PANDA EXPRESS’ | Beijing Beef

Stir Fried Beef, Peppers & Onions in a Sweet, Tangy Sauce

by RRR
How to make Panda Express Beijing Beef

With over 2,200 locations, Panda Express is the most recognizable American Chinese restaurant chain in the United States.  The restaurant chain had it’s humble beginnings in the 1980’s and 90’s in American mall food courts and now boasts annual sales of over $3 Billion.

Being a Gen X-er and growing up in Chicago, I remember eating at the Panda Express in Woodfield Mall in the late 80’s with my girl-boss friends.  And you better believe I was rocking the Forenza sweater, Girbaud jeans and the hair teased to Jesus.  Back then, the menu offerings were much smaller.  So, the Beijing Beef hadn’t yet made an appearance, but it is one of my family’s favorites now.

The trick to making sure that the beef stays crispy in the sauce is to fry the meat for about 4 minutes until the surface becomes golden brown and crispy.  Make sure not to stir fry the onions and peppers longer than 1 minute, however, as you want them to remain crisp, as well.

And take extra special care when discarding the fry oil to not burn yourself or melt the receptacle.  I use a commercial Cambro for this, but a glass container will work well too.  And as long as the oil is clean, it can be reused for another frying adventure (think P.F. Chang’s Crab Wontons)

How to make Panda Express Beijing Beef

Panda Express' Beijing Beef

Serves: 4 Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 470 calories 26 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • 1.25 lbs. flank steak
  • 1 cup sweet onion, 1" cubed
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, 1" cubed
  • 1 small orange, zested
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3 eggs, whites only
  • 3 TBL premium soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 TBL flour
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • 2 TBL cornstarch
  • 3 TBL tomato paste
  • 2 TBL fresh ginger, grated
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. paprika, not smoked
  • Canola Oil for frying


Trim the flank steak of excess fat and silverskin and slice lengthwise.  Rotate and cut against the grain in ½" slices to make bite-sized pieces.

To make the meat marinade: add egg whites, soy sauce, sesame oil and flour in a mixing bowl and whisk until the flour is completely dissolved.  Place flank steak and marinade in a plastic Ziploc bag and shake until all the meat is coated with marinade.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.

To make the Beijing Sauce:  In a tight-lidded container, add water, sugar, vinegar, cornstarch, tomato paste, ginger, lemon/orange zest, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika and shake vigorously until the cornstarch is completely dissolved.  In a small saucepan, simmer Beijing Sauce on a medium heat until it reduces by half.  Stir frequently to prevent bottom from burning.  Once reduced, remove from heat and set aside.

In a large saucepan or wok, add 3-4 inches of oil and heat to 350 F.  Working in small batches, fry the flank steak for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown and crispy surface.  Remove from oil and drain on a drainage rack.

Once all the meat has been fried, discard the oil, reserving 1 TBL.  Be extremely careful not to burn yourself and ensure that the oil is discarded in a container that won't melt (plastic for instance). Add back in the meat and add the Beijing Sauce.  Add as much or as little of the sauce as you like, to taste.  Stir fry for 1 minute longer and serve over steamed rice.


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