Easy Mongolian Beef

Have you heard the raving reviews about PF Changs Mongolian Beef? Well this tried and true Mongolian Beef recipe is even better, plus it’s easy to make right at home!

overhead shot of plate of mongolian beef with text overlay for facebook


 

Is there a restaurant that you and your family frequent? Before we had kids, we made our way to quite a few restaurants. Unfortunately, we don’t have a PF Chang’s close to us, so that restaurant was not one of them.

From what I have heard, PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef stir fry is pretty good. But to be honest, I’ve never had it.

I have wanted to try it, but with two little ones at home, going out to dinner is not always the easiest option. So I set about to making my own recipe for Mongolian beef.

What is Mongolian Beef?

The practice of cooking vegetables and meats together in a stir fry is one that is common in China. And although from the name you would think this dish came from Mongolia, it actually originated from China.

Mongolian beef is a fairly standard dish on any Chinese food carry out menu. The thing that makes it really stand out from other dishes is the sweet and salty sauce.

The salty comes from the soy sauce. And the sweet comes from the brown sugar. Garlic and ginger also flavor the delicious sauce.

close up of monholian beef in a pan

How to Cut Flank Steak for Mongolian Beef

Traditionally flank steak is used an authentic Mongolian beef recipe, but you can also use skirt steak or another cut of beef. To make it as tender as possible since this is a quick sear on high heat and not a long simmer, you want to cut against the grain to shorten the fibers.

Cutting against the grain of any kind of protein or meat helps shorten the fibers, making it easier to chew.

Ingredients

The simple ingredients used to make this chinese takeout favorite are easily found at your local grocery store.

  • Flank steak – Flank steak is the best cut of beef to use for this great recipe. Make sure it is thinly sliced into even pieces to ensure even cooking.
  • Flour – We dredge the steak pieces in a seasoned flour mixture to create a nice coating on the pieces before cooking in the oil.
  • Seasoning – I use a blend of garlic powder, onion powder and coarse kosher salt to season the flour mixture. All simple and already in your pantry. Seasoned salt is also a good swap.
  • Oil – This is what we use for cooking the beef. Using either canola oil or vegetable oil is what I would recommend for a high smoke point, but any neutral oil will do.
  • Onion – Onion adds so much flavor to this delicious meal. I use a white onion when making mine, but you could also use a yellow onion.
  • Ginger and garlic – I always opt to use fresh ginger and fresh garlic when cooking. It’s so much more flavorful than buying the pre-minced or pre-grated varieties.
  • Soy sauce – The first time making this recipe, I would use light soy sauce rather than regular soy sauce. That way you can control the amount of salt in the recipe.
  • Light brown sugar – You can use dark brown sugar if you prefer, just be aware that the molasses flavor will be quite a bit stronger if you do.
  • Scallions – These are optional, but they do add a nice flavor and also some pretty color to an otherwise very brown dish. I like to slice mine in two inch long pieces.
overhead shot of mongolian beef over lettuce

How to Make Mongolian Beef

You will be pleasantly surprised at how easy this mongolian cuisine is to make.

  1. Slice beef. Cut the beef thinly against the grain. Slices should be about 1/4 inch thick. Trim any large pieces of fat. Dab the beef dry with paper towels and set aside.
  2. Mix dry ingredients. In a large bowl or shallow pie plate, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, onion powder and fine sea salt.
  3. Coat meat in flour mixture. Dredge the beef slices in flour mixture, shaking off excess flour. Set aside.
  4. Cook meat. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches so the meat doesn’t touch, cook until the strips are fully cooked and browned on all sides. Remove to a plate and continue with the remaining beef.
  5. Saute onion, garlic and ginger. In the same skillet, add the onion, garlic and ginger. If the skillet is dry, add a small amount of additional oil.
  6. Add rest of ingredients. Then add the water, soy sauce and brown sugar, stirring until combined and sugar has dissolved. Bring to a low simmer.
  7. Return beef to pan. Add the cooked beef back to the sauce, tossing to coat and reducing to low heat. Sauce will thicken in a few minutes. Stir in the chopped scallions.

