How To Make Beef Sauce (5 Easy Steps)

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This Chinese-style beef sauce recipe is incredibly simple to make. With just a handful of ingredients, you too can make this restaurant-quality dinner! Here’s how to make beef sauce:

how to make beef sauce pinterest

What is Beef Sauce?

Beef sauce is the silky smooth gravy that binds together the tender slices of cooked beef, white rice, and vegetables.

What sets this beef gravy apart from other sauces is the addition of corn starch. Corn starch acts as a thickening agent. It gives the gravy that silky-smooth texture you’ve come to know and love.

Like Mongolian Beef or General Tsao’s Chicken, most Chinese-American dishes rely heavily on corn starch to make their gravies gooier.

What Makes This Recipe Special?

While there are plenty of beef sauce recipes out there, ours stands out for a few key reasons:

1. We Marinate Our Meat

This recipe calls for marinating the beef. The acid in the marinade (lemon juice or vinegar, for example) penetrates the meat, resulting in a more tender beef, even on the toughest cuts of meat.

marinating meat for beef sauce recipe

The longer you marinate, the more tender your beef is. For this recipe, I suggest you marinate for at least 1 hour, but preferably 24-48 hours.

2. We use both Soy AND Oyster Sauce

Soy sauce and oyster sauce impart the distinct flavor that you’ve come to know, love, and expect from your Chinese takeout. And we’re not talking large quantities here, just a few tablespoons of each.

Soy sauce is salty, and oyster sauce is sweet. The mixture of the two is pure magic.


Beef Sauce Key Ingredients

These are the key ingredients that make this recipe stand out. There is a complete list of ingredients in the recipe card at the end of this post.

1. Beef (Duh…)

You don’t need to use the best steak in this recipe. Instead, you can use cheap cuts of meat. As long as you follow the recipe instructions and marinate your meat first, the final result will be tender and juicy.

thinly sliced beef for beef sauce recipe
Sliced ribeye steak.

2. Corn Starch

Corn starch is the magic ingredient here. As mentioned above, corn starch is a thickening agent with zero added flavor (once cooked).

argo cornstarch for beef sauce recipe

Corn starch is such a handy ingredient that it’s used for a wide variety of foods. Not only is it used to thicken gravies, but it’s also used in stews and sweets such as Starburst and Laffy-Taffy.

3. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a salty, fermented sauce synonymous with Asian dishes, especially beef stir fry. We’re pretty familiar with this flavor in the West.

4. Oyster Sauce

Oyster sauce isn’t the most common ingredient in the West. But it’s crucial to this recipe because it imparts a distinct sweet flavor that directly complements the soy sauce.

how to make beef sauce using oyster sauce

How To Make Beef Sauce:

Follow these simple, step-by-step instructions to make a delicious beef and vegetable stir fry. This recipe makes about 4 servings.

how to make beef sauce ingredients

Recommended Equipment:

Main Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. beef (any cut of beef will do)
  • 1 medium onion (sliced)
  • 1 green pepper (sliced)
  • 1 yellow pepper (sliced)
  • 1 red pepper (sliced)
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste (or 3 minced garlic cloves)
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil (sub olive oil)

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Steak Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp white sugar (sub brown sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Step 1: Prepare the Meat & Marinade

Start by cutting the beef into 2-inch slices. (Make sure to cut against the grain).

Next, create your beef marinade. Combine 1 cup cold water, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice.

making beef marinade for beef sauce recipe

Place the meat in the marinade and refrigerate overnight. It’s a good idea to marinate for at least 24 hours.

Step 2: Create the Beef Sauce

Whisk together the oyster sauce, sherry vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and ground black pepper in a small bowl.

Next, slowly whisk in the powdered cornstarch. Once the cornstarch is fully incorporated, 1-2 minutes of whisking, set aside.

making beef sauce for how to make beef suace recipe

Step 3: Saute the Meat

Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-low heat in a large skillet, saucepan, or dutch oven.

Next, take the meat out of the brine/marinade and add it to the frying pan. Cook the meat on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

Once the meat is done cooking, remove it from the pan and set it to the side.

cooking meat for beef sauce recipe

Step 4: Saute the Vegetables

Place the empty frying pan back on the stovetop and heat 2 new tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.

Add the sliced onions to the hot oil and cook them for 2 minutes.

cooking the onions with garlic paste and ginger paste

Add the 2 tablespoons of garlic paste and 1 tbsp of ginger paste to the onions. Saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Next, add the sliced bell peppers, and saute for 2 additional minutes.

sauteeing green peppers for Chinese stir fry recipe

(At this point, feel free to add any other vegetables you may prefer, such as broccoli, mushrooms, or bok choy. You can’t go wrong here!)

