Quick Beef Stir-Fry with Bell Peppers

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Sometime in the mid-80s I gave my father a subscription to Gourmet Magazine for Christmas. I think this goes down in family history as the most appreciated gift ever given to him by one of his kids. He continued to subscribe to Gourmet for at least 15 years.

Over the last few years, mostly to get ideas for this site, dad has been skimming through decades old issues that he still has in stashes all over the house.

Here’s a recipe that started out from an old issue of Gourmet and used Worcestershire sauce, but over the years has morphed into something with a more Asian flare with soy sauce and sesame oil, and onions along with the strips of bell pepper.

The original recipe called for chuck, we used top sirloin, which made the beef strips very tender, but because the strips are so thin, and cut across the grain, you could easily use chuck.

Quick Beef Stir-Fry with Bell Peppers Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 pound top sirloin or chuck steaks (about 1/2 inch thick), trimmed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3 Tbsp grapeseed, safflower, canola, rice bran or other high-smoke point oil, divided
  • 2 medium bell peppers, one red, one green, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise (root to top)
  • A dozen cherry tomatoes, cut in half, or one large tomato, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil


1 Season the steaks with salt and pepper and rub minced garlic over one side. Place the steaks between two sheets of plastic wrap. With a meat pounder, pound the steaks to a 1/4 inch thickness.

quick-pepper-steak-1.jpg quick-pepper-steak-2.jpg

Let the steaks sit for 10 minutes to absorb the flavor of the garlic. Then cut them across the grain in 1/2-inch wide strips.


2 Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large skillet on high heat. Add the sliced onions and bell peppers, cook, stirring, until just barely tender, about 1-2 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan to a bowl and keep warm.

pepper-steak-3.jpg pepper-steak-4.jpg

3 Heat an additional Tbsp of oil in the skillet on high heat, until the oil is shimmering, but not smoking. Add the strips of beef let the beef brown initially, without stirring, but as soon as it is brown on one side, then stir. Cook for no more than a minute (for medium-rare).

Add the peppers and onions, tomatoes, cilantro, soy sauce and sesame oil and cook for a half minute longer, stirring. Remove from heat.

Serve alone, or with steamed rice. Salt and pepper to taste.

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  1. sara

    Looks good but underneath it could I put spaghetti noodles instead of rice?

    Sure, if you want. ~Elise

  2. Lisa

    Add a little Mexican seasoning and serve with softened flour tortillas. Fajitas!

  3. Liz

    I don’t know if any of you have ever tried this, but a recent recipe in our local newspaper for peppers and onions called for peeling the bell peppers with a very sharp vegetable peeler before cooking them. What a difference it made in the finished dish. I know a lot of recipes call for broiling peppers to remove the skin, but that’s a big mess and I never thought of actually peeling them. It was relatively quick and the results were delicious.

    Shuna, of Eggbeater once fed me a thin slice of a peeled bell pepper. What a difference! Wow. Sort of like a peeled grape. Great idea if you have the time. ~Elise

  4. aida

    For an added flavor, I marinate the beef strips in 3 tablespoon soysauce, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tsp grated ginger and 3 cloves crushed garlic (up to an hour). I save the marinade and add about 2 teaspoonful of cornstarch to it and add the mixture to the pan after cooking the meat and vegetables. This makes a nice gravy to pour over the rice.

  5. David Grant

    Both my parents and my in-laws make something like this before. It’s good, but once I went Asian, I could never go back to this. Just last night I made some beef and peppers with Lee Kum Kee’s black bean garlic sauce. Cooking rare is a must for nice tender meat, and don’t forget it will continue cooking on the serving plate too. I had the heat on the stove super hot (max) and cooked the beef and sauce quickly then threw in the peppers and cooked for another minute or so. Next time I might put the peppers in earlier like Elise did.

  6. Cynthia

    It would be a little more work, but how about adding some lightly sauteed portobello mushrooms… steak, mushrooms, onions and veggies. Totally delish!

    • Bonny Buckley

      Delicious. I did it tonight with sliced mushrooms. Highly recommended!

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