Best easy beef stir fry for beginner cooks. This easy and tasty stir fry recipe uses few ingredients that are easy to find. New cooks and experienced cooks alike will love this easy and delicious weekday dinner.
A special request from my college girl, an easy stir fry for beginners. ‘Mom, please teach me how to make a stir fry, the students come downstairs to use the kitchen and they keep making these amazing smelling stir frys, I can smell it from my desk, they make me sooooo hungry, pleeeeze!’
How could I resist?
From this basic recipe and method, you can really put your personality into this dish by changing up the ingredients. The method is the same, just changing out the vegetable or adding some cashews or peanuts can really change up this dish. You could have stir fry every night and not have the same thing twice. Every new cook should learn this very basic recipe with easy to find ingredients. We aren’t even going to use a wok, since most beginners don’t have one and they are really designed for a different type of burner than we usually have in homes here.
For a vegetarian option, simple use an alternative protein such as soy beans or tofu.
Another bonus? One pan equals less dishes, win win!
Stir frys are a great way to get more veggies since there are usually more vegetables than protein in these recipes. This type of cooking, hot and fast, results in higher nutritional value as the vitamins in the vegetable don’t have time to breakdown compared to boiling or steaming.
How to cut your vegetables and meat for a basic stir fry
When slicing the onion, cut off the tip of the onion opposite the root end. The root end helps the onion stay together while you are slicing. Then cut in half, through the root end and now you should have two halves, each with a piece of the root end. Now you can confidently slice your onion into half moons. Be careful to use good technique so you don’t cut yourself. There are two easy tutorials here & here.
The bell pepper is a lot easier to prepare. Just cut out the stem, slice the pepper in half, remove the seeds. Now you are ready to make your half moon cuts simply by slicing across.
When I make a stir-fry, I grab a good looking, cheap roast and hand it to the butcher behind the counter and ask them to slice it thin for a stir fry. They are happy to accommodate you. When you get it home, you still need to do some cross cuts but this is easy. The pieces you get back are probably a little too large so we are going to slice them against the grain, this makes it easier to chew and will seem like a tender, more expensive cut of meat.
Here you can see white lines going across. This is fat marbling and this is the ‘grain’. I have marked with a chop stick where you will make the cut ‘across the grain’.
Ingredients for a basic stir fry
These are the groceries I used for this recipe, all can be found in an average super market. The brands may be different for your soy sauce, sesame oil, broth, ginger and corn starch.
A note about the broth. You can either use canned broth, granules that you add to water or cubes that you add to water. I always keep granules in my pantry because it gives me the greatest flexibility in cooking. This recipe calls for 1 cup of chicken broth but it can be hard to find just one cup of canned chicken broth. If I needed 1/2 cup, the cubes would be harder to work with. Also, this recipe calls for ‘broth’, I didn’t differentiate between chicken, veggie or beef because it really doesn’t matter in this recipe. For a vegetarian option use vegetable broth.
Variations on a basic stir fry
You can use different vegetable combinations as well as meat and sauce combinations to make it your own stir fry.
Below are some combos to try.
*1 cup fresh mushrooms sliced, 1/2 cup bamboo shoots, 1 pound of spinach leaves (fresh)
*1/2 pound bean sprouts, 1/2 pound asparagus cut into 1 inch strips, 1 celery stalk sliced thin
*1/2 pound cabbage sliced, 1/2 bamboo shoots, 2 cups snow pea pods
*1 large carrot sliced thin ‘on the bias’, 1 onion sliced, 1 celery stalk sliced thin
*2 cups of snow pea pods, 1 cup of broccoli, 1 carrot sliced thin ‘on the bias’
Meat or protein substitutions
*Chicken thighs cubed
*Pork roast sliced thin
*Stir fry sauce
Easy Peasy, Good Luck!!
An easy stir fry for new cooks! Many variations available.
- 2 Tbs vegetable oil
- 1 Tbs garlic, minced
- 1 Tbs ginger, minced
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 1 lb beef, sliced thin (you can get this done at the meat counter, just ask 'em)
- 1 white onion, sliced
- 1 bell pepper, sliced
- 1 Tbs corn starch
- 1 cup broth, your choice
- 3 cups bean sprouts
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 2 green onions, sliced
- 2 mild peppers, sliced thin
- Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce
- Prepare all ingredients before hand by cutting your veggies and have the remaining ingredients near by. Place 1 Tbs of corn starch in broth, stir, set aside.
- In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 Tbs oil garlic, ginger, green onions.
- Stir in beef, stir frequently until the red color in the meat is just gone.
- Place meat in a bowl and set aside. Wipe skillet with a paper towel.
- Place skillet back on heat source, add 1 Tbs oil, add onions and bell pepper, stir constantly for 2 minutes.
- Stir broth one more time and add broth/ cornstarch slurry and cover for 1minute and let it steam.
- Add meat back in, add bean sprouts, soy and sesame oil, stir well and you're done!
- Serve over rice.