beef with broccoli

On the rare night when we order Chinese takeout, we all want something different. Dave craves something spicy, green onion pancakes, and salt & pepper chicken. Lucy requests fried rice. And I prefer beef with broccoli, beef with broccoli, and beef with broccoli. Sadly, it’s a dish that’s hard for most restaurants to get right. The beef sometimes tastes “beefy” (not fresh), the broccoli is overcooked, and the sauce can be soupy.

Lucky for me though, it’s dang easy to make at home. It’s a quick, tasty weeknight meal with no takeout cartons necessary. And the secret to getting the beef fork-tender requires only a few ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.

Start with a few dry ingredients in a large bowl: baking soda, a little bit of sugar, and some cornstarch.

Whisk in some soy sauce, water, and vegetable oil.

Slice your steak against the grain into thin strips. I like flank steak for this dish, but tri-tip or pretty much any cut would work just fine.

Toss the meat with the marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. This easy marinade is all that it takes to get that crazy-tender beef, even with less expensive cuts.

Next, when you’re ready for dinner, make the sauce. It’s an easy blend of soy, brown sugar, minced garlic, a bit of flour, and cooking sherry (the sherry is optional; I think it rounds out the flavors nicely but if you don’t have any, no need to take a special trip to the grocery). Stir until the flour and sugar dissolve.

In a large saute pan or wok, heat some vegetable oil on high. When the oil is thoroughly heated (it will begin to shimmer), toss in the broccoli and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Don’t walk away! You’ll risk burning your veggies. Transfer to a plate or a heatproof bowl.

In the same pan, saute the beef with half of the sauce mixture for 3-4 minutes (keep stirring often!) or until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink.

Add the broccoli and dump in the rest of the sauce. Saute for one more minute. Remove from heat.

Serve over rice. Swoon. Eat. Repeat.

I adore the thickness of the sauce. It coats every morsel with that salty, garlicky flavor. Just a little bit seeps onto the rice. Perfection.

Oh, broccoli. You are my favorite vegetable. And unlike that Chinese takeout joint, I didn’t overcook you into broccoli-shaped mush.

And beef. I could write a song about you. It would sound something like a fusion of Styx and Bad Company, with a little Earth, Wind & Fire thrown in for funk.

Don’t worry, world. I’ll spare you that one.


Beef with Broccoli     Printable PDF

This easy version of the Chinese takeout classic requires only a short marinade to make the beef fork-tender. Serve over white or brown rice. Serves 4.

Prep Time: 10 minutes + 1 hour for marinade Cook Time: 8 minutes

First, marinate the meat:

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs flank steak, sliced into thin strips

1. Whisk together the baking soda, sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, water, and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Toss the steak with the marinade to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, then proceed below.

  • 1/2 c low-sodium soy sauce (Do NOT use regular. The final product will be way too salty)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp sherry
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 heads broccoli, crowns only

1. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, flour and sherry until smooth. Set aside.

2. In a large wok or saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil over high heat until shimmering. Add broccoli and saute 3 minutes, stirring often. Transfer broccoli to a plate.

3. Reduce heat to medium-high. Carefully add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the hot pan. Add the marinated meat and half of the sauce mixture and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Stir in the broccoli and remaining sauce. Saute 1 minute more. Serve.


  1. P.s. I made this with venison steak and it worked a charm!

  2. This recipe has changed my life! We regularly eat this now, and almost always cook this for when friends come over. It totally satisfies my constant desire for chinese AND doesn’t ruin the broccoli like you said! xx

  3. Awesome recipe! Instead of serving with rice, I used spaghetti squash. I just threw in the baked squash at the end. It was great!

  4. Kimberly F says:

    This was great! It’s better then any Chinese restaurant in town. Thanks for the great recipe I will be making this again. Oh, and I left out the Sherry, and I doubled the sauce.

  5. Quick Meal says:

    I hope my dish turns out Delicious. I added Shrimp, and chopped up some Onions,Bell Pepper, and Mushrooms to my dish for dinner.

  6. I always wondered how they tenderize the beef. Now I know. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Jennifer S says:

    First review I’ve ever written…tried this tonight for the first time, it was great! Better than at the restaurant and the whole family loved it. Followed recipe exactly except no sherry and 1 1/2 times the sauce. Will definitely make again.

  8. Mary Anne says:

    My family loved this! I added mushrooms and zucchini. Who needs take out when we have this?

  9. I have made this recipe for my family four time since ive pinnes it. Its wonderful. My family loves it. Thank you so much and im sure i will make it many more time to come.

  10. This recipe is awesome. We are making it at least once a week, sometimes twice! We mix it up with different veggies, onions, sugar snap peas… Thanks for sharing!

  11. Karen Hough says:

    Could you use bottom round steak with this?

  12. Made this a couple nights ago, was a huge hit! Even my son who isn’t fond of beef went back for another round. The only thing I would do next time is add some crushed red pepper, but that is cause we like a little heat. Great recipe!

  13. Christina says:

    Could you marinate for more than an hour? How long would be too long?

    • I removed the oil and marinated overnight and it was great! I added the oil an hour before serving and brought the mixture to room temp.

    • I have been making this for almost a year now, I kept the oil and I marinate for two days! It’s so delicious and tender.

