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Pepper Steak with Onions

Pepper Steak is tender and juicy slices of Steak mixed with peppers and lots of onion in a silky and flavorful sauce. In this post, you will learn how to cook pepper steak on a stovetop, in a crockpot, how to velvet Steak’s cheap cuts to make the perfect Chinese pepper steak, plus many tips to take this dish to the next level!

We more than often have pepper steak for dinner, and I’ll show you how to make it an unforgettable meal. I’m sure that you will enjoy this pepper steak recipe more than the takeout you order from your local Chinese restaurant. This dish can be served with noodles but mostly served with rice; therefore, it is called pepper steak and rice at some restaurants.

Pepper Steak. Fabulous easy recipe with sautéed, peppers, onions, and juicy steak strips. Serve with mashed potato or plain rice. www.munatycooking.com | @munatycooking #steak

Pepper Steak Recipe

I used to think that pepper steak is a Chinese dish but searching for the authentic recipe, I realized that there is no Chinese dish with this name! It’s a Chinese American dish that’s modified a few times and has more than one version.

Let’s talk about the Steak. So, you have a favorite Steak cut, and you like it cooked either medium, medium-rare, or well done, right? I enjoy Steak too, and my favorite cuts are Rib Eye and Chuck, and I love my Steak juicy and tender, but also safe to store.

Let’s not fight over how to cook Steak; none of us will win; everyone likes his Steak prepared in a certain way. In the USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe, the Steak is cooked for few minutes and then consumed. But I also have an audience from different parts of the world where they prefer the steak/meat to cook until tender. I plan to please both sides!

In this post, I will share my way of making pepper steak, I cook the meat a little longer, but it stays tender even when reheated. I will also share how to cook pepper steak in minutes for those used to cooking Steak in a shorter time on high heat.  

Pepper Steak is a delicious stir fry dinner that you will love to make for your family, and with all the tips and suggestions below, I’m sure that you can easily add your touch to it. Although it is called pepper steak, you can replace beef with chicken or fish; the only difference is cooking time, keep the measurements and ingredients the same.

More on how to cook this dish using white meat below!

Pepper Steak. Fabulous easy recipe with sautéed, peppers, onions, and juicy steak strips. Serve with mashed potato or plain rice. www.munatycooking.com | @munatycooking #steak

Pepper steak recipe using white meat

If you are not fond of red meat, you can make this recipe with white meat and enjoy it just as much; you can also use tofu. The sauce used in this pepper steak recipe goes well with any meat.

When using chicken, boneless and skinless thighs are the best part to use. If you are using chicken breast, then make sure not to overcook it, or it’ll turn out dry and chewy.

I would like you to make this recipe as is and then add your touch to it. Cooking pepper steak as per the recipe card will give you an idea of how ingredients work together and how it tastes. Accordingly, you can add more ingredients (like vegetables) or omit some.

Pepper steak is quick to prepare dinner, and you don’t have to buy Steak’s expensive cuts to make it. The spices and the vegetables in this recipe are the right combinations developing a unique flavored sauce that wraps each slice of steak.

Pepper steak Ingredients

Chuck steak cut into medium slices; or cut it into thin slices to reduce cooking time. You can use flank steak or rib-eye steak. You can also choose economical cuts like rump steak or hanger steak. I will explain how to make these cuts tender in this post under How to Velvet (tenderize) the beef.

Large white onion cut into medium strips; the onion gives a great compliment to Steak’s cut, but if you prefer a sharper flavor, use red onion instead.

Green and red bell peppers. You can use yellow and orange bell peppers, but they are sweeter, softer in texture, and won’t have that crunch when cooked. Do not use frozen bell pepper to make pepper steak. The frozen pepper will turn soggy and will ruin the taste of the sauce. You need that crunch so please always use fresh peppers.

Water. Always add boiling water; warm or cold water will decrease the ingredients’ temperature and increase the cooking time.

Oil. It’s better to use flavorless oils like canola oil and sunflower oil to brown the Steak. Olive oil can be used (if you wish), but its flavor may not go well with the other ingredients.

Ingredients for the pepper steak sauce

Soy sauce. If possible, use low sodium to control the amount of salt in the pepper steak recipe.

Cornstarch. I prefer cornstarch to thicken the sauce, but you can also use flour. When using flour, keep the ratio the same as when using cornstarch.

Sugar. Brown sugar will enhance the flavor, but you can substitute it with white sugar or honey.

Water.

Onion, garlic, and ginger powder.

