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


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.

Keywords: Steak, Asian, Orange, beef


  1. 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!

  2. 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! 🙂

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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!!

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