This is THE best beef and broccoli recipe that will satisfy all of your take-out cravings. Even better than Panda Express beef and broccoli, this copycat recipe has tender seared strips of beef and tender crisp bites of broccoli coated in a deliciously sweet and savory sauce. It’s a 30-minute restaurant-quality meal made in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Broccoli beef is healthy, flavorful, has far less sodium than grabbing take out, and at a fraction of the cost. Imagine thin strips of juicy steak and tender broccoli permeated with the flavors of a thick and sticky sauce made of soy sauce, ginger, and brown sugar. This traditional Chinese take-out dish is topped with toasted sesame seeds to add a little nuttiness which rounds out the dish.
Shrimp Pad Thai is another Asian inspired take out recipe that is ready in 30 minutes. It’s full of juicy shrimp, noodles, and a bit of heat. We’ve also perfected Panda Express fried rice, Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken, and Panda Express mushroom chicken.
There’s something so satisfying about recreating your restaurant favorites and a Panda Express beef and broccoli recipe is a must have in the recipe box when you need an easy dinner!
- Top sirloin, skirt steak, or flank steak – Cut into thin strips, across the grain
- Dark soy sauce – you can substitute low sodium soy sauce, but using dark soy sauce is going to give you that deep flavor we love in a broccoli beef recipe, it is typically much saltier than a light soy sauce, so measure carefully.
- Mirin – This is a rice wine vinegar containing alcohol and has a touch of sweetness. You can also substitute rice vinegar instead.
- Oyster sauce – Gives it a complex sweet and salty flavor.
- Ginger paste – Can substitute for freshly grated ginger if you don’t have a paste.
- Roasted garlic paste – Will add a deeper flavor than regular garlic, but you can use minced garlic instead.
- Light brown sugar – Used to balance the salt and adds to the sticky texture.
- Cornstarch – A thickening agent that will bring the sauce to its desired thickness.
- Beef broth – Try for low sodium if you can. The salt in the remaining ingredients will be enough for good flavor.
- Canola oil – Used to cook the beef. Can also use olive oil, or a tablespoon sesame oil if you have it available.
- Broccoli crowns cut into small florets – Use fresh broccoli for the best results – you can use frozen, but the dish will lack the crisp broccoli bites
- Green onion (scallions) sliced – Used as a garnish. Will add a lovely pop of green along with the broccoli.
- Toasted sesame seeds – A toasted nutty flavor and added crunchy texture.
For a full list of ingredients and their measurements, 📋 please view my printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Red Chili Flakes: If you like a bit of heat, a pinch of red chili flakes can add some spice to your dish.
- Cilantro: Fresh cilantro leaves or chopped cilantro will give some freshness.
- Fried Garlic: Crispy fried garlic slices or minced fried garlic can add a delightful crunch and intense garlic flavor. Just be careful not to overcook them, as they can quickly turn bitter.
Skillet or Wok – Either of these will work. If you own a wok, you’ll know that because of its higher walls, it’s great for stir fry but it also tends to steam whatever is in it. Something to watch for if you use a wok, so you brown your meat and don’t steam it.
Substitutions and Variations
- Although beef broth seems like the natural way to go, you could substitute for chicken or vegetable. It may give you a slightly different taste, but it will still be delicious.
- Like the idea of added crunch, but not the sesame seeds? Try swapping for slivered almonds or cashews.
- Substitute raw honey for the brown sugar. It will have the same sweetness and thickness but without the use of refined sugar.
- This recipe will work for chicken and broccoli. Swap out the beef for cubed chicken and follow the instructions as listed. You will have to cook the chicken a little longer as it won’t be as thin as the beef.
- If you can’t get your hands on Oyster sauce, you can use Hoisin sauce. It has a bit of a different flavor, but you’ll still enjoy it.
- Sprinkle in some red pepper flakes for some spicy heat.
- To load this dish up with even more crisp vegetables, try adding carrots, mushrooms, and bell peppers.
PREP: Slice meat against the grain into very thin slices. Rinse broccoli and cut the crowns apart into bite size florets.
Step 1: In either a medium bowl or a Ziploc bag, add sliced beef to a 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of mirin. Marinate beef for 15 minutes or so. It doesn’t need long.
Step 2: Combine the sauce ingredients: the remaining dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, ginger paste, garlic paste, and the brown sugar in a small bowl. Whisk together the cornstarch and beef broth until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Combine cornstarch mixture with the remaining stir-fry sauce mixture and set aside.
Step 1: Grab your beef mixture and remove it from the marinade. Try to remove as much excess liquid as you can. Too much remaining liquid won’t allow for a good sear. Discard the used marinade.
Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat until the oil just begins to smoke (or a drop of water in the pan sizzles immediately). Give strips of beef a quick sear until meat is brown on both sides. You may need to cook in batches. Overcrowding the meat may not produce an even sear, especially in a wok.
Step 2: Remove the meat from the pan and set it aside.
Step 3: Add a thin layer/just a few tablespoons of water to the bottom of the pan. Add in the broccoli florets and bring the water to a simmer. Cook while tossing the broccoli a few times until it begins to soften and turns bright green.
Step 4: Add about half of the prepared stir-fry sauce to the broccoli stir-fry and bring to a simmer. Stir until the sauce thickens.
The dish cooks quickly. If you simmer the broccoli for too long, it will be soggy and mushy. Cook it just until it’s vibrant green and still crisp, then simmer in the sauce just until it’s tender crisp.
Step 6: Add the meat back into the skillet and add the remaining sauce. Once the meat is cooked all the way through, and your sauce has reached your desired consistency, remove from heat.
Step 7: To top off this show stopper, toss with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds.
GARNISH/SLICE/SERVE: Serve this Panda Express beef and broccoli straight out of the skillet or transfer to a serving platter. You can garnish the served dish with a sprinkle of scallions and/or more toasted sesame seeds. Serve with white rice or keep it low carb and serve over cauliflower rice or on its own.
So, the next time you have a late night craving for some take out or you want to pull together a tasty meal in minutes, keep this recipe handy. It’ll get you through many a lazy Friday night!
Copycat Panda Express Broccoli Beef Recipe Tips
For tender beef, sear quickly in a hot skillet. Extra sauce boils the meat and turns it tough and chewy.
Choose a cut of beef that is tender to begin with. Inexpensive options include top sirloin or skirt steak, but you can use tri-tip or beef tenderloin as well.
Do not overcook the broccoli. Tender crisp is best and will cook in 5-10 minutes.
Mix together the sauce ingredients before you start cooking so that the sauce is ready to add to the pan and the meat or vegetables don’t overcook because you’re trying to multi-task.
Leftover broccoli beef is delicious. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Reheated beef and broccoli may not have tender crisp broccoli, but the flavors are still delicious.
There are a few things you can do to ensure optimal tender results that taste even better than takeout. First, you want to make sure to cut against the grain of the meat. You also want to make sure you’re not overcrowding in the pan. Cook in batches if you need to. And last, it’s important to get a good sear and seal in the juices. This is done by heating the oil well before adding the meat to the pan and ensuring that as little liquid as possible is added to the pan when cooking.
Freezing the meat about 30 minutes before slicing it will give you a head start. The steak will be a bit firmer and you’ll have an easier time slicing it thinly. Using a very sharp knife is also key.
Steamed white rice is always a staple side, but there are a number of other sides. You can enjoy it with noodles, quinoa, brown rice, steamed cauliflower rice, and of course eat it on its own.
If you tried this Panda Express Beef and Broccoli or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below.
Beef and Broccoli
- 1 pound top sirloin or skirt steak cut into this strips, across the grain
- ¼ cup dark soy sauce divided
- 2 tablespoons mirin (can substitute rice vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon roasted garlic paste
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 broccoli crowns cut into small florets
- 2-3 green onion sliced
- 1 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- Combine sliced meat with 1 tablespoon of the dark soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of mirin.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the stir-fry sauce: 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, ginger paste, garlic paste, and the brown sugar. Whisk a bit of the beef broth together with the cornstarch to dissolve the cornstarch and then combine this and the rest of the beef broth with the remaining stir-fry sauce ingredients.
- Drain the marinade from the meat and discard (extra liquid in the meat will prevent a good sear when we cook it).
- Heat the oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat until the oil just begins to smoke (or a drop of water in the pan sizzles immediately). Drop the meat into the pan stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until the meat is seared and brown on both sides. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside.
- Add a thin layer/just a few tablespoons of water to the bottom of the pan. (You can use a clean pan or the pan you've just used to cook the meat.)
- Add the broccoli florets to the skillet and bring the water to a simmer. Simmer/steam over medium-high heat, tossing the broccoli a few times until it begins to soften and turns vibrant green, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add about half of the prepared sauce to the broccoli and bring to a simmer. Stir and simmer 1-2 minute until the sauce thickens.
- Add the seared meat back into the skillet. Add additional sauce if you'd like.
- Heat until the meat is hot all the way through and the sauce is thickened to desired consistency.
- Remove from heat. Add green onions and toasted sesame seeds. Toss and serve over rice.