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. Making this AGAIN tonight….our family LOVES it!!! THANKS soooo much!!!! We have this AT LEAST once a month in our house!!!! There’s 5(sometimes 7) of us so I just double the recipe and BOOM everyone has happy tummies!!!! :)

  2. I usually think beef & broccoli is the most boring Chinese take out option, but this homemade version is so fresh and yummy! Better than any take out.

  3. This recipe was great. My family loves spicy food so I added 1tsp sriracha sauce to give it that extra kick. I will definitely make this again.

  4. Jennifer K says:

    I’ve made this several times and absolutely love it! Great easy, weeknight meal! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I made this tonight and it was a hit!! Thank you for sharing :)

  6. kimitallis says:

    I just tried this recipe tonite and it was INCREDIBLE!!! It was just what I was looking for in a chinese dish and it was perfect! it was simple and easy and I cant wait to eat it again! it was every bit as tender and juicy as I was hoping the traditional chinese beef and broccoli and other stir fry meats I’ve eaten. I cant wait to try a Mongolian beef recipe as great as this one! I still cant believe how tender and juicy the meat was! I loved every bite of it! the baking soda was the “very secret” ingredient to making the meat tender and juicy! loved it! thanks for the recipe!

  7. I just made this and… Yum!

  8. This is my family’s favorite dinner!! Thank you!!

  9. Made this tonight and love it!! I used liquid aminos instead of soy so it ended up saltier than I would like but that’s my fault! Will definitely make this again with low sodium soy ????

  10. Just made this the flavour was perfect and love the marinating trick! I didnt have beef and was using up leftover chicken and it was amazing how tender it was with that trick! I think I am one that prefers the soupy sauce though, I found it cooked off to nothing so I added about 2 cups of water and then it was to my liking. Maybe ill just omit the flour next time but overall loved the recipe thank you! P.s. didnthave low sodium either so I just diluted it with water by half, did the trick.

  11. I just made this recipe and snuck a bite while my boyfriends in the shower.
    Holy mother of pearl.
    I had to substitute the cornstarch for flour, and orange juice for the sherry, but it came out incredible! I will never be able to eat the crappy take out version again. I also used tri-tip and the meat is so tender.
    Thank you so much for this little piece of heaven!

  12. Wow! This recipe is incredible. I make it once a month and will NEVER buy take out again. This is the best I have ever eaten. The only thing I don’t add is the sherry, and honestly can’t taste the difference. The second time I made it I didn’t have low sodium soy sauce, so I used 1/4 cup regular and added 1/4 cup water to dilute it, and it worked just fine. BTW, I have also used cubed steak, which I have cut into strips and prepared per the recipe and it is also very good and inexpensive. Thanks for this great recipe!

  13. Elizabeth earnest says:

    I made this a few days ago and this was the greatest beef and broccoli my husband and I have eaten! Better then a Chinese restaurant! I’m gonna make it to try a recipe of yours at least once a paycheck!

  14. Just made this tonight, kids are raving. Only tweak was no sherry and I sauteed onions with the broccoli. Sauce is of a great consistency, (just like I like it !!!!) Can’t wait to have this for lunch tomorrow at work. Thanks so much for posting. Damn good recipe! :-)

  15. My daughter made this and now we want her to make it once a week. Delicious.

  16. Made this last night for dinner with my fiancé and it was a real winner. The meat was so tender and the broccoli came out perfectly. This also reheats well, so he was able to take some leftovers to work. Thanks!

  17. Wow, this recipe really suprised me. Since it lacked all the “complicated” Asian ingredients, that I lack the knowledge and patience for, I worried it would taste as good. It was really good. I cold see spicing it up a bit for our taste buds, but overall this was pretty easy to make and tasted wonderful. Thanks for sharing will use this recipe again!

  18. Holy cow! I made this for dinner tonight and it was AMAZING! I didn’t have enough vegetable oil so I substituted coconut oil. My soy sauce was also just regular, so to avoid too much salt I halved the soy sauce and added 1/4 c vegetable broth. This will quickly become a regular in our dinner rotation!

  19. Sheila Witty says:

    Made this for supper tonight . Very good . This recipe is a keeper.

  20. Thank you so much for an amazing recipe! This is the first time I have ever made this and it was perfect!

  21. Is there a good substitution for the sherry? I don’t have any. I know people have said leaving it out is fine, but I was just curious if I could use something else. Either way I’m trying this out tonight!

  22. Paula Young says:

    Trying this for the first time tonight. Was recommended by a friend. It looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it!

  23. Just finished making this for dinner. If any of you reading this recipe are wondering whether or not to try making this, quit wondering. IT’S FANTASTIC! My husband and I love Chinese, and I’ve tried in the past to make the recipes that call for all those wild ingredients from the foreign food aisle where I ended up spending way too much money and eating something lack luster (not to mention causing my husbands ankles to swell up for a week). But this is perfection. It tastes just like what you would order but I swear it’s SO MUCH better! I didn’t believe it at first when I read the comments but I’m telling you. Try it.

