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. Caroline says:

    Thanks for this recipe! It’s one that I consistently add every month to our meal plan! We love it!

  2. I’ve made this several times and LOVED it. Question, can you marinate the meat over night, or do you think that would be too much?

  3. I’m making this because we just moved and it’s our favorite. BUT just realized I don’t have any baking powder or baking soda!! Would it be ok if I left it out or added it in the morning?

  4. Could this be served with noodles instead of rice like a lo mein?

  5. FYI, the leftovers are reaaaaaallyyyy good mixed with a pack of ramen noodles in a pan on the stove. Beef and broccoli chow mien for 1.

  6. Tamra Wilt says:

    Wow! Just fed four hungry boys and they loved it!!! Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

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  8. Just made this.. Added onions. Next time i with add water chestnuts and mushrooms. It was delicious!!

  9. While it tasted really good…I found it a bit gummy. Did you take the meat out of the marinade before you cooked it? Or did you “plop” the meat from the bowl into the pan with half of the new sauce to cook?

  10. I used this recipe several times and then lost it. So disappointed. But my mission to re-find it today paid off! My boyfriend absolutely loves it, he’s a clean-eating nut and approves of this meal (would eat it every day if I’d make it that often). We eat it with quinoa, the sauce from the meet is enough to flavor the usually bland grain, and I at least double, if not triple the ingredients, especially the broccoli, because the leftovers are just as yummy!

  11. Just awesome!! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Just awesome!! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Made this today and it was a big hit. I used sirloin instead of flank steak. Very tender. My son liked it better than takeout.

  14. This is one of my families favorite dinners!!! The sauce is delicious and this beef and broccoli recipe is so much better than carry out!

  15. This is such a good recipe! Thanks for sharing!

  16. Yummmmmm. This recipe is reminiscent of take out but is sooooooo much better!!!! I have made this a few times and this time I read all the comments and decided to steam the broccoli instead of stir frying and I fried up some sliced sweet onion before adding the meat to the pan. I also added some black pepper to the pan while the meat was cooking and when I added in the broccoli and the rest of the sauce i threw in a teaspoon of minced ginger for some more flavour. I also couldn’t afford to buy flank steak so I used a piece of boneless blade steak which is pretty fatty and tough, but the marinade made it so tender. Love love love!!!!

  17. Reeeeeeeally good and super easy!

  18. Wow I made this for dinner tonight. It was amazing!!! Deffinetly a big hit. Everyone loved it!!

  19. Wow I made this for dinner tonight. It was amazing!!! Deffinetly a hit, everyone loved it!!

  20. Just made this for dinner tonight and, boy, was it a hit!! 3 teenage boys and hubby barely lifted their heads from their bowls! Thanks so much for the recipe. Will definitely be making it again.

  21. I just made this for dinner and it turned out great! I took the liberty of making the recipe my own by adding a lot more veggies (carrots, onions, bell peppers, mushrooms & water chestnuts) Served it over white rice and garnished with green onions and toasted sesame seeds. I am definitely saving this recipe.

  22. I’ve made this many times, with no adjustments & it’s always great!

  23. I only have regular soy sauce can i dilute in water or use less?

  24. This is our favourite beef & broccoli!! It’s better than take away! I add lots of onion while frying the beef, steam the broccoli instead & I don’t use sherry. I serve over rice. Thank you for the recipe!


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  6. pets says:


    beef with broccoli

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