Pepper steak is a quick and delicious meal you can whip up in no time. It’s an ideal weeknight dinner that’s sure to impress your family or guests. Enjoy delicious Asian flavors, fresh vegetables, and savory steak all in the same dynamite dish. And the best part? This divine dinner takes less than twenty minutes to make! Wok this way for our favorite recipe, plus tips to customize it to your tastes and dietary needs. We’ve even included some suggestions for food pairings so you’ll be all set for success.
The Best Pepper Steak Recipe
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin (aka rice wine)
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound steak of your choice (sliced into thin strips)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 bell peppers (thinly sliced)
- 1 large onion (yellow or white, diced)
- 1 clove garlic (fresh and minced)
- 1/2 tablespoon water
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 green onions (thinly sliced)
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
- medium bowl
- large skillet or wok
Begin by adding 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, the rice wine, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, and the black pepper to a bowl. Whisk ingredients together until evenly combined, then add steak strips to marinate. Set aside. We recommend doing this step ahead of time so steak can marinate at least 15 minutes. Do not marinate more than 30 minutes.
Warm 2 teaspoons of sesame oil in wok over high heat then add beef and marinade. Cook for three minutes on side one, then flip and cook for another two minutes. Remove meat and set aside.
In same wok, combine peppers and onion and cook for four minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.
While that’s in progress, in a small bowl, mix rest of soy sauce, remaining cornstarch, and 1/2 a tablespoon of water in bowl. Add to wok after the garlic cooks for one minute.
Then, add beef back into wok along with red pepper flakes. Cook for another minute or two or until sauce has thickened to your tastes. Serve over white rice and garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.
For more helpful information about mirin, check out our guide here.
For the best rice results, visit our article here.
If sauce is too runny, consider adding another teaspoon of cornstarch or cooking a bit longer so it reduces.
Now that we’ve mastered a classic take on pepper steak, let’s discuss some ways to tweak this recipe to your tastes.
- Magic Mushrooms: The earthy umami goodness of mushrooms pairs well with this steak. Simply add them to the wok at the same as the onions and enjoy the results! We like button mushrooms or cremini mushrooms in this instance.
- Verdant Veggies: Add snow peas or broccoli to the wok for a one-bowl dinner. This will punch up the nutrient density and add pretty color to your meal. You could also substitute brown rice since it’s better for you than white.
- Sodium Watch: For those cognizant of consuming too much sodium, be sure to choose a low sodium soy sauce option.
- Paleo Pal: In case you or your guests follow a paleo lifestyle, substitute coconut aminos for the soy sauce and cauliflower rice instead of white rice.
- Poultry Time: If you prefer chicken to beef, consider using that instead. We recommend thinly sliced strips of chicken breast or chicken thighs. Just be sure to cook them to the recommended temperature for food safety, which is 165 degrees.
While this dish is satisfying enough for a whole meal, you may want the option to add some side dishes or other courses. Here are some of our favorites to pair with our yummy pepper steak.
- Spicy Green Beans: Consider spicy Sichuan-inspired green beans for a side dish. Ginger and peppers add heat and help balance the main dish’s bold flavors and hint of sweetness.
- All About Appetizers: Spring rolls, egg rolls, or crab rangoon would be a delicious start to a memorable meal. Spicy salted edamame is a crowd-pleaser, too.
- Satisfying Soup: An egg drop soup or miso soup first course is another great idea.
- Side Salad: A light option to enjoy before or during dinner would be a simple salad. Consider adding crunchy noodles and Mandarin oranges to stick with the Asian motif of your dinner. Or, pick your go-to salad choice but try to keep the main dish flavors in mind.
Overall, we hope you’ve enjoyed our foray into pepper steak, plus ways to jazz up the classic recipe and tips on food pairings. You’re destined to be a kitchen legend with this flavorful and quick meal.