This ground beef stir fry recipe is the perfect weeknight meal. Made in one pan with an assortment of fresh vegetables, it features a garlic ginger homemade stir fry sauce that’s healthier, tastier and quicker than any takeout order!
With half a cow sitting in our chest freezer in the basement, some version of this ground beef stir fry is on the menu pretty much weekly.
It’s perfect for weeknight dinners because it’s quick and healthy, tastes like takeout (therefore a given crowdpleaser) and incredibly customizable to whatever vegetables you have in the refrigerator. Frozen vegetables also work just as well.
And if you’re a sucker for a sticky stir fry sauce, this recipe is for you. It’s almost identical to this pork and cabbage stir fry so if you find yourself with ground pork on hand, check that out instead.
Let’s jump into how to make this Asian inspired beef stir fry.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
GROUND BEEF STIR FRY INGREDIENTS
Ground beef – I like a 85/15 blend for stir fry recipes. The fat content adds to the flavor.
Vegetables – Red bell pepper, asparagus, mushrooms, carrot and onion are in this stir fry but swap things out as necessary based on your inventory or preferences. Frozen vegetables are totally doable in this stir fry as well if that’s all you have.
Sesame seeds – no stir fry is complete without a sesame seed garnish. Use white, black or both.
Scallions – Even though the stir fry itself has yellow onion in it, garnishing with chopped scallions adds a nice pop of greenery as well as pungent flavor.
STIR FRY SAUCE INGREDIENTS
Coconut aminos – This is a gluten-free and paleo friendly version of soy sauce. Tamari or regular soy sauce can be used in its place.
Minced garlic – Along with the ginger, garlic is the main flavor component to the stir fry sauce. I like fresh best but jarred minced garlic is certainly an easy shortcut.
Minced ginger – A must for any stir fry sauce! I keep nubs of ginger in the freezer and grate them using a zester for recipes like this.
Toasted sesame oil – This brings a nice nutty flavor to the sauce.
Sriracha – There’s not a lot used but enough to bring just a tiny bit of kick to the stir fry.
Rice vinegar – The much needed tanginess to balance out the salty ingredients.
Maple syrup – Instead of sugar, maple syrup brings a touch of sweetness in a slightly healthier way.
Arrowroot powder – This acts as a thickening agent (in place of traditionally used cornstarch) and helps the sauce coat all the ingredients with that classic sticky texture of takeout sauces. Tapioca starch can also be used.
HOW TO MAKE THE STIR FRY
Start by browning the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat. Transfer to a plate once cooked and set aside.
Add the olive oil to the pan then once it’s hot, dump in all the vegetables. Stir and sauté for about 5 minutes until they start to soften. The vegetables should still retain some crispness and not be overly cooked or mushy.
While the vegetables cook, whisk together all the ingredients for the stir fry sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
Add the beef back into the pan, stir to mix everything together then pour the stir fry sauce on top. Quickly toss to combine then turn off the heat. The sauce should thicken quickly and nicely coat all the ingredients.
Remove from the heat, garnish the ground beef stir fry with sesame seeds and chopped scallions as desired.
Serve over white rice. For a lower carb option try cauliflower rice or enjoy as lettuce wraps.
WHAT OTHER VEGETABLES CAN BE USED?
Stir fry vegetables are so versatile. While this one features red pepper, carrot, mushrooms and asparagus, the options are endless.
Other great veggies for a stir fry include:
- broccoli (which I use all the time in this shaved beef stir fry)
- baby bok choy
- sugar snap peas
- water chestnuts
- mung bean sprouts
If you choose to use frozen vegetables, you may have to adjust the cooking time slightly to allow the vegetables to thaw completely.
Have cabbage on hand? Try this ground beef and cabbage stir fry instead.
- Keep the vegetables somewhat of a uniform size when chopping so they cook at a similar pace.
- Make dinner even easier by prepping the vegetables and stir fry sauce ahead of time. Make sure to give the sauce a good stir before using to recombine all the ingredients.
- Swap out any other ground meat such as chicken, turkey or pork instead of ground beef.
- Not feeling white rice? Serve this with your favorite Asian noodle. Pad thai rice noodles or udon noodles are both great. These spicy udon noodles also feature ground beef for another easy skillet meal. For a low carb serving option, use cauliflower rice or check out this keto stir fry recipe.
LEFTOVERS & STORAGE
As with most stir fry recipes, this one is great for meal prepping. Keep any leftovers or extra servings stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Reheating is best done in a skillet over low heat but the microwave will work as well.
MORE STIR FRYS LIKE THIS TO ENJOY
These orange turkey lettuce wraps are another Asian inspired meal that feature crispy fresh Bibb lettuce as serving cups which is another (lower-carb) way to enjoy this ground beef stir fry recipe.
If you have pork on hand, this sweet and spicy pork stir fry with ramen is the best of both worlds. It’s like a noodle dish and stir fry collided and it’s a delicious combination of the two!
While not a proper stir fry, this Mexican ground beef skillet is a one-pan meal that also utilizes ground beef. There’s no sticky stir fry sauce but there is plenty of melted cheese!
Ground Beef Stir Fry
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 pound asparagus, ends trimmed, chopped
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced or quartered
- 1/2 a large yellow onion, chopped
For the stir fry sauce
- 3 tablespoons coconut aminos, substitute tamari/soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder, substitute tapioca starch or cornstarch
- sesame seeds
- chopped scallions
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the ground beef and cook until browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add the olive oil to the pan and let it get hot. Once hot, add the prepared vegetables and sauté for about 5 minutes until starting to soften but still slightly crisp.
- While the vegetables cook, whisk together all the ingredients for the stir fry sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
- Add the beef back to the skillet and toss to combine with the vegetables.
- Pour in the stir fry sauce, stir immediately to coat all the ingredients and turn off the heat. The sauce should thicken quickly.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions and serve with cooked white rice.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.