitely great advice to have everything ready for quick assembly and production – recipe comes together in no time. Loved the nice crispy sear on the flank steak. Heated my cast iron skillet dry for about 5 min on med-high while the rice was cooking before adding oil but next time I’ll get the pan even hotter. Because the steak goes into the sauce for another few minutes, the sear step is super quick and requires a watchful eye, I got distracted and almost overcooked my first batch.

    Recipe seems to be built for speed and agility, for which it gets an A+. The sauce, while super solid (imho) lacked some depth. Next time when adding the sauce ingredients I might try a wee bit of mirin or rice wine vinegar for some ‘tartness’ and maybe sweet chili sauce – something that compliments the sweet but also adds some spice/tartness to give it that little extra something-something.

    Served it w/ rice and next time I’ll def steam some broccoli too. Prob not classic Mongolian beef add-in but veggies are always a welcome addition…

    1. I’m thrilled you enjoyed it!! Yup, it’s definitely easy to tweak it a bit now that you’ve tried it. Appreciate your review. šŸ˜€

  2. When a recipe calls for brown sugar, I never know if Iā€™m supporting use light brown sugar or dark brown. Any tips?

    1. Hi! Dark brown will have a stronger molasses flavor. Either will work fine for this recipe… use whichever you usually buy or have on hand. šŸ™‚