This Pepper Steak stir-fry is incredibly easy to make and you can make it on the stove, in your Instant Pot or in the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper.
In fact, there are some advantages to using your Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot and that is why I choose to use the Ninja Foodi in the video. The pot is deep! It helps keep all the splatters from creating a mess AND it's easy to fit everything back in at the end.
However, I have been making this recipe for years and years, way before I had a Ninja Foodi, and I always used a large sauté pan. The instructions are exactly the same, so no worries there.
Frequently Asked Questions
I'm going to say no on this one. It is not like the pepper steak you get in chinese restaurants.
This recipe is something I made up years ago and love so much that I want to share. While it's made similarly to Chinese Pepper Steak, I don't make a sauce with soy sauce and other ingredients. I use the juices from the meat, the oil, the salt and pepper, and juices from the vegetables create the sauce.
You can absolutely use this same technique though and add in some sauce ingredients and it will be delicious. I like the simplicity of ingredients, fresh flavors, and think it's perfect as is.
I don't recommend freezing the leftovers because of the peppers and onions. The steak would be fine, but the peppers and onions will be very soft once frozen.
Yes, you can make as little or as much as you like. My only recommendation will be to brown the meat and vegetables in batches so they get some browning and don't simply steam.
Ingredients & Substitutions
I usually use either sirloin steak or what they call London Broil at the grocery store. London Broil is not a cut of meat, it's a preparation of marinating and broiling usually. However, this is a common way that butchers label various cuts of meat and when you see "London Broil" it most likely is a flank steak or a top round.
Any lean cut of beef will work in this recipe as long as you cut it thinly against the grain and don't overcook it. I will go over how to prepare and slice your meat below because that is the secret to this pepper steak recipe .
I bet Pepper Steak Stir-Fry would be absolutely delicious with Filet Mignon, but I'll save my filet for Beef Wellington or another fancy meal and let the less expensive cuts work in this recipe.
Ribeye is another option that will work just fine.
Peppers & Onions
I use a mixture of green bell peppers, red bell peppers, and even yellow and orange bell peppers in this recipe because I love the color and flavor combination. You can use all one variety or just use red and green peppers.
I like to use sweet onions in this recipe, but any onion will work fine. You can even use red onion. Sometimes I will garnish with sliced green onions as well.
You can use any amount or any combination of peppers and onions that you like. If you want some spice, add in a jalapeno pepper!
Salt and Black Pepper! I use a fine grind sea salt and regular black pepper and love the simplicity of it.
The toasted sesame oil also adds in a flavor that I love. However, if that isn't a flavor you love, use a different oil. Any oil you want will be just fine in this recipe.
There are a few kinds of sesame oil and some are darker than others. I use one that is light to medium in color and doesn't overwhelm the dish. If you have a dark sesame oil, then use that sparingly to add a little oil AFTER cooking the meat and vegetables and use a neutral oil to sauté the meat and vegetables in.
The brand I used in this recipe is by Chosen Foods: Toasted Sesame Oil
I also add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of spice, but that is totally optional. In fact, if you don't like spicy food at all, then cut back on the black pepper in this recipe because it does add some spiciness to the dish.
You can also add garlic powder, fresh ginger root, or dried powdered ginger, onion powder, or any other spices you like. Remember, make it yours & make it delicious.
What do I serve with Pepper Steak Stir- Fry?
Because I use sesame oil, I like to serve it with white rice, brown rice or cauliflower rice. I like the way the flavors and textures pair together. It's great served with some peanuts and toasted sesame seeds on top!
However, you don't have to use the sesame oil. You can use olive oil, vegetable oil, avocado oil or any oil that you like and change the flavor enough that it would be amazing served with mashed potatoes or egg noodles.
You can also make different sauces or gravies to serve with the Pepper Steak Stir Fry.
If you wanted it to be more like a Chinese Pepper Steak, mix together some light or dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, some fresh minced ginger and garlic, and add it at the end. Then to thicken, mix 2 Tablespoons cold water with 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch and mix into the stir fry. Bring to a simmer until it thickens.
If you skip the sesame oil and use a neutral oil instead, you can absolutely make a rich beef gravy by adding in a cooked roux, some worcestershire sauce and additional beef stock.
You could even turn this into a Mexican inspired dish by adding in some cumin, smoked paprika, and some chilis in adobo sauce OR make a curry sauce for a totally different spin.
For a shortcut to change this simple recipe into something new, simply add your favorite stir fry sauce!
I always encourage you to play around with different flavors and sauces to create a meal that you and your whole family loves and this basic recipe is a great starting point for you to create a completely new recipe.
How to Prep & Slice the Beef for Pepper Steak Stir-Fry
This is the most important part of the entire recipe. No matter what type of sauce you are adding or if you are keeping it simple like I do. The way you cut the steak will determine if you have a nice tender slice of beef or a tough and chewy one.
