Hamburger Stir-Fry Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 25 min.
Our easy ground beef stir-fry with rice swaps traditional strips of steak for simple, affordable ground beef. It's tossed with a quick, four-ingredient sauce and frozen vegetables to make for a delicious weeknight dinner.

Updated: Jun. 03, 2024

Try a creative spin on a favorite dish with this ground beef stir-fry recipe. Like the classic stir-fry recipes that call for chicken or steak, this easy dinner recipe cooks quickly, making it perfect for a busy weeknight. Ground beef recipes are generally economical, popular among fussy children and, best of all, capable of going from package to pan with absolutely zero prep.

At its core, stir-fry ground beef follows a classic stir-fry method, combining protein with vegetables, aromatics and sauce for a super flavorful dish. Each element is cooked rapidly over high heat so the dish comes together in minutes. The best stir-fries make for complete one-pot meals with exciting colors, textures and flavors.

Ground Beef Stir-Fry Ingredients

  • Teriyaki sauce: Savory, umami-rich teriyaki sauce is the base for stir-fry sauce. It’s more flavorful than plain soy sauce and adds a hint of sweetness that’s especially appealing to kids.
  • Sauce seasonings: A from-scratch sauce doesn’t have to be complicated. Here, sugar and ground mustard enhance the teriyaki, adding sweetness and a slight kick of heat.
  • Cornstarch: A spoonful of cornstarch thickens the sauce without adding flavor. Dissolving the cornstarch in the water and soy sauce before adding it to the pan will keep it from clumping.
  • Ground beef: When buying ground beef, look for bright red or purple meat. For this recipe, you don’t need a high-fat content ground beef (as you do with burgers); the quick-cooking method will leave even lean beef juicy. We suggest 90% lean, but you could also use 80%.
  • Canola oil: Stir-frying is a high-heat cooking technique, so you want to use an oil with a high smoke point. We like canola oil because it’s flavorless and accessible, but other good choices are peanut or safflower.
  • Frozen asparagus stir-fry vegetable blend: A bag of frozen veggies is one of our favorite quick dinner hacks. There is no need to defrost; just pour right into the pan.
  • Onion: Onions add essential flavor and crunch to the stir-fry. The trick to cutting an onion quickly? Use a sharp knife.
  • Cooked rice: A pot of hot rice is the perfect stir-fry side. Here’s how to make perfect rice if you need a primer. Our top tip is to pop the lid on when cooking, and don’t peek—even to stir!
  • Sesame seeds and green onions: Sesame seeds and green onions are simple garnishes that enhance the final dish by adding flavor and crunch. They also add a pleasant scatter of color and texture, making the bowl appetizing to look at.

Directions

Step 1: Mix the sauce

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch and mustard. Stir in the water and teriyaki sauce until smooth.

Step 2: Saute the beef

In a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium heat, cook the beef until no longer pink, five to seven minutes, crumbling the meat with a spatula or wooden spoon as it cooks. Drain and set aside.

Step 3: Stir-fry the vegetables

In the same pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the vegetable blend and onion. Cook and stir until the vegetables are crisp-tender, six to eight minutes.

Step 4: Add the sauce and beef

Stir the cornstarch mixture, and add to the pan. Bring to a boil, then cook and stir until thickened, one to two minutes longer. Add beef, and heat through.

Step 5: Serve

Serve with rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and, if desired, top with green onions.

Recipe Variations

  • Vary the vegetables: You can use just about any vegetable in this recipe: garlic, red or green peppers (or a mix!), mushrooms, snow peas, snap peas, julienned carrots, edamame or corn. You may use fresh or frozen vegetables. If using fresh, cut them into roughly equal, bite-sized pieces so they’ll cook quickly.
  • Dial up the heat: Spice lovers have plenty of opportunities here. Add chopped jalapeno or other types of peppers to the pot with the onions and vegetables. Stir red pepper flakes or hot sauce, such as Sriracha, into the pot at Step 4, or add it directly to individual bowls.
  • Serve over noodles: Instead of rice, try serving this stir-fry over noodles. Asian-style noodles work great: think udon, ramen noodle stir-fry, chow mein or rice noodles. Plain spaghetti works, too, in a pinch. Make it healthier by using a whole grain option or gluten-free noodles such as chickpea or zucchini noodles.
  • Change the garnish: Instead of green onions, scatter fresh herbs over the top for a burst of fresh flavor. Or skip the sesame seeds and use chopped cashews for crunch.

How to Store Ground Beef Stir-Fry

Leftover ground beef stir-fry can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. For best results, store the rice separately from the beef and vegetables. Otherwise, the rice will soak up the sauce and get soggy.

How to Freeze Ground Beef Stir-Fry

Stir-fry ground beef freezes well. Again, keeping the rice, beef, and vegetable mix separate is best. To freeze rice, allow it to cool completely, then spread it across a baking sheet, and place in the freezer until solid. Transfer the rice to an airtight freezer bag. It will keep in the freezer for up to one month. Place the beef and vegetables in an airtight container along with the sauce to freeze them. The sauce will help to protect the meat from freezer burn. Keep the beef and vegetables in the freezer for up to two months.

Ground Beef Stir-Fry Tips

Can you use fresh vegetables instead of frozen for ground beef stir-fry?

Yes, you can use fresh vegetables instead of frozen. The only requirement is that the vegetables must be able to cook quickly. Yes to peppers, garlic, mushrooms, peas, corn and broccoli. No to winter squash and raw potatoes. Cut each vegetable into roughly equal, bite-sized pieces. Bonus points if you mix colors and textures or sweet, earthy and savory ingredients.

What should you not do when making a stir-fry?

There are a few hard and fast rules for a good stir-fry. When prepping, ensure each ingredient is roughly the same size so that each bite contains a mix of flavors. Cook over high heat, not low heat—low heat will result in soggy or undercooked ingredients. Don’t add ingredients that require a long cooking time, such as tough cuts of meat or hard vegetables like winter squash.

And don’t stay too safe. Stir-fry is a place to experiment, so go ahead and toss snow peas, peppers and your favorite hot sauce together. It’s all about the alchemy!

Ground Beef Stir-Fry

Prep Time 25 min
Yield 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1/3 cup reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen asparagus stir-fry vegetable blend
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups hot cooked rice
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • Julienned green onions, optional

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch and mustard. Stir in water and teriyaki sauce until smooth.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium heat, cook beef until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes, crumbling meat; drain and set aside. In the same pan, heat oil over medium heat; add vegetable blend and onion. Cook and stir until crisp-tender, 6-8 minutes.
  3. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes longer. Add beef; heat through. Serve with rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and, if desired, top with green onions.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 399 calories, 12g fat (4g saturated fat), 56mg cholesterol, 516mg sodium, 42g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 3g fiber), 28g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 2 starch, 2 vegetable, 1/2 fat.

Here's a quick, easy hamburger stir-fry that uses ground meat instead of the traditional beef strips. It has a nice sauce and is different enough to feel like a treat for the taste buds! —Kathi and John Horst, Westfield, New York