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This crispy beef is so much better than take-out. It’s made up of strips of thinly sliced beef that are fried to a perfectly crispy golden brown and then tossed in a citrusy sauce that is sweet, savory, and spicy all at the same time.

A serving platter full of crispy beef.
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Crispy beef is one of my biggest take-out cravings. With hints of orange citrus and a little bit of heat from the jalapeños, it’s just so good. Luckily, I figured out how to make it at home (but even better). I can’t get enough of how the beef crisps up in the hot oil while still maintaining a tender inside. And then that sauce!? My gosh, is it good. Citrusy, savory, tangy, and ever so slightly spicy, it’s finger-licking delicious.

Why You’ll Love This Crispy Beef Recipe

Grab your pots and pans and start cooking! This crispy beef recipe is well worth the time in the kitchen. Here’s why.

  • Better (and better for you) than take-out. While Chinese take-out will always hold a place in my heart, this version is just so much better than what you’d get in a cardboard box. Making it at home with fresh, quality ingredients produces superior flavor. Plus you get to avoid the icky additives often found in take-out.
  • Texture. The hot and quick fry of these beef strips produces the best crisp-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside texture imaginable. You’re going to go gah-gah over it.
  • Super easy. All you have to do is toss some beef in soy sauce and cornstarch, pop it in the freezer, fry it, whip up a simple sauce, and toss it all together. It’s as simple as that. Easy, restaurant-quality crispy beef from your home kitchen in no time.
Ingredients for crispy beef.

What You’ll Need

Here’s what you’ll need to make this crispy beef recipe. You’ll find exact measurements in the recipe card below.

  • Stir fry steak slices – Feel free to purchase sirloin steak instead. You can often find it pre-sliced but, if you can’t, cut it into about 1/4-inch thick slices yourself. If you would like to use a different protein, such as pork or chicken, feel free.
  • Low-sodium soy sauce – Coconut aminos would do the trick as well. Just note that they will be a little less salty.
  • Cornstarch – The cornstarch coats the beef and helps give it that nice crispy texture once fried.
  • Navel orange – You will need the outer zest of the orange as well as the juice.
  • Molasses
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sesame oil – I used toasted sesame oil because I love the nutty flavor and aroma, but you can use refined sesame oil instead if you’d like.
  • Jalapeño – I seeded mine but, if you want a little more heat, go ahead and leave the seeds in.
  • Garlic
  • Grated ginger – Ground ginger will work as well. You will need about 1/2 teaspoon.
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Scallions
  • Canola oil

How to Make Crispy Beef

This crispy beef is so simple to put together. Here’s a quick look at how to do it. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.

  • Prepare the beef. Toss the beef strips in 1 tablespoon soy sauce then sprinkle with cornstarch. Spread the beef over a wire rack atop a baking sheet and freeze for 45 minutes.
  • Prep the orange. Peel the outer zest from the orange and cut it into long strips and then into even thinner strips. Juice the orange (you’ll need about 1/4 cup juice).
  • Make the sauce. Whisk together the orange strips, orange juice, and the remaining soy sauce along with the molasses, rice vinegar, sesame oil, jalapeño slices, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes.
  • Fry. Heat the oil to 375 °F and line a plate with two paper towels. Fry the beef in batches for about 3 minutes per batch, removing each batch from the oil and placing it on the paper towel-lined plate.
  • Reduce the sauce. In a large pan, bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce it to a simmer. Cook for 3 minutes.
  • Put it all together. Remove the sauce from heat, add the beef, and toss to coat. Garnish with chopped scallions.
Overhead image of crispy beef on a serving platter.

Tips & Variations

Take an extra moment to look through the following tips and tricks. Follow my lead and you’ll be sitting down to the best crispy chicken ever shortly. I even threw in some fun variations for you.

  • Don’t skip the freezer. Freezing the beef strips for 45 minutes or so dries out the surface moisture of the beef, which really helps it crisp up as it fries in the hot oil.
  • Get the temperature right. You want to be frying at 375°F. Anything lower and the beef won’t crisp up properly (you’ll end up with a greasy, clumped-up mess of beef strips). Anything higher and you run the risk of burning the beef. I suggest using a candy thermometer to ensure your oil is up to temperature before you add each batch of beef to the pot.
  • Don’t crowd the oil. Trying to fry too much beef at once will cause the oil temperature to drop drastically. See my last point to understand how this can affect your final product. Fry the beef in batches to avoid this problem. It might take a little longer, but not by much. Each batch only needs to be in the oil for 3 minutes, after all.
  • Try a different protein. You could easily apply this recipe to thinly sliced chicken or pork instead of beef. You won’t need to change anything except for swapping out the protein.
  • Add veggies. I love adding thinly sliced sauteed veggies to this crispy beef. Bell peppers are my favorites but carrots, broccoli florets (no need to slice the broccoli), or even zucchini would be tasty as well.
A serving platter of crispy beef on a wooden board near a bowl of rice.

