A kick of fresh ginger, the sweetness of brown sugar and the salty tang of soy sauce all come together to create a complex and addictive flavor profile in this tender and juicy Instant Pot Mongolian Beef.
Easy Mongolian Beef Recipe
There are so many big flavors in this Mongolian beef, and they all blend together so beautifully. Cooked to tender perfection in the Instant Pot, the steak absorbs all the flavors from the sauce, which helps to keep it juicy and fresh. When it’s served on a warm bed of steamed rice, this is a dinner that just can’t be beat.
The best thing about this beef is how quick and easy it is to make. In just 30 minutes, you’ll have a hearty and filling meal that’s better than takeout. Plus, it’s so much healthier without the preservatives, so you can enjoy it guilt-free!
What Is Mongolian Beef?
Mongolian beef is a Taiwanese recipe featuring pieces of steak cooked in a mild brown soy sauce. There’s a little bit of spice to it, but it’s not a hot dish, and authentic versions are mostly sweet. Traditionally, it’s served hot over a bed of white rice.
The fresh ingredients packed into this Mongolian beef make it incredibly flavorful. You can find the exact amounts you’ll need for everything down in the recipe card.
- Top Sirloin: Cut into 1/4-inch thick strips and pounded until thin.
- Vegetable Oil
- Garlic: Minced.
- Soy Sauce
- Dark Brown Sugar
- Fresh Ginger: Chopped finely or minced.
- Green Onions: Sliced evenly into 1-inch pieces.
- Rice Noodles
What Kind of Beef is Best?
The traditional version of this dish uses flank steak, but I like to use its leaner substitute: top sirloin. Both of these options do a great job of absorbing flavor from the sauce while still being hearty enough to hold up. Just make sure you avoid bottom sirloin, since it’s going to be tougher than either of these cuts.
How to Make Instant Pot Mongolian Beef
In the Instant Pot, Mongolian beef is finished in a flash. Follow these steps to get perfectly done pressure-cooker beef in 30 minutes or less.
- Prep Your Materials: Season the sirloin with salt and pepper. Pour the vegetable oil into the Instant Pot and select the browning setting.
- Brown the Meat: When the oil starts to sizzle, brown the meat in small batches, transferring each finished batch onto a plate, until every piece has been browned.
- Sauté the Garlic: Add the garlic to the pot and sauté it for 1 minute. After the minute is up, slowly add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar and ginger. Stir all the ingredients until they’re fully combined.
- Add the Beef Back In and Cook: Carefully add the browned beef and any juices from the meat back into the Instant Pot. Set the machine to high pressure and cook the beef for 12 minutes. Make sure to turn the machine off when the 12 minutes are up.
- Add the Cornstarch and Water: Combine the cornstarch and water in a bowl, then whisk them until the mixture smooths out. Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the Instant Pot, stirring constantly as you do.
- Cook Down the Conrstarch: Put the pressure cooker on simmer and bring the contents to a boil. Stir it constantly until the sauce thickens.
- Garnish and Serve: Add the green onions and stir until they’re distributed evenly throughout the beef. Add the rice noodles on top as a garnish. Serve the beef over a bed of rice, and drizzle any remaining sauce over the top.
Can You Overcook Beef in a Pressure Cooker?
Unfortunately, it’s possible to overcook meat in the pressure cooker. This is why it’s really important to make sure it’s being cooked on the browning setting when it’s in the Instant Pot alone. Only start pressure-cooking it after you’ve added in the sauce, which will keep the meat juicy and tender. And don’t forget to turn the pressure cooker off when that timer dings after 12 minutes are up.
Tips for Success
This quick and easy Mongolian beef has never given me any trouble. Here are some tips and tricks so it works out just as well for you.
- Brown the Beef First: I can’t stress enough the importance of this step. If you pressure-cook the beef by itself, you’ll end up with a dry and crunchy mess. At the same time, unbrowned meat has its own flavor and texture issues.
- Don’t Leave Any Lumps: When you’re mixing the water and the cornstarch, make sure you blend them together well so that no lumps are left behind. Lumps will mess with the texture of the sauce.
- Make It Gluten Free: This recipe is so easy to make gluten-free. Just replace the soy sauce with tamari or a gluten-free brand of soy sauce. Make sure you serve it on rice in its natural form like white rice, brown, or wild varieties. Or you can go with cauliflower rice to make it even healthier. Don’t forget to also check your cornstarch to make sure it’s certified gluten-free.
My favorite way to serve this Mongolian beef is over long-grain rice, but you could use white rice or instant rice too. Another option is to serve it on top of rice noodles, or try crispy cellophane noodles for a satisfying crunch.
Steamed veggies are a great side dish, and you can even mix them right into the beef so they get a chance to soak up the sauce. Zucchini, bell peppers and broccoli are some of my favorite add-ins. For dessert, I love making sweet wontons like these creamy Air Fryer Blueberry Cheesecake Wontons, or these delightfully gooey Apple Pie Wontons.
How to Store Leftovers
If you have any beef left over, let it cool to room temperature and then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You’ll probably want to make a fresh batch of rice when you get around to eating it, since rice can get hard and dry in the fridge. When your rice is ready, pop the beef into the microwave or refresh it on the stovetop before serving it.
Can I Freeze This?
Absolutely! In fact, Mongolian beef makes a great freezer meal. Keep it frozen in a double-lock freezer bag or an airtight container for up to 3 months, then let it thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat it the way you would after refrigerating it.
Instant Pot Mongolian Beef
- 2 lbs top sirloin cut into 1/4″ strips, pounded thin
- 1 TBSP vegetable oil
- 3 TBSP garlic minced
- 1/2 C soy sauce
- 1/2 C water
- 2/3 C dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
- 2 TBSP cornstarch
- 3 TBSP water
- 3 green onions sliced into 1-inch pieces
- Rice Noodles
- Season the sirloin with salt and pepper. Pour the vegetable oil into the Instant Pot and set to browning.
- When the oil starts to sizzle, brown the meat in small batches, removing each onto a plate, until every piece has been browned.
- Add minced garlic to the pot and sauté for 1 minute. Slowly add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar, and ginger. Stir until fully combined.
- Add the browned beef and any juices back into the Instant Pot. Set the machine to high pressure and cook for 12 minutes.
- Combine the cornstarch and water in a bowl, then whisk until smooth. Slowly pour the cornstarch mixture into the Instant Pot, stirring constantly.
- Set the pressure cooker to simmer and bring contents to a boil. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens.
- Add the green onions and stir until distributed evenly. Add rice noodles on top as a garnish. Serve over rice, drizzling any remaining sauce over the top.
- Pressure Cooker
- To Store: Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- To Freeze: Freeze in a double-lock freezer bag or an airtight container for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the fridge overnight.
- To Reheat: Microwave until warmed through or refresh on the stovetop before serving.