Chinese Crispy Beef Under 30 Minutes
Crispy beef is a popular dish in Chinese takeout menus. This Chinese crispy beef is a restaurant-quality recipe featuring super crispy strips of beef smothered in a sweet tangy glaze with fresh chili. Easy to prepare and loaded with flavor, your Asian dinner will be ready in just 30 minutes.
We don’t order Chinese takeout that often, but when we do I always search for crispy beef, along with Mapo tofu or Kung Pao Chicken, on the menu. My family loves it and so do I.
The crispy chewy beef strips coated in sweet tangy sticky glaze, and fresh red chilli are served with hot steamed rice. Who would hesitate to come and sit around the Asian dinner table?
Making restaurant style Chinese crispy beef at home is easier than you think.
Homemade Crispy Beef (Takeout style)
Originally from Sichuan cuisine, crispy beef (or crispy chilli beef) consists of dried and fried beef strips (or shredded beef depending on your preference) prepared in the Chinese cooking technique of frying in hot oil.
The double deep frying method yields slightly dehydrated meat that has an irresistibly crispy crust and tender meat inside.
You might think that making crispy beef at home is a hassle because it seems too complicated and time consuming. You might also fear the oil splash it leaves on your kitchen — I hate this part, too.
In reality, making homemade Chinese crispy beef can be so much easier than you think. For me, it is both better and healthier because I like to use less – and cleaner – oil (that hasn’t been used over and over all day, like some restaurants do).
Oil splash can be further minimized by using a larger skillet or pot that has tall sides.
This fried beef with sweet and sticky glaze has a rich flavor without being overpowering. It uses simple ingredients that are easily accessible.
The green onion and fresh chili (optional) add a savory taste that is just perfect to accompany the flavor of the beef and the sauce. It goes perfectly with rice and is a great quick dish to prepare for a busy weekday meal.
Skip the takeout and make this crispy beef recipe right at home. Your loved ones will thank you, for sure.
Tips and Tricks to make restaurant style Sichuan crispy beef
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.
Grab these ingredients
- Beef — Use 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.
- Cornstarch — You will need lots of cornstarch. To get the beef extra crispy, you will need to coat the beef twice (after it has marinated).
- Carrot and green onion – Savory addition.
- Chili – Savory and spiciness. Optional choice, you can omit it if you prefer.
- Oil — Use a high smoking point oil that is suitable for deep frying, such as peanut oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, or canola oil. Make sure the oil is hot before you start to deep fry.
- Sauce – A 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
Step 1. Prepare beef
Slice beef into thick strips, 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.
Step 2. Make the sauce
Meanwhile, make the the sauce. 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 again with extra cornstarch to ensure it is thoroughly coated.
Step 3. First frying
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.
Deep-fry in a small batch: 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.
Step 4. Second frying
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.
Step 5. 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.
Step 6. Return the beef and finish-off
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.
More Chinese takeout style recipes
If you like Chinese cuisine that are takeout style, here are a few recipes that you can easily make at home.
- Simple Mapo Tofu Recipe
- Easy and Authentic Kung Pao Chicken
- Twice Cooked Pork (Authentic Sichuan Pork Stir-Fry)
- Chinese Beef and Pepper Stir-fry
- Hong Kong Style Cantonese Pan-Fried Noodles
Chinese Crispy Beef Under 30 Minutes
- 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
- 3 tbsp soy sauce, low sodium
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 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.
Absolutely loved this dish. The only change I would make is to slice the beef thinner than 3/8″ so it crisps up better.
The flavors were amazing. I always said I couldn’t cook chinese food, but now I know differently!
Awesome! So happy to hear that you loved this dish. Slicing beef thinner would be great and it will make the beef crispy quicker. Thanks for sharing your comment!
Made it and it tasted great, but the beef didn’t stay crispy. And suggestions?
Thanks for trying this recipe. I’m glad that you liked it.
A few tips: Make sure to coat the beef with cornstarch throughly. Oil should be hot. Don’t crowd the skillet with too much beef at once (frying in batches recommended). Make sure to deep-fry twice, Make sure the sauce is well thicken before you add the beef. After beef is added, a quick toss is all you need. Enjoy the dish right away while hot. Once cooled, it won’t be as crisp. Hope these tips help. Thank you.
Sooooooo gooood. Adder som Szechuan Peppers.
Haven’t made this yet as I just got the recipe in my inbox. But everything I’ve made from this site has been delicious and easy to follow. Love your cookbook as well.
I am so happy to hear that you like my recipes. I hope you can try this crispy beef soon. It’s really tasty and won’t disappoint you. Thanks for the comment. You made my day!!!
Love Holly’s Recipes. Currently looking for recipes low in salt and especially low in potassium for transplant patients post surgery, and for heart patients. My friend is a successful liver transplant patent 1-1/2 years after, but has to watch potassium and sodium. Any help, Thank you!
Thanks for your comment.
If you are looking for low sodium dishes, I would definitely avoid kimchi or anything with kimchi in it. Other than that, you can adjust the amount of sodium by decreasing the soy sauce, fish sauce or salt in the recipes.
For low potassium dishes, any tofu dishes would work great. Make sure to use less amount of soy sauce, to meet your need.
A few recipes I can recommend you trying are;
Devil’s chicken (https://www.beyondkimchee.com/devils-chicken/)
Stir-fried rice and eggs (https://www.beyondkimchee.com/stir-fried-rice-cakes-and-eggs-gluten-free/)
kimbap (https://www.beyondkimchee.com/kimbap/) – use less seasoning in both rice and vegetables
Mandu (https://www.beyondkimchee.com/mandu-korean-dumplings/) – use less seasoning and avoid the dipping sauce (or dilute with water)