Serving Suggestions

Crispy beef and a steaming bowl of Instant Pot Jasmine Rice go hand and hand. Add a side of Garlic Roasted Green Beans and you’ve got yourself a full meal. Feeling a little more adventurous? Try my Pineapple Fried Rice, these Bao Buns, or even my Spicy Chili Garlic Noodles.

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

  • To store. Allow the leftovers to cool completely before sealing them in an airtight container. They will stay good in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If you decide to freeze the leftovers, allow them to thaw in the fridge before reheating.
  • To reheat. Heat a bit of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the leftover crispy beef and saute until heated through. You could also microwave a portion in 30-second intervals until heated through.
Overhead image of crispy beef on a serving platter near a bowl of rice and a bowl of chopped scallions.

More Easy Beef Recipes

Still craving red meat? Scratch the itch with one of these other incredible beef recipes. Let me know which is your favorite.

5 from 8 votes

Crispy Beef

Crispy beef is one of our favorite take-out items to order but now we can make it in the convenience of our own home!
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 ½ pounds (680 g) stir fry steak slices or sirloin steak cut into thin slices, about 1/4-inch thick, pre-sliced
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 medium-sized navel orange
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 jalapeño, de-seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, (or substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 scallions, chopped (for garnish)
  • 4 cups (946 ml) canola oil, for frying
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  • In a large bowl, toss beef strips in 1 tablespoon soy sauce then sprinkle cornstarch on top and toss to coat evenly. Place coated beef on a wire rack atop a baking sheet and place into freezer for 45 minutes. You'll need to do this because the freezer will dry out the surface moisture of the beef thus helping with the crispiness of the beef.
  • In the meantime, using a vegetable peeler, peel the outer zest of the orange into long strips then slicing them into thinner strips. Cut the orange in half and juice it until you get 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice.
  • Place the orange zest strips, orange juice, the remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, molasses, rice vinegar, sesame oil, jalapeño slices, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  • When ready, heat up a canola oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, such as a dutch-oven, to 375 °F (191 °C). Set up a large plate lined with two layers of paper towels.
  • Once the fryer has reached the correct temperature, gently place 1/3 of the beef into the pot. You don’t want to place all of it at once or else it’ll drop the temperature too low and you don’t want the beef strips to clump :)
  • Fry the beef strips for about 3 minutes. They will be a nice golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon or spider strainer and place onto lined plate. Repeat until all the beef strips have been fried.
  • In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the soy sauce mixture with the orange zest strips to the pan. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat then add the fried beef strips to the pan and toss to coat evenly.
  • Serve warm over white rice and enjoy!


Serving: 1serving (150 grams), Calories: 436kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 15g, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 23g

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.

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.

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Photographs by Eat Love Eat

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Recipe Rating


  1. The sauce with the orange and jalapeno was just stunning. Didn’t realize how much I needed crispy beef in my life!

  2. I was so thrilled to come across this recipe and it was every bit as delicious as I was hoping for. This was my favorite dish at the Chinese place my husband and I used to go to when we were dating. I hadn’t had it in years!

  3. We loved the flavors with this crunchy beef. The navel orange and molasses added such wonderful flavors to the spicy dish. We will make this often!

  4. This was beyond delicious! The molasses was absolutely genius! It gave this dish so much flavor and caramelized the beef perfectly. Better than my local place by FAR!!!

  5. I really enjoyed making and eating this recipe. The flavors are perfect for take-out at home. I really appreciate how Julie writes her recipes in a way that is clear and easy to follow. I added snow peas to have with my crispy beef and it was the BEST. I would recommend doubling the sauce for extra to put on your rice, but I love things extra saucy.

  6. i plan to make this on the weekend for a large dinner party. Wondering if i can fry an hour before and just combine with sauce just before serving? Your response would be greatly appreciated!