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This Beijing beef recipe is truly something special. A sticky, sweet, tangy sauce with just the right amount of spice marries crispy bites of beef with sautéed bell peppers and onions. Craving Panda Express’s takeout? Try this at home instead!
Panda Express is a well-known fast food chain that dishes up its take on some delectable Chinese classics. Beijing beef is one of their most highly sought-after entrees. I have been working on recreating this dish at home and I am pleased to say that I finally figured it out.
Whether you have experienced Panda Express or not, my Beijing beef will transport your taste buds to a whole new world. Loaded with flavor and lightly coated in a slightly spicy, sweet, and tangy sauce that sticks to every bite, this dish will likely join your list of favorite recipes. Did I mention the delightful crispiness of the beef? In just 1 hour, you can enjoy it yourself.
Why You’ll Love This Panda Express Copycat
What makes this Beijing Beef so special? Let me count the ways.
- Crispy beef. There is nothing like the sizzling crunch of savory beef to get your senses tingling. This recipe uses cornstarch to lightly coat the beef before frying it. The result is heavenly.
- Flavorful sauce. The sauce used in this dish is the perfect combination of sweet, tangy, and spicy. It sticks to every bight, filling your mouth with flavor.
- It’s just like the original. But better…It’s incredible that, in just 1 hour, you can recreate this renown Panda Express entree on your own. It really does mimic the original, but will spare your body from the additives that many fast food chains include in their recipes.
What Is Beijing Beef?
Beijing beef is a popular, Americanized Chinese recipe that is an all-time favorite on the menu at Panda Express, a fast food chain that you can learn more about here. It consists of sautéed bell peppers and onions with thinly sliced, crispy beef all coated in an irresistible sweet, tangy, slightly spicy sauce.
Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make Beijing beef. Make sure to scroll down to view the full recipe for more details.
- Flank steak – You will slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4-inch slices
- Vegetable oil
- Red bell pepper
- Yellow onion
For the Beef Marinade:
- Cold water
For the Sauce:
- Honey – You can also use sugar if you prefer.
- Hoisin sauce
- Soy sauce – If you are gluten intolerant, you can use coconut aminos instead.
- Oyster sauce
- Sweet chili sauce
- Rice wine vinegar
- Red pepper flakes
How to Make Beijing Beef
Don’t let the list of ingredients overwhelm you. This Beijing beef is actually quite simple to make. Scroll down to view the recipe card below. For now, here are the basics.
- Marinade the beef. Combine all of the ingredients for the beef marinade in a bowl and whisk to combine before adding the steak and allowing it to marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Make the sauce. Simply add all of the ingredients for the sauce to a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- Cornstarch the beef! Yes, I made it a verb. Coat the slices of steak in cornstarch. This will allow them to get crispy in the pan.
- Fry the steak. In small batches, fry the steak in a wok heated to medium-high heat. You are looking for a nice golden brown color.
- Saute the veggies. Drain the wok, keeping a little bit of the oil in the wok. Use that oil to sauté the onions, garlic, and bell peppers until they have softened just a bit ( about 3-4 minutes).
- Finish it up. Add the sauce to the wok with the veggies and cook until it thickens (this should only take a couple of minutes) before adding the steak to the mix and tossing everything together. You want the sauce to coat everything evenly.
Tips for Success
No recipe is complete without a couple of tips and tricks for the home chef. Follow my suggestions and set yourself up for a Beijing beef that will rival the stuff you get at Panda Express.
- Be generous with the cornstarch. Cornstarch is the miracle ingredient that allows the beef to get crispy. You want to make sure that the beef is thoroughly coated in it before frying. If you need to add a little more than the recipe calls for, that’s totally fine. You can add up to 6 tablespoons.
- Use enough heat, but not too much. If the wok isn’t hot enough, the beef won’t crisp up properly. Test the wok by sprinkling it with a bit of water. If the water sizzles, you are good to go! If it doesn’t, allow it more time to heat. If you notice smoke coming from the oil, it’s too hot. Add a bit more and turn the heat down.
- Drain the oil. After frying the beef, it is important to drain much of the oil from the wok before sautéing the veggies, otherwise, you will end up with an overly greasy meal.
- Give the sauce time to thicken. The flavorful sauce really pulls this dish together. You want it to cling to every bite. Allow it time to bubble and thicken before tossing the beef into the mix. This will give it the stickiness it needs.
What to Serve with Beijing Beef
Beijing beef is yummy on its own, but you might want to add a side dish or two to complete the meal.
- Rice. Steamed Rice, Fried Rice, and Kimchi Fried Rice are all great options
- Veggies. I love Chinese Cabbage Stir Fry, Garlic Roasted Green Beans, and this Spicy Chinese Cucumber Salad
- Scallion Pancakes
- Rainbow Summer Rolls
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
- Store in the fridge. Allow the Beijing beef to cool completely before placing it in an airtight container and storing it in the refrigerator. The beef will lose some of its crispiness, but you can safely enjoy it for up to 3 days.
- Reheating. I suggest heating a bit of vegetable oil in a wok and sautéing the desired portion until it is heated through (~5 minutes). In a pinch? Feel free to use the microwave.
More Easy Beef Recipes
Beef is a wonderful protein source, packed with iron and other vitamins and minerals. This Beijing beef recipe is a must-try, but if you are looking for something different, here are some of my favorite recipes featuring this super protein.
- Ground Beef Fajitas
- Middle Eastern Inspired Ground Beef Bowls
- Beef Ramen Noodle Soup
- Teriyaki Beef and Broccoli
- Sheet Pan Beef and Cheese Quesadillas
Beijing Beef Panda Express Copycat
- 1 pound (454 g) flank steak, sliced into ¼” slices (against the grain)
- 1 cup (237 ml) vegetable oil
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into ½“ pieces
- 1 yellow onion, cut into ½” pieces
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 4-6 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- ¼ cup (59 ml) water
- 2 tablespoons honey, or sugar
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- ¼ cup (69 g) hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons sweet chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the beef marinade (egg, cornstarch, salt and water). Add the steak and stir well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together all ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
- After 30 minutes, coat steak in 4 tablespoons cornstarch, until evenly coated. You can add up to 6 tablespoons if there’s not enough to coat all of the steak.
- Heat oil in a large wok over medium high heat. Cook the steak in batches, frying until golden brown on both sides. Remove and set aside and repeat until all of the steak is cooked.
- Drain almost all of the oil from the pan, then return to medium heat. Add in the onion, peppers and garlic and sauté for ~3-4 minutes. Add in the sauce, stir well and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for a few minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Add back in the beef and stir until well coated. Remove from heat and serve hot.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.