Beef Onion Stir Fry. Juicy tender strips of beef stir fried with sweet onions in a light savory brown sauce. Ready in 30 minutes. Perfect as a main dish for dinner, lunch or meal prep!
What is Beef Onion Stir Fry?
Beef Onion Stir Fry is a popular Chinese dish served at your local Chinese restaurant. It features juicy beef stir-fried with lots of white and green onions in a tasty soy based sauce. The delicious beef is ultra-tender thanks to the velveting process in the marinade that most Chinese restaurants use.
This is one of my favourite ways to enjoy beef stir fry! I love the robust flavor of the ultra-tender beef combined with the sweetness of the onions. I enjoying serving it with some white rice and veggies and it's a fantastic meal.
Please scroll down to below recipe card for exact measurements.
- Flank steak: or substitute with New York strip, top sirloin, sirloin steak, skirt steak, filet mignon, or flat iron steak. The kind of beef you want contains a bit of fat marbling through the meat. I would avoid using ground beef for this recipe.
- White or yellow onions: the second key ingredient to this beef stir fry recipe. Onions add a delicious flavor to this easy dish!
- Green onions or scallions: These need to be cut into 2-inch segments and separated into whites and greens as they are adding to the cooking process at different stages.
- Garlic cloves
- Neutral oil: like vegetable oil, avocado oil or any scentless oil with a high smoke point.
- Regular soy sauce: or substitute with low sodium soy sauce or light soy sauce. If you’re gluten-free, substitute with tamari sauce, coconut aminos or a gluten-free soy sauce of your choice.
- Cornstarch, or potato starch: used to help velvet the meat making it very tender and juicy. The starch absorbs any surrounding moisture into the meat.
- Shaoxing wine or rice vinegar: or substitute with Dry Sherry or rice vinegar (aka rice wine vinegar).
- Sesame oil: please omit if you're allergic
- Baking soda: the most common way to tenderize any cut of beef. This technique is used in Chinese cuisine to make Chinese beef very tender by breaking down the muscle fibers. It's part of the velveting process. That's why meat in Chinese food is always so tender!
- Neutral oil
- Shaoxing wine or rice vinegar
- Oyster sauce: this gives it that umami flavor. If you don't like oyster, substitute with vegetarian stir fry sauce. This is not to be confused with Hoisin sauce, which looks similar.
- Dark soy sauce: not the same as regular soy sauce as it's darker and thicker
- Cornstarch, or potato starch
- Black pepper or white pepper
- Cold water
- White granulated sugar or brown sugar (missing in the image above)
How to Make Beef Onion Stir Fry
Slice flank steak against the grain, on an angle into ¼-inch thin slices. Transfer to a medium bowl. Tip: to easily slice beef thinly, freeze the exposed beef for 40 minutes until the exterior is hard to touch and slice with a sharp knife.
Marinate beef with Marinade ingredients as listed above at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine Sauce ingredients as listed above. Set aside.
In a large skillet on low heat, heat vegetable oil. Stir fry white onions and scallion whites for 30 seconds. Remove and set aside.
Brown the Beef
Increase to medium high heat, add marinated beef in a single layer and spread apart. Brown beef on each side for 2-3 minutes per side.
Reduce to medium heat, pour prepared sauce in a circular motion, and stir fry for another 30-60 seconds until sauce thickens.
Finish with Onions
Toss back in garlic, scallion greens, and cooked onions from before. Stir fry for another 30-60 seconds. Remove off heat and enjoy with a bowl of plain rice and your favourite vegetables!
Storage & Reheating
If you have leftovers, this will last up to 4 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Microwave for 2-3 minutes or pan fry in a frying pan or large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot and add a few tablespoons of water to loosen the sauce.
Other veggies to add?
- red bell pepper
- yellow, orange or green bell peppers
- snap peas
- snow peas
- bok choy
- gai lan
- yu choy or choy sum
Do you marinate beef before stir frying?
Yes, ideally for 15 minutes or longer.
Other recipes you may enjoy!
- Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
- Tomato Beef Stir Fry
- Black Pepper Beef
- Mongolian Beef
- Beef with Black Bean Sauce
Quick Easy Chinese Beef Onion Stir Fry
- 1 lb flank steak
- 1 medium white onion sliced and separated in layers
- 4 scallions cut into 2-inch segments with whites and greens separated
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or any neutral oil
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine or rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce or vegetarian stir fry sauce
- ½ tablespoon dark soy sauce or sub with regular soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch or potato starch
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper or white pepper
- 4 tablespoon cold water
- 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar or brown sugar
- Slice flank steak against the grain, on an angle into ¼-inch thin slices. Transfer to a medium bowl. Tip: to easily slice beef thinly, freeze the exposed beef for 40 minutes until the exterior is hard to touch and slice with a sharp knife.
- Marinate beef with Marinade ingredients as listed above. Marinate at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
- In a small bowl, combine Sauce ingredients as listed above. Set aside.
- In a large skillet on low heat, heat vegetable oil. Stir fry white onions and scallion whites for 30 seconds. Remove and set aside.
- Increase to medium high heat, add marinated beef in a single layer and spread apart. Brown beef on each side for 2-3 minutes per side.
- Reduce to medium heat, pour prepared sauce in a circular motion, and stir fry for another 30-60 seconds until sauce thickens.
- Toss back in garlic, scallion greens, and cooked onions from before. Stir fry for another 30-60 seconds. Remove off heat and enjoy with a bowl of plain rice and your favourite vegetables!
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