20-Minute Beef And Broccoli Lo Mein Recipe

Planning a few quick-and-easy weeknight dinners each week is essential in a busy home. It makes the difference between grabbing takeout after work and making a home-cooked meal. Plus, cooking at home results in more nutritious meals with ingredients that you can control, and it's also much more economical. Restaurant meals add up over time, and you can save a ton of money by making dishes like this 20-minute beef and broccoli lo mein instead.

Our recipe tastes better than takeout (only without the cool takeout boxes), plus it's incredibly easy to make. The only thing you'll have to do is ensure everything is chopped and ready to go before you start cooking — it comes together that quickly, so there's no time to chop while you cook. If you're a meal prepper, you're in luck with this recipe, too. Every part of this meal can be prepped in advance, so all you'll need to do is toss it all together.

Gather the ingredient for this 20-minute beef and broccoli lo mein

The ingredients list for our 20-minute beef and broccoli lo mein might look long, but it's really only made up of four components: beef, vegetables, noodles, and sauce. We used top sirloin steak for the beef because it's lean, making it perfect for quick-cooking methods like stir-fry. Feel free to use any steak that would taste good on the grill, or swap-in ground beef if it sounds easier to work with. To add nutrition and color contrast to the stir-fry, we used broccoli florets and shredded carrots.

The only remaining ingredients are the noodles and the sauce, which we made by combining soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes. You can use either fresh ginger and garlic or their powdered equivalents. We made it both ways — the first time using powdered and the second time with fresh. We couldn't really tell the difference between the two sauces, so go ahead and use the one you have on hand. In a pinch, you could also use 1/2 cup of store-bought teriyaki sauce instead of making your own.

What noodles are best for this lo mein dish?

Have you ever wondered if lo mein is a noodle or a dish? According to Eat This, Not That!, the word mein means "noodle," and lo mein roughly translates to stirred or tossed noodle. The noodles are made from wheat flour and eggs, making them not all that dissimilar to Italian pasta. The major difference is that Italian pasta is rolled while Asian noodles are stretched. That changes the gluten structure and makes the latter chewier and bouncier (via The Spruce Eats).

You have some freedom in choosing the right noodle for our 20-minute beef and broccoli lo mein. If you can find fresh lo mein noodles at the grocery store or at specialty stores, they'll be your best bet. They may be labeled "egg noodles," and they'll be bright yellow in color and about 1/4-inch thick. Some stores sell dried lo mein noodles, which may be labeled as chow mein or stir-fry noodles. We couldn't easily locate those, so we used instant ramen noodles, which are thinner than lo mein noodles, but are curly and chewier. Since we weren't making a brothy soup dish, we threw away the seasoning packet that came with these noodles. Thick, chewy udon noodles would work just fine in this recipe, too, as would regular spaghetti.

Prep all of your ingredients in advance

It's important to get everything prepped in advance when making this 20-minute beef and broccoli lo mein recipe. Things will happen very quickly — each step takes only two minutes — so you won't have time to chop the vegetables or mix the sauce once you get started.

The first thing you'll do is to cook the noodles. You'll want to follow the package directions, cooking the noodles in salted water to give them a little flavor. Take them off the heat when they reach an al dente texture, as we'll cook them for a few extra minutes in the last stage of the stir-fry. When they're finished, rinse the noodles with cold, running water to stop the cooking process. You can make the noodles in advance, tossing them with a little sesame oil to keep them from sticking. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for three to five days.

While the noodles are cooking, slice the steak, cut the broccoli into small florets, and grate the carrots on a box grater. All of these steps can be done several days in advance, which is helpful if you meal prep for the week. Just be sure to store each component in a separate container, as we cook them in different stages.

Be sure to slice the steak against the grain before making this 20-minute beef and broccoli lo mein

If you're using steak to make this 20-minute beef and broccoli lo mein, you'll want to slice it against the grain. The grain in steak refers to the direction of its muscle fibers, which usually run parallel to each other. Slicing against the grain means positioning your knife perpendicular to these muscle fibers, creating a "T" with the grain. This shortens the fibers and makes the steak appear more tender because it's easier to chew. If you sliced parallel to the grain, the muscle fibers would be long and difficult for your teeth to get through.

The grain is really easy to find in steaks like flank or skirt steak. It's less visible in the more tender cuts, like filet, so you'll have to lean in close to find it. After you identify the grain, use a sharp knife to slice the steak into 1/4-inch slices. Season the steak lightly with kosher salt, and set it aside until you're ready to cook. The steak can be held at room temperature for up to two hours, but you'll want to refrigerate it for longer than that.

