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.

The Best Steak Cut for Stir-Fry

This recipe calls for sirloin or chuck steaks, but these cuts of beef work in a stir-fry, too.

  • Flank steak
  • Outside or inside skirt steak
  • Denver steak
  • Ranch steak

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.

Do-Ahead Stir-Fry Steps

The beauty of a stir-fry is that it cooks very fast. It's best eaten immediately after cooking. We don't recommend cooking it in advance to reheat later. It's better fresh, and it takes almost as long to reheat as it does to cook. It won't save you much time.

However, you can prep the ingredients a day in advance to save time. Season, pound, and cut the steak as directed in Steps 1 and 2. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Cut the vegetables and store them together in a tightly covered container. Mince the garlic and store it in its own container. Chop the cilantro and do the same. Come dinner time, your stir-fry will come together is a flash.

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

Ingredients

  • 1 pound top sirloin or chuck steaks (about 1/2 inch thick), trimmed
  • 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 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Method

  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.

    quick-beef-stir-fry-bell-peppers-method-1
    Elise Bauer
    quick-beef-stir-fry-bell-peppers-method-2
    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.

    quick-beef-stir-fry-bell-peppers-method-3
    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.

    quick-beef-stir-fry-bell-peppers-method-4
    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).

    quick-beef-stir-fry-bell-peppers-method-5
    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.

Quick Beef Stir Fry with Bell Peppers
Elise Bauer