This Mongolian beef recipe is thinly sliced steak that’s seared until crispy, then coated in a sweet and savory sauce. A take out favorite that’s super easy to make at home!

My family loves Chinese food, and I’ve learned how to recreate some of our favorite restaurant classics such as shrimp fried rice, kung pao chicken and this tender and flavorful Mongolian beef. Offer some pan fried noodles on the side for a memorable meal!

A pan of Mongolian beef with tongs in it.

I’ve got a LOT of make your own take out recipes on this site – chow mein, moo shu chicken, kung pao shrimp, moo goo gai pan and many more! It’s time to add another one to the collection and therefore I present you with this super flavorful Mongolian beef. It’s both sweet and savory with that crispy beef like you’d get at a restaurant. Best of all, it’s ready in under 30 minutes.

Mongolian beef ingredients

To make this recipe you will need flank steak, cornstarch, vegetable oil, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, green onions, salt and pepper.

How Do You Make Mongolian Beef?

This recipe starts with flank steak, which is thinly sliced then tossed in a little cornstarch. The meat is seared in a hot pan until a crispy coating is formed. While the meat is cooking, it’s time to make the sauce which consists of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and brown sugar. The steak is tossed in the sauce along with a handful of green onions, then you’re ready to eat.

Thinly sliced steak coated in cornstarch.

Tips for the perfect stir fry

  • Flank steak is easiest to slice thin when it’s partially frozen. Place your meat in the freezer about 30 minutes before you plan to use it. Be sure to slice it against the grain for the most tender beef.
  • You want the meat to sear and not steam, so you’ll need to avoid adding too much meat at once to the pan. I cook my beef strips in a single layer in batches so that it all ends up browned and delicious. Use a very large pan, or a wok if you have one.
  • If you prefer a spicy dish, you can add up to 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, or sriracha sauce to taste.
  • Leftovers will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Mongolian beef is typically served over steamed white rice. You can also serve your beef over brown rice, fried rice, quinoa or stir fry noodles. Another option is to pile your beef into lettuce or cabbage leaves for a lighter dish. I frequently offer a green vegetable on the side such as asparagus, green beans or broccoli.

Seared crispy flank steak pieces.

recipe faqs

Why is it called Mongolian beef?

This dish is named after a stir fried dish called Mongolian barbecue, which originated in Taiwan. None of the ingredients or cooking methods were from traditional Mongolian cuisine. This dish is most often found in Chinese-American restaurants in the United States.

What is Mongolian beef sauce made of?

Mongolian beef sauce is made with soy sauce and brown sugar, along with other flavorings such as garlic and ginger.

What is the difference between Mongolian beef and Kung Pao beef?

Mongolian beef and Kung Pao beef both feature thinly sliced steak cooked in sauce. Mongolian beef tends to be sweeter than Kung Pao beef. Kung Pao beef also contains extra ingredients, such as peanuts, bell peppers, chili peppers and onions.

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A pan full of Mongolian beef with green onions.

flavor variations

While this recipe is fabulous as-is, you can customize the flavors to suit your tastes.

  • Protein: No flank steak on hand? You can also use skirt steak, sirloin or New York strip. This recipe also works with thinly sliced chicken breast.
  • Vegetables: You can stir fry some veggies in the pan after you’ve cooked your beef to add to the finished dish. Some great options include broccoli, zucchini or green beans.
  • Flavorings: You can add other ingredients to the sauce such as sriracha, hoisin sauce, a dash of rice vinegar for a tangy flavor, or chili oil.
  • Toppings: Feel free to top your beef with garnishes such as sesame seeds or crispy noodles.
A bowl of mongolian beef over rice.

This Mongolian beef tastes like something you’d order at your favorite Chinese takeout restaurant, with all the convenience of making it yourself at home. If you love Chinese food, this is a must try!

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Mongolian Beef Video

4.91 from 66 votes

Mongolian Beef

AuthorSara Welch
A pan of Mongolian beef with tongs in it.
This Mongolian beef recipe is thinly sliced steak that's seared until crispy, then coated in a sweet and savory sauce. A take out favorite that's super easy to make at home!
Time
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Asian
Serves 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/4 lbs flank steak thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons cornstarch divided use
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup green onions cut into 1 inch pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • Place the flank steak and 1/4 cup cornstarch in a resealable plastic bag, shake to coat evenly.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan over high heat.
  • Add the meat in a single layer and season to taste with salt and pepper (keeping in mind the sauce has plenty of salt in it!). Cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until browned. Cook in multiple batches if needed.
  • Remove the meat from the pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Add the garlic and ginger to the pan and cook for 30 seconds. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, water and brown sugar to the pan and bring to a simmer.
  • Mix the 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of cold water. Add the cornstarch to the sauce and bring to a boil; boil for 30-60 seconds until just thickened.
  • Add the meat and green onions to the pan and toss to coat with the sauce. Serve over rice if desired.

Notes

  1. Flank steak is easiest to slice thin when it’s partially frozen. Place your meat in the freezer about 30 minutes before you plan to use it. Be sure to slice it against the grain for the most tender beef.
  2. You want the meat to sear and not steam, so you’ll need to avoid adding too much meat at once to the pan. I cook my beef strips in a single layer in batches so that it all ends up browned and delicious. Use a very large pan, or a wok if you have one.

Nutrition

Calories: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 1400mg | Potassium: 615mg | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 125IU | Vitamin C: 2.3mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 3.3mg

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Helped 10 year old grandson make this for the family. Recipe and directions were easy to follow and it turned out amazing!

  2. 5 stars
    OMG. This is even better than our Mongolian grill in our area. WOW. Loved it. Added Serrano pepper chopped very small because we had no Siracha at home and BAM! Delicious! Thank you. This recipe is a keeper!

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe!
    I added more ginger, chili oil, rice vinegar green beans, and reduced the sugar to 1/4 c and 1/4 cup honey but i think ill cut both of those in half again the next time. It was delicious, just trying to make it a bit healthier.

  4. Hi Sara,

    Can this be made ahead of time and frozen? Do you think the sauce if cooked then kept separate from the meat would freeze well? Thanks!

    1. I think that would work fine to freeze the sauce separately, my only concern is that the meat would lose its crispy texture when frozen!

  5. 5 stars
    OK ….my family enjoyed this very much …but said it was a bit sweeter than necessary. And, I had actually cut the sugar a little bit. But, they all gave the recipe 5 stars (Cook it again!) on condition I reduce the sugar next time.

    Thanks for another excellent recipe.
    BobB

  6. 5 stars
    Thank you Sara! This Mongolian beef recipe is delicious! Simple ingredients, easy prep. I did add blanched snow peas. I’ll be making it frequently!