Spicy Chinese Pepper Steak Recipe

Making dinner every night can quickly become a repetitive task, which is why we like to try new dishes for variety. Still, we're not really ready to follow a long process to get food on the table at the end of the day. Thanks to Tasting Table recipe developer Ashley Altan's spicy Chinese pepper steak recipe, dinner is an easy task that will satisfy your hunger and desire for fun flavors. "The rich spicy sauce coats the rice, making each bite saucy with juicy meat bits," Altan describes. 

There's no need for fancy equipment or a lengthy list of ingredients, which makes this a convenient dish for those nights when you don't want to think about cooking. "It's simple to prepare on the stovetop and makes an excellent lunch for school or work," Altan adds and shares, "Nothing beats making this spicy Chinese pepper steak recipe as a quick stir-fried meal for my family of four during a hectic work week." Whether you're feeding a family or meal prepping for the next few days, this tasty dish is a winner.

Gather the ingredients for this spicy Chinese pepper steak recipe

For this recipe, you'll need baking soda and flank steak (thinly sliced against the grain) to start. Next get some soy sauce, beef broth, sesame oil, ginger (finely chopped), garlic cloves (finely chopped), sugar, and cornstarch for the sauce. "Cornstarch's magic resides in its capacity to swell and lock up its starch cells when heated, resulting in a thicker consistency," Altan explains. In her opinion, "the thick and glossy soy sauce with infused ginger and garlic is what makes this Chinese pepper steak so delightful."

You'll need some vegetable oil to fry the meat and salt and black pepper to season. As for veggies, Altan opts for an onion (thinly sliced), a red and green bell pepper (chopped into bite-size pieces), and a hot chile such as serrano or Fresno (also sliced).

Brine the meat

Grab a bowl and mix the baking soda with about ¼ cup of water. Toss in the meat and mix to combine it with the baking soda brine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and transfer it to the fridge. Give the meat 30 minutes to 2 hours to soak for an optimal tender texture. When the time is up, rinse the meat under cold water and drain it off. Pat it dry with a cloth or paper towel and set it aside while you make the sauce.

Prep the sauce

In a large bowl, add the soy sauce, beef broth, sesame oil, minced ginger and garlic, sugar, and cornstarch. Whisk the contents properly until the mixture is fully combined, then set the bowl to the side.

Stir-fry the meat

Place a nonstick skillet on the burner on medium-high heat to warm up. Once it's nice and hot, drizzle the vegetable oil into the pan, then add the beef and ½ teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. Stir-fry the meat for 3 to 5 minutes, mixing it continuously until it's a golden brown color. Then, transfer it to a plate and set it aside.

Next, stir-fry the veggies

Toss the sliced onion, red and green peppers, and chile into the pan, as well as the rest of the salt and pepper to season. Stir-fry the vegetables for 3 to 5 minutes or until the onions have softened to your liking.

Add the sauce and meat to the stir-fry

Toss the cooked beef back in with the vegetables and pour the sauce in too. Stir the contents to coat everything in sauce and distribute the ingredients, then cook for another 5 minutes or so until the sauce is thick and glossy.

Garnish and serve

Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top to garnish if desired and serve this spicy Chinese pepper steak piping hot with a side of steamed white rice, as Altan suggests. 

If you have any leftovers, let them cool down then store them in a sealed container in the fridge for up to three days. "Reheat any leftovers in a nonstick pan over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until bubbling hot," Altan recommends. Or for a shortcut, she says to "Microwave leftovers in 30-second increments for 1 to 2 minutes, or until hot."

Meanwhile, if you want to enjoy this tasty dish at a later date, Altan says that once cooled, "[it] can be stored in freezer-safe containers in the freezer for up to three months."

Spicy Chinese Pepper Steak Recipe
5 from 23 ratings
This spicy Chinese pepper steak recipe features tender flank steak in a rich, warming sauce.
Prep Time
Cook Time
beef stir-fry with rice
Total time: 51 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 green bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 hot chile (such as a serrano or Fresno), sliced
Optional Ingredients
  • sesame seeds, to garnish
  1. In a bowl, mix the baking soda and about ¼ cup of water with the sliced meat until combined.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours while the meat absorbs the brine.
  3. Rinse the brine off under cold water and drain, then pat the meat dry.
  4. Combine the soy sauce, beef broth, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, sugar, and cornstarch in a large bowl and mix until fully combined. Set it aside.
  5. Preheat a nonstick skillet to medium-high heat.
  6. Once hot, add the vegetable oil, beef, and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  7. Stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown, then transfer the cooked beef to a plate.
  8. Next, add the onion, red pepper, green pepper, and chile, and season with the remaining salt and pepper. Stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes until the onions have softened.
  9. Add the beef back into the pan along with the sauce.
  10. Cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce becomes thick and glossy.
  11. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired and enjoy while hot.
Calories per Serving 319
Total Fat 16.7 g
Saturated Fat 4.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 77.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.6 g
Dietary Fiber 2.2 g
Total Sugars 7.3 g
Sodium 1,375.2 mg
Protein 27.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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