The final component of this 20-minute beef and broccoli lo mein is the sauce. We mentioned earlier you can use a half cup of store-bought teriyaki sauce, if you like, but the sauce comes together quickly and isn't difficult to make. Simply combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.

Browning the beef gets everything moving quickly

When the individual components are all ready to go, it's time to start cooking. You can make this 20-minute beef and broccoli lo mein in a wok if you have one, but any large skillet works just fine. We recommend against using a nonstick pan because they usually can't be heated over high heat, and you won't get a good sear on the steak. If it's the only pan you have in your arsenal, it will work just fine.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it's shimmering and almost smoking, add the sliced steak to the pan. Let the slices sit, undisturbed, for about a minute to get a deep, caramelized color on the steak. Then, flip them over using tongs or a long-handled spatula and let them cook for an additional minute. They will be a little on the rare side at this point, but they'll continue to cook as they rest. We'll also simmer them in the sauce during the last step. If you prefer well-done steak, let the pieces cook for an additional minute here.

Steam the broccoli for the best 20-minute beef and broccoli lo mein

Remove the steak pieces from the pan and set them on a plate to rest. Without wiping out the pan, add the broccoli and 1/4 cup water. Quickly cover the pan to capture all the steam and let the broccoli cook until it's bright green, about two minutes. Steaming the broccoli here locks the color and creates a tender-crisp texture that will taste great alongside the chewy steak and noodles.

We're ready to bring it all together now that the broccoli is cooked. Return the steak to the pan along with the carrots, sauce, and noodles. Let the mixture simmer over medium-high heat until the sauce has reduced and the noodles are well coated. The carrot pieces are so small that they'll become tender in this short amount of cooking time.

Remove the pan from the heat and portion the noodles into individual bowls. Garnish each bowl with thinly sliced green onions and sesame seeds before serving.

How did our 20-minute beef and broccoli lo mein turn out?

We have to apologize to our favorite takeout restaurants because we may never order from them again. This 20-minute beef and broccoli lo mein was so easy to make, and it certainly took less time than it takes to get to-go food during rush hour. The noodles were light and chewy, and they soaked in every bit of the deliciously salty, sweet, and perfectly spiced sauce. We tend to like our lo mein on the spicy side, so we added a few extra chili flakes before serving (and maybe drizzled some Sriracha over the top of our bowls, too).

This recipe was perfect just the way it's written, but there are plenty of opportunities for variation here. Skip the meat and turn this into a vegetarian stir-fry by adding bok choy, mushrooms, bell peppers, sugar snap peas, or any other vegetable that sounds appealing. You could easily make this recipe with a pound of any other protein, too. Try making it with tofu, seafood like shrimp or scallops, chicken breasts or thighs, pork chops, or any type of ground meat. The possibilities are endless!

20-Minute Beef And Broccoli Lo Mein Recipe
4.5 from 6 ratings
Our 20-minute beef and broccoli lo mein recipe tastes better than takeout, plus it's incredibly easy to make. Who knew you could make dinner so quickly?
Prep Time
Cook Time
how to make  20-minute beef and broccoli lo mein
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 8 ounces lo mein noodles, ramen noodles, or spaghetti
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 pound top sirloin steak
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or ¼ teaspoon granulated garlic)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into small florets (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • Scallions or green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish
  1. Cook the noodles in salted water according to the package directions. Drain the noodles and rinse them under cold, running water to stop the cooking process. If you're making them in advance, toss them with a little sesame oil to keep them from sticking and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  2. Trim and remove the excess fat from the steak. Slice the steak against the grain into ¼-inch slices. Season the steak lightly with the kosher salt and set it aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, ground ginger, granulated garlic, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Cut the broccoli into small florets and shred the carrot on a box grater, storing each one on a separate plate or section of the cutting board.
  5. When all ingredients are prepped, heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or wok.
  6. When the oil is shimmering and almost smoking, add the steak and cook for two minutes, flipping each piece halfway through, until the steak is browned on each side. The steak will be medium rare at this point. It will continue cooking in a later step, but you can cook it for an additional minute for well-done steak. Remove the steak to a plate and set aside.
  7. In the same pan, add the broccoli and ¼ cup water. Cover the pan and steam the broccoli until it's bright green and tender-crisp, about two minutes.
  8. Return the steak to the pan along with the carrots, sauce, and noodles. Continue to cook the mixture over medium-high heat until the noodles are well coated with the sauce.
  9. Portion the noodles into individual bowls and garnish with the green onions and sesame seeds.
Calories per Serving 596
Total Fat 22.8 g
Saturated Fat 7.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 136.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 62.8 g
Dietary Fiber 6.6 g
Total Sugars 13.4 g
Sodium 1,011.4 mg
Protein 36.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe