Copycat 30 Minute Mongolian Beef is inspired by PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef. Tender flank steak fried and tossed in a thick Asian inspired sauce. Way better than takeout! Serve this Mongolian Beef over rice or stir fry noodles to soak up all of the delicious sauce!
30 Minute Mongolian Beef
I love making takeout dishes at home. You can control what ingredients you put into it and control the saltiness and sweetness of the dish. This Mongolian Beef is a copycat of PF Chang’s amazing Mongolian Beef. Tender thinly sliced flank steak tossed in a thick and sweet Asian inspired sauce. I love the sweetness of the brown sugar mixed with the salty soy sauce. The beef is coated in cornstarch before shallow frying until golden brown and crispy. Then the beef gets added to the sauce ingredients and simmered until thickened. It’s super easy to make this dish at home and it tastes pretty darn close to the original! Best of all this dish only takes 30 minutes to make!
What is Mongolian Beef?
Mongolian Beef is an authentic Chinese dish consisting of thinly sliced beef cooked over high fast heat and coated in a sweet and not too spicy thick sauce.
- Flank steak: Is the perfect choice for stir frying. It can be cooked over high heat and stays tender.
- Cornstarch: The beef gets coated in the cornstarch before frying. This helps to tenderize the meat aka as velveting the beef. It also helps to thicken up the sauce.
- Sesame oil: Is used to saute the garlic and ginger. Sesame oil adds a nice nuttiness to the sauce.
- Oil: You can use vegetable, canola oil or any other neutral oil to shallow fry the beef.
- Soy sauce: I like to use low sodium soy sauce to keep this dish from being too salty. You can also substitute coconut aminos for some of the soy sauce.
- Brown sugar: Balances out the saltiness of the soy sauce. I prefer using light brown sugar versus granulated sugar. It adds a nice toasted caramel flavor.
- For serving: Green onions and sesame seeds for garnish, if desired. If you want to add a kick to this mongolian beef add 1-2 teaspoon Sriracha or chili garlic paste. You can even add crushed red pepper!
How to make 30 Minute Mongolian Beef
- Toss beef in cornstarch: Place sliced steak in a large ziplock bag and add in the cornstarch. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes while you are making the sauce and heating up the oil.
- Cook beef: Meanwhile add enough oil to a large wok or pan with high sides to fry the beef. (I used about 1 cup.) Heat oil until hot but not scorching. Add in the beef making sure not to over crowd the pan. (I did a couple of batches). Brown the beef on both sides for 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels. Place beef in the sauce and toss to coat. Bring the sauce back to a simmer and cook until thickened 2-3 minutes.
- Serve: Immediately with green onions and sesame seeds for garnish if desired.
How to make the Mongolian Sauce
To me the sauce is the absolute BEST part of this recipe. It is sweet, tangy and super thick. It is the perfect sauce for the tender beef and makes plenty to pour over rice. The sauce is made up of kitchen staples: garlic, ginger, soy sauce, water and brown sugar. The sesame oil gets heated in a small saucepan and garlic and ginger are added. Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes or so. Next add in the soy sauce, water and light brown sugar. Simmer until slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes. Set the sauce aside until you are ready to assemble!
Tips for tender beef
- Don’t overcrowd the pan: When you are searing the flank steak overcrowding the pan will cause the steak to steam and not brown. I usually cook my beef over high heat for a very short time in 2 or 3 batches. This also helps the beef seal in moisture and stay tender.
- Allow the beef to naturally release from pan: The beef should release easily from the pan when browning. If it is sticking to the pan give it a little longer and it should release easier when it is caramelized on the outside.
- Cut against the grain: Always cut the beef against the grain for a more tender cut of meat.
- Thinly slice the steak: Make sure to thinly slice the beef. The thinner it is sliced the faster it will cook and the more tender it will be! To make slicing easier place the flank steak in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour to freeze. This will make slicing the steak super easy!
- Choose the right cut of meat: I love using flank steak in this beef stir fry. It’s inexpensive and can handle fast / high heat cooking. If you can’t find flank steak sirloin steak or skirt steak can be used instead. I would avoid using roasting style meats like chuck or brisket.
What to serve with Mongolian Beef
- Authentic Chicken Lo Mein
- Chicken Chow Mein
- The BEST Fried Rice
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
- White or brown rice. For a low carb option try cauliflower rice.
- Steamed vegetables
- Crunchy Asian Broccoli Slaw
- Roasted veggies
Can this be frozen?
Yes! Simply cook as directed and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months!
Here are more easy takeout inspired recipes to try!
- Slow Cooker Broccoli Beef
- Slow Cooker General Tso’s Chicken
- Easy Sesame Beef
- The BEST Fried Rice
- 20 Minute Cashew Chicken
30 Minute Mongolian Beef
- 1 pound flank steak sliced against the grain and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 1/8 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger minced
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
- oil for frying
- sliced green onions for garnished if desired
- Toss the beef in the cornstarch and place in the fridge for 10 minutes while you are making the sauce and heating up the oil.
- Heat sesame oil and canola or vegetable oil in a large skillet.
- Add in garlic and ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in soy sauce, water and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
- Meanwhile add enough oil to a large wok or pan with high sides to fry the beef. (I used about 1 cup.)
- Heat oil until hot but not scorching.
- Add in the beef making sure not to over crowd the pan. (I did a couple of batches). Brown the beef on both sides for 1-2 minutes on each side.
- Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels.
- Place beef in the sauce and toss to coat.
- Bring the sauce back to a simmer and cook until thickened 2-3 minutes.
- Serve immediately with green onions for garnish if desired.
Recipe adapted from Food.com
Originally published May 5, 2016