Pepper Steak. Fabulous easy recipe with sautéed, peppers, onions, and juicy steak strips. Serve with mashed potato or plain rice. www.munatycooking.com | @munatycooking #steak

How to Velvet (tenderize) the beef?

You probably have wondered how come the beef in Chinese restaurants is so tender and almost melts in your mouth; well, they use a technique called velveting; this technique also speeds up the beef’s cooking time. If you want to make pepper steak similar to the one served in the restaurants, you can do so at home with simple ingredients.

Keep in mind that in Chinese restaurants, they use cheap cuts of meat. Hence, they tend to tenderize it to give it a better texture. You don’t have to velvet or tenderize the beef if you have a good cut like rib eye, tenderloin, or T- Bone.

There are two ways to tenderize the beef:

You can use baking soda (don’t use baking powder, it will not work) or use egg white. If you want to velvet the meat to use it in this recipe, then skip the step where you add water and cook the meat for 45 minutes.

Baking soda method: We are using 1lb/500gm chuck steak, so mix ½ teaspoon leveled of baking soda with 4 tablespoon water. Pour the mixture over the beef and mix well with your hand. Cover and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse the meat properly to remove the baking soda. Pat the meat dry using a kitchen towel. In case you want to use this method in other Chinese dishes, then remember not to use baking soda with a marinade, including vinegar or lemon juice; the baking soda will lose its effect to tenderize the meat when acid exists.

Egg white method: Add one egg white to the meat and mix well, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Rinse the meat and pat dry. Now it is ready for cooking.

Important Note: The methods mentioned above are for thin slices of meat and small cubes of meat used in making stews. Do not use these methods on full-size steak; the texture will be weird because the tenderizing ingredients will not go deep in a thick slice of meat; you will end up with two completely different textures from the outside and inside the Steak.

Pepper Steak. Fabulous easy recipe with sautéed, peppers, onions, and juicy steak strips. Serve with mashed potato or plain rice. www.munatycooking.com | @munatycooking #steak

How to make pepper steak with onion?

What everyone looks for in a pepper steak stir fry is tender meat, peppers with a slight crunch, and flavorful sauce. In the pepper steak recipe, I’m sharing today, the cooking time might be a little longer, but the outcome is a fantastic dinner. It is also safer to store because the meat is thoroughly cooked. More on how to store the leftover coming up!

  • In a frying pan, add the oil, and when hot, fry the steaks in batches. Make sure to brown both sides of the steak slices, cook on high heat. Crowding the pan will slow the process of browning the meat. When the meat slices touch the pan, the temperature decreases and force the meat to release the juices instead of capturing it inside.
  • Remove the meat after browning and cover it with foil properly; this step will allow the meat to rest and continue cooking using the heat in the juices captured inside it.  
  • In the same pan, add the onion and fry on high until translucent. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
  • Fry the bell peppers for a few seconds and remove from the pan and keep aside.
  • Return the meat to the pan and season with salt and black pepper, stir for a minute and then add the boiling water and cook for 45 minutes until the meat is tender.
  • Now add the onion and bell pepper and stir for a minute.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients and pour over the Steak. Stir the mixture until the sauce thickens.

NOTE:

I cook the meat for 45 minutes to make sure of two things:

  1. The meat is tender and thoroughly cooked.
  2. If I store it in the fridge or freezer, I know for sure that it’s safe to reheat it.

If you want a faster version of cooking the meat, then do the following:

  • In a frying pan, add oil, keep the heat on high.
  • Add the meat, don’t crowd the pan with the meat.
  • Do not touch the meat at all for 1 minute. Flip the meat and cook for another minute on the other side. Remove from heat and cover for 10 minutes, and then follow the recipe skipping the step where you add water to cook the meat for 45 minutes.

How to make Crockpot Pepper Steak?

Making pepper steak in a crockpot saves time, and you get to have the same flavor but with less work. It will take you 10 minutes to prepare your ingredients when you make crockpot pepper steak, and it includes cutting the vegetables, slicing the Steak, and mixing the sauce.

  1. Place the Steak at the bottom of the crockpot, then add the rest of the vegetables and seasoning. Pour the sauce mixture and close the lid.
  2. Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 4 hours.
  3. If you want the bell peppers to stay a little crisp, then add them an hour before the cooking time is up.

