Kung pao beef features tender beef strips with spicy chili peppers and crunchy peanuts in a savory sauce. — ready in under an hour and so much better than takeout!
Today we’ve got a takeout favorite made a little healthier for ya!
While we love indulging in our favorite neighborhood Chinese takeout place occasionally, sometimes it’s just worth it to make it from scratch at home.
Classic kung pao chicken is always a winner in our books, so we decided to change things up today and bring you a beef version!
All the things you know and love about the classic takeout dish including crunchy peanuts, a savory sauce, tender meat, and just a little punch of heat.
Wham bam, meet your new go-to weeknight dinner!
This Kung Pao Beef features…
- Tender marinated beef strips sauteed with sweet peppers, green onions, and spicy chili peppers
- Lots of aromatic flavor from ginger, garlic, and green onions
- A savory stir fry sauce
- Under an hour to make and made entirely in one pan
Making the Kung Pao Beef
(scroll down to the bottom of post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Beef sirloin
- Rice vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Bell peppers
- Green onions
- Dried chili peppers
- Vegetable oil
- Brown sugar
- Roasted peanuts
Choosing Your Beef
We recommend a sirloin steak for this recipe, but flank steak also works very well!
Slice the beef into strips as thin as you can get them and make sure you trim off any extra fat on the outside.
Tip: freeze the steak for about 20 minutes to make slicing easier!
Tips for Perfect Kung Pao
- Marinate beef – place the beef strips in a medium bowl and toss with a bit of soy sauce, rice vinegar, and cornstarch. A quick 20 minute marinade is all it takes!
- Use a wok – using a wok gives you a heating surface most ideal for stir fries. If you don’t have a wok, you can use a large stainless steel skillet instead.
- Brown vegetables – saute the sweet peppers, green onoins, garlic, ginger, and chili peppers.
- Brown beef – remove the vegetables from the wok and brown the beef. If possible, try to brown the beef in a single layer – work in batches if you have to!
- Add sauce components – a little soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, and brown sugar.
- Season kung pao – toss everything around until the sauce is bubbly and the beef + peppers are evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste if needed.
There are several ways you can alternate this recipe to make it suit your preferences!
- Change the meat – boneless skinless chicken breasts would work great in place of the beef.
- Decrease the spice – if you want a mild kung pao, just leave the chili peppers out.
- Try other vegetables – broccoli, snow peas, carrots, or mushrooms would work great in place of the peppers. Or try a mix of a few different veggies!
- Use a different nut – if you don’t care for peanuts you can use cashews or slivered almonds in their place. Or leave the nuts out entirely!
Make Ahead Instructions
For the ultimate ease, we recommend slicing beef and vegetables ahead of time and storing separately in refrigerator up to 4 days. This cuts down on a lot of time once you’re ready to cook!
Once made, this kung pao keeps great in the fridge up to 6 days. We recommend reheating in microwave 1-2 minutes, stirring at 30 second intervals.
It’s spicy, it’s perfectly saucy, and just LOADED with juicy beef and tender vegetables. Pile it over a mountain of fluffy rice and you’re officially in business.
And you may actually be in danger of putting your local Chinese restaurant out of business.
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
More takeout favorites to try next!
Kung Pao Beef
- 1-1/2 lbs beef sirloin, cut into thin 1-in strips
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola oil
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1-in pieces
- 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1-in pieces
- 1 small bunch green onions, green/white parts cut into 2-in pieces
- 8-10 dried chili peppers (use a knife to cut peppers open for a spicier kick!)
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Hot steamed rice for serving
- Combine beef, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Allow to marinate 20 minutes at room temperature.
- Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and swirl to coat pan. Add peppers and green onions to pan and saute 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until peppers are tender. Add chili peppers, garlic, and ginger and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Remove vegetables from pan and transfer to a bowl. Add remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and swirl to coat pan. Add marinated beef and cook over medium-high heat, turning beef occasionally until golden-brown and cooked through.
- Add cooked vegetables, soy sauce, water, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and peanuts. Toss kung pao several minutes until sauce is slightly thickened.
- Season kung pao beef with salt if needed and several grinds of pepper. Serve warm over steamed rice. Enjoy!