Ground Beef Stir Fry is an easy, quick, simple dinner full of healthy veggies. I love this 30 minute stir fry recipe with the tastiest sauce!
Why you’ll love this beef stir-fry
- A cheap and cheerful bowl, this no-frills, easy, and satisfying beef stir fry with crisp veggies will hit the spot.
- Accessible ingredients; no trickier to find ingredients that might deter you, like oyster or hoisin sauce. Just easy-going basic grocery store staples.
- An easy healthy recipe to make as it’s loaded with veggies, all coated in a tasty savory sauce.
- Mix and match; you can change the veggies you add to your beef stir fry.
- Throw this together in 30 minutes; quick as a flash, dinner will be on the table.
- One pan wonder – who needs extra dishes?
Ground Beef Stir Fry Ingredients
- Oil. Pick your favorite cooking oil, canola, grapeseed, or peanut that works well with this recipe. The most important feature is that it has a high smoke point.
- Ground beef. The hero protein in this recipe. Have your lean ground beef at room temperature before it hits the pan.
- Salt. Kosher or Himalayan are great, as long as you use coarse salt.
- Vegetables. Sliced veggies like onion, snap peas, green onions, zucchini, cabbage, peppers (I don’t like peppers but go for it), baby corn, etc.; the world is your oyster. On that note, oyster mushrooms will work beautifully with this.
- Cornstarch. Responsible for thickening the sauce quickly.
- Soy sauce. Light, dark, mushroom-flavored, gluten-free. Reach for whatever you have.
- Broth. You can use beef broth, chicken, or veggie broth will work too. Store-bought or homemade are perfectly fine.
- Garlic. Use fresh garlic for a lovely rich, savory taste.
- Ginger. Adds a little kick to your stir fry and harmonies with the garlic.
How to make Ground Beef Stir Fry
- First off, heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. When shimmering hot, add beef, sprinkle with 1 tsp of the salt, and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned and no longer pink inside. Transfer to a plate using a metal spatula or large slotted spoon.
- Add the vegetables to the same pot (with another splash of oil, if needed) with the remaining teaspoon of salt. Cook until veggies are crisp-tender (about 7 minutes, depending on which veggies you use).
- While vegetables cook, place cornstarch in a large liquid measuring cup. Whisk in 2 tbsp of the soy sauce to make a smooth paste, then whisk in the remaining sauce ingredients.
- Return beef to Dutch oven, add sauce and stir to coat everything evenly. Cook, frequently stirring, until sauce thickens and reduces slightly about 3 minutes.
What to serve this with Ground Beef Stir Fry
I love to serve stir fry with a pot of fluffy brown or white rice (or even cauliflower rice), or over a bed of noodles.
Lighten it up by serving it with a head of crisp, iceberg lettuce as lettuce wraps (like these lettuce wraps with crispy pork and peanut sauce).
A big green salad drizzled with my Creamy Asian Dressing would be perfect.
You could make a bigger, themed meal by adding this yummy Chili Garlic Tofu to the menu, or Healthier Honey Garlic Chicken.
Make ahead instructions
Go ahead and slice up and prepare all your ingredients upfront. As with many dishes, this recipe is best cooked and served immediately, but you can make the whole thing in advance and heat it to serve.
You can also cook the ground beef in advance to save some time. Just ensure you keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
Keep any leftovers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Leftovers of this ground beef stir fry will make a great lunch option the next day.
Keep leftovers for about three days. Then, heat it back up in a microwave or a skillet.
- Turn this easy ground beef stir-fry into a spicy little number by adding some fresh chopped chili or red pepper flakes.
- Add in black beans and lots of green pepper for a Mexican-style twist. Top it with cilantro and serve with wedges of lime.
- Switch up the meats; try this recipe with ground turkey, lamb, pork, or chicken for a twist.
- All veggies; exclude the ground beef and add in extra veggies with body, like mushrooms or cubes of tofu for a vegetarian option.
How do you make stir-fry like a pro?
Here are a couple of tips:
- Prep everything in advance: Chop all your veggies, and measure out all your sauces ingredients before you begin cooking. This will make the cooking process much smoother.
- Use high heat: Stir-fry is all about cooking food quickly over high heat, so ensure your pan is super hot before you start.
- Use the right oil: A neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable or peanut oil, is ideal for stir-frying. That way, it won’t burn and affect the dish’s flavors.
- Add ingredients in the correct order: Start with ingredients that take the longest to cook.
- Keep everything moving: Stir constantly to ensure everything cooks evenly and nothing sticks to the bottom of the wok or skillet.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan: If you add too many ingredients at once, the pan’s temperature will drop, and your food will steam and boil.
What are the basic steps of stir-fry?
- Prepare your ingredients. Wash and chop your vegetables. You can also prepare any sauces or seasonings you plan to use.
- Heat your pan. Place it on high heat and wait for it to get hot. AThen, addoil, and let it heat for a few seconds until it starts to shimmer.
- Cook the protein. Add the protein to the pan and stir-fry until it’s browned on all sides and cooked through. Remove the protein from the pan and set it aside.