Step 5: Add the Beef Sauce

Add the beef to the vegetables.

Pour the beef gravy mixture into the frying pan. Stir together until everything is evenly coated, and then simmer for 1-2 minutes.

adding beef sauce to sauteed vegetables and onions for beef sauce recipe

Remove from heat and serve! Garnish with sesame seeds and a teaspoon of salt if needed. Bon Appetit!

beef sauce recipe with sauteed vegetables and sesame seeds.jpg

What do I serve with my beef sauce?

Most often, this beef and vegetable stir fry is served with either white rice or egg noodles. Here is how I quickly make both:

1. Instant Pot White Rice

How to cook white rice in an Instant Pot: Use equal parts rice and water. Close the lid of the instant pot and hit the “rice” button. Use chicken or beef broth instead of water for a deeper flavor.

2. Egg Noodles

How to cook egg noodles: Boil water on the stove. Add half a bag of dried egg noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Use salt instead of oil to stop the noodles from sticking.

Can I Add or Substitute Ingredients in my Beef Gravy?

Yes, of course! Many people add sesame oil, Worcestershire sauce, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, red pepper flakes, etc.

closeup of beef and vegetables with chop sticks

Some will add tomato paste or a bit of canned spaghetti sauce to give their gravy a deeper flavor profile (tomatoes are great at this).

Get creative but remember, anything you add will change the flavor profile.


Recipe Card

beef sauce recipe cooked

How To Make Beef Sauce (5 Easy Steps)

This Chinese-style beef sauce recipe is incredibly simple to make. With just a handful of ingredients, you too can make this restaurant-quality dinner!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: beef sauce, chinese food, stir fry
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Author: Kelsey Todd
Cost: $20

Equipment

Ingredients

Main Ingredients

  • 1 lb beef (any cut)
  • 1 medium onion (sliced)
  • 1 green pepper (sliced)
  • 1 red pepper (sliced)
  • 1 yellow pepper (sliced)
  • 2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil

Marinade Ingredients

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Gravy Ingredients

Garnish Ingredients

  • 1 pinch sesame seeds

Instructions

  • Step 1: Prepare the Meat & Marinade
    Start by cutting the beef into 2-inch slices. (Make sure to cut against the grain).
    Next, create your beef marinade. Combine 1 cup cold water, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice.
    Place the meat in the marinade and refrigerate overnight. It’s a good idea to marinate for at least 24 hours.
    1 lb beef, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 cup cold water, 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    making beef marinade for beef sauce recipe
  • Step 2: Create the Beef Sauce
    Whisk together the oyster sauce, sherry vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and ground black pepper in a small bowl.
    Next, slowly whisk in the powdered cornstarch. Once the cornstarch is fully incorporated, 1-2 minutes of whisking, set aside.
    2 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp oyster sauce, 1 tbsp sherry vinegar, 1 tbsp cornstarch, 1 tsp granulated sugar, 1/4 tsp Fresh ground black pepper
    making beef sauce for how to make beef suace recipe
  • Step 3: Saute the Meat
    Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-low heat in a large skillet, saucepan, or dutch oven.
    Next, take the meat out of the brine/marinade and add it to the frying pan. Cook the meat on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
    Once the meat is done cooking, remove it from the pan and set it to the side.
    4 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 lb beef
    cooking meat for beef sauce recipe
  • Step 4: Saute the Vegetables
    Place the empty frying pan back on the stovetop and heat 2 new tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
    Add the sliced onions to the hot oil and cook them for 2 minutes.
    Add the 2 tablespoons of garlic paste and 1 tbsp of ginger paste to the onions. Saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
    Next, add the sliced bell peppers, and saute for 2 additional minutes.
    1 medium onion, 1 green pepper, 1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper, 2 tbsp garlic paste, 1 tbsp ginger paste
    cooking onions with ginger and garlic for beef sauce recipe
  • Step 5: Add the Beef Sauce
    Add the beef to the vegetables.
    Pour the beef gravy mixture into the frying pan. Stir together until everything is evenly coated, and then simmer for 1-2 minutes.
    Remove from heat and serve! Garnish with sesame seeds and a teaspoon of salt if needed. Bon Appetit!
    1 pinch sesame seeds
    adding beef sauce to sauteed vegetables and onions for beef sauce recipe
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Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What did you think about this recipe? Was it an easy recipe for you? Do you have any suggestions on how to make a better beef stir fry sauce? I’m always looking for good options and advice.

beef sauce recipe pinterest

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