  14. Made it last week and adored it! So easy and super yummy!! Going to try it this week with chicken. Fingers crossed!

  15. With the sauce, it says 1/2 c low-Sodium soy sauce. What is “c” ?
    Is C a Cup?

  16. Chester Ludwig says:

    Excellent Recipe simple but taste like a champion. Keep up the good work

  17. Mr. Martínez says:

    Tried this recipe with my daughter and we LOVED IT!!!!! OMG IT IS Delicious!!!!

  18. Can you use flour instead of cornstarch?

  19. Wow I have tried other beef and broccoli recipes, but this is by all means the best. I did use splenda instead of sugar and coconut sugar instead of brown sugar….no left overs in this house

  20. Outstanding recipe! Easy to prep, super tender meat!! Sooo delish!!
    I split my meat between skirt steak and London broil for a texture boost. I also leave out the sherry and double the sause.

    Love love love this one!

    To those reading this wondering if it’s worth a try…

  21. Just made this recipe, It is so much better than take out! Thank you.

  22. I made this right now and I thought it’ll be ok to add 1 tsp of brown sugar because I thought the sauce was alittle too salty and I tried to balance the flavors. DON’T add any thing! When I cooked it it became alittle sweeter then I hoped, this recipe is perfect the way it is. I did add some ginger to it and it was actually pretty nice! But if you like yours more Saucier I would double the recipe. This was awesome!

  23. I’ll join the ranks and say how great this dinner was. Easy, inexpensive and delicious. Thanks!

  24. Just made this tonight. It’s so delicious. Thank you for the recipe. Going to put it as one of our regular menu items now. So easy and delicious.

  25. Kathy Ely says:

    Made this tonight for dinner for my college age children and their friends and they loved it! Do you have the nutritional information for this dish. I will definitely make it again.

  26. sue Calderon says:

    Would like to know ,if this recipe could be made gluten free? Maybe, rice flour? Anyone know?

    • I used gluten free all purpose flour and gluten-free tamari sauce instead of regular soy sauce and it worked fine! I also omitted the Sherry and added some ginger.

  27. If i only have regular soy sauce, can i reduce the amt to compensate for more sodium?

    • Did you make this with regular soy sauce? Curious to know because I want to make this tonight and only have regular soy sauce at home. Didn’t want to make that trip to the store if I could avoid it. Lol.

  28. AMAZING! Game changer!!! Just made this. It’s absolutely delish!!!!

  29. Ive made this several times sinced I pinned it. If you want a quick and esay recipe that is delicious then this is a must. Try it youll never buy takeout again.

  30. This is an awesome recipe. We will never order from the Chinese place again. This was a huge hit in our house. I used a mixed veggie with water chestnuts instead of just broccoli and its amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  31. This dish was a home run with the family!! Tonight I triple the recipe to make it at the firehouse!! Good stuff!!

  32. Has anyone made with regular soy sauce? I want to make tonight but want to avoid going to the grocery store to buy low sodium of can.

  33. I have made this with both beef and chicken. Delicious both ways! I didn’t put the chicken in the marinade mixture though. Great recipe!

  34. So very delish! I added some red pepper & onions and used only 1/4 c r s soya sauce added some water and a tsp or two of garlic chilli sauce I’ll definitely make it again

  35. I made it again tonight but subbed center cut pork with a little sriracha and a drizzle of honey at the end of the cooking. Delish…. This recipe is so yum, regardless of the protein used. Thank you. ??????

  36. This is so good!!! But when I cook the marinated beef and sauce, it turned out thick like gravy instead of how the photos looked. Am I not cooking it high enough maybe?

  37. christine says:

    Thank you! This was delish!

  38. Coralie says:

    This is very good! But mine doesn’t look like yours. When I cook the beef, the cornstarch from the marinade makes it into a gravy kinda. If that makes sense. How do I make it look like yours? It looks better than mine haha ?

  39. We LOVE this recipe! I add fresh minced ginger to the sauce and onion to the pan and it is one of our favourite meals. Much better than any Chinese take-out in our small community.

  40. Sabine Vante says:

    Amazing recipe!! We eat Chinese food every other week, but I was wondering how hard would it be to make my own brown sauce dish. Thank goodness I found this recipe, so simple to make, and so incredibly good. Why did I think the brown sauce was so hard to make. My boys – my toughest critics- loved it. The meal disappeared from their plates. My oldest asked for seconds! The only thing I regret was not making enough of the sauce, it was a bit on the light side. All in all, I’ve just found a new recipe to add to my rotation!

  41. Chrissy says:

    Can you substitute a different oil than vegetable (don’t have any in the house right now) and substitute something else to th sherry or just omit it all together?? Looks delish I am going to make this tonight!!!

  42. Meredith says:

    I don’t have low sodium soy sauce, is there anything I can do?

  43. Panyang says:

    I made it today and it was so delicious! Thank you for sharing this recipe;-)

  44. I like it with sauce so I added 1/2 cup of low sodium beef broth to the sauce mixture… Tasty saucy!


  1. […] Recipe adapted from Rainy Day Gal. […]

  2. […] So, here’s the recipe (originally found at Rainy Day Gal). […]

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