how to make stir fry with teriyaki sauce | Family Cuisine

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Video How to make stir fry with teriyaki sauce

Beef Teriyaki all made in one pan that’s better than takeout!

This Beef Teriyaki Recipe rivals your favorite restaurant but is easy to make at home with pantry friendly ingredients! It boasts buttery tender beef stir fried with sweet pineapple and crisp-tender bell peppers, carrots and broccoli enveloped in a dynamic sticky, sweet, tangy, salty umami forward homemade teriyaki sauce. Best of all, the sensational teriyaki sauce can be whisked up in minutes and doubles as the marinade so there isn’t any double work! This beef teriyaki recipe is easy to customize and easy to make ahead – then it’s just a quick stir fry to dinner. You can serve the beef teriyaki with rice or low carb cauliflower rice along with potstickers and wonton soup for a complete Asian feast that’s so good you’ll never want to order takeout again!

If you love teriyaki, don’t miss these must try recipes: Sheet Pan Teriyaki Salmon, One Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Rice, Teriyaki Chicken Tacos Pineapple Pear Salsa, Teriyaki Chicken Salad with Pineapple Ginger Dressing, Classic Teriyaki Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich and Sheet Pan Teriyaki Shrimp.

beef teriyaki

This beef teriyaki recipe combines two of my culinary favorites: teriyaki sauce and stir fries! Teriyaki sauce is one of my favorite flavorings because it packs a big flavor punch and is extremely quick to whisk together. Stir fries are one of the easiest and quickest dinner options and are SO versatile based on whatever veggies you have on hand. Combine the two together and we have a beef teriyaki stir fry that is unabashedly flavorful, quick and easy and totally customizable.


  • Family friendly: Everyone loves beef teriyaki! It’s sweet enough for the kiddos and complex enough for the adults with its layers of savory, tangy, sweet, garlicky, gingery and as-spicy-as-you-want-it essence.
  • Quick and easy: This recipe takes some planning ahead due to marinating the beef but that also means it is on the table in less than 10 minutes once you start cooking! So, please don’t shy away when you look at the ingredient list – most of the ingredients are just dump and whisk!
  • The sauce: I’ll go into more detail below, but this isn’t just any teriyaki sauce, it’s a Hawaiian teriyaki sauce made with pineapple juice and my secret ingredient, Asian Sweet Chili Sauce, which elevates this recipe to the BEST beef teriyaki you’ve ever had!
  • Juicy and tender: The teriyaki sauce doubles as the marinade to deliver the most, tender, juicy steak.
  • Customizable: As with all stir fries, this one is completely customizable. Feel free to use different veggies or even a different protein, but please don’t skip the pineapple – its caramelized juicy sweetness paired with the savory saltines is divine.
  • Make ahead: I love that the beef is marinated ahead of time. While its soaking in its bold bath, you can prep your stir fry veggies so all that’s left to do is stir fry!

What is beef teriyaki?

Teriyaki is a Japanese cooking technique in which food (usually beef, chicken or fish), are grilled or broiled after being marinated or brushed with sauce. The word teriyaki combines two Japanese words: teri, meaning luster (referring to the glistening caramelization of the sauce), and yaki, meaning grill or broil (referring to the cooking technique).

In the United States, teriyaki has come to mean any type of meat cooked by whatever method in teriyaki sauce, a salty-sweet Japanese sauce traditionally made with soy sauce, mirin or sake and sugar. So, beef teriyaki is thinly sliced beef marinated in teriyaki sauce before being cooked.

Teriyaki became popular in the United States during the 1960s when Japanese immigrants settled in Hawaii. They adapted the teriyaki sauce using local products such as pineapple juice and brown sugar, instead of mirin and granulated sugar. For this reason, you will often see teriyaki served in Hawaii or across the states at Hawaiian restaurants. I personally LOVE pineapple with teriyaki sauce and almost always serve the two together- like in this recipe!


If you have never made your own teriyaki sauce before, it is very simple to make with just a few pantry ingredients and I love how you can customize it to just your taste – sweeter, more savory, or more of a ginger, garlic or chili kick.

Traditional teriyaki sauce is equal parts soy and mirin (a sweet cooking sake) and sugar to taste. Another version of simple teriyaki is equal parts soy sauce to granulated sugar. Instead, I’ve gone all sort of non-traditional and combined Hawaiian teriyaki sauce with my secret ingredient Asian Sweet Chili Sauce.

