Crispy beef is a favorite on Chinese takeout menus. Enjoy super crispy beef coated in a sweet, tangy and sticky glaze with fresh chili! This easy recipe gets your Asian dinner ready in just 30 minutes.

A bowl of Chinese crispy beef is served with rice on a tray

“OMG! This is my new signature dish. I absolutely loved it and so did my family. They said it was better than our favourite Chinese restaurant version. Wow!!”

Ruth

We don’t often get Chinese takeout, but crispy beef is a must-have, along with Mapo tofu and Kung Pao Chicken. My family and I love it.

Enjoy crispy, chewy beef strips in a sweet, tangy glaze with fresh red chili, served with hot steamed rice. It’s so good, everyone hurries to the dinner table. Believe it or not, making this restaurant-style crispy beef at home is easy.

Crispy Chinese beef is served over a bowl of rice.

Originally from Sichuan cuisine, crispy beef (or crispy chili beef) features beef strips fried in hot oil and coated in a sweet and sticky glaze. The flavor is rich but not overpowering or overly spicy.

Forget takeout—whip up this Chinese crispy chili beef at home with simple pantry ingredients in less than 30 minutes. Your loved ones will definitely thank you.

Ingredients Needed

Most ingredients, including sweet chili sauce, can be found at a local grocery store. If not available, you can also find them at any Asian grocery store or online.

Ingredients to make Chinese crispy beef are collected.

What beef cut to use

I recommend using steak quality beef, like strip-loin or top sirloin. The tenderness of the beef will maintain texture and juiciness even after the double frying. I personally like about a 3/8-inch (1 cm) thickness, but you can make it into thin strips or strips like shredded beef if you wish. It’s personal preference.

Sauce

The sauce is made of combination of soy sauce, honey, sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and cornstarch. A sweet, tangy and sticky glaze will quickly form once it is added to the hot pan.

How to make Chinese crispy beef

Prepare the Beef

Slice and marinate the beef. Slice beef into thick strips with a knife, about 1 cm or 3/8-inch thick (or whatever thickness you desire). Toss beef strips with soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a large bowl; set aside.

Note: After a few minutes, you might notice that the beef and cornstarch are clumping together – Don’t worry! You will coat them again with cornstarch before frying it up.

Make the sauce

Mix sauce ingredients. Combine soy sauce, honey, sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and cornstarch in a small mixing bowl; mix well and set aside.

Coat the beef. Toss the beef with extra cornstarch to ensure it is thoroughly coated.

To make the beef extra crispy

Fry the beef. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add a small batch of beef strips, shaking off the excess starch, and fry until lightly golden; about 1-2 minutes. Remove the beef strips using a metal strainer. Shake off to remove excess oil, and place on a wired rack or a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat with the next batch.

Use a fine fat skimmer to collect any deep-fried burnt particles floating in the skillet.

Second fry for extra crispiness. Once the first fry is completed, do the second deep fry (again in small batches) until the beef turns deep brown and crispy, about 1 minute. Strain the beef with a metal strainer and transfer onto a wired rack, or on a large plate lined with paper towel.

Add Veggies and Sauce

Wipe the extra oil off the skillet, leaving about 1 tablespoon behind.

Add shredded carrot and stir fry for 1 minute until slightly soft. Add green onion and chili (if using) and stir for 10 seconds. Pour the reserved sauce in a skillet. It should bubble and thicken right away.

Coat beef with sauce

Add beef to the sauce. When the sauce is reduced and thickened to a sticky glaze (about 10 seconds), return the beef strips and toss together to coat evenly.

To garnish, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and more chopped spring onion if you wish. You can even drizzle a little bit of sesame oil if you’d like to add fragrance. Serve the crispy beef immediately with rice.

Chinese takeout style crispy beef is served with rice and chopsticks.

Helpful Tips

So, how do you make crispy beef like a Chinese restaurant? Here are my tips.

  • Marinating beef with a little bit of soy sauce and cornstarch is key for packing in flavor and texture.
  • Double coating cornstarch and double deep frying does wonders to ensure an extra crispy crust on the beef. Plus, it will hold this texture for longer.
  • You don’t need a pot full of oil. About 1/4 cup of oil is all you need to fry up the beef strips. Less oil, less waste.
  • Fry the beef in small batches. Overcrowding your frying surface will lower the temperature of the oil and you’ll end up steaming the beef instead of frying. Also, you might even end up with a giant lump of meat instead of separate bite-sized strips.
  • The flavor of this homemade version of crispy beef has a little bit of heat from the bottled sweet chili sauce. It provides both a sweet and savory flavor without being too spicy.
  • I like to add fresh red chili to my crispy beef, but that is totally optional and personal preference. If you don’t want any extra spice, just omit the chili and it will still be yummy and delicious.

More Chinese recipes

If you like Chinese cuisine that are takeout style, here are a few recipes that you can easily make at home.

A bowl of Chinese crispy beef is served with rice on a tray

30-Minute Chinese Crispy Beef

Crispy beef is a favorite on Chinese takeout menus. Enjoy super crispy beef coated in a sweet and tangy glaze with fresh chili! This easy recipe gets your Asian dinner ready in just 30 minutes.
5 from 16 ratings

Recipe Video

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb (340 g) top sirloin steak, cut into 3/8-inch strips
  • 2 tsp soy sauce, low sodium
  • 5 tbsp cornstarch, divided
  • 1/2 carrot, thinly sliced into matchsticks
  • 2 green onion, sliced
  • 1 fresh red chili, seeded and sliced, optional
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) oil, for frying

For sweet tangy sauce

Instructions 

  • Toss beef strips with 2 teaspoon soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch; set aside.
  • To make the sauce, combine soy sauce, honey, sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and starch in a small mixing bowl; mix well and set aside.
  • Coat the beef again with the remaining cornstarch to ensure it is thoroughly coated.
  • Heat 1/4 cup of oil in a skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add a small batch of beef strips, shaking off the excess starch, and fry until lightly golden; about 1-2 minutes. Remove the beef strips using a metal wire strainer and place on a wired rack or a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with the next batch.
  • Note: If you put too many beef strips at once, they might stick to each other and you will end up with a giant ball of meat instead of small bite-sized strips. Doing small batches is key for a successful deep fry for this recipe.
  • Once the first fry is completed, do the second deep-fry (again in small batches) until the beef turns deep brown and crispy, about 1 minute. Strain the beef with a metal strainer and transfer onto a wired rack.
  • Wipe the extra oil off the skillet, leaving about 1 tablespoon behind. Add shredded carrot and stir fry for 1 minute until slightly soft. Add green onion and chili (if using) and stir for 10 seconds.
  • Pour the reserved sauce mixture in a skillet. It should bubble and thicken right away. When the sauce is reduced and thickened to a sticky glaze (about 10 seconds), return the beef strips and toss together to coat evenly.
  • Garnish with toasted sesame seeds if you wish. Serve the crispy beef immediately with rice.
Calories: 340kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 1058mg, Potassium: 402mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 1441IU, Vitamin C: 19mg, Calcium: 34mg, Iron: 2mg
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