This tender ginger beef recipe will remind you of your favorite Chinese restaurant. The beef strips are lightly breaded and deep fried to perfection, tossed in an easy homemade sauce that is better than any takeout. This dish can be on the dinner table in just 35 minutes and is also budget friendly to make.
I love when I can recreate a recipe from my favorite restaurant. This saves us a ton of money on takeout and, the best thing is that you don’t have to leave the house! Panda Express mushroom chicken and Panda Express kung pao chicken are two copycats that turned out better than the restaurant version!
Anytime we make this recipe or instant pot Mongolian beef we serve it with Chinese green beans and white rice. Panda Express beef and broccoli is another Asian-inspired favorite, but doesn’t have the spice like the sticky sweet and spicy sauce on this ginger beef recipe.
- flank steak – a budget friendly option that fries quickly and isn’t rubbery as long as it is not overcooked.
- cornstarch – make the perfect breading for a crispy outside. What we put in the sauce works as a thickening agent.
- oil for frying – we recommend vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil.
- sesame oil – this is for the sauce, do not fry the beef in sesame oil.
- garlic – freshly minced or garlic paste will work.
- ginger paste – we like the paste since it’s more convenient, but fresh ginger can be used as well. Grate it finely on a box grater or ginger grater.
- white pepper – if all you have is black pepper, use that instead. White pepper is hotter but is a little milder when it comes to actual flavor.
- crushed red pepper flakes – adds just enough spice to balance out the sweetness of the sauce.
- light low sodium soy sauce and dark soy sauce – the dark soy is more flavorful, has a higher salt content, and darkens the sauce up.
- water – slightly dilutes the flavor, but also adds more volume so the sauce goes further.
- rice vinegar – adds the signature flavor that you often find in Chinese cuisine. Mirin is a great substitute.
- light brown sugar – be sure to pack when measuring.
- Green onions and toasted sesame seeds for garnish
For a full list of ingredients and their measurements, 📋 please view my printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Garnish crispy ginger beef with green onions and sesame seeds.
Substitutions and Variations
- Stir fry – you can saute (any or all) green peppers, onions, broccoli, snow peas, red peppers, and carrots and toss in the sauce at the end with the beef steak.
- Cuts of beef – beef tenderloin or skirt steak can be used in place of flank steak.
- Dark soy sauce – if you don’t have dark soy sauce you can substitute light low-sodium soy sauce. Do not substitute the dark for all of the soy. It’s too strong and will make the beef too salty.
PREP: Slice the beef thinly against the grain and place in a bowl.
Step 1: Sprinkle 1 cup of cornstarch over the thin strips so they are fully coated.
Step 2: Coat the beef in layers so the breading sticks and covers the strips completely.
Step 3: In a large skillet, add ½ inch of oil to the pan. Heat over medium-high heat to 350-375 degrees. Carefully add the breaded beef to the oil in batches. Deep fry for 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown and crispy. Repeat until all of the beef has been fried.
Step 4: Safely discard the oil from the pan (or use a clean pan.) Add a teaspoon of sesame oil, the garlic, and ginger to a large skillet. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
Pro Tip: Avoid overcrowding the pan or the steak will not be as crispy and may not cook evenly.
Step 6: In a small bowl, whisk together the white pepper, red pepper flakes, soy, water, vinegar, a teaspoon of cornstarch, and brown sugar.
Step 7: Add the sauce ingredients to the skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Immediately add the beef and toss to coat with the sauce.
SERVE: Remove from the heat and garnish with toasted sesame seeds and green onions. Serve with hot steamed rice or brown rice for a quick meal.
Ginger Beef Recipe Tips
- If you have a deep fryer, you may opt to cook the beef in it instead. It keeps the oil at an even temperature and you can reuse the oil again.
- For tender beef, you want to cut it in thin slices against the grain. This makes the muscle fibers shorter. Longer muscle fibers are what contribute to tough and rubbery steak.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan when frying; instead work in batches.
- Toast sesame seeds by baking them for 3-4 minutes at 350 degrees.
Ginger beef is said to be invented at the Silver Inn in Canada by chef George Wong in the 70s. – The Canadian Encyclopedia
Keep leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. We do not recommend freezing. Since it’s a deep fried dish, it’s best when serve immediately.
Ginger beef is a popular Chinese-Canadian dish that originated in Canada. It consists of thinly sliced strips of beef that are typically battered, deep-fried until crispy, and then tossed in a sweet and tangy ginger sauce.
It is commonly served as a main dish in Canadian Chinese restaurants with steamed rice or noodles. It’s important to note that ginger beef is not a traditional Chinese dish but a Canadian creation inspired by Chinese flavors and cooking techniques.
If you tried this Ginger Beef Recipe 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.
- 2 pounds thinly sliced flank steak
- 1 cup cornstarch plus 1 teaspoon
- 1-2 cups cooking oil vegetable oil, canola oil, peanut oil
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3-4 cloves of garlic minced (or 1 tablespoon garlic paste)
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste or finely minced ginger
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- ⅜ cup packed light brown sugar 6 tablespoons
- 2-3 green onions sliced for garnish
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds for garnish
- Thinly slice the flank steak against the grain.
- In a large bowl, sprinkle 1 cup of cornstarch over the flank steak (work in layers for best coverage) and toss until each piece is coated in cornstarch.
- Heat cooking oil in a deep skillet until it reaches 350°-375°F. Use at least ½” deep layer of cooking oil – you can use more if you wish or use a deep fryer.
- Working in batches, add the coated beef slices to the hot oil, frying for 2-3 minutes on each side until crispy and golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set on several layers of paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
- Continue cooking the meat until all has been browned.
- Drain the oil from the skillet.
- Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil, the garlic, and the ginger to the skillet and sautè for 1-2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together white pepper, red pepper flakes, soy sauces, water, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch.
- Add the soy sauce mixture to the skillet and bring to a simmer. Immediately add the browned beef back into the skillet and toss to coat evenly with the sauce.
- Remove from heat. Add green onions and toasted sesame seeds to garnish and serve immediately.