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Mongolian Beef – a quick and easy recipe.

Mongolian Beef. A quick and easy recipe. People love this dish for its balance of sweet and salty flavours and this recipe has just a little extra zing.

Mongolian Beef close up

Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef; here’s another Chinese take-out recipe that you can easily make at home. Mongolian Beef is one of the most popular dishes on many Chinese food restaurants in North America. 

As with many dishes we associate with Chinese food in this part of the world, it has almost nothing to do with authentic Chinese cuisine and is purely a North American invention.

Thinly sliced steak for Philly Cheesesteak

Thinly sliced steak for Mongolian Beef.

Nonetheless people enjoy this dish for the delicate balance of sweet and salty which only the best restaurants get right. I’ve tried many recipes before and to my taste they fall on either the too sweet or too salty side of the fence; for my money, this is the best one I’ve tried yet.

Still, tastes vary and you may be more inclined to the sweet or salty side of the scale with a recipe like this one. My suggestion is to try this Mongolian Beef recipe as written and then adjust the brown sugar to add more sweetness or the soy sauce to add more saltiness the next time you make it.

Mongolian Beef in wok

Mongolian Beef

The recipe is also very adaptable to any vegetables that you have on hand that you’d like to add to it. Steamed carrots, broccoli, snow peas or cauliflower would all be great as well. We always have to have the water chestnuts at our place though; my daughter Olivia insists on them!

While many recipes you may find for Mongolian Beef do not add any spicy element, I actually do prefer it with a little bit of a kick, but if this is not to your taste, the recipe works perfectly well without the added chili paste or flakes.

If you want to avoid the frying method, this recipe works well as a stir fry too. See the note in the recipe for those instructions.

If this is your type of recipe be sure to check our our versions of General Tso’s Chicken and Chinese Take Out Style Orange Chicken…and if you’re a noodle fan, be sure to try our take-out copycat version of Singapore Noodles too.

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Mongolian Beef image with title text

Mongolian Beef

Since I use an electric stovetop I prefer flat bottomed wok for this recipe. I find it to be much more stable and easy to use on the stovetop. I also like one that has a lid which is great for steaming the vegetables in a stir fry to speed up the cooking time. 

You might also like our popular recipe for Orange Beef with Cashews!

Orange Beef with Cashews image with title text

Mongolian Beef close up
Yield: 6 regular servings or 4 large servings

Mongolian Beef - a quick and easy recipe.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Mongolian Beef - a quick and easy recipe. People love this dish for its balance of sweet and salty flavours and this recipe has just a little extra zing.


  • 1 1/2 pounds beef steak( flank steak, rib eye steak or striploin steak are all good choices)
  • 1/3 cup corn starch, maybe a little more.
  • cup About 1 vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup sliced water chestnuts, about 1 can rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers

For the sauce

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp crushed chili paste or chili flakes to taste, optional


  1. Try not to use beef straight from the fridge or you will cool down the oil too much when frying. I like to take it out to sit at room temperature for at least a half hour.
  2. Cut the beef steak, across the grain, into 1/4 inch thick strips.
  3. dredge both sides of the beef strips with corn starch and let them sit for 10 minutes, so that the corn starch adheres to the meat. (You can start putting the sauce together while the beef sits.)
  4. Heat the oil in a hot wok to 375 degrees. Fry the steak in about 3 batches, so that it cooks very quickly. It only takes about a minute or so to flash fry the beef.
  5. Pour off the oil from the wok completely.
  6. Add the beef back to the wok along immediately with the vegetables and sauce and simmer for only a few minutes before serving over steamed rice or your favourite noodles.

To prepare the sauce

  1. I like to make the sauce quickly in a large sauté pan so that it reduces and thickens more quickly.
  2. In a small bowl, or large measuring cup, stir together all of the ingredients for the sauce, except the garlic and vegetable oil.
  3. Heat the 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat and lightly sauté the garlic for only a minute, so that it softens but does not brown.
  4. Add the combined ingredients to the pan all at one and simmer for 5 minutes or so until the sauce begins to thicken. Turn off the heat and set aside until the beef is cooked.


The corn starch flash frying does help to evenly coat the beef in the glistening sauce but if you want to avoid the fried version of this recipe try making it as a stir fry instead.
Prepare the sauce first, so that it is properly reduced and thickened.
Add 3 tbsp vegetable oil to a hot wok and quickly stir fry the beef before immediately adding the vegetables and sauce and simmering for an additional few minutes to heat the vegetables through.
The critical thing is not to overcook the beef. The wok should be as hot as possible and the beef need only be quickly stir fried for a minute or so until it loses the pink colour to be fully cooked. the extra few minutes of simmering will guarantee that it is anyway.

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

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Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 426Saturated Fat 10gCholesterol 69mgSodium 793mgCarbohydrates 34gFiber 2gSugar 17gProtein 24g

Rock Recipes a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. Our product recommendations are almost exclusively for those we currently use or have used in the past.
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Wednesday 15th of April 2020

If using the stir fry method, do I need cornstarch to thicken the sauce?

Harvey leo

Monday 2nd of March 2020

Delicious recipe,Easy to cook.A staple in my dinner recipe.Thanks for sharing it.


Friday 3rd of January 2020

This was absolutely amazing!! I used a sauce by PF Chang’s in substitute for the hoisin and I didn’t have the ginger root, but it still turned out awesome. This was my first time ever making Chinese food- as it’s always scared me to attempt it. Thank you for being there every step of the way. I learned so much about cooking as well :)

Anne Ashford-Hall

Monday 13th of May 2019

Would like to do this in a slow cooker, any changes to be made and time suggested. thanks,

Jan Mowbray

Tuesday 16th of October 2018

HI, you might edit the ingredients list for cornstarch and the oil. Question re canned water chestnuts - cooking for only one I always have water chestnuts left over - have you ever frozen them? And if so, successfully? I like the easiness of this recipe, thanks for posting.

Barry C. Parsons

Wednesday 24th of October 2018

Never frozen them but don't see why not.

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