This homemade Hunan Beef is one of my favorite one-pan meals. It’s got juicy, marinated flank steak in a rich, savory sauce, with fresh peppers and a little heat. Whether you serve it with steamed rice, steamed vegetables, or enjoy it on its own, this delicious dish will become a regular in your meal rotation!
What Makes This Recipe So Good
- This beef stir fry has an incredible amount of flavor! There’s a little heat from the peppers, a little sweetness from the sauce, and a little umami from the marinade.
- At first glance you might think Hunan Beef is a really involved recipe that’s going to take a while to prepare, but it actually comes together really quickly! The most time consuming part is the 30 minute window where the steak marinates. The actual cooking only takes about 15 minutes!
- Our adaptation of Hunan Beef lands closer to the Americanized version you’re likely to find in your local restaurant than an authentic, Chinese version. For a truly authentic Hunan Beef, try this recipe from The Woks of Life.
Flank Steak – It’s no secret we’re big fans of flank steak. It’s just so perfect in such a wide variety of dishes! This recipe uses very thinly sliced strips of steak, so you’ll want to make sure you slice them correctly so they aren’t tough or chewy. Using a sharp knife, slice against the grain of the meat, slicing at a diagonal angle. How do you know if you’re cutting against the grain? Look for the lines of muscle running through the meat, and slice perpendicularly to those! You may have to adjust the way you’re slicing on different sections of meat depending on the direction the fibers run.
Oyster Sauce – Oh, this one’s so good. It’s a thick, kind of syrupy sauce that blends oyster juices with a little salt and sugar. Oyster sauce gives your Hunan Beef this incredibly rich, savory, multi-faceted umami. It’s not super fishy, so don’t let the name discourage you if you’re not big on seafood flavors. The steak marinade uses a very small amount of oyster sauce, but it really makes a difference!
Fresno Peppers – A little spicier than jalapeño peppers, fresno peppers add a touch of heat to your Hunan Beef. It’s balanced out nicely by the sweetness of the sauce and the mildness of the bell peppers, so don’t worry about your dish being too hot. If you like heat, though, you can always increase the number of Fresno peppers you use.
- You can substitute other peppers for the Fresno peppers if you like. Some peppers, like poblanos, are more mild. Others, like serrano peppers, are much hotter. You could also use a mixture of peppers to balance things out.
- The light cornstarch coating helps the steak strips crisp up in the pan, and it locks in some of the steak’s moisture so it stays nice and juicy. You can skip the cornstarch if you want or need to, or you can try substituting arrowroot powder, rice flour, or xanthan gum.
- To ensure the peppers cook evenly, chop them into similarly-sized pieces. If the sizes vary too much, you’ll have some peppers that are overcooked while others are barely cooked at all!
- When you first fry the flank steak, it’s important to place them in the frying pan in one even layer. If the pan is overcrowded, the steak won’t crisp up properly, and the cornstarch coating could get a little slimy. Trust me, no one wants slimy Hunan Beef. Work in multiple batches if you need to so that doesn’t happen! Having the oil good and hot before adding the steak will help it crisp up perfectly, too.
Try These Other Asian-Inspired Recipes, Too
- Beef Lo Mein
- Japanese Salad Dressing
- Szechuan Chicken
- Seaweed Salad
- Instant Pot Orange Chicken
- Whole30 Sushi – Spicy Salmon Roll (Low Carb, Paleo, Keto Friendly)
- Beef Pad Thai
- 1 pound flank steak thinly sliced
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup neutral oil
- 2 shallots thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1-inch piece ginger sliced
- 3 Fresno peppers thinly sliced
- 1 small green bell pepper chopped, seeds removed
- 1 small red bell pepper chopped, seeds removed
- 2 scallions chopped
For the Steak Marinade
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
For the Sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce see Notes
- 1 teaspoon sugar see Notes
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- Large bowls (2)
- Small bowl
- Large frying pan (or wok)
- In large bowl, whisk together avocado oil, oyster sauce, and water to make marinade. Add sliced flank steak to bowl and coat with marinade. Cover bowl and marinate steak 30 minutes.
- Toward end of marinating time, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, and rice vinegar to make sauce. Set aside.
- After 30 minutes, remove steak from marinade and transfer to another large bowl. Add cornstarch and toss or stir to very lightly coat steak.
- In large frying pan or wok, heat ¼ cup neutral oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add steak, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Work in batches if necessary. Cook steak until brown and crispy on each side.
- Remove steak from pan and set aside. Drain pan, leaving 2 tablespoons of oil. Add ginger to oil and cook until fragrant, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking or burning.
- Add sliced shallots and minced garlic to frying pan. Cook until fragrant, approximately 1 to 2 minutes, then add Fresno peppers. Cook approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking or burning.
- Add chopped green and red bell peppers and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until peppers soften slightly. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking or burning.
- Return flank steak to frying pan. Pour in sauce, then add scallions. Stir to coat. Cook until sauce is completely absorbed.
- Serve hot on its own or with rice.
- Flank Steak: Your flank steak strips should be roughly ¼-inch thick.
- Sugar: You can use coconut sugar instead if desired.
- Make it Vegetarian/Vegan: Use tofu instead of flank steak and use vegetarian/vegan oyster sauce.
- Make it Gluten Free: Use coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce.
- Make it Keto: Use Swerve or monk fruit in place of the sugar, and ¼-½ cup rice flour or 3-4 tablespoons xanthan gum instead of cornstarch. Use coconut aminos or keto-friendly fish sauce (like Red Boat) instead of oyster sauce.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.