The Best Cut of Beef for Perfect Beef and Broccoli Every Time

Beef and broccoli is a beloved Chinese-American dish that combines tender slices of beef with crisp, fresh broccoli florets in a savory brown sauce When made right, it’s deeply satisfying comfort food But what cut of beef works best to achieve that perfect balance of tenderness and bold, beefy flavor?

An Overview of Popular Beef Cuts for Stir-Fries

Several cuts of beef are commonly used for stir-fry dishes like beef and broccoli Here are some of the most popular options

  • Flank steak – This thin, flat cut comes from the belly region and has a distinct grain. It can be tough if overcooked but is flavorful. Flank steak needs to be sliced against the grain and marinated well.

  • Sirloin steak – Cut from the hip/rump region, sirloin has good marbling for tenderness and moisture. It can become tough and dry if cooked too long.

  • Chuck steak – From the shoulder region chuck contains more connective tissue. It benefits from marinating but can have the best beefy flavor.

  • Tenderloin – Extremely tender since it has less connective tissue. But it is milder in flavor and quite expensive. Best for special occasion stir-fries.

  • Top round – A lean, moderately tender cut from the back leg that can dry out if overcooked. Requires a flavorful marinade.

So which of these popular stir-fry cuts stands out as the best choice for beef and broccoli?

Why Flank Steak is the Best Cut for Beef and Broccoli

For achieving the ideal balance of taste, texture and cost, flank steak is the best cut of beef for beef and broccoli. Here’s why it edges out the competition:

  • Thin profile – The long, flat shape of flank steak is perfect for quick, even cooking. Thin slices cook fast to medium-rare doneness.

  • Inherent beefiness – Flank steak has a strong, beefy flavor that stands up well to intense stir-frying. The taste pairs perfectly with broccoli.

  • Good marbling – While lean, flank steak has enough marbling to keep it moist through fast cooking. The fat also bastes the meat.

  • Affordable price – Flank steak costs noticeably less than premium cuts like tenderloin. You get great value for money.

  • Easy slicing – When sliced against the visible grain, flank steak cuts neatly into the thin strips ideal for stir-fries.

  • Takes well to marinades – The loose texture enables marinades to penetrate flank steak and tenderize it.

No other common stir-fry cut quite measures up. Flank steak’s ideal mix of flavor, texture, cut, performance and cost makes it the best beef for homemade beef and broccoli.

Tips for Cooking Flank Steak for Beef and Broccoli

Follow these tips to maximize flank steak’s potential for stir-fry success:

  • Marinate for 1-2 hours – Use a soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil and garlic marinade to maximize flavor and tenderness.

  • Cut across the prominent grain – This produces short muscle fibers for tenderness. Cut into thin 2-inch strips.

  • Use very high heat – A hot wok or skillet properly sears the meat and vegetables for full flavor.

  • Cook the beef in batches– Don’t crowd the pan. Cook just 1-2 servings worth at a time.

  • Stir-fry briefly– Flank cooks quickly. 30-60 seconds total cooking ensures medium-rare doneness.

  • Let meat rest before slicing – This allows juices to redistribute evenly for a tender texture.

  • Add beef back at the end – Return beef to pan and mix into finished sauce to reheat before serving.

With proper preparation, marinating and stir-frying, flank steak delivers perfect beefy flavor and tenderness every time.

Sample Recipe – Easy Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry

This recipe uses flank steak to create a better-than-takeout beef and broccoli in under 30 minutes.


  • 1 lb flank steak, cut into thin 2-inch strips
  • 1 lb fresh broccoli florets
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sherry or rice wine
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil for stir-frying
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Combine soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil and garlic for the marinade.
  2. Add steak strips and mix well. Let marinate for 1-2 hours.
  3. Blanch broccoli until crisp-tender. Shock in ice water. Drain.
  4. Heat a wok or skillet over high heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil.
  5. Stir-fry marinated steak in batches for 30-60 secs until browned. Set aside.
  6. Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil. Stir-fry broccoli for 1 minute.
  7. Return steak and juices to pan. Toss together with broccoli.
  8. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over steamed rice. Enjoy!

Flavorful Additions for Beef and Broccoli

Once you’ve mastered the basics, try taking your flank steak beef and broccoli dish to the next level:

  • Mix in other vegetables like bell peppers, carrots or snap peas
  • Add some garlic, ginger and chili pepper for extra kick
  • Toast cashews, peanuts or sesame seeds for crunch
  • Swap the steak for chicken, shrimp or tofu
  • Serve over noodles or rice noodles instead of rice
  • Garnish with green onions, cilantro or sesame seeds
  • Experiment with the sauce – try oyster sauce, plum sauce or hoisin sauce

The possibilities are endless! With flank steak as your starting point, you’re guaranteed tender, beefy results. Just keep the ingredients and preparation simple to let the steak shine.

Frequently Asked Questions

What cut of beef is usually used in restaurants for beef and broccoli?

Most Chinese restaurants typically use flank steak for their beef and broccoli dishes. Flank steak offers the best combination of flavor, tenderness, easy slicing and economy.

Can I use a cheaper beef cut like chuck steak or round steak?

It’s best to avoid very tough cuts like chuck or round steak. While cheaper, they can become chewy and stringy when stir-fried quickly. Flank steak offers much better texture.

What about using a tenderloin or ribeye steak instead of flank?

You certainly can use pricier cuts like tenderloin or ribeye, but the extra cost usually isn’t warranted for stir-fries. Flank steak offers the best balance of taste and affordability.

Should I cut the beef with or against the grain for stir-frying?

Always slice flank steak against the grain (perpendicular to the muscle fibers) for a tender texture. Cutting with the grain produces longer, chewier muscle strands.

Does the beef need to be marinated before stir-frying?

Marinating is highly recommended to tenderize flank steak and infuse it with lots of flavor. Even 30 minutes makes a noticeable difference.

Is frozen flank steak acceptable to use?

Frozen steak will work provided it is thawed completely before marinating and stir-frying. Partial thawing can inhibit marinade penetration.

What is the ideal doneness for beef in stir-fries?

Medium-rare doneness (light pink inside) is ideal. This keeps the beef juicy and tender. Overcooking results in dry, chewy meat.

What cut of beef is best for stir fry?

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