- Cook the veggies. Add the vegetables to the pan and stir-fry for a few minutes until they’re crisp-tender.
- Combine everything. Return the protein to the pan and add any sauces or seasonings. Toss everything together until it’s evenly coated.
In What order do veggies go in a stir-fry?
- Dense vegetables: Add dense vegetables that take longer to cook, such as carrots, broccoli stems, and cauliflower, at the beginning of the stir-fry process. You can also blanch these vegetables before adding them to the stir-fry to speed up cooking.
- Onions, garlic, and ginger: Add diced onions, minced garlic, and grated ginger after the dense vegetables are partially cooked. Stir-fry for a minute or two until the onions are translucent and the garlic and ginger are fragrant.
- Mushrooms and bell peppers: Add sliced mushrooms and bell peppers, which cook relatively quickly, after the onions and garlic are cooked. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until the vegetables are tender-crisp.
- Leafy greens: Add leafy greens, such as spinach or bok choy, towards the end of the stir-fry process, just before adding the sauce. Stir-fry for a minute or two until the greens are wilted but still bright green.
- Bean sprouts, herbs, and scallions: Add beans, fresh herbs, and sliced scallions as a finishing touch just before serving. These vegetables don’t need to be cooked for long and can be quickly stir-fried with the other vegetables for a minute or two.
What ingredients do you need to make a simple stir fry with ground beef?
- Ground beef
- Soy sauce
What is stir-fry sauce made of?
Stir-fry sauce is typically made of a combination of flavorful and savory ingredients that add depth and complexity to a stir-fry dish. I love this basic 3-Ingredient Stir Fry Sauce as a great starting of point. While there are many different recipes and variations, here are some common ingredients you might find in a stir-fry sauce:
- Soy sauce or tamari. Provides a salty umami flavor and gives a lovely rich and dark color.
- Meat. Ground need in this case.
- Oil. one with a high smoke point and mild or neutral taste.
- Garlic and ginger. Adds pungent and spicy flavors
- Cornstarch or arrowroot. Helps thicken the sauce and coat the ingredients.
What gives stir-fry flavor?
- Umami: This savory taste comes from ingredients like soy sauce, mushrooms, and meat. These ingredients provide a depth of flavor that is essential to stir-fry dishes.
- Aromatics: Garlic, ginger, and scallions are commonly used in stir-fry dishes to add fragrance.
- Heat: Stir-fry dishes are typically cooked at high heat, caramelizing the ingredients and creating a delicious seared flavor.
- Vegetables: Fresh vegetables like peppers, onions, broccoli, and carrots add their unique flavors and textures to stir-fry dishes.
- Protein: Whether it’s chicken, beef, pork, tofu, this is one of the key taste contributors.
What makes a stir-fry taste good?
- Proper seasoning.
- Aromatics like garlic, ginger, and scallions.
- Umami ingredients: Soy sauce in this case.
- Fresh ingredients: Use fresh vegetables and herbs for a clean bright flavor.
- Proper cooking techniques: Cooking the ingredients quickly over high heat.
The secret to a great stir-fry is to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before you start cooking and to cook the ingredients quickly over high heat.
Use all or some of the following to improve the taste of your stir-fry: aromatics, umami-based ingredients, and fresh and not wilted veggies.
When stir-frying, use oil rather than water.
Oil helps to create a high-heat environment and promotes caramelization, while water can produce steam and cause the ingredients to become mushy.
It depends on the recipe, but a small amount of liquid is often added to stir-fry dishes. This can be in the form of a flavorful sauce made with soy sauce, oyster sauce, or other ingredients, or a small amount of broth or water to help cook the vegetables and protein.
Adding too much liquid can turn your ground beef stir-fry mushy, so don’t use any extra.
Pro tips and tricks
- Batch fry your elements so that they cook according to their density.
- Don’t overload the pan when stir-frying.
- Get your oil shimmering hot.
- Taste and make sure the dish is well-balanced.
Other beef recipes you won’t want to miss
Ground Beef Stir Fry
- 3 tbsp cooking oil like canola, grapeseed, or peanut
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 tsp coarse salt divided use
- 8 cups sliced vegetables I used 1 large onion, 1 medium zucchini, and 1/4 of green cabbage
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 ½ cups unsalted broth beef, chicken, or vegetable
- 3 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. When shimmering hot, add beef, sprinkle with 1 tsp of the salt, and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned and no longer pink inside. Transfer to a plate using a metal spatula or large slotted spoon.
- Add vegetables to same pot (with another splash of oil, if needed) with the remaining teaspoon of salt. Cook until veggies are crisp-tender (about 7 minutes, depending on which veggies you used).
- While vegetables cook, place cornstarch in a large liquid measuring cup. Whisk in 2 tbsp of the soy sauce to make a smooth paste, then whisk in remaining sauce ingredients.
- Return beef to Dutch oven, add sauce, and stir to coat everything evenly. Cook, stirring frequently, just until sauce thickens and reduces slightly, about 3 minutes.
Last Updated on March 17, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD
I love how versatile stir fry dishes can be with the different veggies, proteins and sauces you can use. Thanks for sharing recipe Jenn! I can’t wait to try this out