The pineapple juice adds the fruity tang and the Asian Sweet Chili Sauce replaces some of the sugar with sweet heat infused with red chilies, garlic and ginger – a depth of flavor that can’t be beat. I added some cider vinegar to add back some tanginess and balance the sweetness along with additional garlic and ginger to create a dynamic teriyaki sauce that envelops every nook and cranny of the juicy beef and stir-fried veggies. And still, you’ll want to lick your plate.

showing how to make beef teriyaki recipe by adding to rice and garnishing with green onions

WHAT KIND OF BEEF is best for beef teriyaki?

I recommend either top sirloin or flank steak for this beef teriyaki recipe. The type of beef depends on your budget and time constrains:

  • Flank steak: Boasts just the right amount of marbling for maximum flavor and emerges buttery tender once marinated and cooks up quickly without becoming chewy or rubbery (just don’t overcook!). It is also less expensive than prime cuts but emerges equally delicious if marinated for an extended period of time.
  • Top sirloin: Is a little pricier but is the more buttery tender option and the only way to go if don’t have time to marinate the teriyaki beef longer than 2 hours. It’s relatively lean with exquisite finely marbled fat (which is what makes it fabulously tender even with little or no marinating time) and it is boasts great beefy flavor, generally second only to the ribeye!

What’s in Beef Teriyaki?

This easy beef teriyaki recipe comes together with minimal prep work, and everything cooks quickly once it’s thrown in the skillet. Here’s what you’ll need to make the beef with homemade teriyaki sauce:


  • Soy sauce: The salt in the soy sauce helps break down the proteins for a more tender texture and infuses the steak with flavor. Use reduced sodium soy sauce so you can control the amount of salt in the dish.
  • Sugar: You need a little sweetness in the teriyaki sauce to balance out the salty soy sauce and tangy vinegar.
  • Asian sweet chili sauce: This is a non-traditional addition to this homemade teriyaki sauce and it is phenomenal. It is sweet and spicy and packed with flavor from a combination of red chilis, onion, garlic, brown sugar and fish sauce. It can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store. Just don’t confuse this sweet Asian chili sauce with traditional (hot) Asian chili sauce!
  • Asian chili sauce: Is optional if you would like a kick of heat – which we always do. You can use your favorite chili sauce such as sambal oelek or sriracha. You don’t need much, just ½-1 teaspoon because the Asian sweet chili sauce already adds some heat.
  • Pineapple juice: Adds a fruity pineapple tanginess. You’ll use 3 tablespoons from the canned pineapple chunks used in the stir fry. Do NOT use fresh pineapple juice because it contains the enzyme bromelain which will leave your steak mushy. In CANNED pineapple, however, the bromelain is extracted so the juice will infuse your beef teriyaki with flavor without changing the texture.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Provides the fruity tanginess, along with the pineapple, to balance the soy sauce. You may substitute with rice wine vinegar or white vinegar if that’s all you have on hand. However, white vinegar is more acidic than cider vinegar, so only use 3 tablespoons if using.
  • Garlic & ginger: If you’re looking to save time and skip some chopping, you can substitute the fresh garlic and ginger with powders. The typical rule of thumb is 3:1, so one part dried to three parts fresh.
  • Cornstarch: Thickens the sauce so it’s rich instead of watery.


  • Canned pineapple: The pineapple makes the recipe in my opinion, so please don’t skip! You will need one 20 oz. can pineapple chunks. Make sure they are packed IN JUICE and not syrup.
  • Broccoli florets: Should be cut into bite-sized pieces. Don’t throw away the broccoli stalk! It can be turned into broccoli rice or roasted for another recipe.
  • Carrots: Thinly slice the carrots so that they cook at the same rate as the other veggies.
  • Bell pepper: I used a red bell pepper because of its sweetness, but use any color you have on hand. Cut the bell pepper into 1” pieces so it won’t become too soft when stir fried with the carrots.
  • Green onions: Add subtle onion flavor without overpowering the beef teriyaki recipe. Use more or less to taste.

IS beef teriyaki GLUTEN FREE?

