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May 11, 2024

Hot Pepper Beef Stir-Fry

This hot pepper beef is a wonderful Chinese-style stir-fry that you can make in just a few minutes with easy-to-find ingredients. 

Hot Pepper Beef Stir-Fry in a bowl with rice on the side.

This stir-fried hot pepper beef is one of my all-time favorite stir-fries. The dish is super easy to make, the ingredients are easily found in your grocery store, and the resulting flavor is so amazing. 

Plus, it makes great leftovers, kind of like leftover Chinese take-out. 

Even I, the messy cooking queen, did not wreck the kitchen when making this stir-fry. Just a medium mess.... mostly because I forget to read ahead to get everything prepped in advance. I try.... I really do. With this recipe, it was really easy to get organized.

Hot Pepper Beef Stir-Fry in a blue rimmed Asian style bowl.

Ingredients You Will Need:

Flank steak: About 12 ounces. This amount is just right for a 14-inch flat bottomed wok (or 12-inch skillet) used on a standard American stovetop. 

Pantry ingredients: Minced garlic, soy sauce, cornstarch, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, ketchup, and vegetable or peanut oil. 

Produce: Red onions, bell peppers (green, red, yellow, or a combination), and freshly grated ginger. 

Asian-style Ingredients: Toasted sesame oil, Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry, and hoisin sauce, a sweet and salty sauce that typically includes fermented soybeans. 

For the hoisin sauce, the brand I used was Lee Kum Kee. Other popular brands include Kikkoman and Koon Chun

This dish is pretty accessible, even for those who don't have access to specialized Asian ingredients. That does not mean that the dish isn't amazing. The only items I had to buy for this dish were a red onion, bell peppers, and a flank steak. Everything else was in my pantry.

Hot Pepper Beef Stir-Fry with white rice in a bowl.

Process to Make this Beef Stir-Fry:

First, cut the beef into strips and toss it with the garlic, soy sauce, cornstarch, rice wine or or dry sherry, salt, pepper, a bit of water, and the sesame oil. 

Next, in another bowl, stir together the ketchup, hoisin, and more rice wine or sherry. 

After that, heat your wok over high heat, swirl in some oil, and add the beef mixture and let it sear by spreading it over the bottom and sides of the wok. Then stir fry it for a minute before transferring it to a plate. 

Finally, stir-fry the onions, ginger, red pepper flakes, and bell peppers for about 30 seconds and then add the beef mixture back into the wok. Add more salt and the ketchup/hoisin mixture and then stir fry for another minute. 

Hot Pepper Beef Stir-Fry in a blue and white Asian style bowl.

Equipment You May Need:

You can easily stir fry this hot pepper beef in a 12-inch stainless steel skillet, but for best results, I recommend a 14-inch carbon steel wok

My favorite tool for stir-frying is actually a metal fish spatula, although any spatula will do.  

Hot Pepper Beef Stir-Fry close up of the cooked ingredients.


While this dish is best served immediately, you can easily reheat it for just a few seconds in the microwave. 

You can also wrap it up in foil and reheat it in the oven or toaster oven. 

Serving Suggestions: 

Serve this hot pepper beef with white rice on it's own for three to four people. You can also serve it as part of a multi-course meal. My favorite dishes to go with it include Cellophane Noodles with Enoki Mushrooms, Chicken with Pineapple, and Squid with Black Bean Sauce. Throw in some Bok Choy with Pancetta for a veggie. 

Hot Pepper Beef Stir-Fry with Rice in a Bowl.

This week the From Our Dinner Table group is featuring recipes with beef! 

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Hot Pepper Beef Stir-Fry in a red rimmed bowl.

Hot Pepper Beef Stir-Fry

Hot Pepper Beef Stir-Fry
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 5 MinTotal time: 25 Min
This hot pepper beef is a wonderful Chinese-style stir-fry that you can make in just a few minutes with easy-to-find ingredients.


  • 12 ounces flank steak
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon plus one tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut, vegetable, or grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups thinly sliced bell peppers (any color or combination)


  1. Cut the flank steak with the grain into 2 inch wide strips. Next, cut the strips into 1/4 inch sticks against the grain. Add the meat to a medium bowl and add the garlic, soy sauce, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the rice wine or sherry, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, the pepper, the sesame oil, and 2 teaspoons of water and stir.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the ketchup, hoisin, and a tablespoon of the rice wine or sherry.
  3. Heat your wok over medium high heat. Drizzle in a tablespoon of the oil. Add the beef mixture and spread it out over the bottom and sides of the wok in a single layer and let sear for one minute, without stirring. Next, stir fry the beef for one minute. Transfer the beef to a plate.
  4. Add the rest of the oil (1 tablespoon) to the wok and then add the red onions, ginger, and pepper flakes. Stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add the bell peppers and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the beef, along with its juices, back into the wok and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the ketchup and hoisin mixture and stir-fry everything for about 1 minute.
  5. Serve!

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

13 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

3 g

Carbs (grams)

13 g

Fiber (grams)

2 g

Net carbs

11 g

Sugar (grams)

7 g

Protein (grams)

20 g

Cholesterol (grams)

51 mg
beef, bell peppers,
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This Hot Pepper Beef is adapted from Grace Young's Stir Frying from the Sky's Edge, a James Beard Board Foundation Award Winner published in 2010.  

Hot Pepper Beef Stir-Fry overhead shot of the dish in a bowl.

Updated May, 2024. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Stunning photo! The colors are amazing. I too was just thinking about how to make these dishes for a party. We are having a bbq this weekend and I would love to do a vegetable dish. Not only would I come to dinner, I would want to move in (OK, next door..)

  2. Great photo as always. I'm holding off on this recipe until I'm on vaation next week, hopefully mine will turn out as lovely!

    1. I'm sure it will Matt. This one is easy and delicious. Have a great vacation!

  3. This looks awesome! Pinned to try soon!

  4. When you figure out how to do a multitude of stir fry dishes in the same meal, let me know. I once did 2 and it nearly killed me. In the meantime, love this beef.

    1. I definitely will! It's enough of a high wire act making one dish, isn't it?

  5. Another lost recipe from my childhood! I haven't completely forgotten about this one. Now, I'll have to put it on the menu to make soon!

    1. I would love it if you let me know how you like it!

  6. This sounds delicious! We love getting beef and broccoli when we go out but I'd much rather make it at home!


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