Quick and Easy Chinese Orange Beef

This quick and easy Chinese Orange Beef boasts perfectly balanced flavors and can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes on the stove top with basic pantry ingredients.  It’s a great week-night dinner that’s even faster than take-out!  Serve it with white rice or another favorite grain and a vegetable side for an easy dinner everyone will love.

Stir fry in white dish

Make Orange Sauce

To make this easy orange sauce, you’ll whisk together orange zest and orange juice, brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce, ginger, and cornstarch.

orange marinade in bowl

If you’ve never worked with fresh ginger, check out this post for more info.  I like use a cheese grater to grate directly into the bowl.

grating fresh ginger into bowl

Prepare Beef

We’re using flank steak here and since we need it cut super thin, it really helps to pop it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes before you cut it.  You don’t want it completely frozen through, just firm enough to add some resistance so you can slice it as thin as possible.  Make sure to cut your steak “across the grain” for a tender bite.  See this post if you’d like a more detailed description of that process.

raw sliced steak in bowlCook the Chinese Orange Beef

This cooking process is quick and simple!  Give the beef a quick saute (you may need to do this in batches) and remove from the pan. Pour your sauce in the pan and use a spatula to scrape up all the cooked bits and then simmer it together with the beef until it’s thickened.

Chinese Orange Beef in Skillet

It’s sweet and savory and bright and flavorful.  This sauce is spot on, and it perfectly clings to the tender steak.  It’s loads better than take-out, and faster too!  Here’s some serving ideas to go along with this easy meal.

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Quick and Easy Chinese Orange Beef

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Easy Chinese Orange beef can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes on the stove top with pantry ingredients. Serve with white rice and a vegetable.


23 teaspoons grated orange zest (I just zest 1 whole orange)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons cornstarch
vegetable oil for pan
1  1/2 pounds flank steak, trimmed and sliced thin across grain and lightly sprinkled with salt and pepper (to clarify: that’s one steak, that weighs about 1.5 pounds)
34 green onions, sliced
hot white or brown rice for serving


Whisk orange zest and orange juice, brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce, ginger, and cornstarch together in a bowl.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Drizzle pan with oil and tilt to coat.  Add half of beef, breaking up any clumps and let cook without stirring for one minute.  Stir beef and continue to cook until browned, about 2 minutes; transfer to a bowl and cover.  Repeat with remaining beef and transfer to bowl.

Whisk sauce to recombine, add to now-empty skillet, and cook over medium heat until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.  Return cooked beef, with any accumulated juices, to skillet and toss to combine.  Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Cuisine: Asian
Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I’m trying to add more veggies to my family’s diet. Do you have a side dish that you recommend serving with this? It looks wonderful.

  2. Love this site. Just got both cookbooks and right now am chowing down on the cheesy enchiladds (pg 29?) Anyway, so good. This website helps fuel my love for cooking, and of course eating. I literally fell asleep on my couch reading one of the books cover to cover-that’s how excited I was. You have some great healthy recipes included in your other books, would be neat to see a cookbook focused on all healthy recipes (ironic to mention after eating the cheesy enchiladas. But anyway…) Big fan of you guys 🙂

  3. This was a total lifesaver. I found myself at 5:00 wondering what I was going to make for dinner. I had everything on hand and threw it together. Delicious!

  4. My hubby and I have 14 wonderful grandchildren. So we would definitely use the prize money and have a great time with the gang! This is one grandma who loves your recipes!

  5. We had everything on hand for this and made it for dinner tonight. Yummy! Thanks OBB for yet another winner.

  6. Love all your recipes! I cannot wait to try making this chinese orange beef!Can you PLEASE tell me what kind of pans you use (not just for this recipe)? I have been shopping for new cookware (pan set)…it is so overwhelming! I LOVE to cook & bake so I need a good set of cookware! Thanks for any input!

  7. So yummy! Does/did your husband work for ATK? Do you use All Clad pans? Or what brand are they?

    1. No, my husband has never worked for ATK- why do you ask? Lol. I’m just a big fan so I use their recipes a lot! That is an All-Clad pan, I have a couple of them, but I don’t use them exclusively.

  8. Okay, I am apparently a totally clueless cook, but I can’t figure out if you mean 1 flank steak that is 1/2 lb. or 1.5 lbs of flank steak… Could you clarify for those really special people out there? 🙂

    1. Haha, no it’s tricky! I actually re-worded the way I wrote that multiple times! You want to use one flank steak, that weighs about 1.5 pounds. Does that make sense?

  9. Oh my. What beautiful measuring spoons! (Ok, weirdest thing I’ve said all day…) No, but really… Where did you get them? 🙂 This looks delicious!

  10. I’ve noticed y’all use dark brown sugar in a lot of your recipes, I’m guessing it is to add a deeper flavor, yes? Do you keep light brown sugar on hand for anything or should I just always use the dark stuff? I’m just wondering about containers…get an extra one for dark brown or scrap the light stuff and use that container….important stuff, ya know!