As written, this beef teriyaki recipe is not gluten free – but almost! To make it gluten free, use gluten free soy sauce or tamari. You will also want to double check that your Asian sweet chili sauce is gluten free. The rest of the ingredients are gluten free.

How to Make Beef Teriyaki

  • Step 1: Thinly slice the steak. You will want to slice your beef into ⅛-inch slices across the grain, no thicker. It is much easier to thinly slice your steak if you freeze it for 60 minutes or so; however long it takes so it doesn’t slide when cutting.
  • Step 2: Make the teriyaki sauce/marinade. Whisk together the teriyaki sauce ingredients.
  • Step 3: Marinate beef. Transfer ¼ cup of the teriyaki sauce into a zip-top bag or airtight container to become your marinade. Add the sliced steak and massage the marinade into the beef through the outside of the bag. Let the beef marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
  • Step 4: Caramelize pineapple. This step is optional but it really enhances the sweetness of the pineapple. Heat a drizzle of vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet (or another heavy-bottomed skillet) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add pineapple and stir fry until caramelized, about 2 minutes; remove pineapple to a plate.
  • Step 5: Stir fry beef. Heat 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil in the now empty skillet over HIGH heat until very hot and sizzling. Drain excess marinade off of beef (if there is any) and pat it dry. Add half of the beef to the skillet in a single layer and sear for about 1 minute, flip over and cook 1 more minute (it will cook more in the sauce). Don’t overcook or it won’t be as tender! Transfer beef to a large.
  • Step 6: Stir fry vegetables. Drizzle the skillet with oil and add broccoli, carrots, and bell peppers. Stir fry until vegetables are crisp tender, about 2 minutes.
  • Step 7: Assemble. Return the steak and pineapple to the skillet. Pour the teriyaki sauce over the steak and veggies and cook until the sauce is thickened and the beef is done. This will only take a couple extra minutes.
  • Step 8: Serve with rice and garnish with your choice of green onions, Asian chili sauce, sesame seeds, etc.

How to Make Stir Fry Beef Tender

  • Freeze beef: Place your beef in the freezer 60 minutes before slicing. This will help the beef not wiggle beneath your knife so it’s much easier to slice thinly and cleanly. The frozen beef defrosts quickly, so I suggest slicing the beef into thirds and working with one third at a time while the rest of the beef stays in the freezer. The beef will continue to completely thaw in the marinade.
  • Slice beef across the grain: You can marinate your beef and slice it thinly, but if you slice it the wrong way, your meat will be chewy. When you look at your steak, you can see the muscle fibers “grain” running through the meat in one direction. You want to cut perpendicular to the muscle fibers so they become as short as possible, as opposed to parallel which will result in long muscle fibers and chewy, rubbery meat.
  • Slice beef thinly: This goes with slicing your beef across the grain – by slicing your steak thinly (about 1/8-inch slices), you are shortening the muscle fibers which results in more tender steak. Sharpen your knife before slicing the beef to ensure buttery clean, thin cuts.
  • Marinate the beef: A marinade is crucial when using less expensive cuts of beef such as flank steak in order to break down the muscle fibers and tenderize the beef. It also infuses the beef with flavor. If you are using top sirloin, marinating isn’t crucial for tenderness, but it adds flavor. If you only have minimal time to marinate the beef, use top sirloin if you can.
  • Bring beef to room temperature: If you have time to marinate the beef in the refrigerator, let it come to room temperature, about 30 minutes before cooking. This will ensure it cooks evenly.
  • Sear the steak: Make sure your skillet is smoking hot before adding your beef so it will sear on the outside and remain tender on the inside. Add beef in a single layer to sear otherwise it will steam.
  • Cook beef in batches: You will need to cook your beef in 2-3 batches so there is enough room for it to sear in a single layer.
  • Don’t overcook beef: Overcooked beef means tough beef! Don’t cook your steak completely when searing because it will continue to cook when you will add it back to the skillet with the stir fry sauce.