Notes on cooking pepper steak in a crockpot:

  1. For more flavor, brown the meat in a frying pan and then add it to the crockpot.
  2. Fry the onion until translucent and add it to the crockpot with the rest of the ingredients.  
  3. Do not velvet or tenderize the meat for cooking in a crockpot. The meat should be tender since it is cooking on low heat for a longer time.
  4. To further thicken the sauce, an hour before the dish is ready, mix half a cup from the sauce with 2 teaspoons of cornstarch, then add it to the crockpot and mix gently. Close the lid and continue cooking.

How to cut the Steak against the grain

There is another way to enjoy a tender cut of steak, and it’s by cutting the Steak against the grain. The grains in the meat are the muscle fibers; you will find thin lines running across the beef when you look closely.

If you cut the meat parallel to those thin lines, you will end up with a very chewy piece of meat. You must cut against the muscle fibers, and you do this if you are cutting raw or cooked Steak; in both cases cutting against the grain will give you a tender slice.

To make cutting a raw steak easy and fast, you should use a sharp knife. Another tip to make the slicing of a raw steak easy is by freezing the Steak for 30 minutes and then cut it into thin slices.

How to store pepper steak leftover?

The pepper steak leftover can last up to 4 days in the fridge if stored in an airtight container. Reheat by either microwaving it or heating on the stovetop in a pan.

You can freeze the leftover after putting it in an airtight container for 3 months. Thaw the pepper steak in the fridge for 6 to 7 hours and then heat it in the microwave or stovetop.

Note: Although you can freeze the pepper steak, keep in mind that the bell peppers will come out a little mushy!

Pepper Steak with Onions

Pepper Steak. Fabulous easy recipe with sautéed, peppers, onions, and juicy steak strips. Serve with mashed potato or plain rice.
4.47 from 28 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: American, Chinese
Keyword: Pepper steak, pepper steak with onion
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 267kcal
Author: Muna Kenny

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs chuck steak cut into medium slices
  • 1 large onion cut into medium strips
  • ½ green bell pepper cut into medium strips
  • ½ red bell pepper cut into medium strips
  • 1 leveled teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cup Boiling water
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • FOR THE SAUCE
  • 3 tablespoon soy sauce I used low sodium
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger powder you can use fresh

Instructions

  • In a pan, add three tablespoon oil and fry the chuck in two batches until brown on both sides. Remove and keep aside. Don't crowd the pan when browning.
  • In the same oil fry the onion until translucent. Remove and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, fry the bell peppers for few seconds and keep aside.
  • Add the fried chuck back to the pan, Season the chuck with salt and black pepper. Add two cups boiling water and let it cook on medium heat for 45 minutes or until the meat is tender. Add water if the meat is still tough and continue cooking.
  • When the meat is cooked add the onion and bell pepper.
  • Mix the sauce ingredients and pour over the steak, stir until the sauce thickens.
  • Serve hot.

Notes

  1. You can use other cuts of meat, like T-Bone, Rib Eye, and Tenderloin.
  2. How to cut the Steak against the grain in the post above.
  3. The crockpot pepper steak recipe is in the post above.
  4. Tips on tenderizing and velveting the beef in the post above.
  5. You can add more vegetables to the pepper steak, like mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini.
  6. This post was originally posted in 2017, updated in November 2020.

Nutrition

Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 670mg | Potassium: 590mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g
DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE?Follow me on Instagram @munatycooking or tag #munatycooking!

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Pepper Steak. Fabulous easy recipe with sautéed, peppers, onions, and juicy steak strips. Serve with mashed potato or plain rice. www.munatycooking.com | @munatycooking #steak

96 Comments

  1. robin rue

    That sounds really tasty! I think peppers and onions were made to go with steak.

  2. Although I don’t eat meat I do cook it every night for my husband. I’ve never tried pepper steak before because I thought it was too complicated. I appreciate the recipe and the printable! I’m going to try it.

  3. I know a few meat lovers who would enjoy this. I used to eat steak but have cut out meat now.

  4. They all look absolutely delicious. I am having some friends over on Sunday and the Pepper Steak is a must! The recipe is quite easy to follow too!

  5. I would like to try this recipe using white meat because beef is so expensive here. It looks so delicious!

  6. Amber Myers

    I am drooling. This looks so delicious. I don’t think I’ve had pepper steak in a long time.

