Take-out fake-out! This Orange Peel Ground Beef Stir-Fry is sweet, savory, and ready in less than 30 minutes! Make this family-friendly meal today!
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Table of contents
- Take-out fake-out! This Orange Peel Ground Beef Stir-Fry is sweet, savory, and ready in less than 30 minutes! Make this family-friendly meal today!
- Save this stir-fry recipe with ground beef for later on Pinterest:
- Why you'll love this stir-fry ground beef recipe:
- Stir-fry ingredients:
- Orange stir-fry sauce ingredients:
- Where to buy Sichuan red chilis:
- Ingredient substitutions:
- How to make this orange beef stir-fry:
- Recipe pro-tips:
- How to peel and slice orange zest:
- Serving suggestions:
- Doubling this recipe:
- Storage and freezing directions:
- How to make this recipe gluten-free:
- Recipe FAQs:
- Tools needed to make this recipe:
- More Asian-inspired recipes:
With flavors of orange, ginger, mild Sichuan chilis, soy sauce, and toasted sesame oil, this stir-fry is an homage to my favorite stir-fry that my mom made growing up: orange peel beef.
Made with ground beef instead of sliced steak but still coated in a luscious, sweet and zesty orange stir fry sauce, this Asian ground beef stir-fry is so quick and easy to make, too! There's no need to handle or slice steak and dinner is ready in less than 20 minutes! A true stress-free dinner time accomplishment.
So, if you're looking for a hot and tasty dinner the crew will love any time of year (and let's be real-- when are we not on the search for more quick and easy dinners, am I right?), this ground beef stir-fry is for you! Grab your skillet or wok, a whisk, and cutting board and get ready, because dinner is about to be great!
Save this stir-fry recipe with ground beef for later on Pinterest:
Why you'll love this stir-fry ground beef recipe:
- Quick - if getting dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes is your goal, this recipe is for you!
- Easy - with just a few simple steps, this recipe is accessible and doable for even a beginner cook!
- Family-friendly - everyone from the kiddos to grandparents will love this recipe. Make the recipe spicier if you like, but mild Sichuan chilis add plenty of dimension to the stir-fry without adding heat.
- Big on flavor - you won't believe how flavorful you can make a stir-fry with just orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and a few other common pantry staples. Just one bite and -- if you're anything like us -- you'll be hooked!
Ground beef: 90% or 85% lean beef both work for this ground beef Asian stir-fry recipe. The leaner the cut of beef you choose, the less greasy the stir-fry will be and the less you may need to strain the cooked beef.
Orange peel: wash the orange well before peeling, as the zest is what you will be tasting and eating in the stir-fry. See my notes below on how to zest an orange!
Onion: yellow or white onion are best here.
Sichuan red chilis: choose the spiciness level of the chilies according to your taste preference. Mild offers flavor dimension without any heat; spicier chilis will add a bit more kick.
Garlic: adds flavor, dimension, and a savory element to the stir-fry.
Orange stir-fry sauce ingredients:
Orange juice: fresh squeezed or pasteurized juice both work in this recipe!
Rice vinegar: note, we are looking for rice vinegar, not rice wine vinegar, for this recipe.
White sugar: adds an extra touch of sweetness to the recipe, giving that classic orange beef stir-fry flavor.
Reduced-sodium soy sauce: contributes salty and savory notes; balancing out the orange sauce.
Toasted sesame oil: just 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil adds a light nutty element to the sauce. Don't have toasted sesame oil? Traditional sesame oil can substitute.
Ginger powder: adds a bit of a sweet kick to the recipe without making it spicy.
Salt: finishes off and ties the sauce together.
Cornstarch: thickens up the stir-fry sauce so it can luxuriously coat the beef.
Where to buy Sichuan red chilis:
You may be able to find Sichuan red chilis at a local Asian market or grocery store and they are also available for sale on Amazon. Look for mild, medium, or spicy chilis, depending on your spice preference.
It's also important to note: we are looking for Sichuan dried red chili pods for this recipe, not Sichuan pepper (also known as Sichuan peppercorns).
- Ground meat - ground turkey, vegan meatless crumbles, Impossible ground beef, or ground chicken (preferably dark meat) can substitute for the ground beef.
- Onions - 1 small bunch cut green onions can work in place of the white or yellow onion. Trim the ends and cut the onions into 2-inch long pieces. You will want around 1 cup.
- Ginger - 1 tablespoon julienned fresh ginger can substitute for the ground ginger powder. Stir-fry it with the onions instead of mixing it into the stir-fry sauce, however.
- Soy sauce - tamari or coconut liquid aminos can work in place of the low-sodium soy sauce. If substituting with coconut liquid aminos, reduce the sugar in the recipe to 2 tablespoons, as aminos can be sweeter than soy sauce.
How to make this orange beef stir-fry:
For the complete recipe and measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until combined. Set aside.
Step 2: Preheat a large non-stick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and stir-fry the ground beef for 4-5 minutes, stirring it frequently as it cooks, or until crumbled and cooked through.
Step 3 (Optional): Add the beef to a colander and strain.
Step 4: Carefully but thoroughly wipe out the skillet or wok with paper towels until no beef residue remains on the pan.
