30-Minute Sesame Ginger Orange Beef

Healthy Sesame Ginger Orange Beef is a favorite among Chinese food lovers! This better than takeout easy recipe comes together in 30 minutes or less and results in the most flavorful sweet and savory tender beef.

Big wooden bowl of brown rice and sesame ginger orange beef with chopsticks to the side.

Crispy chunks of tender beef in a sweet and savory sticky orange sauce is what’s on the menu today!

If you’ve tried my 30-Minute Paleo Orange Chicken, you’re already familiar with the process here.

We simply batter up some sliced steak, pan fry it, then cook it in the most amazing sweet orange sauce until everything is nice and crispy and the sauce is thick. 

Serve it with your choice of steamed rice or cauliflower rice with a side of sauteed or roasted veggies for a delicious complete meal!

What is Orange Beef?:

Similar to Orange Chicken, Orange Beef has been made popular by Chinese-American restaurants in the United States like Panda Express. In this sense, it is not a completely authentic Chinese dish, but uses some of the ingredients that are customary in Chinese cuisine, giving it Asian-inspired flavors.

Restaurant Orange Beef is typically deep fried using cornstarch and the sauce is often high in sugar, which is how that amazing sweet sauce and crispy texture is achieved.

While traditional orange beef that you’d find at a Chinese restaurant is absolutely delicious, I’ve designed this recipe to taste authentic with a huge blast of orange flavor, but made with cleaner ingredients.

Instead of using cornstarch, cane sugar, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce, for the delicious orange sauce, we use tapioca flour (or gluten-free flour of choice), a touch of pure maple syrup, coconut aminos or liquid aminos. 

Orange beef in a stainless steel skillet with orange slices and green onions on top.

The good news is we’re still getting the same fresh orange flavor from the sweet and savory sauce that we’d get with traditional orange beef, but without some of the pro-inflammatory ingredients. It’s still the perfect balance of sweet, savory and umami flavors.

In addition to requiring just a few simple steps and 30 minutes to prepare, this healthy Chinese recipe is soy-free, refined sugar-free, grain-free, and paleo friendly. Ideal for those who have various dietary restrictions or for those who just love a clean meal.

Let’s chat about the simple ingredients needed to make this simple Orange Beef!

Ingredients for Healthy Orange Beef:

Orange Beef Sauce:

Orange Juice and Orange Zest: In order to get an incredible infusion of orange flavor, we use both orange juice and orange zest.

The orange peel is key here because it carries a tremendous amount of orange flavor that you don’t get from the juice alone. Don’t be shy about zesting that orange – the zestier the sauce, the more orange flavor that results!

Coconut Aminos or Liquid Aminos: Bringing that savory umami flavor to the meal, we use coconut aminos or liquid aminos to take the place of soy sauce.

Rice Vinegar: Adding a slight sting and tang, rice wine vinegar brings that little bite we need to give the tangy orange sauce well-rounded flavor.

Sesame Oil: The nuttiness of sesame oil brings richness and depth of flavor to the sauce. If you don’t keep it on hand or if you don’t like sesame oil, you can skip it and the sauce will still be delicious.

Fresh Ginger: A little fresh ginger goes a long way in making the orange beef taste fresh with a nice little mild bite.

Fresh Garlic: As we all know, garlic cloves bring a great deal of flavor to any dish. We use plenty here to ensure the beef is blasted with flavor. Feel free to scale the amount up or down according to your personal taste.

Sriracha: Red chili sauce or sriracha brings a little spice to the orange sauce which is barely perceptible. The end result is not spicy and those who prefer mild food will still love it. Nevertheless, if you’re averse to spicy food, leave out the sriracha. 

Stainless steel skillet with sesame ginger beef, chopped green onions and slices of orange.

For the Stir Fry Beef:

Avocado Oil: Used to stir fry beef, avocado oil is a great high temperature cooking oil with neutral flavor. The high smoke point makes it ideal for stir frying beef without adding any additional flavor the way olive oil does.