The first tip I can give you is to freeze the meat for 1-2 hours. I usually place the meat on a parchment lined plate and put it in the freezer until the meat firms up a bit. It shouldn't be frozen solid, but it should be stiff.
This will make it much easier to use a knife and make thin slices. If you want to use a mandoline to thinly slice the beef, then you will want it even firmer, so freeze for about 3 hours.
Cutting the meat against the grain is another way to ensure tenderness. This can be sometimes hard to do and some cuts are more difficult than others. If you aren't sure what or how to find the grain in your cut of beef, check out this video below.
The whole goal in cutting the beef for a stir fry is slice it thin enough that it cooks quickly and doesn't get tough and chewy.
Here is a quick video of how I cut the thin strips of beef in this recipe.
How to Make Pepper Steak Stir-Fry
Thinly slice the beef against the grain. You can put your steak into the freezer for about 30-60 minutes. This helps with getting really thin slices!
Add the beef strips to a bowl or a sealable bag.
Add 1 ½Tbsp of sesame oil, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper to the bag or bowl and add meat slices, mix to coat meat with oil, salt and pepper. Set the bowl or bag aside.
Put bag or bowl of meat into the fridge if you aren't cooking within the next hour.
Slice onions and peppers and place in a large bag or large bowl. Toss with 1 ½ Tbsp sesame oil, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Mix to coat. If you want a spicier version, add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes.
Heat large frying pan or wok over high heat. Add vegetables in batches and stir fry over high heat for about 3-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are at least ¾ of the way cooked. They should be just firm to the bite, but not crunchy. Remove vegetables from pan and place in bowl. Repeat for second batch.
Add beef slices and cook over high heat for about 3 minutes or until the beef is browned. Toss the beef around to brown the other side.
Add veggies back into frying pan and cook for 3-5 minutes or until meat and vegetables are done to your liking.
Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot Directions
Turn the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot on high sear/sauté and let the pot heat up for about 5 minutes. If you are using a stainless steel pot, you may want to decrease the temperature to medium or medium high to avoid burning.
When the pot is hot, add about ½ of the seasoned and oiled vegetables. Cook for 3-5 minutes, tossing occasionally to get them browned and cooked the way you like them. I like to make sure they are the texture I like because they only get warmed through at the end. Remove the vegetables and place them in a bowl. Repeat for the second half of the vegetables.
Once the vegetables are removed, keep the pot on high (or medium-high if it's stainless) and let it heat up a few minutes. Put the seasoned steak strips into the pot. You can do this in batches if you want, but I usually just add it all in at once. That will decrease the browning some, but it saves time and produces a little more juice which becomes the sauce.
Break up the strips so they cook evenly and when they are just about done, add back in the veggies.
Toss the peppers, onions, and beef strips together while the pot is still on high to warm the vegetables. Add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes if you like a little more spice.
Toss and remove from the pot. Make sure to scrape all the juices out, that's the sauce in this simple recipe.
Serve over rice or cauliflower rice. Enjoy!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
She published her first cookbook in the Fall of 2018 and is very interested in writing several more.
Louise is also the creator of an online Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooking Course with over 100 instructional step-by-step videos. People absolutely rave about the course and all the value they have received from it.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can. Get more Information about Louise & contact information
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Pepper Steak Stir-Fry
- 1 ½ lb Sirloin Steak or London Broil
- 2 Vidalia Onions
- 1 Green Bell Pepper
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 1 Orange Bell Pepper
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper
- 3 Tbsp Toasted Sesame Oil (Light to Medium in Color) divided in recipe
- 2 Tsp Salt divided in recipe
- 2 Tsp Black Pepper divided in recipe
- pinch of red pepper flakes optional
- Thinly slice beef across the grain. Place beef strips in a large sealable bag or bowl. Add 1 ½ Tbsp sesame oil, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper and toss the beef the oil and seasonings. Set aside or refrigerate if not cooking in the next hour.
- Slice onions and peppers into ½ inch strips, place in large bowl. Add 1 ½ Tbsp sesame oil, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Toss to coat.
- Heat the skillet or Ninja Foodi/Instant Pot on high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add in half of the vegetables and sauté until brown. This takes about 3-5 minutes. You want the vegetables cooked to the texture you like. Repeat with the second half. Remove from pan or pot and place in bowl.
- Add meat to the skillet or inner pot and cook on high for 2-3 minutes, toss it around and sauté another 2-3 minutes or until browned on both sides.
- Add the Vegetables back into the pan and toss to combine. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes if desired. Warm everything through and finish cooking the beef to your desired doneness.
- Serve over rice or cauliflower rice.