Step 5: Return the pan or wok to medium-high heat. Add the oil and stir-fry the orange peel, Sichuan chilis, and garlic until the onion is translucent.
Step 6: Add the cooked ground beef to the vegetable mixture. Stir-fry until the beef is heated-through.
Step 7: Add the orange sauce to the beef and vegetable mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until the orange sauce has thickened.
Step 8: Season the stir-fry with cracked black pepper to taste. Serve hot!
Note: these recipe photos illustrate a double batch of the ground beef stir fry recipe.
- Measure out all the ingredients before you start on the recipe. This recipe moves quickly; you will want to have all of the ingredients prepared and ready for you to use as you need them.
- Work with a screaming hot pan. Stir-frying relies on a hot pan to cook quickly and evenly. To make sure your pan is properly pre-heated, heat up the oil in the pan and carefully sprinkle with a few drops of water. If the drops sizzle or pop, the oil is hot.
- Stir the ingredients frequently as you cook. Another essential of stir-fry cooking. Stir the vegetables and beef often as you cook, not stepping away from the stovetop for very long, to keep the ingredients cooking evenly and to prevent them from burning.
- Wipe out the pan well after cooking the beef. The high heat of the pan will cause the beef juices to burn on the bottom of the pan if you don't wipe them out after cooking the ground beef. Very carefully but thoroughly wipe out the beef juices and oils before returning the pan to the heat. To be extra thorough, you can also carefully wash out and dry the pan before returning it to the heat.
- To strain or not to strain the beef? For a lighter and less greasy stir-fry, strain the beef in a colander after stir-frying. Depending on the fat percentage of your ground beef, you may want to strain it over a large bowl coated with towels (so you don't clog up your pipes with excess grease). Just throw the towels away after the beef has strained. Use the strained beef in the stir-fry recipe as directed in the recipe.
How to peel and slice orange zest:
If you've never peeled and sliced orange zest, here is a quick how-to on how to prep this recipe flavor-booster! It only takes two steps:
Step 1: Using a veggie peeler, peel off 4, 3-inch long pieces of orange zest.
Pro-tip: be careful to not peel too deep into the white pith of the orange. This part is bitter. The outer bright orange part of the peel is where the orange oils (i.e., the part that provides all of the delicious orange flavor) live.
Step 2: Using a sharp chef knife (or other sharp knife), slice the pieces of zest vertically into thin pieces.
That's it! Now you have orange zest slices to use in this recipe.
This stir-fry with ground beef is delicious served with hot steamed rice, sliced green onions, or cilantro. To make it a complete meal, serve it with steamed vegetables. Carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and green beans are all delicious.
Rice steaming directions:
- Stovetop: bring a large saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Add the rice and reduce the heat to medium-high. Cook the rice, uncovered and stirring occasionally (as you would pasta), for the time directed on the package directions, or until the rice is cooked-through and tender.
- Instant Pot: my preferred method! Add rice to the bowl of the Instant Pot in a 1:1.25 rice-to-water ratio (or 1 cup rice, 1.25 cups water). Lock in the lid and pressure cook on high for 1 minute. Natural-release the pressure for 5 minutes, then quick-release the rest of the pressure.
- Frozen: defrost frozen rice according to package directions. Heat in the microwave according to package directions and serve!
Doubling this recipe:
This stir-fried beef with orange peel is super easy to double. Just double the ingredients and follow the directions as listed, adding additional time if needed, until the ground beef and veggies are cooked through.
Storage and freezing directions:
Refrigeration: leftover orange peel beef stir-fry keeps covered in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
Frozen: the stir-fry can also be frozen in freezer-safe bags for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours before reheating in 2-3 minute intervals on medium heat in the microwave (gently stirring the stir-fry between intervals).
How to make this recipe gluten-free:
Can't or don't eat gluten? No problem! It is super easy to make this recipe gluten-free. Just substitute tamari or coconut liquid aminos for the soy sauce! If using coconut liquid aminos, reduce the sugar to 2 tablespoons, as aminos are a bit sweeter than soy sauce. Follow the rest of the directions as listed.
It depends on which type of ground beef stir fry recipe you are making, but in general, the best cuts of beef for stir-frying are those that are tender, have higher fat marbling, and generally cook better over high heat. Examples of this are sirloin, flat iron, flank steak, chuck eye steak (Delmonico), and tri-tip. Ground beef is also another great option!
The best way to keep beef from getting tough when stir-frying is to use a beef that is marbled, tender, and better suited for cooking over quick and high heat (as listed above). Cuts that are better suited for low and slow heat cooking, like chuck, brisket, and skirt steak are not good for stir-frying because they get tough when cooking over quick and high heat.
Tools needed to make this recipe:
- Cutting board
- Chef knife
- Non-stick skillet or wok
- Heat-safe spatula
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups & spoons
More Asian-inspired recipes:
- Asian Pork Meatballs with Sweet Soy Broth
- Teriyaki Meatloaf
- Asian Tri-Tip Steak Marinade
- Asian Chicken Marinade
- House Special Fried Rice
- Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry
If you made and liked this recipe, don't forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went for you in the comments! It always makes my day to hear from you!