  7. You have me the best idea! I’m going to try this recipe using chicken breast. Thank you so much.

  8. My mom would totally love this recipe. She is a huge fan of peppers in her dishes.

  9. This looks SO good. I love a hearty dinner recipe like this.

  10. This looks amazing! I bet it would be goon on tortillas as well as rice! I can’t wait to try it out!

  11. Seriously this Pepper Steak with Onions are so mouth watering, would love to have a taste. Will give this recipe to my sister so she makes one for me.:)

  12. This looks lovely, although I am cutting down on eating meat. Is there anyway to make the recipe vegetarian?

  13. Am a great lover of meat this meal will go down well with me. thanks for the recipe.

  14. I don’t eat meat, nonetheless, this looks delicious! I would probably give it a try and make it and probably replace the meat with tofu.

  15. Yum! This looks amazing! I wish I had the ingredients so I could make it for dinner – perhaps this weekend instead!

  16. Blair villanueva

    Your dish is undeniably delicious. How I with I could cook well too. Thumbs up!

  17. Hey Sharonoox

    I’m not a big eater when it comes to steak but my family is. I’m going to try to make this. I know they’re going to like it. Thanks for the recipe!

  18. This looks so irresistibly good!

  19. I was drooling while reading this post lol. Am definitely gonna make this one weekend . Thnaks for the recipe

  20. I think red meat is the way to go but I’m sure white meat with this recipe is just as great. You are definitely right we all cook our meals differently but that’s a good thing because it leads us to share.

    • munatycooking

      You are right Sondra! Chicken also go well if used in this recipe instead of the beef.

  21. Oh wow those dishes look super yummy!! I will have to make them!

  22. Rebecca Swenor

    These are all great dishes. Pepper steak with onions is one of our favorite dishes. This recipe I will have to try for sure. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  23. Amy Graham

    I love this dish! I make the pepper steak with onions for my boys and chicken for myself. Both goes great over a bed of white rice. Quick and hardy meal for my entire family. Love it!!

    • munatycooking

      Pepper steak is an excellent tasty meal that hardly takes time. Glad you and your family enjoyed it 🙂

  24. I’m going to make your Pepper Steak recipe this evening. Sounds delicious & easy. Let you know how we like it. 🙂

  25. Just saw your recipe for pepper steak. Sound’s delish! Is there a conversion to make it in crockpot? I work and don’t usually have 45 minutes or more to cook in evenings. Any suggestions will help!

    • munatycooking

      Hi Tena, Using crockpot you can cook this dish on high from 3 to 4 hours, on low you can cook it up to 8 hours. Hope this helps.

  26. This recipe sounds wonderful. I bought everything to make it for supper tomorrow. I do have a question. When you add the water to the beef to cook for 45 minutes, you don’t cover the pan? Just want to make sure it turns out good.

  27. I haven’t made pepper steak in awhile. My daughter grandmother use to make it until she passed. I love your recipe because it’s similar to the way I made it but the only thing I did different was, I didn’t add water to the meat. I just seasoned the meat (I used ribeye) and cut it myself. I also put a little sauce to marinate in until i was ready to cook it then I cooked it like hibachi style then I took it out & cooked the veggies with fresh garlic. I like a crunch to my veggies so it was more like a quick little char. I made the sauce as instructed but I used a little teriyaki sauce also then I added the meat & veggies back in the pan & then poured the sauce on top & let the meat tenderize & finish cooking after turning the burner off. My friend & daughter LOVED it & my girlfriend who loves pepper steak but don’t like to eat peppers. I know weird lol. I have made this 5 days in a row last week because they keep requesting for it. We like a little juice or sauce, just enough to cover the rice but they can’t get enough of it. I’m tired of making it already lol. Keep posting. If you could do a recipe for black pepper chicken like the Chinese restaurants, I would lose my mind! Thank you for the awesome recipe.

  28. Linnie C

    I made this last night and it was delicious (love the sauce) and simple to make! I’ll make this often and it will replace the recipe for pepper steak I used to make. Thank you for sharing an incredible recipe!

  29. I made this *almost* to the letter~ I used 1 whole red pepper and l whole yellow pepper as the steak I had was just under a pound. Thank you for providing a delicious way to use up a chuck steak 🙂

    • munatycooking

      Hey Deborah, Thanks so much for trying my recipe and sharing your feedback, you made me happy 🙂

  30. Great recipe. We really loved it. However, at the beginning where it has a total cooking time of 35 mins, it really should be at least an hour if you’re cooking the meat in the water for 45 minutes.

  31. How is the total time 35 mins if the steak has to cook for 45 mins ?

    • munatycooking

      Hi Lily, thank you for bringing this to my attention. It was a glitch in the recipe card and I have fixed it.

  32. Sue Turner

    This looks really good! Glad I found your site.

