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Pepper Steak Recipe | Easy 30 Minute Stir Fry Meal

This Pepper Steak recipe is a weeknight dinner dream! Who needs takeout or delivery when you can make it faster at home?

pepper steak over rice in a white bowl with salt and pepper shakers alongside a napkin in the background
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And, this easy pepper steak and rice is so delicious! (White rice or brown rice work equally well, though I favor my quick cook brown rice recipe.) Savory strips of steak and tender-crisp bell peppers are coated in an umami burst of flavor as you stir fry them with onions, garlic, ginger and soy sauce.

Serve my best pepper steak over fluffy rice and you have a scrumptiously satisfying meal that can be on the table in 30 minutes. It’s a family dinner sensation!

This scrumptious stir fry is perfect for a special date night at home, too. And, great food in very little time, makes this Pepper Steak a winning option at get-togethers, as well.

And, if you need refreshing grown-up beverages to go with your delicious meal check out these vodka cocktails from Mandy and Jane at Splash of Taste. Over 65 recipes for everything from a classic martini to Long Island Iced Tea. Be sure to check it out.

Updating the Slow Cooker Version

When our kids were small, I used to make a slow cooker version of Pepper Steak. It bubbled and cooked away all day while we home schooled and I worked a home business. It was delicious and a good solution for a different stage of my life.

But over time, I’ve come to prefer vibrant colors, bold pops of flavor and recipes I can prep quickly, even on busy weeknights.

This is my Pepper Steak makeover to give me ALL of that. And yes, it can easily be gluten free. It makes enough for 8 to 10 servings, so you can feed a crowd or enjoy the leftovers for lunch, tomorrow. I hope you and your family will love it!

Enjoy!

The Ingredients

pepper steak over rice in a white bowl with salt and pepper shakers alongside a napkin in the background

Steak: Ideally, flank steak is my favorite cut for making pepper steak. It’s unique grain and good flavor are perfect for quick searing. Top sirloin or top round can also work and be fairly tender, too, so use what you can get. For the batch in these photos, sirloin steak was all I could get my hands on and it worked great. Round steak is another option.

Onion: I use red onion in most of my cooking and this pepper steak with onion is no exception. I love the color of red onions and they adds a great depth of savory flavor with just a touch of caramely sweetness when they’re cooked. Use the onions you have on hand, though. Any will be delicious in this simple pepper steak and onion recipe!

Bell Peppers: Bell peppers are the co-stars of this fabulous dish and just as important as the steak. But, peppers and onions are also a classic combo. And they lend so much flavor to this dish. The peppers bring freshness, texture and vibrant color, too. Use whatever colors of bell peppers you can find, but I love mixing it up with one of each; red and green, orange and yellow. If I could only choose one color I would probably go with red bell peppers.

two red bell pepper, a yellow, an orange and twogreen bell peppers on a wooden table

Seasonings: Fresh minced garlic and ginger paste. If you need to sub in dried, I’d use one teaspoon of each.

I don’t add extra salt as I’m cooking the meat, since the soy sauce will be salty. I do use black pepper as the meat is cooking. I often add my low salt All Purpose Seasoning. Additional salt can be added, at the end after you taste the dish.

Sauce Ingredients: Savory sauce is important to the best pepper steak. This easy sauce recipe calls for soy sauce (or low sodium soy sauce), brown sugar, sesame oil and cornstarch. This is a savory, thickened sauce that clings to, and coats, the meat and peppers, but doesn’t leave much liquid in the pan. If you prefer a “saucier” pepper steak, you could double the sauce recipe. We prefer not to have so much sauce/liquid on the bottom of the plate.

Avocado Oil (or vegetable oil of your choice) for the bottom of the skillet.

bell peppers added to skillet with steak strips

A Note About Sesame Oil

Sesame oil is a very strong ingredient. A little bit goes a long way. Please start with just the amount indicated in this easy to make stir fry recipe, so you don’t overwhelm your dish. After tasting the finished sauce, you can always add more a little bit at a time (one or two drops at a time), if you feel it’s necessary.

bottle of sesame oil on a wooden table with sesame seeds in a bowl and scoop as well as scattered on the table

Choosing the Right Soy Sauce

This easy to make stir fry steak and peppers recipe uses regular soy sauce. It accounts for most of the saltiness in the recipe. If you choose low sodium soy sauce, you may need to adjust the salt and seasonings to your personal taste.

Choose either tamari or coconut aminos as a substitute for the soy sauce, if you’re cooking gluten free. Again, the saltiness of these sauces may vary from brand to brand, but they should be fairly similar to the regular soy sauce. Try not to add extra salt until you taste the finished dish.

soy sauce being poured into a spoon

FAQs about How to Make Pepper Steak

What Type of Steak Should I Use?

Flank steak is our first choice for making this pepper steak recipe. Cut across the grain and quick-seared it yields tender and flavorful bites. If you can’t find flank steak, top sirloin and top round are also good.

Is this recipe Gluten Free?

Yes. It definitely can be. You’ll need to use a gluten free soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos instead of regular soy sauce. All the other ingredients are naturally gluten free.

Can I use something besides corn starch to thicken the sauce?

Sure. Arrowroot powder or tapioca flour would both work. And both are gluten free.

