Easy Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef is easy to make in just 30 minutes, crispy, sweet and garlicy with flavors you love from your favorite Chinese restaurant.
This Chinese restaurant classic is so easy to make at home. Follow it up with more favorites like Classic Chinese Chow Mein, Easy Sesame Chicken and Shrimp in Lobster Sauce.
Mongolian Beef that's easy to make in just 30 minutes, crispy, sweet and full of garlic and ginger flavors you love from your favorite Chinese restaurant.

Mongolian Beef is very flavorful and takes just 30 minutes to make from start to finish including all the slicing of the meat! It also uses basic pantry ingredients, so you don’t need to worry about running to the store today for oyster sauce or hoisin sauce. Everything in this recipe is available in every grocery store, so it makes the perfect weeknight dinner!

Mongolian Beef is a recipe that is so popular with adults and kids alike for a number of reasons. One, people love anything that tastes like Chinese takeout. Two, the sweet flavor of the dark brown sugar mixed with the salty soy sauce and the strong ginger and garlic is incredibly addicting. Three, you get to enjoy it over a mountain of steamed rice, which soaks up all the savory sauce and will take you to your happy place.

What is Mongolian Beef?

Mongolian Beef is a Taiwanese dish that originated where Mongolian BBQ cuisine was popular. In Chinese American restaurants, it consists of thinly sliced beef, usually flank steak, that is wok seared with green onions in a sweet and savory sauce made with soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and ginger. It is usually not spicy, and it can be paired with other vegetables and served over white rice.

Why should you make Mongolian Beef at home?

There are many benefits to making copycat versions of your favorite restaurant take out dishes at home. The obvious one is to stretch your dollar. You can typically serve an entire family at home for the cost of one or two restaurant entrees. Another reason is that by making the dish at home, you can tailor the seasonings to your preferences. It’s a great way to control the amount of sodium and oil that is used. Your homemade recipe will typically be much healthier than the restaurant version, and the best part is you don’t have to sacrifice any of the flavor!

Mongolian Beef that's easy to make in just 30 minutes, crispy, sweet and full of garlic and ginger flavors you love from your favorite Chinese restaurant.

How to Make Mongolian Beef

  • Slice the flank steak against the grain the long way ¼ inch think pieces and add it to a ziploc bag with the cornstarch.
  • Press the steak around in the bag making sure each piece is fully coated with cornstarch and leave it to sit.
  • Add the canola oil to a large frying pan and heat on medium high heat.
  • Sear the flank steak pieces in batches on each side to avoid overcrowding the pan and creating steam.
  • When the steak is done cooking remove it from the pan.
  • Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and sauté for 10-15 seconds.
  • Pour in the soy sauce, water and dark brown sugar to the pan and let it come to a boil.
  • Add the steak back in and let the sauce thicken for 20-30 seconds.
  • If you find the sauce isn’t thickening enough, add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1 tablespoon of cold water and stir to dissolve the cornstarch and add it to the pan.
  • Add the green onions, stir to combine everything, and cook for a final 20-30 seconds.

More Chinese Food Recipes

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of meat is used for Mongolian Beef?

Flank steak is the common cut for Mongolian Beef recipes. You can use any quick cooking beef cut such as skirt steak, top round, or tri tip.

What is Mongolian Beef sauce made with?

Mongolian Beef sauce contains soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, water and cornstarch to thicken. The sauce ingredients are simple and you probably have most of it in your pantry right now.

How to I make crispy Mongolian Beef?

This Mongolian Beef recipe will have crispy seared edges and tender beef on the inside due to cutting the flank against the grain and quick cooking it.

How thin should I slice steak for Mongolian Beef?

You want to slice the flank into ¼ inch strips against the grain. If you feel uncomfortable with cutting the steak thinly enough and have an hour or so notice, place the steak in the freezer for one hour. This will freeze it just enough that slicing it will be as easy as slicing a vegetable. The meat will firm up enough that you can slice it even thinner if you’d like.

Mongolian Beef that's easy to make in just 30 minutes, crispy, sweet and full of garlic and ginger flavors you love from your favorite Chinese restaurant.