  33. 2 cups of water sounds like a lot.is the gravythick enough? Sounds like a good recipe. I guess it doesn’t need flour? Thanks

    • munatycooking

      Hi Mary, 2 cups of water will evaporate quickly while cooking, but it will give the steak enough time to cook until tender. The gravy will be a little thick but the cornstarch will make it creamy and silky smooth!

  34. I have tried many pepper steak recipes over the years. I grilled chuck steak yesterday and had some leftover. Decided to make pepper steak with it. I searched and found your recipe. Followed it as written. Truly the best.

    • munatycooking

      So sweet of you to say so 🙂 thanks a lot for your kind comment and I’m glad that you’ve enjoyed it.

  35. I made this today and it was freaking delicious. My family loved it!! Thank you so much.

  36. Susan D Turner

    The sauce, onions and peppers were delicious. However….I bought a nice piece of chuck steak, cut it up and cooked according to directions and 2 hours later it was still like shoe leather. I had some uncured beef kielbasa that I cut up and used instead and it was really good. Think I would go with a much higher quality of meat next time.

  37. This is my second time making it and it does not take long to make and is absolutely delicious. Thank you for a quick and easy receipe.

  38. I bookmarked this page and will try to cook the recipe tomorrow, Sunday Philippine time. Seems like easy-to-prepare and the ingredients are not hard to find. I hope I could be able to do it.

  39. Thanks for this recipe! Have been looking for ways to cook meat at home other than my usual sauced/souped stuff. This is a beginner-friendly recipe and I have most of these ingredients at home! Now off to buy my favorite cut of meat 😀 😀

  40. Kevin Brotac

    What a great recipe! It looks delicious! Perfect for a sunday lunch relaxing at home

  41. katrina Kroeplin

    ummm yes please, this sounds amazing!

  42. I’ve missed a good pepper steak! One of the things that I would like to work on is getting a house with a full functioning kitchen.

  43. oh wow. this sounds and looks amazing. I just had fajitas (chicken) with bell peppers and onions tonight. might i ask why you need the cornstarch?

  44. Ooh, this looks SO good! I’ve not had streak in ages, so might have to give this a try later on this week 🙂

    Louise x

  45. blair villanueva

    While reading your steak recipe, I couldn’t help thinking how much rice I could eat along with it. Your recipe looks delicious!

  46. This looks so good! I love steak, and this is the kind of thing my husband likes to make regularly, so we’ll have to try this.

  47. This is kinda similar to what we have here in the Philippines. This recipe looks so good.

  48. Nnniiiccceeeee….this is what I had yesterday for lunch, but pork! So nice.

  49. Steven Morrissette

    I love sautés there’s delicious and healthy. Yours look fabulous.

  50. This is one of my favorite meals, but yet I rarely make it. I think it will go on the menu for this week!

  51. Hi Muna
    i really enjoyed reading your post and i really intend to cook it myself1 i love the suggestion of being made with white meat too: chicken breast will be great in it… Thank you so much for the inspiration1

  52. This looks so delicious and just like a professional cooking. Would try this during the weekends.

  53. I LOVE ordering pepper steak, but I’ve never made it at home!! I can’t wait to try this!

  54. I love Pepper Steak with Onions. It sounds like a nice dish. I hope to make it soon.

  55. Tiffany Sylvester

    Looks delicious! Will definitely try it!

  56. This looks delicious. I will definitely try the recipe.

  57. Kuntala Bhattacharya

    Yum Yum, delicious dish. You detail out the recipes so well, perfect for anyone wanting to try at home. I need to try it too. I love steaks and my husband too.

  58. Yum to the yum! I haven’t had this dish since I was a child. I need to make it for my kids. Thank you for another amazing recipe!

    • munatycooking

      Thank you! This is a great dinner. What is your favorite side, mashed potato or rice?

  59. This looks like a great recipe for the meat lovers. Simple and easy to do. Awesome post!!!🤗

  60. Ebony Robinson

    If I could give this recipe more than 5 stars, I would! It was so yummy when I made it for dinner. I wouldn’t change a thing

  61. Yum ! That looks like diner for me tonight !

  62. Marta Skeledžija

    That looks and sounds yummy. I love stake.

  63. Elizabeth O

    I don’t eat meet but all of the dishes photographed look delicious. I could see lots os meat eaters enjoying this.

  64. Easy and taste great! I made this recipe as a quick meal for dinner. I didn’t add or take away a thing. My family loved it and it will be one of our future favorites.

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