How to Make Pepper Steak

For a quick visual tutorial, watch the video in the recipe card, below.

strips of sirloin cooking in a cast iron skillet
  1. Whisk together the sauce ingredients and set them aside until time to cook.
  2. Slice the steak into strips. It’s so important to remember, (whichever cut of steak you use), to cut the strips ACROSS the grain, not running with it. If you cut the meat in the same direction as the grain you will end up with tough and chewy steak bites. Cut across the grain for the best, tender and flavorful bites. The strips should be thinly sliced and about 1/2″ to 3/4″ wide.
  3. Core all the red, yellow and green bell peppers and cut them into thin strips.
  4. Heat avocado or vegetable oil over medium high heat in a deep skillet, (at least 12″ in diameter).
  5. Add onions to the hot oil. Stir fry them for about one minute.
  6. Divide the steak into two batches and add the first one to the skillet with the onions. Continue to stir fry and move the steak around to separate the individual strips and get them seared.
  7. Move the finished steak and onions to a plate. Add a little more oil to the skillet and cook the second batch of steak strips. Then, return all the steak to the skillet.
  8. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir to combine and cook for about 30 seconds. Keep stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  9. Add the bell pepper strips and stir them to combine with the steak. Continue cooking and stirring for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bell peppers are heated through, tender-crisp and vibrant in color.
  10. When the peppers are hot, pour the soy sauce/cornstarch mixture into the skillet and stir continuously to avoid sticking. After 2 to 3 minutes of cooking, the sauce will begin to thicken, clinging to the steak and peppers. There will be very little sauce in the bottom of the skillet.
  11. Serve. We love pepper steak over rice and I often sprinkle on sesame seeds and a few red pepper flakes. I also use my quick cooking brown rice recipe, most times. But, fried rice is scrumptious with pepper steak, too. Cooking the rice in the way your family likes best will only make this quick and easy recipe even better.
pepper steak recipe over rice in a white bowl with salt and pepper shakers alongside a napkin in the background

If you love rice bowls, be sure to also check out my Easy Egg Roll Bowl recipe and this delicious Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken Rice Bowl recipe!

Thank you so much for being a Glenda Embree blog reader! If you try this easy to make recipe for Pepper Steak, I hope you’ll stop back, leave a comment and give us a 5 star rating. The 5 star rating helps more people to find us in a Google search.

The Recipe

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pepper steak over rice in a white bowl with salt and pepper shakers alongside a napkin in the background

Pepper Steak


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5 from 23 reviews

  • Author: Glenda Embree
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 to 10 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Savory Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce (or low sodium soy sauce or tamari or coconut aminos for gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

For the Pepper Steak:

  • 2 Tablespoons avocado oil, plus more as needed (or vegetable oil of choice)
  • 1 red onion, small diced
  • 2 lbs. thin sliced flank steak (or top sirloin steak or top round), cut into 1/2″ strips (across the grain, not with it)
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger/ginger paste
  • 4 bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into strips (Choose a variety of colors. I use one of each: red and green bell pepper, yellow and orange.)
  • black pepper, to taste
  • OPTIONAL: 1 teaspoon All Purpose Seasoning (my homemade is the best low salt version)
  • OPTIONAL: red pepper flakes, to taste, as garnish

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the savory sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set them aside until time to cook.
  2. Slice the steak into strips. It’s so important to remember, (whichever cut of steak you use), to cut the strips ACROSS the grain, not running with it. If you cut the meat in the same direction as the grain you will end up with tough and chewy steak bites. Cut across the grain for the best, tender and flavorful bites. The strips should be thinly sliced and about 1/2″ to 3/4″ wide.
  3. Core all the red, yellow, orange and green bell peppers and cut them into thin strips.
  4. Over medium high heat, begin heating 2 Tablespoons of avocado oil in a deep skillet, (at least 12″ in diameter). This is a big batch and you’ll need all that space before the recipe is done.
  5. Add the onions to the hot oil. Stir fry them for about one minute. They will begin to brown, slightly.
  6. Divide the steak into two batches and add the first one to the skillet with the onions. Stir fry and move the steak around to separate the individual strips and get them seared. Move cooked pieces to the outside edges of the skillet, while pulling raw strips into the center to cook.
  7. When the first batch is done, move the steak and onions to a plate. Add a little more oil to the skillet and stir fry the second batch of steak strips in the same way as the first.
  8. Now, that all the steak is cooked, get it all back in the skillet.
  9. Add the garlic and ginger. Stir to combine and cook for about 30 seconds to start cooking off the raw taste and melding the flavors. Keep stirring through this so the garlic doesn’t burn.
  10. Add the bell pepper strips and stir them to combine with the steak. Continue cooking and stirring for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bell pepper strips are heated through, tender-crisp and vibrant in color. (If you like the peppers softer, you can cook them longer. It’s a matter of personal preference.)
  11. When the bell peppers are hot, pour the soy sauce/cornstarch mixture into the skillet and stir continuously to avoid sticking. After 2 to 3 minutes of cooking, the sauce will begin to thicken. As you continue cooking, it will cling to the steak and peppers. There will be very little sauce in the bottom of the skillet.  If you like yours with extra sauce, double the sauce recipe.
  12. Serve.
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: Main Dish, Beef, Asian
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Asian-American

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glenda embree

About Glenda

I believe cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be complicated and that YOU can do it. My simple recipes, tutorials, and cooking tips will help you get weeknight dinners on the table with less stress. Forget takeout or the drive-thru. Let me show you how to make homemade easy. Read more...

46 thoughts on “Pepper Steak Recipe | Easy 30 Minute Stir Fry Meal”

    • Thanks, Paula. I’ve actually made the complete switch to avocado oil, now. With some evoo, of course and a little refined coconut oil. They’re finally the only oils in my kitchen.

      Reply
  1. I grew up eating this dish and had since forgotten about it. Thank you for the trip down memory lane – and the delicious meal!






    Reply
  2. I used to order this every time we went out to a Chinese restaurant. Of course that was back when you ordered one from column a one from column b, etc. This recipe tasted just as good as I remembered! Thank you!






    Reply

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