This is the BEST beef and broccoli you can make at home in less than 30 minutes! It's super easy to make, tastes just as good, if not better than takeout, and cheaper too. Complete this Chinese takeout classic with some shrimp fried rice or shrimp lo mein for some surf and turf action!
Beef and broccoli (jiè lán niú - 芥兰牛) has long since been one of the most popular items ordered at Chinese restaurants. Now, you can easily make it at home!
We've adapted our beef and broccoli recipe to be super easily to make in our home kitchen and still tastes just as good as the ones from Chinese takeout restaurants. Also, it takes less than 30 minutes to make, from beginning to finish!
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Side dishes to serve with
Beef and broccoli is one of the most popular Chinese takeout dishes, and it's pretty much agreeable with any sides. Our favorite sides to go with beef and broccoli are:
- steamed white rice or Korean purple rice
- egg fried rice or shrimp fried rice
- shrimp lo mein or chicken lo mein
- egg rolls or crab rangoon
Please scroll down to the recipe card for the ingredient quantities!
To marinate the beef:
- Beef flank - Flank steaks are great for quick stir fry dishes, like beef and broccoli. It's cheap and flavorful. You can easy tenderize it as long you cut it into thin slices.
- Water - For hydrating the beef, making sure the meat stays as juicy as possible.
- Shaoxing cooking wine - A Chinese pantry staple and must have. In the marinate, Shaoxing rice wine helps get rid of any unwanted gamey flavor in the beef.
- Salt - For seasoning the beef.
- Oil - Any neutral oil, such as canola, grapeseed, or avocado, will do. It's for velveting the beef.
- Cornstarch - This is the other ingredient for velveting the beef.
- Baking soda - For tenderizing the flank steak.
For the beef and broccoli sauce:
- Soy sauce - We recommend low sodium soy sauce so that the sauce is not super salty.
- Water - To dilute the soy sauce.
- Sugar - Regular granulated sugar is fine. It's for sweetening the brown sauce and make it taste more balanced and rounded. If you prefer, you could use honey instead, but the flavor will be slightly different.
- Cornstarch - For thickening the beef and broccoli sauce.
- Toasted sesame oil - An Asian pantry must have! Sesame oil adds a toasted flavor to beef and broccoli.
The rest of the ingredients:
- Broccoli - Can't have beef and broccoli without broccoli! Just trim a broccoli crown into broccoli florets.
- Ginger and garlic - Both add a lot of flavor and fragrance to the whole dish.
- Carrot (optional) - Carrot slices are often added to Chinese takeout beef and broccoli for color. So feel free to use or omit.
- Sesame seeds (optional for garnish)
The best cut of beef to use
Beef flank steak is the best cut for quick stir fry dishes like beef and broccoli. It's cheap but still flavorful, and you can easily tenderize it with a little bit of baking soda. You could use eye rounds, chuck roasts, and skirt steak as well, but of the cheaper cuts, flank steak is our favorite choice. It has just enough fat so that the beef won't taste dry. Just make sure to cut the beef into slices no thicker than ¼ inch, against the grain.
You could also go for more expensive cuts like beef tenderloin and ribeye, but it would be a waste to stir fry with.
How to make beef and broccoli at home
Marinate the beef:
1. Cut the flank into thin slices no thicker than ¼ inch, against the grain.
🌟 Pro tip: On a flank steak, the horizontal streaks across the steak is the direction the grain goes. So cut against (perpendicular) to the streak so that the beef is as tender as possible. Also, if you freeze the flank until it's semi frozen, it'll be much easier to cut.
2. Marinate. Place the thinly sliced beef into a bowl, along with water, oil, Shaoxing cooking wine, salt, cornstarch, and baking soda. Mix well until the beef is well coated. Set aside and let the beef marinate for at least 10 to 15 minute while you prepare the other ingredients. You can also marinate the beef overnight.
Prepare the beef and broccoli sauce:
3. Prepare the sauce. In a bowl, mix together the soy sauce, water, sugar, cornstarch, and sesame oil. Set aside until needed.
Make the beef and broccoli:
4. Boil the broccoli. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add the broccoli florets. Boil the broccoli for about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of your florets and how tender you like your broccoli. Drain and set aside.
5. Cook the beef. In a wok or large sauté pan over medium high heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot, add the beef and stir fry until the beef is about 90 percent cooked. Make sure separate the beef slices to cook evenly. Remove from the pan and set aside.
🌟 Pro tip: If you don't mind using a bit more oil, about ½ inch to 1 inch of oil, you can flash fry the marinated beef instead. Place an appropriate amount of the beef into 350°F oil, then quickly stir to separate them. Allow the beef to cook for 15 to 20 seconds or until the beef is just cooked. Remove from oil.
This method allows the beef to be quickly cooked. It saves time and keeps the beef tender and juicy.
5. Saute aromatics. Keep about 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok or pan and remove excess oil if needed. With the heat still on medium high, add the minced garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
6. Cook the sauce. Add the prepared sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer while stirring frequently. Once the sauce thickens and looks glossy, reduce the heat to medium low and add the beef and the broccoli.
7. Coat in sauce. Stir and mix the beef and broccoli until everything is evenly coated. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with sesame seeds if you like. Enjoy while hot!
