Quick Beef Stir-Fry with Bell Peppers

In search of a quick and easy meal when you’re short on time? This beef steak stir-fry comes together in under 30 minutes and is delicious!

Quick Beef Stir Fry with Bell Peppers
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 flair 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.

How To Cut Steak for Tender Meat

Follow these tips for slicing steak for stir-fry so it's tender, not tough.

  • Salt is a tenderizer. Season the steak, and do it before cutting it—simply because it's easier to season one large piece than many small pieces.
  • This recipe calls for pounding the steak, which tenderizes it, so don't skip this step.
  • Cut the raw steak across the grain, holding the knife at a 45-degree angle. This creates a bias cut that exposes more surface area between the muscle fibers, also shortening them. Short fibers translate to less chewy meat.

5 More Speedy Stir-Fry Recipes to Try

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Quick Beef Stir-Fry with Bell Peppers

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 pound top sirloin or chuck steaks (about 1/2-inch thick), trimmed

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 large clove garlic, minced

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 medium green bell pepper, sliced into 1/4-inch strips

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into 1/4-inch strips

  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise (root to top)

  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved, or 1 large tomato, roughly chopped

  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, optional

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce if cooking gluten free)

  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil


  1. Season the steaks, then pound thinly:

    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.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer

    Let the steaks sit for 10 minutes to absorb the flavor of the garlic.

  2. Cut the steaks:

    Slice the steaks across the grain into 1/2-inch wide strips.

    Elise Bauer
  3. Sauté the onions and peppers:

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

    Elise Bauer
  4. Sauté the beef strips:

    Heat an additional tablespoon 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, As soon as it is brown on one side, begin to stir. Cook for no more than a minute (for medium-rare).

    Elise Bauer
  5. Add the vegetables and finish:

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

    Add salt and pepper to taste.

    Serve alone (paleo, low carb), or with steamed rice.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
457 Calories
33g Fat
8g Carbs
34g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 457
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 33g 42%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 109mg 36%
Sodium 372mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 34g
Vitamin C 77mg 385%
Calcium 36mg 3%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 568mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.