What to Serve with Mongolian Beef

I like to make steamed broccoli, but this crunchy broccoli is really good, too! You can also serve it with my PF Changs crispy green beans or sauteed bell peppers cut into thin slices.

If you’re a fan of rice, white rice or brown rice is always an option. But if you’re looking for more flavor, my Asian rice recipe is fantastic. I also like rice noodles or stir fry noodles.

close up of mongolian beef over lettuce

Variations

We like this easy mongolian beef exactly as the recipe is written; however, there are plenty of ways to make it your own.

  • Add ins – Some people like a little crunch so you can add slivered almonds. Bamboo shoots or water chestnuts. Sautéed leeks and additional onion or shallot is also the way to go. Baby corns are also a favorite in my house. 
  • Flavor – I like to add both white onions and scallions (or green onions) to my Mongolian beef sauce to add variety. Add sesame seeds for crunch, or black pepper for a little heat.
  • Serving – You can serve this sirloin steak with just about anything you’d like to. The most common is rice or noodles, but feel free to use your imagination.
overhead shot of plate of stir fry beef over rice

Storage and Freezing

Storage: You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay good for up to five days.

Freezing: You can also easily freeze this stir-fry beef. Store for up to three months. The best way to reheat the next day, reheat in a hot pan on the stove for the best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to use flour?

You can use arrowroot or cornstarch. But I do suggest using one of them. It can be done plain, but it does help to thicken the sauce. They also help to brown the meat and get a nice sear.

Does Mongolian beef have gluten?

Because this recipe is made with flour, it does contain gluten. And as stated above, I do recommend using some sort of flour substitute if not using flour. Just check the labels before using.

Is Mongolian beef low carb?

Generally speaking, meat and vegetable dishes are considered to be low carb, and this dish is almost complete comprised of meat and vegetables. However if you serve this dish with rice, that would bring up the carb count.

collage of mongolian beef in pinterest

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overhead shot of mongolian beef on a plate with text overlay for pinterest
overhead shot of mongolian beef on a plate

30-Minute Mongolian Beef

4.87 from 15 votes
Skip the takeout and make this homemade Mongolian Beef recipe instead! It tastes even better than the PF Chang's recipe!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cut the beef thinly against the grain. Slices should be about 1/4 inch thick. Trim any large pieces of fat. Dab the beef dry with paper towels and set aside.
  • In a large bowl or shallow pie plate, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, onion powder and fine sea salt.
  • Dredge the beef slices in flour mixture, shaking off excess flour. Set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches so the meat doesn't touch, cook for 4-5 minutes or until the strips are fully cooked and browned on all sides. Remove to a plate and continue with the remaining beef.
  • In the same skillet, add the onion, garlic and ginger. If the skillet is dry, add a small amount of additional oil (1-2 teaspoons). Saute for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the water, soy sauce and brown sugar, stirring until combined and sugar has dissolved. Bring to a low simmer.
  • Add the cooked beef back to the sauce, tossing to coat and reducing to low heat. Sauce will thicken in 2-4 minutes. Stir in the chopped scallions.
  • Serve over rice or a bed of lettuce.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.

Nutrition

Calories: 681 kcal, Carbohydrates: 58 g, Protein: 54 g, Fat: 25 g, Saturated Fat: 16 g, Cholesterol: 136 mg, Sodium: 1487 mg, Potassium: 974 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 29 g, Vitamin A: 120 IU, Vitamin C: 4 mg, Calcium: 96 mg, Iron: 6 mg
Calories: 681
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: mongolian beef
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.87 from 15 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    This looks so good! I order Mongolian beef all the time, and I think making it at home would be so much better. I can’t wait to make this one.

  2. 5 stars
    This mongolian beef looks amazing and so easy to make! Will definitely be whipping this up for my weekday meals 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I have recently discovered something new to me – Mongolian beef. I tried it at some restaurant, and I was looking for a recipe. Here we go… Can’t wait to give it a try! Looks so yummy.