Szechuan Beef | The Recipe Critic


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Delicious Szechuan Beef is filled with mouthwatering bold flavor! Tender strips of beef, bell peppers, snap peas and broccoli are stir-fried together with a perfectly sweet, spicy, tangy sauce. It’s way better than takeout and cooks up in under 20 minutes!

Instead of picking up the phone to call for takeout, try some of my faves that are even better than what you could get from your local Chinese restaurant. Cook these up next: slow cooker General Tso’s chickenDan Dan noodles, and chicken Szechuan for some major deliciousness!

Szechuan beef and veggies served with rice in a white bowl.

What is Szechuan Beef?

Szechuan beef is a popular dish served at many Chinese takeout joints. It originated from the Sichuan (hence the name) province of China, and it’s known for its sauce that is thick, tangy, slightly sweet with a bit of a kick. It’s a perfect blend of heat, tanginess, and umami flavors that make it an absolutely amazing meal.

This recipe is great for busy weeknights – make the multi-dimensional marinade ahead of time, prep the beef and veggies, and then it’s just a quick stir fry to dinner! It’s wonderful served over steamed rice or easy fried rice to help temper the heat. Other options include noodles, quinoa, vegetable lo mein or cauliflower rice.

Ingredients Needed

Restaurant-quality Szechuan beef, but from the comfort of your own home! These are all the ingredients you’ll need to make the most perfect tender beef smothered in an amazing sauce. All measurements can be found below in the recipe card.

  • Flank Steak: Tender, juicy steak that cuts easily and cooks perfectly!
  • Chinese Black Vinegar: A common ingredient of many Asian cooks, as it adds a sweet and sour note to the recipe. It can be found at your local Asian market or on Amazon.
  • Soy Sauce: Works with the black vinegar to add tanginess and a bit of saltiness to the dish.
  • Chinese Five Spice: A spice mixture of five or more spices used predominantly in almost all branches of Chinese cuisine. For a spice mix that really packs a punch, make this simple homemade Chinese Five Spice.
  • Cornstarch: Thickens the sauce.
  • Oil: For cooking the beef and veggies. I typically use vegetable oil because it has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point.
  • Vegetables: To give this meal plenty of color, fresh flavor, and heartiness, we’re stirring in diced yellow onion, sugar snap peas, chopped broccoli and sliced red bell peppers. Feel free to switch any of these out with what you have in your fridge!
  • Garlic: Adds extra savory flavor.
  • Szechuan Sauce: Use this homemade Szechuan sauce to make the flavor of this dish even more wonderful!

How to Make Szechuan Beef

This recipe for Szechuan beef is so simple! Mix your sauce, heat up your wok, and then cook all of your ingredients together! You’ll have a flavorful meal ready in no time. Here’s how:

  1. Prep: Slice the flank steak into ¼ inch slices about 3 inches long. Prep all your vegetables and set them aside.
  2. Marinate the Steak: In a large freezer bag, mix together the black vinegar, soy sauce, Chinese five spice, and cornstarch. Add the flank steak to the bag and shake to coat evenly. Let the steak marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Sear the Beef: In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil up over medium high heat. Add the marinated steak to the wok and sear the beef until it is all browned on each side. Don’t cook it for too long though, it will finish cooking with the vegetables.
  4. Sauté the Vegetables: Remove the steak from the wok, add in another tablespoon of vegetable oil, onions, sugar peas, broccoli, and peppers. Sauté until the vegetables have begun to tenderize and the onions are transparent.
  5. Combine Veggies and Beef: Add in the garlic, and the seared beef, sauté for a few minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Pour the szechuan sauce over the steak and vegetables, saute all the vegetables and steak in the sauce, stirring continually, until the sauce is evenly coating everything.
  6. Serve: Remove the Szechuan beef from the wok and enjoy it served over rice.
4-photo collage of the steak strips and vegetables being cooked in a skillet.

Tips and Variations

This Szechuan beef recipe isn’t too complicated, but here are a few extra tips and ways to change it up to make it your own. This is sure to be a new favorite dinner!

  • Different Veggies: Feel free to swap out any of the vegetables used in this recipe with what you prefer and have in your fridge!
  • A Vinegar Substitute: If you don’t have Chinese black vinegar available, feel free to use balsamic vinegar for a similar tangy flavor.
  • Avoid Overcrowding Pan: Don’t overcrowd your skillet or wok when you fry your beef and vegetables. Work in batches, if needed, so each piece has enough room to crisp up and develop caramelized edges.

Top-down view of cooked szechuan beef in a skillet.

What to Serve With Szechuan Beef

Want to add to your incredible Szechuan beef dinner? Here are some of our favorite pairing options.

Storing Leftovers

Chinese food makes great leftovers, and this Szechuan Beef is no different! Serve it with some convenient Minute Rice, and you have an easy, tasty lunch the next day.

  • In the Refrigerator: Transfer beef and veggies to an airtight container and store for up to 4 days. When you’re ready to enjoy it, reheat over the stove or in the microwave until warmed through.

A bowl of szechuan beef served with chopsticks.

More Chinese Takeout Recipes

If you love Chinese food, but want to be able to whip up your favorite dishes in the comfort of your own home, you’re in luck. I have so many delicious Chinese recipes just waiting to be explored. Here are a few of the most popular ones!

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  • Slice the flank steak into ¼ inch slices about 3 inches long. Prep all your vegetables and set them aside.

  • In a large freezer bag, mix together the black vinegar, soy sauce, Chinese five spice, and cornstarch. Add the flank steak to the bag and shake to coat evenly. Let the steak marinate for at least 30 minutes.

  • In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil up over medium high heat. Add the marinated steak to the wok and sear the beef until it is all browned on each side. Don’t cook it for too long though, it will finish cooking with the vegetables.

  • Remove the steak from the wok, add in another tablespoon of vegetable oil, onions, sugar peas, broccoli, and peppers. Sauté until the vegetables have begun to tenderize and the onions are transparent.

  • Add in the garlic, and the seared beef, sauté for a few minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Pour the szechuan sauce over the steak and vegetables, sauté all the vegetables and steak in the sauce, stirring continually, until the sauce is evenly coating everything.

  • Remove the Szechuan beef from the wok and serve over rice.

Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
I like to serve this beef with my Easy Fried Rice.

Serving: 1servingCalories: 170kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 20gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 1440mgPotassium: 492mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 894IUVitamin C: 49mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 3mg

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





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