Mongolian Beef (Without Using a Wok)

4.91 from 10 votes
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Beautifully caramelized beef with a juicy, tender texture and a gingery, garlicky, sweet sauce make this dish irresistible! You won’t believe how easy it is to make this dish, restaurant-style, in your own kitchen without a wok! {Gluten Free adaptable}

Mongolian Beef served with rice

Mongolian beef might be one of the most popular Chinese takeout dishes. Along with Black Pepper Steak, Sesame Chicken, Sweet and Sour Chicken, and Beef Chow Fun, it’s one of those must-order dishes when visiting (or ordering in from) a Chinese restaurant.

It might seem daunting to make your favorite takeout at home, but you’d be surprised how easy it is once you understand the workflow. Let’s dive in and learn how to make this dish work!

Mongolian Beef restaurant style

Making the best Mongolian beef

1. Choose the right cut of beef

My favorite cuts for stir fry are flank steak and plate steak. These cuts are cheaper than sirloin and ribeye, yet yield very tender results.

If you have to choose a cheaper cut, such as round roast or brisket, there is quick method to tenderize the beef. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon baking soda onto the beef along with the other marinade ingredients, then mix very thoroughly to coat the beef. Chinese restaurants commonly use this method so they can use cheaper cuts of beef. I’ve documented the method in this Orange Beef recipe.

Also, make sure you always slice the beef against the grain, which is another key to creating a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

2. Marinate the meat

This key step takes an extra 3 minutes but it will make such a difference to your dish. Using Shaoxing wine and salt makes the beef so much more flavorful and so much richer. Once done with the marinade, coat the meat with some cornstarch. Not only does it yield a crispy surface, but it also protects the beef from the hot pan so it won’t be overcooked.

Mongolian Beef with sticky gingery garlicky sauce

3. Use plenty of fresh aromatics

This might be the most important component of a fragrant stir fry. Make sure you add plenty of fresh garlic, ginger, and green onion. They will give the sauce a depth of flavor and fresh taste, just like you’d get in a Chinese restaurant.

Mongolian Beef with sticky gingery garlicky sauce

4. How to cook beef properly without a wok

The first thing to remember is that you should let the beef sear without moving it too much. I know, it sounds like this is contradictory to the word “stir-fry”! Just like when browning your meat before making a stew, leaving the beef in the pan without moving it at the start of a stir fry will brown the bottom while maintaining a hot temperature in the pan.

Once you heat up the pan, spread the beef into a single layer with the help of a pair of tongs (or chopsticks). Then grill the meat, without touching, for at least 1 minute. Then use a spatula to flip to cook the other side. In the end, you will get perfectly seared beef that is medium rare inside. The beef will be cooked perfectly after you add the sauce, and it will also remain juicy and tender.

Mongolian Beef with sticky gingery garlicky sauce

5. Proper stir fry workflow

Different from a lot of Western-style cooking, Chinese stir fry happens very quickly. Once you have everything prepared, the stir fry process is usually finished in less than 5 minutes. This means that you should have done all the prep and have all the ingredients ready and near your stove. Make sure to go through all the recipe directions so you have an idea of what to do next.

That’s it!

It might sound like a lot to take in. But believe me, you’ll find the dish so easy to make once you try it out!

Serve the sticky, tender beef on top of some steamed rice, and you’ll have dinner ready!

Happy cooking and I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do!

Mongolian Beef served with rice

More Asian takeout recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

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Mongolian Beef restaurant style

Mongolian Beef (Without Using a Wok)

4.91 from 10 votes
Beautifully caramelized beef with a juicy, tender texture and a gingery, garlicky, sweet sauce make this dish irresistible! You won’t believe how easy it is to make this dish, restaurant-style, in your own kitchen without a wok! {Gluten Free adaptable}To make this dish gluten-free, use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine, and replace the soy sauce with tamari.
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes



  • 1 lbs (450 g) flank steak, sliced against the grain into 1/4” (1/2 cm) pieces (*Footnote 1)
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Stir fry

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 4 green onions cut into 2-inch pieces, white and green parts separated


  • Combine flank steak, Shaoxing wine, and salt in a large bowl. Gently mix well with your hand. Let marinate at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Mix all the sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
  • When you’re ready to cook, add the cornstarch to the marinated beef. Mix to coat all the beef pieces with cornstarch.
  • Heat peanut oil in a large nonstick skillet until hot. Spread the steak with minimal overlapping. Use a pair of tongs to rearrange the beef, if necessary. Let cook for 1 minute without moving, or until the bottom turns golden brown. Flip and cook the other side, 40 seconds or so, until golden but the inside still a bit pink. Transfer the steak to a big plate.
  • If there is a lot of oil left in the pan, use a couple layers of kitchen paper towel held in a pair of tongs to remove extra oil, leaving 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan.
  • Add the ginger, garlic, and the white part of the green onion into the skillet. Cook and stir for 30 seconds to release the fragrance.
  • Stir the sauce again until the cornstarch is fully dissolved. Pour into the pan and immediately stir with a spatula. The sauce will thicken very quickly, in a couple seconds. Return the cooked beef to the pan, along with the green part of the green onion. Cook and stir a few more times to mix well. Transfer everything to a plate immediately.
  • Serve hot over steamed rice as a main.