- Cut the flank into no thicker than ¼ inch slices. It's important that the flank is between ⅛ inch to ¼ inch thick. Too thin and the meat will disintegrate and break apart. If the beef is too thick, it'll take a long time to cook, make it tough and dry.
- Freeze the flank for easier cutting. If you freeze the flank steak until semi frozen, it'll be much easier to cut into thin, even slices. Just let the beef thaw after slicing to drain excess moisture before marinating.
- Marinate for at least 15 minutes or overnight. Marinating the beef ensures that it's well seasoned. But most importantly, the marinating process tenderizes the beef.
- Cook the broccoli to your preferred tenderness. You can adjust how long to boil the broccoli, depending on how tender you like it. Also, the boiling time depends on how big you cut the broccoli florets.
If you have leftover beef and broccoli, let it cool completely before covering and refrigerating. It'll will stay good in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.
You can reheat leftover beef and broccoli in the microwave or on the stovetop.
To reheat in the microwave, place the beef and broccoli in a microwave safe container with a cover. Microwave until hot.
If you are reheating on the stovetop, place the beef and broccoli in a pan over medium heat and sauté until heated through. If the sauce looks thin after heating, you can thicken it by adding a small amount of cornstarch slurry (equal parts cornstarch with cold water).
Beef flank steak is our top choice for making beef and broccoli because it's cheap yet super flavorful.
Our recipe calls for soy sauce, water, sugar, cornstarch, and sesame oil to make the beef and broccoli sauce.
Velveting is a Chinese cooking technique used to protect delicate meat and keep meats from becoming dry and tough. Usually, the meats are coated in marinade seasoning, Shaoxing cooking wine, cornstarch, sometimes egg white, and oil. Then, the meat gets quickly cooked in hot oil or hot water.
Beef and Broccoli
For marinating the beef:
For the stir fry sauce:
For the rest of the dish:
- 1 pound broccoli cut into florets
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced (about 2 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon ginger peeled and minced (about an inch knob)
- Oil as needed for cooking
- Toasted sesame seed (optional for garnish)
Marinate the beef:
- In a mixing bowl, combine the sliced flank steak, water, shaoxing rice wine, salt and baking soda. Mix well until the beef has absorbed most of the liquids.
- Next, add the cornstarch and mix until the beef is well coated. Finish the marinade by adding oil. Mix until evenly combined. Set the beef aside to marinate for about 10 to 15 minutes as you prepare the rest of the ingredients. You can also let the beef marinate overnight.*Do prepare the beef first so that it can marinade while you prepare the rest of the ingredients! This way you can maximize your time.*
Prepare the sauce:
- In a bowl, add all the ingredients for the sauce (soy sauce, water, sugar, cornstarch, and sesame oil). Mix until no more cornstarch clumps are visible. Set aside until needed.*If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can add an extra teaspoon or two of cornstarch. If you prefer a thinner sauce, reduce the cornstarch by 1 to 2 teaspoons.
Make the beef and broccoli:
- While the beef is marinating, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli florets and boil them for 30 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on your preferred tenderness. The cook time will also depend on how big the broccoli florets are. Once cooked, drain the broccoli and set aside.*We usually boil our broccoli for about 1 minute because we like it more on the crisp side.*
- Option 1 (Pan-sear method):In a wok or sauté pan over medium high heat, add enough oil to coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot, add the marinated beef and cook until the beef is just cooked. Cook in small batches if necessary and make sure to separate the beef so that each piece is evenly cooked. Remove from the wok/pan and set aside.
- Option 2 (Flash fry method):In wok or deep pan, heat about ½ inch to 1 inch of oil to 350°F. Maintain the oil between 325°F and 365°F. Once the oil is hot, add an appropriate amount of beef and quickly stir to separate the beef. Let the beef cook for about 15 to 30 seconds, or until the beef is just cooked. Remove and set aside to drain until needed.*Flash fry in small batches if needed. Do not overcrowd the pan or the oil temperature will drop drastically.*
- Remove excess oil and keep about 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the minced garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 15 seconds.*If using the flash fry method, set the oil aside to cool before handling and use new pan instead. If you feel comfortable handling hot oil, you can transfer the oil and use the same pan. Do be very careful!*
- Give the prepared stir fry sauce a good stir and add it to the sauteed garlic and ginger. Bring the sauce to a simmer while stirring frequently. Once the sauce has thickened and looks glossy, add the beef and the broccoli. Stir and toss everything together until the beef and the broccoli are well coated in sauce.
- Transfer the beef and broccoli onto a serving plate and garnish with sesame seeds if you wish. Enjoy it while it's hot!
- Flank steak - Our most preferred choice of beef for beef and broccoli is flank steak. But you could also use other cheap cuts like eye round, chuck roast, and skirt. Do note that these cuts will be dry if the beef is overcooked.
- Freeze the flank steak for easier cutting. If you have time, freeze the flank steak until semi frozen so that they're easier to cut. Afterwards, do thaw and drain any moisture or blood so the marinade doesn't become too wet and loose.
- Broccoli cook time - Feel free to adjust the broccoli florets' cook time depending on how tender you like the broccoli and how big the the florets are.