How to make Pepper Steak and Onions

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This recipe will guide you through how to make pepper steak and onions with a savory sauce served over white rice or cauliflower rice. It is so easy, full of flavor and ready in under 30 minutes.

In a perfect world, every meal would be as easy and delicious as this Pepper Steak and Onions. It’s made entirely in one large skillet with red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and flank steak with the most incredible savory sauce.

I was so excited when there was plenty leftover for lunch the next day. There’s no need for takeout from your local Chinese restaurant when you can make this incredible pepper steak stir fry at home. This post will guide you through how to make pepper steak and onions. Let’s make this together, shall we?

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How to make pepper steak and onions:

Here is a brief overview of how to make pepper steak and onions. The full recipe including ingredient amounts can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

Marinate the meat: Thinly sliced flank steak is marinated in a simple combination of soy sauce and cornstarch.

pepper steak and onion marinated in soy sauce and cornstarch

Prepare the vegetables: Slice the green pepper, red pepper, and onion into thin strips.

Cook the vegetables: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the veggies until tender, then add in garlic until fragrant. Remove the veggies from the pan.

green pepper, red pepper, and onion

Cook the meat: Heat another tablespoon of oil in the skillet then add the meat and stir fry for 5-7 minutes, or until the meat is mostly cooked through.

large skillet with flank steak

Make the sauce: While the meat cooks, make the sauce. When the meat is done, return the veggies to the pan, and add the sauce. Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.

skillet with pepper steak and onions

Serve: A bed of rice or cauliflower rice is perfect with this stir fry.

How to Make Perfect Rice

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How to Cut Flank Steak Against The Grain

Before cooking the steak, you will cut it into thin slices against the grain. The grain refers to the lines or fibers running through the meat. You’ll want to cut perpendicular to these lines. To do this, place the flank steak on a clean cutting board and use a sharp knife to slice the flank steak across the grain. The goal is to create slices that are shorter in length, which helps break down the muscle fibers and results in a more tender bite.

Slice the steak into 1/4-inch pieces for quick and even cooking.

plate of pepper steak and onions over rice

Marinating Steak

The first step in this recipe is marinating the steak in soy sauce and cornstarch. Marinating allows the soy sauce to penetrate the meat, infusing it with rich and savory flavors. Cornstarch acts as a tenderizing agent, helping to break down the muscle fibers in the steak.

The combination of soy sauce and cornstarch not only adds flavor but also works together to create a coating on the steak. This coating helps retain moisture during cooking and forms a protective layer that contributes to a delicious, slightly crispy texture when the steak is stir-fried.

We marinate the steak for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator. This time period allows the flavors to penetrate the steak adequately and prevents it from becoming overly salty or mushy. The relatively short marination period is efficient for busy cooks while still delivering flavorful results, win-win!

Pepper Steak and Onion Sauce Ingredients

This combination of ingredients creates a well-balanced and flavorful stir fry sauce that enhances the overall appeal of the steak, pepper, and onion stir fry. For the full list of sauce ingredients and their measurements, see the recipe card below.

  • Cornstarch: Thickens the sauce.
  • Beef broth: Makes up the base of the sauce while adding a savory flavor.
  • Rice vinegar: A mildly tangy and slightly sweet vinegar made from fermented rice. It adds a subtle acidity to the sauce, balancing the richness of the beef broth.
  • Sesame oil: A fragrant and flavorful oil extracted from sesame seeds. It contributes a nutty essence to the stir fry sauce.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Adds depth and richness to the sauce, complementing the beef broth and enhancing the overall savory notes.
  • Oyster sauce: Made from oyster extracts, it provides a distinctive umami flavor to the stir fry sauce and enriches the overall taste of the recipe.
  • Hoisin sauce: A thick and sweet Chinese condiment made from soybeans, garlic, vinegar, and various spices.
  • Fresh ground ginger: I love the zesty flavor ginger adds to this dish! See more on your options for ground ginger below.
  • Red pepper flake: Adds a subtle heat to the stir fry sauce, providing a touch of spiciness to balance the other flavors.
  • Brown sugar: Adds a touch of sweetness that balances the other ingredients.
pan of pepper steak and onions recipe

Cooking with Ginger

I love the flavor ginger adds to recipes, especially stir fry! When a recipe calls for freshly grated ginger, you have two options:

  1. Buy a fresh root of ginger and peel it and grate it yourself. You can store ginger root in the freezer and grate it from frozen.
  2. Buy a tube of pre-grated ginger. Usually found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store, this option tends to be more expensive but offers convenience and a longer shelf life. You can measure exactly what you need for quick prep.

Storing Leftovers

Store any leftover steak stir fry in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. I recommend storing any leftover rice in a separate container. Reheat the steak and vegetables in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat until heated through. Serve over fresh or reheated rice or cauliflower rice.

bowl of pepper steak and onions over rice

Other Stir Fry Recipes

If you try this pepper steak and onions recipe or any of my other recipes, let me know what you think by leaving a comment below. I love hearing from you and how you enjoy my recipes!

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How to make Pepper Steak and Onions

This recipe will guide you through how to make pepper steak and onions with a savory sauce served over white rice or cauliflower rice. It is so easy and so delicious!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound flank steak
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch divided
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or canola oil divided
  • 1 red bell peppers sliced into strips
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced into strips
  • 1 large white onion or yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 inch fresh ground ginger minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Sesame seeds and/or green onion for garnish

Instructions 

  • Thinly slice flank steak or top sirloin steak into thin slices against the grain and place it in a bowl or large ziplock bag.
  • In a small bowl combine cornstarch with soy sauce, then pour over the meat and stir to combine. Allow the meat to marinate for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  • In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon avocado or canola oil over medium heat.
  • Add in the thinly sliced peppers and onions and sauté until the vegetables are tender.
  • Stir in minced garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds, until fragrant.
  • Season peppers, onions and garlic with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add an additional tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the meat and season with salt, pepper, and any additional seasonings you'd like. Stir fry for 5-7 minutes, until the meat is mostly cooked through.
  • While the meat cooks, make the sauce. In a medium bowl combine beef broth with rice vinegar, sesame oil, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, fresh ground ginger, red pepper flake, brown sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Whisk.
  • Return the veggies to the pan. Pour the sauce over the beef and vegetables and stir.
  • Simmer for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Garnish with chopped green onions and/or sesame seeds.
  • Serve over rice, cauliflower rice or noodles.

Notes

Serve over rice or cauliflower rice.
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Hi, I’m Ashley & I’m so happy you’re here!

Ashley is the founder of CenterCutCook and a former teacher that now spends her days in the kitchen so that she can share her favorite recipes with you!