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I always crave takeout and one of my favorites is Kung Pao Beef so I decided to make it. The beef is coated in a spicy, savory sauce and pan-fried to crispy perfection. Easy to make and ready to serve in less than 30 minutes, prep time included.

Top view white bowl with rice and sautéed kung pao beef with red bell pepper.
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Once you try my homemade version of Kung Pao beef you will never buy takeout again!! 😁 It’s SO good! As an added plus, you get to use ingredients that are much better than what is used at restaurants. My kids get so excited when I tell them I am making Kung Pao Beef, They even offer to make me! 🤣 It takes me just about 30 minutes to put this dish together. I saute thin slices of seasoned beef with dried chilies and bell peppers and then toss them in a sweet, tangy and spicy sauce. I then finish it off with a topping of crunchy roasted peanuts and serve over white rice (for the kids), cauliflower rice or quinoa (for me).

Why you will love this recipe

  • Quick & easy: This dish is hassle-free to make and you can have it ready to go faster than waiting for takeout. You only need steak and a handful of other simple ingredients.
  • It’s so delicious: Enjoy tender and juicy meat in a flavorful sweet and spicy sauce along with a side of brown or white rice, noodles or quinoa.
  • Meal-prep friendly: Make this ahead for your meals and enjoy it throughout the week with rice or steamed veggies.

For more takeout-inspired food, try my other kung pao recipes: Kung Pao Shrimp and Kung Pao Chicken!

Kung pao beef served over rice in a white bowl.

Ingredients Needed

  • Flank steak: Thinly slice the flank steak, against the grain, into 1⁄4-inch thick strips.
  • Cornstarch: Ensures the steak has a nice crispy texture as it cooks.
  • Seasoning: Garlic powder, ginger powder, salt and pepper will flavor the steak deliciously.
  • For the sauce: A blend of ketchup, franks hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos, and toasted sesame oil makes the sauce spicy-sweet.
  • Vegetable oil: For cooking the meat.
  • Dried chiles: Classic in kung pao beef for plenty of flavorful spiciness.
  • Red bell pepper: Adds extra texture and heartiness.
  • Peanuts: Unsalted roasted peanuts adds a delicious crunch that is the perfect finishing touch.
  • Herbs: If you’d like to add a pop of color, garnish with fresh chopped parsley or cilantro.
Ingredients like beef, sauce, oil, seasonings and peanuts divided into small bowls.

How to Make It

Get your wok or skillet heated because we’re about to make an amazing dinner! This homemade kung pao beef is packed with so much flavor, that everyone will devour it!

  1. Coat the beef: To a large bowl add the sliced beef, sprinkle with cornstarch, garlic powder, ginger powder, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well to coat.
  2. Make the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk the ketchup, hot sauce, vinegar, coconut aminos and sesame oil. Set aside.
  3. Cook: Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat in a single layer and cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. You might need to cook it in 2 batches.
  1. Add veggies: Add in the chillies and red bell pepper and continue to stir fry for 2 minutes.
  2. Combine with sauce and serve: Add the sauce and stir to combine. Remove from heat and sprinkle with peanuts and herbs, if desired.

Helpful Tips

  • Slicing the beef: Be sure to slice the beef in pieces that are all about the same size for even cooking.
  • Make the beef easier to cut: Try placing your meat in the freezer for 20-30 minutes before trying to slice it. This will make it more firm and easier to cut into thin slices.
  • Don’t overcrowd: It’s important that the beef has plenty of room to cook in the pan, so it gets nice and crispy. Cook in two batches, as needed.
  • Reduce the heat: Kung pao beef can be a bit spicy, but if you are wanting to decrease the spice level, remove the dried chilis and reduce the amount of hot sauce used in the sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is kung pao beef made of?

Traditionally, kung pao beef is made with thinly sliced steak, dried chiles, bell peppers and roasted peanuts, all in a savory and spicy sauce. It is commonly offered at Chinese restaurants.

What is the difference between kung pao beef and Mongolian beef?

Mongolian beef is a stir-fry dish cooked in a sweet and savory sauce similar to kung pao beef, however, it is not usually spicy.

What is the Flavour of kung pao?

The flavor of kung pao recipes is savory and sweet with a bit of a spicy kick. It is also usually finished with peanuts, which gives it a delicious nutty flavor.

Kung pao beef over white rice in a white bowl.

Serving Suggestions and variations

  • Serving: I like to enjoy this over brown or white rice or quinoa. For a low-carb option, you could also serve it over cauliflower rice or steamed vegetables.
  • Other proteins: This recipe works with with other types of protein, such as cubed chicken breasts or thighs, or shrimp. Just be sure to adjust the cook time.
  • Add more veggies: To increase the nutrients and heartiness, consider sauteeing more veggies with the steak. Some great options are sliced zucchini, mushrooms, or onion.

Storage Recommendations

Leftover kung pao beef is great for a quick lunch or dinner the next day! Here’s how to store it:

  • Storing: Once completely cool, place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: For extended storage, freeze in a labeled, freezer-safe container for up to about 3 months.
  • Reheating: When reheating on the stovetop, use a non-stick pan over medium heat with a splash of water or broth to prevent sticking. Stir occasionally until thoroughly warmed. Alternatively, microwave leftovers in a covered, microwave-safe dish in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval.

More Asian-Inspired Recipes to Try

Kung pao beef with a fork over white rice in a white bowl.

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5 from 1 vote

Kung Pao Beef

By: Rena
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
white bowl with rice and sauteed kung pao beef with red bell pepper.
Beef is coated in a spicy, savory sauce and pan-fried to crispy perfection. This recipe is easy to make and can be ready to serve in less than 30 minutes, prep time included.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain into 1/4-inch thick strips
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons franks hot sauce, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 teaspoon toasted sesame seed oil
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4-6 red dried chiles
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into sticks
  • 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • Optional: fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
  • To serve: cooked rice

Instructions

  • To a large bowl add the sliced beef, sprinkle with cornstarch, garlic powder, ginger powder, and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Stir well to coat.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the ketchup, hot sauce, vinegar, coconut aminos and sesame oil. Set aside.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat in a single layer and cook undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. You might need to cook it in 2 batches.
  • Add in the chilies and red bell pepper and continue to stir fry for 2 minutes.
  • Add the sauce and stir to combine. Remove from heat and sprinkle with peanuts and herbs, if desired.

Notes

  • Storing: Once completely cool, place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: For extended storage, freeze in a labeled, freezer-safe container for up to about 3 months.
  • Reheating: When reheating on the stovetop, use a non-stick pan over medium heat with a splash of water or broth to prevent sticking. Stir occasionally until thoroughly warmed. You can also microwave leftovers in a covered, microwave-safe dish in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 392kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 30gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 1259mgPotassium: 664mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 1141IUVitamin C: 39mgCalcium: 49mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Tried this recipe?Mention @healthyfitnessmeals or tag #healthyfitnessmeals!

About Rena Awada

Hi, I’m Rena! Welcome to my blog. I am here to help you prepare delicious, light, fresh meals that your whole family will love!

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