Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry
Stir-fries make me feel like a kitchen wizard. From the fridge, there is but a hodgepodge of on-the-brink veggies; from the pantry, a bottle of soy sauce. A spell of garlic and a flash of the pan later, and we have magic: Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry!
Tender sirloin steak cooked in a quick homemade teriyaki sauce with whatever fresh or frozen vegetables you care to throw its way, this healthy beef stir fry recipe is happy to be served with noodles, rice, or wrapped inside lettuce leaves.
Growing up, I remember my mom being able to open our cabinet and refrigerator and turn whatever she saw into dinner. She didn’t need a recipe to cook something yummy.
I haven’t quite gotten there yet—I know it looks like I throw things together around here, but quite a bit of planning goes into the recipes you see—save for one notable exception: stir fries.
Healthy Teriyaki Stir Fries – Flexible Recipes to Make Your Own
After years of cooking dozens of healthy stir-fries, I’ve finally reached a place where I feel like I can whip up a quick teriyaki sauce, then use it to cook whatever protein and vegetables we have handy.
- This Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry and this Healthy Beef and Broccoli (a spin on Mongolian beef) are old favorites.
- This Korean Beef Bowl is newer but quickly gaining favor, especially when we have ground beef on hand.
- A simple Tofu Stir Fry is my go-to when we’re eating meat-free.
Each stir fry is different, but they have core ingredients in common: protein, plenty of veggies, and a sauce that balances notes of savory and salty (soy sauce) with sweet (honey or maple syrup) and acid (rice vinegar).
The more you cook stir-fries, the more you’ll find yourself able to move and groove with the items you have on hand.
This teriyaki beef stir fry came about on a day when we had sirloin steak. Sirloin is my first choice for teriyaki beef and other stir fries because it cooks quickly, is lean, and is easy to make tender (see notes below for more).
Feel free to use this recipe with other kinds of protein or change up the veggies. You are the kitchen wizard this time, and it’s your stir fry charm to cast.
How to Make Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry
If you want to cook stir fries often, these ingredients are excellent to keep around. Once they are in your pantry, you’ll be able to make healthy beef and other stir fry recipes the moment a craving strikes.
- Sirloin Steak. A sirloin steak cut of meat is teriyaki’s best friend. It’s tender and will soak up the flavors you cook it in (like our beef stir fry sauce). However, you can also use flank steak or chuck steak to make teriyaki beef.
- Soy Sauce + Black Pepper. Used to make our beef stir fry marinade. This umami bomb (yes, I said it) of a marinade gives the beef deep flavor right from the start.
- Vegetables. Anything you have around! A red bell pepper adds beautiful color to our stir fry. For the mixed vegetables, broccoli, snap peas, or carrots would all be tasty. Only have frozen veggies on hand? No problem. You can use them in this recipe (see tips below). Make sure to cut your vegetables so that they all cook in roughly the same amount of time (harder veggies like carrots should be cut smaller and thinner than softer ones like asparagus, for example).
- Water Chestnuts. The crunchy element you didn’t know you needed. Once you try them in your stir fry, you’ll never want to make one without them.
- Green Onions. A delicious, fresh crunch and subtle bite to finish off your stir fry.
- Teriyaki Sauce. Soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes come together to create a homemade teriyaki sauce that’s the perfect combination of salty, sweet, and savory. It’ll make you feel like a true wizard of stir fry flavor. You’ll also need a little dash of cornstarch to help thicken it up.
- Marinade the beef in the soy sauce and black pepper. Stir together the homemade teriyaki sauce.
- Brown the beef in a large pan or wok until cooked through.
- Sauté your vegetables of choice until tender.
- Combine! Add the water chestnuts, beef, and sauce to the pan with the veggies. As the sauce thickens, stir in part of the green onions. Finish with a sprinkle of the sesame seeds and remaining green onions. ENJOY!
How to Make Stir Fry Beef Tender
- Slice Across (not with) the Grain. When cutting your beef, slice thinly across (perpendicular to) the grain to make it tender. This helps break down the fibers.