Steak: What type of steak is best for Orange Beef? Truly, there are so many options here. I love using New York strip steak, but you can also use skirt steak, flank steak, ribeye, sirloin steak, or any cut of steak you prefer. Just note if you use a leaner steak, the meat will turn out a little tougher.

Egg: We whisk up an egg to coat the strips of steak so that flour will stick to it generously. If you can’t eat eggs, skip it and simply coat the steak with tapioca flour. There just won’t be as much breading attached to the strips.

Tapioca Flour (or Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour): Used to bread the beef, we use tapioca flour as a grain-free alternative to cornstarch or all-purpose flour. Tapioca flour results in that same delightful crispy outside but is a low-inflammatory ingredient that is typically easy for most individuals to digest.

Feel free to replace the tapioca starch with arrowroot flour, gluten-free all-purpose flour, or corn starch.

Black Pepper: A little cracked black pepper brings that fun little nuance to the orange beef.

Green Onions and Sesame Seeds: Sprinkle the finished orange beef with chopped green onions and sesame seeds for adding flavor and texture.

Note: If you’re using coconut aminos, you’ll want to add ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of sea salt to the sauce. This is because coconut aminos doesn’t contain as much sodium as liquid aminos. The sauce recipe is written assuming you will add salt according to your personal taste as everyone prefers a different level of salt.

Angled shot of Chinese beef

Optional Additions:

  • If you’d like to stir fry some veggies in with the orange beef recipe, feel free to do so! You can add onion, bell pepper, broccoli, etc.
  • For more heat, add 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or add more sriracha to the sauce ingredients.
  • If you like cooking with peanut oil, feel free to use it instead of avocado oil or sesame oil. You can also use vegetable oil if it is all you have on hand.
  • For those who are comfortable deep frying, feel free to go with deep fried beef instead of stir fried and use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the beef from the cooking oil. This will definitely add more crisp and a tender bite to the strips of beef.
  • Use brown sugar instead of pure maple syrup if you prefer.
  • For an even more powerful orange flavor, add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of orange marmalade to the sauce if you’re okay with the added sugar.
  • If you’re fine using soy sauce, swap out the coconut aminos or liquid aminos with a few tablespoons soy sauce.

Now that we have the ingredients list down, let’s make this easy recipe!

How to Make Healthy Orange Beef:

Stir together the ingredients for the orange sauce in a small bowl or measuring cup and set aside until ready to use.

Mesuring cup with orange sauce ingredients mixed up.

Crack an egg into a large mixing bowl and whisk it well until well-beaten.

Slice the steak into thin strips against the grain. Add the beef strips to the mixing bowl with the whisked egg and toss until all of the strips are coated with egg.

Two New York Strip steaks on a plate, ready to be sliced.

Add the tapioca flour and black pepper to the mixing bowl and toss until the strips of steak are coated with the flour mixture. Note: this will cause the beef to stick together. This is entirely normal, and the strips will come apart easily once they are cooking in the skillet.

Mixing bowl with egg, sliced steak and tapioca flour, ready to be breaded and pan-fried.

Heat two tablespoons of avocado oil (or cooking oil of choice) to a large non-stick skillet (I use a 12-inch skillet) over high heat.

Let the skillet to warm up for a couple of minutes before adding the steak to the hot oil. Arrange the steak into a single layer (remember, it will be stuck together, which is normal, so it will take a little maneuvering to get it into one layer). If need be, complete this step in two small batches if your skillet isn’t large enough to cook the strips in one layer.

Allow the steak to cook untouched for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it is nice and golden-brown. Flip the steak and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the other side is golden-brown as well. The steak does not need to be cooked through just yet.

Pour the sauce into the skillet and bring everything to a full boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and the steak has reached your desired level of crisp, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Pouring the orange sauce into the skillet with the beef.

Serve Orange Beef over your choice of steamed brown rice, white rice, cauliflower rice, or with sauteed vegetables. 

Store any leftover orange beef in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Looking to add veggies to this meal? 

Make my Low-FODMAP Veggie Stir Fry with Wasabi Ginger Sauce, Orange-Honey Glazed Butternut Squash and Beets, or my Perfect Roasted Carrots. 

