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Mongolian Beef

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Mongolian Beef is a Chinese-American restaurant classic that features super-tender thinly sliced beef with scallions, stir-fried in a simple but flavorful sweet and tangy sauce. 

Mongolian beef

The name of this dish is a bit of a mystery since Mongolian Beef did not originate in Mongolia. It is a Chinese-American restaurant classic that features thinly sliced tender beef with scallions stir-fried in a simple but flavorful sauce.

Mongolian Beef is one of my go-to weeknight dishes that you’ll often find on our dinner table. It is a snap to prepare and is always a hit.

The sauce is a perfect match for the stir-fried beef. It is slightly sweet and slightly tangy, but subtle enough that it does not overpower the flavor of the beef.

Tip: If time is not an issue, you could make Mongolian Beef in a slow cooker! Click here for the recipe for Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef.

What Kind of Beef to Use for Mongolian Beef

Most cuts of beef can be used in Mongolian Beef but the best options are flank steak and sirloin steak.

I would not recommend using stew meats like chuck and round as they tend to be a bit tough and a bit too easy to overcook.

It is also not necessary to use more expensive cuts like ribeye and tenderloin (although you certainly could if you wish; they’re delicious!) as the cornstarch really does help to tenderize the beef.

How to Slice Beef for Stir-Frying

Freezing the beef for about 30 – 60 minutes before you slice into it makes it much easier to cut.

When you cut any type of beef, always slice the beef against the grain.

One of the reasons I really like to use flank steak for this recipe is because it is really easy to see the grain and cut against it. For steaks like sirloin, the steak is often already cut across the grain so slice it at a bias so that the grains are as short as possible.

sliced beef against the grain

How to Cook Mongolian Beef

Pour 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1 teaspoon salt, and a dash of ground black pepper over 1 pound of thinly sliced beef.

Use your fingers to gently massage this marinade into the beef slices, then allow the beef to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.

preparing sliced beef

Prepare the sauce by combining 3 tablespoons of water, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch.

sauce for mongolian beef

Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a wok over high heat.

As the oil is heating up, add 2 tablespoons ginger (julienned or sliced) to the wok.

julienned ginger in wok

We’re going to fry the beef in about 3 or 4 batches. This will allow the beef to sear properly in the wok.

For each batch, spread the beef out in a single layer in the wok, then wait a few seconds before flipping them over with your wok spatula.

searing beef in a wok

Remove the beef from the wok just as soon as it turns mostly brown. Some pink is okay. It does not have to be cooked all the way through at this point because it will finish cooking with the sauce.

Because the beef slices are so thin, it should take literally less than a minute for each batch depending on how thick they are. Any longer and it will be overcooked, tough, and dry.

stir frying beef in a wok

Return all of the beef to the wok.

beef slices in a wok

Then pour the sauce over the beef.

pouring sauce over mongolian beef

Give the sauce a stir; it will start to thicken very quickly.

mongolian beef in a wok

Add 1/2 cup of scallions (about 2 stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces) to the wok.

I like my scallions with just a bit of a raw bite and crunch to them, so I normally turn off the heat before I add the scallions.

mongolian beef in a wok with scallions

Stir for a few seconds just to combine the ingredients, then transfer the dish to a serving plate.

Serve immediately with steamed white or brown rice.

Enjoy!

mongolian beef in a wok

mongolian beef

Mongolian Beef

Wok & Skillet
Mongolian Beef is a Chinese-American restaurant classic that features super-tender thinly sliced beef with scallions, stir-fried in a simple but flavorful sweet and tangy sauce. 
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinate Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
 
 

Beef marinade

  • 1 pound sirloin or flank steak
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Dash black pepper to taste

Mongolian Beef Sauce

Stir-fry

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons ginger julienned
  • 1/2 cup scallions about 2 stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces

Instructions
 

  • 1. Marinate the beef: Pour cooking oil, cornstarch, salt and black pepper over the beef. Use your fingers to gently massage the ingredients into the beef.
  • Allow the beef to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Prepare the sauce by combining soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, brown sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a wok over high heat.
  • As the oil is heating up, add the julienned ginger to the wok.
  • Stir-fry the beef in small batches. For each batch, spread the beef out in a single layer in the wok, then wait for a few seconds before flipping them over.
  • Remove the beef from the wok just as it starts to turn brown. Some pink is okay because it will finish cooking with the sauce. It should take less than a minute to fry each batch.
  • Return all of the beef to the wok, then pour the sauce over the beef.
  • Stir to combine all the ingredients. The sauce will start to thicken quickly.
  • Add scallions to the wok at the last minute. Give all the ingredients a good stir, then transfer the dish to a serving plate.
  • Serve immediately with steamed white or brown rice. Enjoy!

Notes

- Flank steak and sirloin steak are recommended cuts for Mongolian Beef but you can also use ribeye and tenderloin. Stew meats like chuck and round are not recommended for this dish.
- Freezing the beef for about 30 – 60 minutes before you slice into it makes it much easier to cut. Slice against the grain.
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