Key Ingredients in Mongolian Beef

  • Flank Steak: Flank works well for this recipe because it has a long grain, and it’s versatile while being inexpensive and flavorful. You can also use skirt steak, hangar steak, or top round, or even tri tip for the same amazing flavors in this recipe.
  • Dark Brown Sugar: The addition of molasses to the dark brown sugar adds to the depth of flavor in this dish. Yes, you can use light brown sugar in place of dark brown, and yes you will notice the taste difference. So if possible please use dark brown sugar. If you are in a pinch and you only have light brown don’t worry you will still have a very tasty meal. Just promise me the next time you make it you will use dark brown sugar, the flavor difference is noticeable.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic adds a lot of aromatic flavor to Chinese cuisine, and complements the sweetness of the Mongolian beef sauce.
  • Ginger: Freshly grated ginger gives a slight kick to the recipe to balance the sweetness. If you don’t have fresh ginger, you can substitute ½ teaspoon ginger powder, and add it with the soy sauce.
  • Soy Sauce: Always use low sodium soy sauce in Asian dishes, as it allows you to control the amount of salt. You can always add a little more to your taste.
  • Cornstarch: Cornstarch acts as a thickener when the sauce comes together at the end of this recipe. By coating the beef slices with it, the cornstarch will cook with the meat and add a crispy coating as well.

More Easy Beef Dinners

Tools Used in the making of this Easy Mongolian Beef

  • Soy Sauce: Nothing much to say here except Kikkoman has the best flavor overall and I always recommend reduced sodium.
  • Wok: Great for high heat, quick cooking. This wok is a great addition to your kitchen if you love cooking Chinese food or stir fries in general.
  • Large Frying Pan: This Cuisinart is perfect for most of your non cast iron cooking unless you’d like to go with a stainless steel option, then I recommend this All Clad.

How to Store Mongolian Beef

  • Serve: Do not leave cooked beef at room temperature longer than 2 hours.
  • Store: This Mongolian Beef recipe will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: Freeze Mongolian Beef up to 3 months in a sealed airtight container. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
Mongolian Beef that's easy to make in just 30 minutes, crispy, sweet and full of garlic and ginger flavors you love from your favorite Chinese restaurant.

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Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef is easy to make in just 30 minutes, crispy, sweet and garlicy with flavors you love from your favorite Chinese restaurant.
Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Chinese
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound flank steak
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger , minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic , minced
  • 1/3 cup lite soy sauce , low sodium
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 stalks scallions , green parts only, cut into 2 inch pieces

Instructions

  • Slice the flank steak against the grain (the grain is the length of the steak) the long way in ¼ inch thick pieces and add it to a ziploc bag with the cornstarch.
  • Press the steak around in the bag making sure each piece is fully coated with cornstarch and leave it to sit.
  • Add the canola oil to a large frying pan and heat on medium high heat.
  • Add the steak, shaking off any excess corn starch, to the pan in a single layer and cook on each side for 1 minute.
  • If you need to cook the steak in batches because your pan isn't big enough do that rather than crowding the pan, you want to get a good sear on the steak, and if you crowd the pan, your steak with steam instead of sear.
  • When the steak is done cooking remove it from the pan.
  • Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and sauté for 10-15 seconds.
  • Add the soy sauce, water and dark brown sugar to the pan and let it come to a boil.
  • Add the steak back in and let the sauce thicken for 20-30 seconds.
  • The cornstarch we used on the steak should thicken the sauce, if you find it isn’t thickening enough add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1 tablespoon of cold water and stir to dissolve the cornstarch and add it to the pan.
  • Add the green onions, stir to combine everything, and cook for a final 20-30 seconds.
  • Serve immediately.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 1152mg | Potassium: 497mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 120IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 3mg
Keyword: Easy Mongolian Beef
Mongolian Beef Collage

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

Mongolian Beef that's easy to make in just 30 minutes, crispy, sweet and full of garlic and ginger flavors you love from your favorite Chinese restaurant.
Mongolian Beef that's easy to make in just 30 minutes, crispy, sweet and full of garlic and ginger flavors you love from your favorite Chinese restaurant.
Mongolian Beef that's easy to make in just 30 minutes, crispy, sweet and full of garlic and ginger flavors you love from your favorite Chinese restaurant.
Mongolian Beef that's easy to make in just 30 minutes, crispy, sweet and full of garlic and ginger flavors you love from your favorite Chinese restaurant.

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. This was a hit with my family. Easy, tasty, and I added a bunch of broccoli (that I had sautéed separately) and served it over jasmine rice. Thank you, Sabrina!

  2. Yum, wow! This was delicious and super easy. Used top sirloin because grocery was out of flank steak. Added sliced carrots and pineapple chunks. Substituted green peppers for the onions. Went really nice with spicy Aachar quick pickles on the side, plus rice and an eggroll. Will definitely be making this again and again. Thanks, Sabrina!