    1. Yep, you’re right. Dark brown sugar just has more molasses in it, giving it a deeper, richer flavor. Most recipes call for light brown sugar, so that’s what I usually use, but if a recipe specifically calls for dark brown it’s nice to have on hand. When it comes down to it, you can easily get away with using either/or in a recipe. I sometimes swap them just depending on what I have.

    2. I only keep dark…haven’t found a recipe yet that I like better with light. 🙂

  11. I am looking forward to trying this recipe. I am always looking for something quick, interesting, and tasty. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I’m finding that I don’t love the taste of fresh ginger. I think it is because I always expect a sweet taste but it is more salty. If I leave ginger out of this recipe…would it still be yummy or would it be way too sweet? Thanks!

    1. Ginger isn’t salty, at all. It’s more of a citrus flavor, bright and fresh. I personally wouldn’t leave it out of this recipe!

    2. Try the tubes of fresh ginger in the produce section. They are SUPER easy (no grating necessary!), super tasty, and you can pop them in the freezer and save for later. 🙂 You also won’t get any “woody”ness that you sometimes find if the ginger isn’t really fresh.

  13. You guys seriously are too much of a good thing. On the spot dinner and photograph and post about it? I dont know how you do it

  14. Can’t wait to try this. What kind of knife do you use to cute your meat? Serrated? I seem to have a hard time getting my meat cut super thin. Thank you!

  15. Really want to try, it looks so tasty! Question, will there be a big difference in taste if I use light brown sugar instead of dark brown sugar?

    1. Nah, go ahead and use light if that’s what you’ve got- it will be just as good. The dark just adds a little more depth of flavor.

  16. Dang! I have everything to make this except the Asian Chili Sauce. I’m guessing there is no substitute for that. This looks amazing though.

    1. Make it anyway! Throw a pinch of red pepper flakes in there (or a dash of hot sauce or sprinkle of cayanne) and a little garlic powder. It will still be yummy!

  17. This looks so good! I’ve been looking for more recipes without garlic and onions because they make me nauseous right now. Thanks for adding another to my list! 🙂

  18. Thanks for this. Orange beef is my favorite Chinese dish and not always easy to find. It’s good to know there is a healthier homemade option that I can actually cook (read: not so complicated it’s off-putting). Thanks again!

  19. This recipe looks great. Is there a substitute you recommend for zest? I get really sick if I eat anything with zest, lemon and orange. The juice is fine, but for some odd reason, zest does not sit well. I tend to leave out the zest and make recipes with just the juice, but I hear how the zest intensifies the flavor and wondered if there were any options for me that are zest less.

    1. Honestly, while there’s some things that could intensify the citrus flavor (dried zest, flavored oils, etc.) there’s really no great substitute for the flavor and brightness that fresh zest adds to a recipe.

  20. This looks good! I love creating dishes at home that you usually get for take out. They are always much better, healthier and cheaper. I will be adding this to my list of recipes to try.

  21. I made this for dinner tonight (I am many time zones ahead of you). DELICIOUS. I loved the zing of the real orange flavor. Thanks for the great recipe!

  22. This sounds delicious! I have a question about “boiling the meat.” Does that happen just from trying to cook too much at once? I have never been able to figure out why it happens sometimes and not other times. We have 8 people in our family so I am usually cooking a lot at once. Will cooking half at a time prevent the problem or are there other contributing factors?

    1. I also meant to ask whether clementines will work or if they need to be big oranges. Other than needing to use more of them, does it matter?

      1. I think the “oranges” I used were actually something like tangelos and it was fine. The flavor was just a little more intense. 🙂

      2. I’ve totally done that in a pinch! They’ll work, although the flavor will be a little different and you’ll need a bunch! I’d use oranges if you can, but in a pinch, something like clementines will work just fine.

    2. There’s a few factors. First you want to make sure your meat is defrosted and patted dry. Then make sure your pan is properly heated up before you add meat to it (hot, not warm) but biggest factor is when you crowd a pan. The meat needs surface area to give off moisture and then let it evaporate to facilitate browning. If you crowd lots of meat in the pan, some of it won’t have direct contact with the heat surface. The large quantity of meat will then release a lot of moisture and have no place to go, so it just creates a pool where the meal “boils”. If you’re cooking a lot at once, it’s worth it to use a large pan and cook it in batches. Hope that helps!

    3. I’ve had the same problem cooking quite a bit at once. I generally just drain off most of the excess liquid so that it fries rather than boiling, but cooking it half at a time might work as well.

  23. This looks delicious! We love Chinese food, so this will be a good new recipe to try.

  24. I may just be blind but I think the brown sugar is missing from the ingredients list…I’m assuming it’s 1/4 cup since that’s what you have in your pictures, but I just wanted to let you know. The recipe looks amazing, can’t wait to try this out this week. Thanks for sharing!!