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Pepper Steak Recipe | Easy 30 Minute Meal

pepper steak over rice in a white bowl with salt and pepper shakers alongside a napkin in the background
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This Pep­per Steak recipe is a week­night din­ner dream! Who needs take­out or deliv­ery when you can make it faster at home? And, this easy recipe is so deli­cious! Savory strips of steak and ten­der-crisp bell pep­pers are coat­ed in an uma­mi burst of fla­vor from onions, gar­lic, gin­ger and soy sauce. Serve it over fluffy rice and you have a scrump­tious­ly sat­is­fy­ing meal that can be on the table in 30 minutes.

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, top sir­loin was all I could get my hands on.

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: The co-stars of this fab­u­lous dish and just as impor­tant. They bring fresh­ness, tex­ture and vibrant col­or, too. Use what­ev­er col­ors you can find, but I love mix­ing it up with one of each; red, orange, yel­low and green.

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. Addi­tion­al salt can be added, at the end after you taste the dish.

Sauce Ingre­di­ents: The easy sauce recipe calls for 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.

bell peppers added to skillet with steak strips

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 thin and about 1/2″ to 3/4″ wide.
  3. Core all the bell pep­pers and cut them into thin strips.
  4. Heat oil over medi­um high heat in a deep skil­let, (at least 12″ in diameter). 
  5. Add onions to the hot oil. Stir and cook them for about one minute.
  6. Divide the steak into two batch­es and add the first one to the skil­let with the onions. Stir 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 pep­per strips and stir them to com­bine with the steak. Con­tin­ue cook­ing and stir­ring for 2 to 3 min­utes, until the 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.
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 check out my Easy Egg Roll Bowl recipe and this deli­cious Slow Cook­er Pineap­ple Chick­en Rice Bowl recipe!

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


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

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup soy sauce (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
  • 1 red onion, small diced
  • 2 lbs. thin sliced flank steak (or top sir­loin 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 (any colors)
  • black pep­per, to taste

Instructions

  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 thin and about 1/2″ to 3/4″ wide.
  3. Core all the 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 and cook 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 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 cook 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 pep­per strips and stir them to com­bine with the steak. Con­tin­ue cook­ing and stir­ring for 2 to 3 min­utes, until the pep­pers 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 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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