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Healthy Mongolian Beef

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When you need a fast dinner, don’t do “take-out”, this Mongolian Beef made with shaved steak is sure to hit the spot, and healthier too. It has the right combination of sweet and spicy with fresh ginger and red pepper flakes. You’re going to love the Mongolian sauce!

And when I say fast dinner, I mean fast, like 20 minutes fast! Get your rice cooking and bam — dinner!

I love my Best Cheesesteak Sandwich so much, I had to make another recipe with shaved beef that will have my family coming back for more. Whenever I head to Trader Joe’s I like to snag a package of the shaved steak and make some cheesesteaks!

Mongolian Beef image of black bowl filled with Mongolian beef, rice and broccoli with chopsticks on top.

If you have skirt or flank steak, this Easy Beef and Broccoli is a winner. The right marinade makes all the difference in a recipe—and with a blend of warm nuttiness and herbs, this Flank Steak is one of our family favorites.

Healthy Mongolian Beef Recipe

How is this a healthier version of Mongolian beef? I took an ancient copycat P.F. Chang’s Mongolian recipe and reduced the sugar significantly. Plus using a low-sodium or Liquid Amino’s adds a punch!

Primary Ingredients

The ingredients are simple, the taste — out of this world! Print the recipe card at the end of the post for all details.

Mongolian Beef image of ingredients L-R green onions, cornstarch, dark brown sugar, minced garlic, shaved beef steak, soy sauce and minced ginger.
  • Shaved Beef | Thinly sliced steak makes it wonderful and tender and oh so easy! If you can’t find it, use thinly sliced flank or skirt steak.
  • Soy Sauce | You can use a grain free soy sauce if you need the dish to be gluten-free. It’s a staple in the sauce and adds a kick!
  • Dark Brown Sugar | The dark sugar enhances the flavor. If you have light brown sugar, it will work too. You can also add a bit of molasses to deepen the flavor.
  • Cornstarch | Used to thicken the sauce, I like using non-GMO; you can also use tapioca flour if you’re allergic to corn.
  • Garlic | You can buy minced garlic at Trader Joe’s to make cooking even easier.
  • Green Onions | Also called scallions, add great flavor and color to this dish.
  • Fresh Ginger | The aroma of fresh ginger can’t be beat—and if you like it spicy, you can always add extra.
  • Red Pepper Flakes | They are optional because they carry a punch, but I love to sprinkle them on top.
  • Sesame Seeds | This is another optional ingredient, but I use them because I love the hint of nuttiness and beauty they add to the final dish.

TIP | If you don’t use much fresh ginger, it freezes great; when needed, simply grate while frozen. Or purchase Dorot frozen crushed ginger, love them — I get mine from Trader Joe’s.

Instructions for Mongolian Beef

Sprinkle the shaved steak in the cornstarch, tossing to coat. In your small saucepan, heat the oil and saute the garlic and ginger.

Process shots for mongolian beef, tossing shaved steak in cornstarch, saute the ginger and garlic in small saucepan.

Drizzle in the soy sauce and dark brown sugar, increasing the heat. It must be stirred constantly because sugar burns easily.

After the sugar dissolves, set it aside.

Mongolian Beef Process shots, adding soy sauce and brown sugar.

In a heavy skillet (I love my Staub for this) saute the shaved beef in small batches. It only takes about 2 minutes for each batch. Removing the beef to a plate between batches, be sure to bring the heat of your pan back up each time.

Browning shaved beef for mongolian beef.

When all the meat is cooked, return all the beef to the pan and the Mongolian sauce to coat it. Add the green onions. That’s it! Your Mongolian Beef is ready to serve with rice and broccoli, garnished with the red pepper flakes and sesame seeds.

Variations

Mongolian Chicken Recipe | This recipe is so delicious with chicken too! Tip to get your chicken extra thin, freeze for 20-30 minutes then slice.

This Mongolian Beef recipe is very flexible—you can change the spiciness with an addition of more ginger and red pepper flakes. If you really want to heat up the spice index, add a little cayenne powder! Your eyes may water, but it will still be delicious!

Keto Mongolian Beef

It’s easy to swap out the rice for cauliflower rice. It’s delicious and you probably won’t notice a lot of difference. 

Instead of cornstarch, use almond flour. It will make a lovely thick sauce with a great flavor.

Grabbing a bite of tender Mongolian Beef with chopsticks.