  3. Yum, wow! This was delicious and super easy. Used top sirloin because store was out of flank steak. Added sliced carrots and pineapple chunks. Substituted green peppers for the onions. Went really nice with spicy Aachar quick pickles on the side, plus rice and an eggroll. Will definitely be making this again and again. Thanks, Sabrina!

  4. Excellent recipe, I have made this several times. Always good. Sometimes I add some snow peas at the end too.

  5. It’s in the sugar already.

    So what’s the difference between light and dark brown sugar? The difference between light and dark brown sugar is simply the amount of molasses each contains. Light brown sugar has less molasses per total volume of sugar (about 3.5% according to Rose Levy Beranbaum) while dark brown sugar has more (6.5%).

  6. Sounds terrific!! In your commentary you say, “The addition of molasses to the dark brown sugar adds to the depth of flavor in this dish.” So, how much molasses do you recommend? I don’t see it listed in the ingredients. Thanks a Bunch!! -Roxanne L.

    1. It’s in the sugar already.

      So what’s the difference between light and dark brown sugar? The difference between light and dark brown sugar is simply the amount of molasses each contains. Light brown sugar has less molasses per total volume of sugar (about 3.5% according to Rose Levy Beranbaum) while dark brown sugar has more (6.5%).

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  8. Hello, Sabrina…my husband and I have a sizzling plate which in my opinion add to the presentation.
    Do we put the sizzling plate in the oven first to heat up and take it out after the recipe is finished and just pile it all on the plate and bring it to the table? What do you suggest?

  9. Hi Sabrina I have made this recipe many times so delicious. I plan on cooking this dish for 20 people so I just multiply the ingredients by 5.
    Thank you

  10. I added 2 tbl of cornstarch to sauce as opposed to dredging steak in it; steak was marinated in soy sauce. Better than take out, this is a keeper!

  11. I LOVE this meal. I’ve made it with half the amount of brown sugar and STILL love it. Sometimes I spice it up with Red Pepper Flakes and some siracha, and that’s yummy too!! Other times I’ve added fresh Red Pepper for color, and that’s nice too! Can’t go wrong with this one! ??

  12. Hi Sabrina I have made this recipe many times so delicious. I plan on cooking this dish for 20 people do I just multiply the ingredients by 5.
    Thank you

  13. This recipe is not only simple, but also super delicious.

    I usually buy 2-3 bunches, chop the tops for garnish and cut the rest in 1 inch pieces to toss in with the beef.

    My kids love it, my husband requests it and it’s super easy to make. Can I really ask for more?

    Any strip steak works with this recipe, if you get the one on sale it’s fine.

    Pair with coconut rice! (1 part basmati rice / 1 part water / 1 part coconut milk) ?

  14. Very good. Might reduce brown sugar to a1/3 cup as it was a little sweet for me although my husband didn’t think so. Meat was tender and sauce was delicious. Very good recipe.

  15. I have to tin foil the entire surrounding area, Press ‘n Seal the whole over-the-range microwave, and lay a bath towel on the floor in front of the stove before I start. That, and wear long sleeves!! BUT IT IS SOOOO WORTH IT!!!!

  16. Hi Sabrina! Love your recipes as always – Every dish I’ve made of yours has been top notch! This said — I have a pork tenderloin in my freezer that I’d like to cook; do you think using this recipe would be just as wonderful If I substituted the flank steak w/ sliced pork tenderloin instead? Just curious? And thank you SO much for posting this. Happy Holidays!

      1. Using the pork tenderloin turned out amazing! I kept the rest of the recipe exactly the same (even the velveting of the pork), this was so delicious I made it again the next evening! Next time I will try it with the steak. Thank you again Sabrina for this easy and fantastic recipe.
        Wishing you a very Happy New Year!!

  17. This is asolid recipe but for those who want more tender pieces of meat I suggest velveting the meat with baking soda regardless of the cut of meat you purchase. I realize cornstarch helps with this process but the additional velvet with baking soda just adds to the texture similarly that you would find in a restaurant.
    Unpopular opinion: you can do without cornstarch completely and just velvet with baking soda. It’s a little bit cheaper in the long run as you will use less, also this helps a business keep cost low and is used very often in Chinese restaurants. Don’t tell any Chinese buffets I told you that though.

    Source: I used to cook for a Chinese restaurant.

  18. Very good. A little messy but worth it. I imagine when you have cooked it more than once its less messy. Husband was a big fan. Thank you.

    1. I have to tin foil the entire surrounding area, Press ‘n Seal the whole over-the-range microwave, and lay a bath towel on the floor in front of the stove before I start. That, and wear long sleeves!! BUT IT IS SOOOO WORTH IT!!!!

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