TIPS FOR THE BEST beef teriyaki

This beef teriyaki recipe is pretty straightforward, but here is a summary of some tips and tricks to make it a sizzling success:

  • Use the correct oil: You may substitute the vegetable oil with peanut oil but please don’t use olive oil because olive oil has a lower smoking point and stronger flavor.
  • Prep veggies and sauce first: While your beef is marinating, chop the veggies and aromatics and prep your sauce. You want everything ready before you start actually cooking because the actually stir-frying takes just a few minutes. If you have to stop to make your sauce while your bell peppers are still in the pan, they can end up soft and even worse – mushy.
  • Garlic pro tip: Purchase the pre-bagged, already peeled garlic to save time. They are actually less expensive than whole garlic cloves (at least when I did the math).
  • Ginger pro tip: I like to freeze ginger so it’s always at my fingertips. To freeze ginger: grate it, spread it by the teaspoon or tablespoon on parchment paper and flash freeze until solid, about 1 hour. Transfer to an airtight container or plastic bag for up to 6 months. You can add frozen ginger directly to your stir fry.
  • Don’t overcook stir fry veggies: I suggest setting the timer for 2 minutes – it can go fast and you don’t want to overcook the bell peppers. It is better to under-cook them when stir frying then allow them to reach desired-crisp tenderness once you add the stir fry sauce.
  • Add sauce to the sides of the pan. Pour the stir fry sauce around and down the sides of the pan instead of directly into the center. This will prevent the pan from cooling down too much.


The cornstarch in the sauce will cause it to thicken as it simmers. Continue to simmer until it reaches desired consistency, but take care not to overcook your beef and veggies. To make a thicker sauce more quickly, make a slurry by whisking 1 teaspoon cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water then adding it to the simmering sauce. Repeat this step as desired.


The thickness of the teriyaki sauce is in direct proportion to how long it simmers. If it simmers to the point of too thick, don’t worry, it is easy to thin by whisking in some water.

Tips to Use Frozen Vegetables for Stir Fries

This beef teriyaki stir fry is very versatile and pantry friendly. You can swap out the veggies for whatever you have on hand, including frozen vegetables! Here are a few tips to help you use frozen veggies:

  • First of all, adjust your expectations. Frozen vegetables are great for convenience and pantry friendly color, but they will not have the same crisp-tender texture as fresh vegetables. Tasty, but different.
  • Let your vegetables thaw completely before using, then pat them very dry with paper towels. You don’t want any extra moisture or you’ll end up with steamed veggies instead of stir-fried veggies!
  • Wait until your pan is extremely hot before adding the vegetables so they can cook without becoming soggy. Note, that “hot” does not necessarily mean high heat, it means your skillet has reached full desired temperature, in this case, medium-high heat.
  • Use a large enough pan so your veggies aren’t crowded. If they are stacked all over each other, they will steam instead of sear.

Recipe Variations

  • Adjust teriyaki sauce to taste: This is YOUR beef teriyaki recipe. Make it sweeter by adding more sugar, tangier by adding more cider vinegar, spicier by adding more chili sauce or amp up the ginger or garlic flavor depending on your personal preference.
  • Skip pineapple: If you only have veggies on hand and need to make this beef teriyaki now, then skip the pineapple juice and increase the apple cider vinegar to ¼ cup and the sugar to ⅓ cup.
  • Swap the veggies: You can swap the veggies or omit some altogether. For example, instead of broccoli, add more bell peppers or carrots. The beef teriyaki stir fry would also be tasty with snow peas, mushrooms, zucchini, celery, asparagus, edamame or bok choy.
  • Omit the veggies: Omit the veggies altogether and use additional beef.
  • Water chestnuts: Add a tantalizing crunch. Water chestnuts are easy to find in a can so you can keep them stocked and ready to go.
  • Sesame seeds: Add a nutty sesame flavor. Take care to use toasted sesame seeds or toast them yourself.
  • Nuts: Peanuts or cashews add a deeply satisfying crunch and pair beautifully with the pineapple. Take care to purchase raw, unsalted nuts or our beef teriyaki will be too salty. To elevate your cashews or peanuts, dry roast them in a nonstick skillet until toasted- YUM!
  • Mango or Mandarin oranges: Swap the pineapple for chopped mangos or mandarin oranges. You can use canned or fresh oranges but fresh hold together better in the stir fry.
  • Use another protein: I know this is a beef teriyaki recipe, but you can use this same marinade to make homemade teriyaki chicken or teriyaki salmon as well!

HOW DO I MAKE CRISPY beef teriyaki?