TIPS for the Best Mongolian Beef

  • Pro Tip 1 | When you’re cooking the batches of meat, make sure the oil is at the right temperature. This is flash cooking, and it needs to be hot! It’s okay if your meet isn’t cooked all the way through, it will finish cooking in the sauce.
  • Use the right cut of beef | typically Mongolian beef recipe is made from thinly sliced flank steak, but top round, or skirt steak may also be used. Or be like me and buy it all shaved super thin from your butcher or Trader Joe’s.
  • Pro Tip 2 | Once you’re done stir frying the meat, remove excess oil. This will keep it tasting fresh!
  • Pro Tip 3 | Instead of using vegetable oil, swap it out for a high quality olive oil or avocado oil for their high flashpoint temperatures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make Mongolian Beef in the Slow Cooker or Crockpot?

I recommend that you still brown your beef in a skillet first, but if you really don’t have time, then you may just toss it in the slow cooker, mix sauce ingredients and pour over. Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours, high 2-3 hours.

Can I make Mongolian Beef in my air fryer?

Yes! Toss the meat frequently in the air fryer basket until it is as crisp as you like, then add it to the skillet to coat it with the Mongolian sauce you’ve prepared.

Instant Pot Mongolian Beef?

Yes, it’s so quick and easy on the stovetop, try it in the Instant Pot!

Brown the shaved steak on the SAUTE mode in batches, once browned. Turn off Instant Pot, deglaze pan with a little water if needed. Return beef to the Instant Pot, mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over the shaved beef. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, turn the valve to close, Pressure Cook on High for 6-8 minutes. Use the Instant Release method, as soon as time is up, stirring in sliced green onions and sprinkling on red pepper flakes and/or sesame seeds.

Mongolian Beef crispy and saucy in a black bowl with white rice and steamed broccoli.

How to store Mongolian Beef Recipe

If you have any left over, store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. To reheat, microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between. Or even better, warm a skillet and toss the Mongolian beef recipe in the hot pan for a few minutes.

Freezing Mongolian Beef is easy too, this sauce and beef will freeze well, up to 3 months stored in an airtight container in the freezer. To reheat, allow to thaw overnight and then follow the instructions above.

What to Serve with Mongolian Beef

  • Rice | White rice will be ready in the same amount of time, but plan ahead if you are making brown rice since takes twice as long to cook, our personal favorite is Jasmine, but any rice will work.
  • Noodles | Yummy, Mongolian beef noodles, yes please! Try cooking Udon, Soba or wide Rice Noodles.
  • Riced Cauliflower | Keeping it low-carb and Keto, serve with steamed riced cauliflower.
  • Steamed or Roasted Veggies | I steamed broccoli to go with ours, but feel free to saute up some peppers and onions, shaved carrots and even cauliflower would be delicious.
  • Delicious served with this Asian Ramen Salad.

Equipment

I love this Staub Everything pan and it’s aptly named as I use it for everything! It’s larger than most pans, with sloping sides, so it works great for stir-fry and as a decent wok replacement.

A good sharp knife if you are shaving your own beef steak and a pair of sturdy tongs.

If you love quick and easy weeknight dinners, try these:

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19 Comments

    1. Hi Diana, great question, I need to clarify a bit more. Saute your garlic and ginger in a couple teaspoons, then you will use more or less in addition when you saute the steak. Every pan and beef for that matter is a bit different. Happy cooking!

  1. I made this but it was way too salty. I’m thinking low sodium beef broth to replace all those liquid amino’s or soy sauce .

    1. Hmmm, I’ve never had anyone complain about that before, but for sure, if you are sensitive to salt, try using Bragg’s liquid aminos or low sodium soy sauce/broth — or you can try reducing it slightly to taste as you go.

  2. 3 stars
    I followed the recipe exactly but the result was pretty overpowering. I feel like the sauce portion should be halved, or the meat doubled!

    1. Sorry to hear that Aaron, we love the sauce on our rice, so like have the extra, my friends and family and other readers have not complained about it being overpowering, you can always try reducing the sauce by half if that’s your preference. Sorry it didn’t meet your expectations.

        1. Thanks for catching that Becca, that is a default setting unfortunately. I just adjusted the recipe so it shows per serving, but since it’s between 4-5 servings, it gives an estimation. Hope that helps.

  3. I couldn’t believe how delicious this dish was with such few ingredients! I used the recommended Trader Joe’s shaved beef and it was perfect.

    Can’t wait to make this again for friends and family!