20 Minute Garlic Beef Lo Mein
Garlic Beef Lo Mein – Tender beef cooked with colorful vegetables and delicious Lo Mein noodles with addictive garlicky sauce. This 20 minute one pan Lo Mein is a perfect quick and easy weeknight dinner recipe and so much better than takeout. Plus recipe video!
Garlic Beef Lo Mein (牛肉捞面) is one of my favorite Asian dishes along with General Tso Chicken, Mongolian Beef, Teriyaki Chicken, Chicken Pad Thai, Chinese Lemon Chicken, Baked Bone-in Pork Chops and Moo Goo Gai Pan. It’s so easy to make and unbelievably delicious.
With just a few secret ingredients, you can also make this restaurant-quality Lo Mein at home and it will soon become one of your family’s favorite dishes. You don’t have to go to Panda to get Lo Mein anymore! Best of all, you can easily turn your leftover proteins and veggies in your fridge into an amazingly delicious stir-fried dish!
What is Lo Mein and How to Select the Right Noodles
Lo Mein (捞面) is a Chinese dish originally from Hong Kong. The cooked noodles are usually added near the end of cooking and mixed with other ingredients and sauce.
Traditionally Lo Mein doesn’t mean a certain kind of noodles, instead, it refers to a process of adding the noodles at the end of cooking. That’s why it’s difficult to find any noodles labeled “Lo Mein Noodles” as an ingredient in China.
However, you will be able to find Lo Mein Noodles package in Asian market in North America. The noodles that work best for this recipe is the refrigerated or frozen yellow egg noodles, usually labeled “Lo Mein’, “Chow Mein” or “Hong Kong Noodles”. For these noodles, you don’t need to boil them.
If you cannot find refrigerated lo mein noodles, you can use dry lo mein noodles (available at Target and Walmart, etc., and you can also order on Amazon). You can also substitute spaghetti or even linguini or fettuccine. Just cook according to the package directions in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain and toss with oil to prevent sticking and set aside.
Best Beef Cuts for Beef Lo Mein
The secret to best Beef Lo Mein is to get the perfect texture of tender beef. Dry and chewy beef will ruin the whole dish, so you need to select the right cuts for this recipe. The best choices are tender beef cuts, including sirloin, ribeye, top loin, tenderloin, flank steak, shoulder top blade, etc. In most supermarket, you will find packages of pre-cut beef strips which work well for this recipe. If it’s not pre-cut, you need to slice them into UNIFORM thin pieces of meat. A great tip to cut thin strips is to place the beef in the freezer for 30 minutes, and it will be much easier to work with.
Note: Make sure the strips have uniform thickness and width so that they can be evenly cooked.
Select Right Soy Sauce for Beef Lo Mein
As soy sauce is one of the most important ingredients for Lo Mein Sauce, I recommend using high quality soy sauce for this recipe. Brands such as Kikkoman and Pearl River Bridge are good choices. Try to avoid the soy sauce packets from takeout leftover.
In Chinese cuisine, there are two types of soy sauce: Light Soy Sauce (生抽) and Dark Soy Sauce (老抽). Light soy sauce is more common in cooking with lighter color. Dark soy sauce has the sweetness in flavor and much darker color, and it is usually used to highlight the brownish color of the dish while adding a slightly sweet flavor.
Light and dark two-soy-sauce combo is a secret tip for some recipes to get the best flavor. This is a great trick for this Beef Lo Mein recipe, and a 1:2 ratio between light and dark is a general guidance, but you can change the ratio based on how dark you’d like your dish to be. Light soy sauce is available in Asian section at most supermarket, and you might need to go to Asian market to get the dark soy sauce, or order it online.
What’s the Difference between Lo Mein and Chow Mein
Lo Mein in Chinese means tossing cooked noodles with vegetables and sauce at the end of cooking, while Chow Mein (炒面) means stir-fry noodles with vegetables. So the difference between Lo Mein and Chow Mein lies in the cooking process of how the noodles are prepared, NOT the type of noodles that are used.
However, in most Chinese restaurants in North America, Lo Mein and Chow Mein are used interchangeably, and most recipes use similar cooking process for both as well.
How to Make Garlic Beef Lo Mein
This homemade Lo Mein is bursting with flavor and only requires a few simple ingredients: lo mein noodles, flank steak, garlic, carrots, broccoli, sesame oil and for the sauce you’ll need soy sauce, hoisin sauce, brown sugar and ginger powder (Optional: cornstarch).
Step 1: Cooke Lo Mein Noodles: To make it, you’ll want to get the noodles ready first. Prepare Lo Mein noodles according to the package directions. If you’re using refrigerated noodles, you don’t need to boil them. One trick is placing the unopened package in hot water to warm up the noodles before use without making them soggy.
Step 2: Marinate Steak Strips: I highly recommend this step if you are not in a rush. Slice the beef into thin strips. Then in a medium-sized bowl, mix together 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp of cornstarch. Mix well and then add beef strips. This process is called “velveting”, an Asian secret to getting the soft and tender texture of the meat. It takes extra time, but it’s so worth it for a juicy restaurant-style result. A 5-10 minutes of marinating makes a huge difference.
Note: You can marinate the beef for up to 2 hours. But if you are in a rush, you can skip this process.
Step 3: Make Lo Mein Sauce: Combine soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar and ginger in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
Step 4: Sauté Beef and Vegetables: Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add oil and when it’s hot, add marinated beef. Sauté for about 1 or 2 minutes as long as they are not pink (no need to be fully cooked at this point), and then add minced garlic, sliced carrots and broccoli florets. Sauté for 4- 5 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Note: The pan needs to be hot enough before you add the beef. Make sure to place the beef strips in a single layer. Over-lapping will prevent them from being cooked evenly.