- Don’t Overcook It. Overcooking your beef will make it tough and unpleasantly dry. In this recipe, as soon as the strips of beef are no longer pink, they are ready to serve.
- Marinade It. For this recipe, our beef teriyaki marinade not only flavors the beef, but it helps it tenderize as well. Even the few minutes while you prep the remaining ingredients can make a big difference.
Tips to Use Frozen Vegetables for Stir Fries
One of the best parts about easy stir fries like this one is the ability to use frozen vegetables. Here are a few tips to help you use frozen veggies:
- Let your vegetables thaw completely before adding them to the stir fry, and pat away any excess moisture.
- Make sure your pan is HOT before adding the vegetables, or they will become soggy.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan. If your veggies are packed into the pan, they won’t be able to achieve that delicious sear.
- Keep your expectations reasonable. Frozen vegetables will not taste as crisp as fresh ones, but are still yummy, perfectly healthy, and will save you oodles of time.
Make-Ahead and Storage Tips
- To Make Ahead. Cut your beef up to 24 hours in advance, and store it in the refrigerator. Stir your sauce ingredients together up to 1 day in advance, and chop your vegetables up to 1 day in advance. Store both separately in the refrigerator.
- To Store. Place leftover stir fry in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm beef and vegetables in a skillet on the stove over medium-low heat. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Store beef and vegetables in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
What to Serve with Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry
- Noodles. Teriyaki beef with noodles would be scrumptious. You can toss the cooked noodles into the stir fry sauce at the end of the recipe. I like soba noodles or brown rice noodles, and whole wheat spaghetti noodles can work too. For something different, you could even pair it with this Asian Noodle Salad.
- Rice. Serve your beef over a bed of white, brown, or cauliflower rice for a delicious meal.
- Lettuce Cups. Wrap your beef stir fry in a lettuce cup for a low-carb twist.
More Healthy Beef Recipes
- Crock Pot Pepper Steak
- Pressure Cooker Beef and Noodles
- Crockpot Beef and Broccoli
- Flank Steak Tacos
- Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- Wok. While a wok isn’t necessary for this beef stir fry recipe, if you plan to make stir fries often, it’s a worthwhile investment. This saute pan would also work well.
- Heatproof Spatula. Perfect for stirring your stir fry ingredients.
- Liquid Ingredient Measuring Cups. You can measure and mix your teriyaki sauce in these cups.
Raise your wand, erm wooden spoon, and let’s work some kitchen magic!
Teriyaki Beef Stir Fry
For the Stir Fry:
- 1 pound sirloin steak - cut into thin, bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil - divided
- 1 red bell pepper - cored and cut into thin slices
- 3 cups chopped mixed vegetables of choice - such as broccoli, snap peas, or carrots
- 1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts - drained
- 3 medium green onions - finely chopped; divided
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds - optional
- Prepared brown rice - quinoa, noodles, or cauliflower rice — for serving
For the Teriyaki Sauce:
- 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes - plus additional to taste
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Place the beef in a bowl and top with 1 tablespoon soy sauce and black pepper. Stir to coat then set aside to marinade while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Prepare the sauce: In a medium mixing bowl or large measuring cup, stir together the soy sauce, water, maple syrup, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and cornstarch. Set aside.
- Continue with the stir fry: In a large, deep sauté pan or wok, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, add the beef. Cook until the beef is browned on all sides and fully cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove the beef and any juices that have collected in the skillet to a plate and set aside.
- Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add the bell pepper and other vegetables. Cook for 4 minutes, or until slightly softened and lightly browned.
- When the vegetables are ready, add the water chestnuts and return the beef and juices to the pan. Pour in the sauce and toss to coat. Let simmer 3 to 4 minutes to thicken and warm the beef through. Stir in about half of the green onions. Sprinkle the sesame seeds and remaining green onions over the top. Serve warm, with additional red pepper flakes and/or soy sauce as desired.
- TO STORE: Place leftover stir fry in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm beef and vegetables in a wok on the stove over medium-low heat. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Store beef and vegetables in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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