This beef teriyaki is tender rather than crispy because it is sautéed verses fried. To create crispy beef, you will need to fry it:

  • Pat the beef dry and toss it with an additional 2 tablespoons cornstarch right before cooking.
  • Fill the bottom of a heavy bottom pan completely with vegetable oil or other high smoking point oil until it reaches ¼-inch up the sides.
  • Heat oil over medium high heat until it very hot and smoking – the oil should sizzle if you flick water on it (375 degrees F).
  • Add beef in a single layer using tongs.
  • Fry for 1-2 minute or until deeply golden. If the beef is not completely submerged, then flip after 1 minute and cook an additional minute on the other side or until deeply golden.
  • Remove to a cooling rack set over paper towels to drain.

Can I Prep This Recipe in Advance?

Yes! This beef teriyaki recipe comes together quickly, but you can prep individual components ahead of time.

  • Slice the steak: You can do this at any time before marinating or just before marinating, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Marinate the steak: Marinate your steak 30 minutes and up to 24 hours before stir frying.
  • Make the teriyaki sauce: Whisk the ingredients together up to 24 hours in advance and store, covered in the refrigerator.
  • Chop veggies: You can mince the garlic, grate the ginger, chop the broccoli and bell peppers and slice the carrots 24 hours in advance and store the aromatics and veggies in separate air tight containers in the refrigerator. Dab the veggies with paper towels to remove any excess moisture before stir frying.
  • Cook! Now all that’s left to do is stir fry and dinner is served in less than 10 minutes!

How to Store and Reheat Beef Teriyaki

This beef teriyaki recipe reheats wonderfully for lunches or dinners, just take care to not overcook the beef initially.

  • How to store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • How to reheat in microwave: Transfer small portions to a microwave safe dish, heat for one minute, stir then continue to heat at 30 second intervals.
  • How to reheat on the stove: Reheat in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often.

Can You Freeze Beef Teriyaki?

Yes, teriyaki beef freezes very well at multiple stages. You can just freeze the teriyaki sauce, freeze the marinating beef, or freeze the completed stir fry:


  • To freeze teriyaki sauce: Whisk together, add to a freezer bag or freezer safe airtight container, label and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • To freeze marinating beef: You can also freeze the uncooked, sliced beef in the marinade. Transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for 2 to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.


If you want to freeze beef teriyaki after stir frying, I suggest picking out the bell peppers or using a different more freezer friendly vegetable such as broccoli because the bell peppers will become mushy.

  • Let beef teriyaki stir fry cool completely in the refrigerator.
  • Transfer to an airtight container. If using a freezer bag, squeeze out any excess air to prevent freezer burn.
  • Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • When ready to eat, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Reheat in the microwave for 60 seconds then at 30 second intervals or gently on the stove.

What to Serve with Beef Teriyaki

This beef teriyaki recipe is practically a meal in one! Still, every teriyaki recipe needs a side of rice! You also enjoy it alongside salad and soup. Here are some tasty options:

  • Rice: I like jasmine rice or brown rice but any rice will work. Just pop the rice in your rice cooker for a hand’s off, easy side or use a microwave rice pouch for a quick single serving.
  • Low carb: Cauliflower rice, quinoa, broccoli rice or a blend of brown rice and any of the aforementioned options. You can also use low carb noodles such as zoodles or spaghetti squash.
  • Salad: Some of our favorite Asian-inspired salads include Crunchy Asian Salad, Chinese Salad, and Asian Pineapple Salad.
  • Soups: Asian soups make a fantastic starter, such as Ramen, Hot and Sour Soup, Wonton Soup, Egg Drop Soup or Miso Soup.
  • Appetizers: For a complete Asian feast, pair the beef teriyaki recipe with Potstickers, Pineapple Cream Cheese Wontons, Crab Rangoons, and/or Egg Rolls.

Looking for More Teriyaki Recipes?

  • One Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Rice
  • Teriyaki Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Pear Salsa
  • Teriyaki Chicken Salad with Pineapple Ginger Dressing
  • Teriyaki Chicken Bowls
  • Honey Teriyaki Chicken Pineapple Sandwich
  • Sheet Pan Teriyaki Shrimp, Pineapple and Snap Peas
  • Classic Teriyaki Chicken
  • Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken and Rice
  • Sheet Pan Teriyaki Shrimp

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