In my mind there is nothing that says quick dinner faster than a stir-fry over rice. These Beef Teriyaki Bowls are very easy to make and have a nice mix of protein and veggies. You can serve them over any kind of rice you wish and use homemade teriyaki sauce or a store-bought version.
Dig in and learn what cuts work best for a beef teriyaki bowl as well as how to velvet your meat for super-tender slices and also a quick homemade teriyaki sauce!
What cuts work best for Beef Stir-Fry?
There’s actually a wide range of cuts you could use for this stir fry. Even something like a chuck roast, sliced thinly, could work. Personally though I would stick to steak cuts which are marbled nicely and cook well in a stir-fry environment.
For my money I usually choose a sirloin steak, flat iron steak, or flank steak. These are usually a bit more economical than a strip steak or something similar. When you slice these cuts across the grain and velvet them (see below) they are super tender and SO delicious.
How to Velvet Beef for Tender Slices
If you’ve ever eaten even decent Chinese take-out you’ll notice that their beef is always much more tender than what you can duplicate at home if you just slice your beef thinly and cook it in a pan.
The trick to tender beef is to use a technique called velveting the beef. I first learned this from The Wok cookbook and do it with ALL proteins I’m stir-frying now, but especially beef and pork.
First, you slice your steak very thinly and, this sounds odd, but trust me, wash the slices really well with cold water. Use your hands to really agitate the slices and then press out as much of the water as possible, draining the steak. The meat will look slightly greyish and weird, but it’s correct.
Once you have your beef rinsed, marinate it in some baking soda, soy sauce, mirin, salt and pepper. This mixture will actually change the alkalinity of the meat and tenderize it. It’s incredible that just this little step will lead to very tender beef.
Of course, you don’t have to do this step if you don’t want to, but trust me that once you try it you won’t go back.
The meat looks very similar once it has marinated for a few minutes, but trust me that it cooks very differently.
How to make homemade teriyaki sauce
Making a homemade teriyaki sauce is probably the most optional part of this beef teriyaki bowl recipe. You can 100% use a store-bought version of teriyaki sauce.
The thing with store-bought teriyaki sauces are they tend to be much thicker than a homemade version and so I would actually thin out the store-bought sauce slightly with a drizzle of water to loosen it up.
If you have some time though, making a homemade version is very straightforward. I stir together a mix of soy sauce, brown sugar, mirin, and rice wine vinegar and bring it to a simmer. The sauce will need to simmer on low for about 20 minutes to thicken nicely.
It’s actually best if you can make this sauce in advance and let it cool, but it’s okay to use it right away as well. I like to stir in some sesame seeds into the sauce to finish it but that’s optional!
I got this base teriyaki sauce from a Serious Eats recipe and just substituted for the sake.
Cooking the beef teriyaki
Once your beef has been marinating for a few minutes, it will cook very quickly. I use a wok to cook mine, but even a large skillet will be fine. Heat the wok over medium-high heat and then add some oil once it is hot.
Cook the beef in batches so it can brown a bit. I cooked mine in two batches and each batch will take just a few minutes to cook.
Once the beef is cooked, add in 1/4 cup of the teriyaki sauce and toss to coat. Continue to cook for just a minute so the sauce can thicken. It might foam up a bit as it cooks, which is fine. It’ll reduce down after a minute of simmering.
The finished beef should be browned in spots and lightly coated with the teriyaki sauce.
Tips for making delicious beef teriyaki
These are some basic tips to making this beef teriyaki bowl recipe absolutely delicious.
- No matter what cut you use for the beef, try to slice it against the grain so the pieces pull apart easily.
- Cook the beef in batches so as not to over-fill the wok or skillet. If you do that, it will steam the meat rather than stir-fry it.
- After the beef is cooked, toss it with some of the sauce to coat the meat.
Other ingredients for these Beef Teriyaki Bowls
You could top this beef teriyaki on a million different bases. Personally, I like it just on white rice, but you could try it on quinoa, brown rice, or any other grain.
As far as other toppings go, I like to add some kimchi which adds a nice sour and spicy note that goes well with the sweetness of the teriyaki. Also some fresh, crunchy vegetables like snap peas and scallions work really well.
This is a very flexible dish! Here are some substitution ideas.
- Instead of beef, this dish would be great with chicken or pork and you can use the same velveting method with those proteins.
- Change up the base of the bowls with different grains or even wrap the beef teriyaki in lettuce wraps.
- Add more vegetables to the bowl. Slivered carrots, peppers, and fresh herbs like cilantro would all be great additions.
You will probably have some leftovers for this recipe and that’s great. This beef teriyaki reheats beautifully, even in the microwave, and stores well in the fridge for at least five days.
I like to store the sauce separately in the fridge, reheat the beef in the microwave for about a minute, and then drizzle on extra sauce. So good!
Easy Beef Teriyaki Bowls
- 1 Wok
- 1 cup soy sauce
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup mirin
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
Beef Stir Fry:
- 1 ½ pounds sirloin or flank steak, sliced thin
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon canola oil, for cooking
Other bowl ingredients:
- White rice, for serving
- 1 cup snap peas, chopped
- 1 cup kimchi, chopped
- 3 scallions, chopped
- Sesame seeds, garnish
For Teriyaki Sauce:
- Combine the ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring regularly, until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Start this sauce very first so it's done when your other ingredients are done.
- Sauce will continue to thicken if you let it cool and it can be made well in advance.
To Make Velveted Stir-Fry Beef:
- Slice beef into thin slices (no wider than 1/4-inch thick). Add sliced beef to a bowl and rinse well with cold water, agitating the beef and pressing it with your hands. Drain well.
- To the bowl with the rinsed beef, add baking soda, soy sauce, mirin, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes.
- In a large wok or large saute pan, heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, add oil and then the marinated beef. You might want to cook in batches. Quickly stir-fry the beef, cooking for 3-4 minutes until beef is browned in spots and just cooked through. Repeat with second batch if needed.
- After beef is cooked, return to wok over low heat and toss with 1/4 cup of the teriyaki sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes to thicken sauce. Remove from heat and serve while warm.
Serving teriyaki bowls:
- Serve the stir-fried teriyaki beef in bowls with rice, chopped snap peas, kimchi, scallions, sesame seeds, and additional sauce on the side.