Serving: 4g, Calories: 323kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 23.6g, Fat: 13.5g, Saturated Fat: 3.9g, Cholesterol: 44mg, Sodium: 1160mg, Potassium: 366mg, Fiber: 0.8g, Sugar: 15.2g, Calcium: 20mg, Iron: 2.2mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don't forget the last step! Leave a comment below, and tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!
Mongolian Beef - Beautifully caramelized beef with a juicy, tender texture and a gingery, garlicky, sweet sauce make this dish irresistible! You won’t believe how easy it is to make this restaurant-style stir fry in your own kitchen without a wok! #recipe #takeout #chinese #asian #glutenfree

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. penny says:

    I love this web site awesome recipes. Thankyou so much

  2. Gavin says:

    5 stars
    First time attempting any sort of Chinese cooking. You made the recipe so simple and now my favorite Magnolian Beef dish is mine/yours. My egg drop soup came out great. I still need to practice the actual egg separation, but very simple. Thanks for sharing can’t wait to try your other recipes.

  3. Gavin says:

    5 stars
    This is the first time I’ve ever attempted Chinese cooking. Your recipe was simple and easy to follow. Now my favorite Mongolian Beef dish is mine/yours. I also attempted your egg drop soup. Very good. I need to practice on the egg separattion a little more. Thanks for sharing your recipes and I look forward to trying your others.

    • Thomas says:

      That’s awesome, Gavin – thanks for your message and welcome to the world of Chinese cooking 🙂

      Was the egg too clotted, do you mean? It can be tough to get the thin strands just right, but the key is to get the soup very hot (the cornstarch thickening also helps) and to drizzle the egg very gradually. Good luck and let us know how the other dishes turn out!

  4. Qiuna says:

    5 stars
    I made this dish yesterday for my roommates. First attempt and they absolutely adored it. I’m going to make it more often! I was wondering however, what vegetable side dishes you would recommend with this dish?

  5. Ernest Cechetto says:

    5 stars
    Easy and delicious. Thanks

  6. Steven says:


    Can I use a chicken with this recipe instead of beef?

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Steven, yes, you can use chicken instead of beef to cook this recipe.
      Happy cooking and hope your dish turns out great 🙂

  7. Lucy L. says:

    5 stars
    I love this recipe: easy and delicious. I used shaved beef from a local farm and turned out fabulous every time.

  8. Lynda says:

    Hi. Maggie, can the beef marinate over night in fridge (or several hours)? If yes, when should baking soda be added?

    Thank you

    • Maggie says:

      Hi Lynda, yes you can totally marinate the beef overnight in the fridge. You can actually add the baking soda at the beginning. I believe many Chinese restaurants do so to tenderize the meat.

    • Lynda says:

      5 stars
      This was delicious! And good to know it can marinate longer without becoming bitter. Thank you Maggie for another wonderful dish.

  9. Chloe says:

    Hi Maggie,
    I just tried your Vegan Dan Dan Noodles and they were fantastic. I didn’t have all the ingredients this time around but I managed to find everything including the mustard stem.

    I am just wondering for this recipe, My soy sauce doesn’t indicate if it is dark or light. Can I just use the one kind I have or will this compromise taste if I don’t have both a light and a dark option?


    • Maggie says:

      Hi Chloe, you can use the soy sauce (it’s probably regular if it didn’t say). The dish will come out lighter in color but it doesn’t affect taste. Glad to hear you like the dan dan noodle recipe 🙂

  10. Bob Adams says:

    4 stars
    I had never used shaox8ng wine before. It really makes a difference. Sherry is really not the same thing.

  11. Maciej Muldner says:

    5 stars
    Amazing taste. Easy to make. The taste is absolutely fantastic taste. It is even tasty if reheated the next day. Goes excellent with peanut green peas:)

  12. Katharine says:

    5 stars
    Oh my goodness this was so good! And so easy! Used dry sherry because it was all I could find and added some baby bok choy. Will definitely be adding this to my regular rotation.

  13. Sheila Sage says:

    5 stars
    This is just like take out but only better!This is great.I have been a little intimidated by asian cooking because there are lots of ingredients I am not used to cooking with.Thank you for making it not so nerve racking.

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