Szechuan Beef

No need to order take-out when you can make this sweet, savory and spicy beef stir-fry from the comfort of your own home!  You will be craving this flavorful dish over and over again! 

I love Chinese take-out, but sometimes I just don’t want to leave my house! I love that I can make my favorite dishes that taste just as good, if not better! I love to pair this dish with my better than takeout chow mein and my better than takeout fried rice

Szechuan beef with toppings on plate

What is Szechuan Beef?

It is a Chinese dish that has bold flavors from the liberal use of chili peppers, garlic, and pepper! It may include the use of the actually Szechuan peppercorn, which is milder when compared to the spiciness of black, white, or chili peppers. A Szechuan peppercorn creates a tingly numbness in the mouth, which aids when combined with hot spices!

You might be thinking, “How is Szechuan different from other Chinese dishes?” Well, let’s compare it to some of our favorite take-out dishes.

Hunan vs. Szechuan beef?  Szechuan beef is sweeter and has a tingly sensation while Hunan is not as sweet and is more heat and spice. Hunan’s flavor is considered plainer and contains more vegetables.

Mongolian vs. Szechuan beef? Mongolian beef is mild and isn’t spicy at all.  It has soy sauce and brown sugar, like Szechuan beef, does but uses hoisin sauce instead of oyster sauce.  

But don’t let all this talk of spiciness scare you! The level of spice really depends on the number of spicy ingredients that you put in. You can cut the amount of chili oil/chili sauce or red pepper flakes.

Beef in Ziploc bag for Szechuan beef recipe

Best meat for Szechuan Beef

For best results make sure you are using a nice cut of beef.

I  like to use thinly sliced beef tenderloin, sirloin or flank steak, cut against the grain. It is also very important to marinate your meat!

Combine your flank steak and marinade and let it rest at room temperature while you prep other ingredients. Or you can refrigerate it for up to 8 hours!

Szechuan beef sauce

The Sauce

This sauce is so flavorful and delicious!  You will need the following:

  • oyster sauce
  • soy sauce
  • brown sugar
  • chili sauce
  • sesame oil
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder 
  • red chili pepper flakes

It’s made by being combined together in bowl.

How to Make Szechuan Beef

Begin by browning your marinated flank steak over medium heat in a large skillet. And then set it aside.

Reduce the heat and saute bell peppers, onion, and garlic for 2-3 minutes.

Add the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes

Add the flank steak and cook until the sauce reduces and caramelizes on the meat (about 5 minutes)

Finally, add carrots and green onions and serve immediately. Serve it by itself, or over rice or noodles.


How to Store, Reheat + Freeze Szechuan Beef

Szechuan beef will keep in the fridge for about 3-5 days. To reheat just pop this in your microwave until it’s heated through. You might want to add a couple of drops of water to the rice so that it stays as soft as possible.

This makes a great freezer meal! You will create three separate bags and put all of them in one large gallon Ziploc bag so that all the ingredients are together. Here are your three bags:

  1. Combine the marinade and meat.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the sauce.
  3. Bag together all the chopped vegetables.

When you want to cook this, thaw bags #1 and #2 overnight in the refrigerator and then follow all the instructions on the recipe card. Don’t thaw the vegetables, just cook them straight from the freezer!

I am sure you will love this spicy, flavorful beef stir-fry! It really is better than take-out!!

Other Chinese food:


Szechuan Beef Recipe

No need to order take-out when you can make this sweet, savory and spicy beef stir-fry from the comfort of your own home!  You will be craving this flavorful dish over and over again!
5 from 5 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 40 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Servings: 6
Calories: 243kcal
Author: Natalie
Print Recipe


  • 1 1/2 lbs flank steak - cut against the grain into thin pieces (no longer than 3-inches)
For the marinade:
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce - low-sodium
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp chili sauce - (sambal oelek)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
For frying:
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
For the vegetables:
  • 1 red bell pepper - thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow onion - thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 carrot - julienned (reserved)
  • 2 green onions - cut on the bias (reserved)
For the sauce:
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce - low-sodium
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1-2 tsp chili sauce - (sambal oelek)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp coarse kosher sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp red chili pepper flakes - (more to taste)


  • Add sliced flank steak to a large ziploc bag. Add marinade ingredients over top. Zip and gently massage to mix and evenly coat the meat. Allow to rest at room temperature while preparing ingredients (or if making ahead, refrigerate for up to 8 hours).
  • In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil. Once hot, add the flank steak (you will need to fry it in 2-3 batches). Quickly brown on both sides, then transfer to a plate and set aside (it does not need to be fully cooked).
  • Reduce heat to medium, add the bell pepper, onion and garlic, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the flank steak and cook until the sauce reduces and caramelizes on the meat, about 5 minutes.
  • Add carrot and green onion, serve immediately.


Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 1204mg | Potassium: 525mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2359IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 2mg

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About the Author


Wife, mother, baker and photographer. Recipe developer & author of Life Made Simple. A self-professed peanut butter lover and fond of anything that involves pumpkin, cookie dough, or sprinkles

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