This black pepper Angus steak is a Panda Express Copycat recipe that comes together in minutes and tastes better than takeout! Ready in 20 minutes and sure to impress!
Need meal time inspiration with a twist? Here is a quick and easy dinner that is always a massive hit in our house: Panda Express black pepper steak.
What is black pepper Angus steak?
Sometimes referred to as Shanghai Angus steak, the black pepper steak is a popular entrée served at Panda Express. It’s made with seared steak, bell peppers, and onions, all covered in a black pepper sauce.
Now, stir-fries may seem to be quite the basic meal, but au contraire: this one is super flavorful and bursting with fresh ingredients and tender steak strips. This recipe is flavored with soy, cooking sherry, and real beef broth, and it’s a total treat.
If you are someone who loves ordering Chinese takeout (or love Panda Express), you’ll be obsessed with this healthier and better-for-you version- there is NO MSG or artificial thickeners needed.
By the way, if you love this kind of stir fry, try the black pepper chicken.
Like any good stir-fry, you can easily switch up the vegetables used or add some other seasonings to change the flavor (like chili for a spicy kick). Here’s what you’ll need for the classic recipe:
- Angus steak. Slice your steak across the grain so the beef won’t turn out gummy or chewy.
- Soy sauce. Standard, not dark or flavored kind.
- Dry sherry. A popular cooking wine used in Asian-inspired dishes. If you don’t have any on hand, you can use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar.
- Cornstarch. Thickens the sauce to stick to the beef and vegetables.
- Beef broth. Choose a good quality beef broth, not bouillon cubes.
- Sesame oil. Flavorful oil used in the marinade/sauce, NOT to cook the stir fry in.
- Sugar. Just a pinch to balance out the salty and strong flavors.
- Black pepper. The key ingredient. Always freshly grind the pepper.
- Vegetables. Red and green bell peppers, onions, and garlic.
- Oil. Choose an oil with a high smoke point, like peanut oil or vegetable oil.
How to make black pepper Angus steak
Black pepper Angus steak is easy to make: the only thing to remember is to allow 15-20 minutes for the steak strips to marinate beforehand. While not mandatory, it yields a more tender beef that simply melts in your mouth. Here’s the basic idea of how to make a Panda express Angus steak (or see the recipe below for specifics):
- Marinate: Combine the steak strips, soy sauce, and sherry in a bowl. Let it sit for 30 minutes, to marinate.
- Make sauce: Whisk the sauce ingredients with the cornstarch to form a slurry.
- Sear: Add half the beef to an oiled wok and pan-sear for 1-2 minutes. Remove the beef from the pan, clean it, then add the vegetables. Cook for 1-2 minutes then remove from the pan.
- Stir-fry: Add the remaining oil then re-add the steak and vegetables. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the black pepper sauce. Stir fry for several minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
Do I need to use Angus steak?
Angus steak is the best cut of steak to use, as it has even marbling throughout (and a higher fat content). If you can’t find Angus steak, you can use sirloin or flank steak.
Avoid using lean cuts of beef, as it will not absorb the sauce as well and are prone to being chewy.
Dietary swaps and variations
The beauty of Panda Express Angus beef is how easy it is to adapt to various diets and flavors:
- Change the protein by using sliced pork, chicken, or even shrimp.
- Make it gluten free by using gluten free soy sauce.
- Cut the carbs by replacing the cornstarch with xanthan gum and the sugar with a sugar substitute.
- Make it vegetarian by swapping the steak for tofu or tempeh.
- Add a spicy kick by adding some chili sauce or red pepper flakes.
Wondering what’s the best way to store a stir fry? Here are best practices for stir fry storage:
- Refrigerator: Place leftovers in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to five days.
- To freeze: Place the cooked and cooled stir fry in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to six months.
More stir fry recipes to try
Frequently Asked Questions
Rice based dishes are best to serve with this stir-fry. You can cut the carbs by serving it with cauliflower rice.
There are just 265 calories per serving of steak stir fry.
In Panda Express, their Angus steak has 30 grams of carbs. In this homemade version, there are just 4.5 grams of net carbs per serving.
Black Pepper Angus Steak (Shanghai Angus Steak)
- 1 lb Angus steak sliced against the grain
- 1/4 cup soy sauce divided
- 1/3 cup dry sherry divided * See notes
- 1/3 cup beef broth
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 bell peppers sliced
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons ginger minced
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to fry
- In a mixing bowl, add the sliced beef, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of the wine. Let it marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, add the remaining soy sauce, sherry, beef broth, sesame oil, sugar, ground black pepper and cornstarch and whisk together. Let it sit to thicken.
- Add oil to a wok or non-stick pan and place it over medium heat. Once hot, add the beef and sear on all sides. Remove from the pan.
- Clean the pan, add more oil, then add the bell peppers and onions. Saute for 3-4 minutes, before removing them off the heat and adding them to the beef.
- Return the wok to the heat and let it start to smoke. Once smoking, add the seared steak, vegetables, garlic, and ginger. Cook for several minutes, then toss through the sauce. Cook everything together for 1-2 more minutes.
- Remove the stir-fry off the heat and serve immediately.