Wooden bowl of orange beef on top of brown rice with slices of orange. Chop sticks and a golden napkin to the side.

And that’s it! A Chinese takeout classic made healthier to add to your arsenal of nourishing meals.

If you love Asian style cuisine, also try out these healthy Chinese food recipes for an easy weeknight dinner.

More Chinese Recipes:

  • Paleo General Chicken 
  • Easy 30-Minute Paleo Mongolian Beef 
  • Sesame Ginger Cashew Chicken
  • 30-Minute Sesame Ginger Garlic Broccoli Beef Stir Fry
  • Healthy Szechuan Beef 
  • 30-Minute Paleo Hunan Chicken

Enjoy this delicious sesame ginger beef the next time you’re craving takeout!

Ingredients

Orange Sauce:

  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos or liquid aminos or soy sauce*
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar or cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp sriracha, optional

Beef Stir Fry:

  • 1 lb steak of choice**
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup tapioca flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil or coconut oil for cooking

For serving:

  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 bunch green onion, chopped

Instructions

    1. Stir together the ingredients for the orange sauce in a small bowl or measuring cup and set aside until ready to use.

    Mesuring cup with orange sauce ingredients mixed up.

    2. Crack an egg into a large mixing bowl and whisk it well until well-beaten.

    Whisked egg in a mixing bowl for coating beef

    3. Slice the steak into thin strips against the grain.

    Two New York Strip steaks on a plate, ready to be sliced.

    4. Add the beef strips to the mixing bowl with the whisked egg and toss until all of the strips are coated with egg.

    Sliced steak in a mixing bowl with beaten egg

    5. Add the tapioca flour and black pepper to the mixing bowl and toss until the strips of steak are coated with the flour mixture. Note: this will cause the beef to stick together. This is entirely normal, and the strips will come apart easily once they are cooking in the skillet.

    Mixing bowl with egg, sliced steak and tapioca flour, ready to be breaded and pan-fried.

    6. Heat two tablespoons of avocado oil (or cooking oil of choice) to a large non-stick skillet (I use a 12-inch skillet) over high heat. Allow the skillet to warm up for a couple of minutes before adding the steak to the hot oil. Arrange the steak into a single layer (remember, it will be stuck together, which is normal, so it will take a little maneuvering to get it into one layer). If need be, complete this step in two small batches if your skillet isn’t large enough to cook the strips in one layer.

    Breaded steak strips browning in a skillet.

    Allow the steak to cook untouched for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it is nice and golden-brown. Flip the steak and continue cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the other side is golden-brown as well. The steak does not need to be cooked through just yet.

    7. Pour the sauce into the skillet and bring everything to a full boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick and the steak has reached your desired level of crisp, about 5 to 8 minutes.

    Pouring the orange sauce into the skillet with the beef.

    8. Serve Orange Beef over your choice of steamed brown rice, white rice, cauliflower rice, or with sauteed vegetables. 

    horizontal photo of orange Chinese beef in a wooden bowl with brown rice, sprinkled with chopped green onions.

Notes

*If you’re using coconut aminos, add ¼ teaspoon of sea salt to the sauce then add more to taste once you’re finished cooking the chicken. If you are using liquid aminos or soy sauce, hold off on adding salt until you’re done cooking, as both contain a decent amount of sodium already.

In addition, if using liquid aminos or soy sauce, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup to the sauce for sweetness. Coconut aminos is already naturally sweet so no added sweetener is necessary. 

**I use boneless NY Strip, but you can also use skirt steak, flank steak, sirloin steak, filet mignon, or ribeye. Any cut of steak will work, as long as you like the type!

Store any leftover orange beef in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Facts calculated for beef only – not including rice or any additional side dishes.

Nutrition Information

Yield 4

Serving Size 1 Serving (of 4)


Amount Per Serving

Calories 450Total Fat 29gCarbohydrates 24gSugar 9gProtein 39g

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

Press «Like» and get the best posts on Facebook ↓

30-Minute Sesame Ginger Orange Beef