This balsamic peanut beef stir fry recipe features mixed vegetables and the BEST beef stir fry sauce for a weeknight-perfect meal. Serve this easy beef stir fry over rice, quinoa, couscous, or noodles for a delicious dinner option.
This balsamic peanut beef stir fry recipe is a quintessential “oldie but goodie”. First published in March 2015, it was in sore need of some new photos. Thankfully that wasn’t an issue because we make this stir fry fairly frequently!
For starters, don’t worry if you have this recipe pinned/saved and have been enjoying it over the years as it was. Very minimal changes were made to the actual recipe itself. Frozen mixed vegetables and store-packaged stir-fry beef are still perfectly fine, and are listed in the notes below as alternatives to the flank steak and raw vegetables.
Reasons to love this sauce
Beyond a hot pan and oil as necessities, the possibilities are endless for a stir fry recipe. This recipe features a variety of vegetables as well as an INCREDIBLY delicious balsamic peanut sauce.
This balsamic peanut sauce makes several appearances on the blog – and for good reason. Balsamic vinegar and peanut butter added to an Asian-inspired sauce doesn’t exactly sound like it would go well together, but the tart acidity totally complements all the creamy, bold flavors. This is my go-to beef, and really, any protein, stir fry sauce recipe.
You can see it used in peanut chicken stir fry, as well as shredded slow cooker beef and chicken, too. Made with just about all fridge/pantry staples, it’s a great recipe to have on hand for plenty of main dishes.
How to cut flank steak for stir fry
Since everything comes together in the hot pan quickly, I always prep my ingredients before turning the stove on. The vegetables are straight-forward to get ready, but the flank steak will take extra work. To cut flank steak for this beef stir fry recipe:
- Lay the beef flat on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, trim off excess fat.
- With the flank steak laid out horizontally in front of you, cut it into even strips about 2″-thick from top to bottom.
- Take each strip and lay it horizontally on the board. You want to be cutting against the grain! Cut strips on an angle about 1/4″-thick.
The biggest takeaways are that you want each piece of flank steak to be about the same thickness so they all cook evenly, and your final strips should be cut against the grain. The grain refers to the tough muscle fibers in the meat. Cutting against the grain helps ensure the meat is more tender by shortening these tough muscle fibers up. Cutting with the grain would keep these fibers longer, and would result in a chewier piece of meat. That’s not what we want.
If you want to see this process in action, this video from Serious Eats does a great job of showing the prep from start to finish.
Look at those pieces of flank steak all stir fried up! Since stir fries cook over a hot temperature, you’ll want to use a high smoke point oil here. Corn and canola oils are both neutral-tasting and have a higher smoke point, so they’re a great option to use.
Once the beef is cooked, remove it to a plate and add a little more oil to the hot pan. Now it’s time for the vegetables.
The recipe pictures you see here include about 12-13 ounces of raw vegetables, with about half broccoli florets, then equal parts carrot slices and snow peas.
What vegetables to use
You can definitely mix and match vegetables here to use what you like, in the quantities you like them. Thinly sliced onions, pepper strips, baby corn, and/or mushrooms would work great. I always like the water chestnuts in Chinese take-out, but I know they’re one of those love it/hate it type of foods. 😉
The only thing to be mindful of would be the cook time. You’ll want to add harder vegetables like carrots and onions to the pan before quicker to cook vegetables like snow peas and any kind of greens so they’re done around the same time.
The vegetable situation is one thing I did switch up in this balsamic stir fry recipe update. Beforehand I used a bag of frozen mixed vegetables (usually a random stir fry variety) in place of the raw vegetables the recipe now calls for.
That way still totally works and is an awesome time-saver. If you are using frozen vegetables, place them on a paper towel pre-stir frying so that the paper towel can absorb any excess moisture from the ice crystals. This helps prevent against the vegetables becoming soggy. We want them to have a bright crispness.
Once your vegetables are all cooked, it’s time to add back the cooked flank steak and pour in the sauce. The sauce features a bit of cornstarch in it, so it’ll thicken up beautifully as it simmers. Since all of the ingredients are cooked, simply simmer everything until the sauce is thickened to your liking. Then it’s all ready to serve.
What you see served with this balsamic peanut beef recipe is brown rice, which is our usual stir fry accompaniment. Quinoa also works, as does couscous, cauliflower rice (see my method of cooking non-soggy cauliflower rice in this post for pesto parmesan cauliflower rice, through step #2), soba/udon/lo mein noodles, etc. And the leftovers make a great next-day lunch!
- To save time you can use a bag of frozen mixed vegetables. If doing so, let them sit for a few minutes on a paper towel-lined plate so any ice crystals can absorb. This helps prevent the vegetables from becoming soggy.
- Use your preferred mix of vegetables. I found about 13 oz of total vegetables to be just the right amount in this recipe.
- Skirt steak will also work here. Another time saver would be to see if your grocery store offers “stir fry beef”, already sliced up and ready to roll.
Balsamic Peanut Beef Stir Fry Recipe
For the beef stir fry sauce:
- 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp sriracha, or to taste
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tbsp fresh minced ginger
- 2 tsp cornstarch
For the beef stir fry:
- 2-4 tsp high smoke-point oil (such as corn, canola, peanut, etc.), divided
- 1.25 lb flank steak, cut into thin strips
- 6.5 oz broccoli florets
- 3 oz carrots, sliced
- 3 oz snow peas
- Brown rice, couscous, noodles, etc. for serving
- Slice the beef (see note in post above) and cut and prep the vegetables. Set aside.
- Whisk together all beef stir fry sauce ingredients in a bowl until smooth and set aside for now.
- Add 1-2 tsp of oil to a large pan set over medium-high heat and swirl it around to coat the bottom evenly. Add the meat in an even layer and cook until browned, flipping as needed to ensure even cooking. Once meat is cooked, remove it from pan. and add about 1-2 tsp of additional olive oil to the frying pan. Add vegetables and stir fry for 4-5 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked and crisp.
- Add another 1-2 tsp of oil to the pan, set again over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add the broccoli florets and the snow peas. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the meat back to the pan with the vegetables and stir together. Whisk the sauce again to make sure everything is combined, then pour it into the pan. Stir everything until well-coated.
- Bring everything to a simmer, then lower heat to medium. Cook for 3-5 more minutes, or until the sauce is thickened to your liking, stirring occasionally.
- Serve over rice, quinoa, noodles, etc. Garnish ideas: toasted sesame seeds, peanuts, sliced green onion.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.