  24. I made this for supper and it was way to salty. I even used low sodium soy sauce… wonder what I’ve done? I went exactly by the recipe

  25. Made it and loved it! Thanks for sharing.

  26. Made this tonight and it’s fabulous. So much less salty than take out and it tastes so fresh. This is going in the regular dinner rotation.

  27. Wonderful! I omitted the sherry and used sesame oil rather than vegetable oil. This was a great recipe thank you!

  28. I have made this about a dozen times and it’s definately a family favorite! Sooo good! The only thing we changed is doubling the sauce, we like our rice drenched in sauce lol

  29. I tried this recipe tonight and my fiancé thought it tasted like P.F. Chang’s! I added a few red pepper flakes, coarse cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt. I will try adding sriracha next time which was mentioned in a previous post. This recipe is a keeper!

  30. Making this for dinner tonight. I used the marinate recipe but instead of flank steak am using chuck roast that I had on hand cut into small slices thinly. I was wondering instead of the additional soy sauce while cooking can we use beef broth?

  31. This beef and broccoli is amazing! The instructions and your photos made it easy to prepare. Thank you for sharing your recipe. It is a defintely a keeper.

  32. This broccoli and beef is amazing! The instructions and pictures made it easy to follow. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

  33. Maurianna says:

    This is awesome ! Made with fried rice . My boyfriend claims it’s the best thing he’s ever had lol . And so happy I can cook “chinese food ” now . Definitely make for your family :)

  34. Perhaps I made a mistake along the way, this turned out to be an unremarkable beef and broccoli recipe for me. It was edible but completely forgettable. The sodium and sweet balance was fine but neither was noticeable. That sums up the results really, nothing grabbed my eager taste buds, not sweet not salty not sour not umami not bitter, all of the basic tastes we’re absent. Perhaps it’s the lack of a strong acid in the marinade.

  35. Is it okay if I make it without the soy sauce ? i dont think they have it in my country.

  36. Made this last night and am excited to have a new meal to add to the rotation! I used flat iron steak that I had scored on mark down and it worked great, although I accidentally didn’t cook it until *all* of the pink was gone. Very tasty with jasmine rice! I think next time I’d like to add some water chestnuts for some crunch.

  37. I’m sorry, I was so stoked to make this because of all the great comments. And it sounded delicious! But I couldn’t even eat more than two bites. I followed the recipe exactly. It just didn’t even taste like meat or broccoli to me. The sauce completely overtook the whole dish and I felt like I was eating candy. It was way to sweet for me, and adding extra salt just made the potency of the dish even stronger.
    Maybe I just have weird taste buds! ???? but it was worth a shot. Glad everyone else enjoyed it though!

  38. Tatiana says:

    Love this recipe! It’s the most delicious stir fry ever! I use sesame oil for the marinade instead of canola oil for even more flavor :)

  39. This is awesome ! Second time making it, but my husband said I should add some other veggies and spice it up some as well. Other than that it is good. Thanks for sharing :)

  40. Whitney Land says:

    A recipe is always a win when the husband says “its the best thing you’ve ever made!”. Making it again tonight!!

  41. Allyna Roman says:

    Loved this recipe! I did however use regular soy sauce, I just used one fourth cup instead and added a little water. it didn’t turn out very salty at all. I also didn’t use sherry and it still turned out great. My husband loved thing I have to mention however, was I could not find that type of meat at Ralphs, so I looked up maybe a different name for it and London Broil came up I found London Broil and bought it but its ded thicker than the picture shown above. Nonetheless, it turned out still great. You can never go wrong with too much broccoli, I didn’t have enough and wish I put more. Bus machi rice paired perfectly with this dish. Thank you for sharing.

  42. I’m not the worlds best cook when it comes to stir fry or anything similar. I have tried countless recipes all failing miserably haha :) This one was really easy and soooo delicious!!! We don’t eat red meat in my family so I substituted chicken and also added a little cooked rice in at the last minute. Mmmm :)

  43. So I made this last night and my husband said its the best thing I ever made and wants me to make it again tomorrow. We at the entire thing by ourselves, I wanted to kill myself I was so full but it was worth it. I didn’t use the sherry and I added another head of broccoli. It was amazing!

  44. Rochelle says:

    Wow!!! I just made this for tonight’s dinner it got me lots of compliments! Lol. This is a must keep recipe. Thank you for sharing!

  45. Rochelle says:

    Wow!!! I just made this for tonight’s dinner and it got me lots of compliments. Lol. This is a must keep recipe. Thanks for sharing!!!

  46. This was so simple and absolutely amazing. Better than takeout.

  47. That’s the thnniikg of a creative mind


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