Step 5: Toss Lo Mein Noodles with Beef and Vegetables: The last step is to add in the lo mein noodles, and then toss everything with the Lo Mein sauce and drizzle with Asian sesame oil. Voilà – dinner is served!
How to Serve Beef Lo Mein
Beef Lo Mein is a balanced meal by itself. Serve warm and garnish with some sesame seeds. So Good!
If you cook the Lo Mein without beef, you can combine the Vegetable Lo Mein with your favorite meat course, such as Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken, Chicken Teriyaki, Sirloin Steak and Slow Cooker General Tso’s Chicken.
Secrets and Tips for Making the Best Garlic Beef Lo Mein
- Select the right beef cuts for this recipe as mentioned above. Cut them into uniform thin pieces so that they can be cooked evenly.
- The secrets to cutting beef into thin strips is to freeze them for about 30 minutes before cutting
- High-quality soy sauce is the secret ingredient for your Lo Mein.
- Marinating your beef in the cornstarch and soy sauce mixture is the secret to making the tender and juicy beef. Even 5-10 minutes will make a huge difference.
- Use a large frying pan and make sure the pan is hot enough before you add your beef strips. Cook them in a single layer and avoid overlapping so that they can be cooked evenly.
- If you use carrots in this recipe, make sure to cut them into thin matchsticks so that they can be cooked within the same time as other vegetables.
- General guidance for noodle to vegetable and meat ratio in Lo Mein recipe is 50/50, but you can adjust to your personal preference.
- If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can cook the mixture a little longer until the sauce has thickened.
- Add sesame oil at the end of the stir-fried meal and it will give you that incredible aroma. Sesame oil burns at even a low temperature, so in Chinese culture, sesame oil is usually added for flavor to finish a dish.
Beef Lo Mein Meal Prep and How to Store Leftover
Beef Lo Mein is one of my favorite Meal Prep choices and it makes perfect lunch. Store it in airtight containers and it can last for up to 4 days in your fridge.
Ingredients for Making this Garlic Beef Lo Mein
- Lo Mein Noodles: As mentioned above, the best noodles for this recipe are refrigerated/frozen yellow egg noodles labeled as “Lo Mein”, “Chow Mein” or “Hong Kong Noodles” at your local Asian market.
- Beef: Choose tender beef cuts for this recipe such as sirloin, ribeye, top loin, tenderloin, flank steak, shoulder top blade, etc. You can swap out the beef for chicken, shrimp, pork or Tofu. You can even leave the protein out entirely for a vegetable lo mein.
- Vegetables: I used carrots and broccoli for this recipe, but you can use leftover vegetables in your fridge. Some great options are bell pepper, bok choy, snow peas, Shiitake mushrooms, Chinese broccoli, cabbage and bean sprouts.
- Hoisin sauce: It adds a special sweet and savory flavor to your Lo Mein, and you can find it in the Asian section of your local grocery store. You can replace Hoisin sauce with oyster sauce.
- Cooking Wine (optional): For truly authentic Lo Mein, you can add Chinese cooking wine such as Shaoxing wine to the sauce. Dry sherry is a good substitute.
Watch How to Make Garlic Beef Lo Mein:
20 Minute Easy Garlic Beef Lo Mein
- 8 oz lo mein noodles, or spaghetti
- 8 oz flank steak, sliced 1/4" thick against the grain
- 1 tbsp soy sauce, light
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 medium carrot matchsticks
- 3 cups broccoli, cut into florets
- Prepare the noodles according to the package directions. The refrigerated Lo Mein noodles don't need to be boiled, and you can warm them up in hot water. If you use dry noodles, cook them in boiling water according to the instruction.
- Cut flank steak into thin strips.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix 1 tbsp of cornstarch and 1 tbsp of soy sauce. Then add the beef strips to the mixture. Marinate for 5-10 minutes to tenderize the beef. You can skip this step if you are in a rush
- In a medium bowl, mix 2 tbsp soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar and ginger. For the best results, use 1 tbsp of light soy sauce and 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce.
- Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add in vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the beef strips and stir fry about 2 minutes until the beef is no longer pink.
- Then add the minced garlic, sliced carrots and broccoli. Stir fry for about 5 minutes until vegetables are tender.
- Add Lo Mein to the beef/vegetable mixture.
- Toss together with the lo mein sauce and drizzle with the Asian sesame oil. Serve and enjoy!
5 Noodle Recipes You Need in Your Life
Noodles are a popular dish around the world, for both adults and kids. From Chinese Lo Mein & Chow Mein to Italian Pasta and Pad Thai, there is no shortage of noodles to whet your appetite. Below are some of the most popular noodle recipes that your family will definitely love:
- Shrimp Lo Mein: Loaded with succulent shrimp, fresh vegetables and tasty lo mein noodles. Simple, fast and delicious!
- Pad Thai Noodles: An authentic Pad Thai dish that has the perfect balance of sweet, sour and salty elements with classic pad thai flavor. It’s a popular noodle dish commonly served as street food in Thailand and the most popular dishes at Thai restaurants in the West.
- Chicken Chow Mein: Loaded with juicy chicken, flavorful vegetables and fried noodles. This Cantonese Chicken Chow Mein is a game changer that’s loaded with flavor and one of the most popular weeknight recipes.
- Shrimp Chow Mein: A quick and easy one pot meal, loaded with sizzling shrimp, flavorful vegetables and fried noodles. It’s so delicious and you will find yourself making it again and again as a quick weeknight dinner!
- Garlic Butter Shrimp Pasta: A classic Italian Noodle recipe that’s simple and incredibly delicious. Easy to make with restaurant quality.
More beef recipes:
Editor Note: Post updated 3/15/2018 with additional details.
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