Beef & Broccoli (Instant Pot): A Delicious Weeknight Dinner in Minutes!

Looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner that’s bursting with flavor? Look no further than Beef & Broccoli! This classic American Chinese dish is a crowd-pleaser, perfect for busy families or anyone who wants a satisfying meal without spending hours in the kitchen.

This recipe utilizes the magic of the Instant Pot to deliver incredibly tender beef and perfectly cooked broccoli in a fraction of the time it takes traditional methods. And the best part? You only need one pot for the entire dish, making cleanup a breeze!

A Culinary Journey Through Time: The Origins of Beef & Broccoli

Beef & Broccoli, while a beloved staple in American Chinese cuisine, has a fascinating history. It’s believed to have emerged during the 19th century when Chinese immigrants settled in America. These resourceful chefs adapted traditional Chinese dishes using readily available ingredients in their new home. This culinary innovation resulted in the birth of Beef & Broccoli, which quickly gained popularity in American Chinese restaurants by the 1920s. By the mid-20th century, it had become a ubiquitous favorite, and it remains one of the most popular American Chinese dishes today.

Whip Up a Delicious Feast in Under 30 Minutes!

This recipe is designed for ultimate convenience. All you need is an Instant Pot, a handful of simple ingredients, and about 30 minutes to create a restaurant-worthy meal at home. It’s perfect for busy weeknights, quick lunches, or a casual dinner party.

This recipe serves 4-6 people, making it ideal for families or sharing with friends.

Tools You’ll Need:

  • Instant Pot
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Whisk
  • Serving spoon


  • The Star of the Show: Beef (2lbs): Traditionally, flank steak is used for this recipe. It’s a lean cut with a good amount of marbling, resulting in tender and flavorful beef when cooked properly. However, if flank steak isn’t readily available, you can substitute it with other thin cuts like skirt steak, round steak, or even thinly sliced beef chuck roast. Just be sure to cut the meat against the grain into thin strips for optimal tenderness.
  • The Green Goodness: Broccoli (4 Cups Frozen): The beauty of this recipe is its simplicity. Frozen broccoli florets are readily available, pre-cut, and perfectly portioned, saving you valuable prep time. Fresh broccoli florets can be used as well, but you’ll need to wash and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
  • Aromatic Powerhouse: Garlic (2 Tbsp Minced): Freshly minced garlic adds a pungent and essential layer of flavor to the dish. If you’re short on time, pre-minced garlic can be used in a pinch, but fresh garlic delivers the best results.
  • The Savory Base: Beef Broth (1 Cup): Beef broth forms the base of the flavorful sauce. Low-sodium beef broth is recommended to allow you to control the salt level of the final dish. You can also use chicken broth as a substitute if needed.
  • The Tangy Touch: Rice Vinegar (2 Tbsp): Rice vinegar adds a subtle acidity that balances the sweetness and umami flavors in the sauce. White vinegar can be used as a substitute, but rice vinegar offers a milder and more delicate flavor profile.
  • The Sweetener: Brown Sugar (1/3 Cup): Brown sugar adds a touch of sweetness that complements the savory and umami flavors in the dish. You can adjust the amount of brown sugar to your preference, or substitute it with honey or granulated sugar.
  • The Thickener: Corn Starch (3 Tbsp): Cornstarch acts as a thickener for the sauce, creating a pleasant consistency that coats the beef and broccoli. Arrowroot powder can be used as a substitute if you have a corn allergy.
  • Seasoning Essentials: Salt & Pepper (to taste): Salt and freshly ground black pepper are essential for enhancing the overall flavor profile of the dish. Adjust the amount to your preference.
  • The Classic Touch: Soy Sauce (1/2 Cup): Soy sauce is a staple ingredient in Chinese cooking, adding umami depth and a salty savoriness to the sauce. There are different varieties of soy sauce available, such as light soy sauce and dark soy sauce. Light soy sauce is a good all-purpose choice for this recipe, but you can experiment with a combination of light and dark soy sauce for a richer flavor.

Calling All Foodies!

Now that you have all the information and ingredients at hand, it’s time to get cooking! This recipe is incredibly easy to follow, even for beginner cooks. With just a few simple steps, you’ll be enjoying a delicious and satisfying Beef & Broccoli dinner

no time! Here’s how to whip up this culinary gem:

Step-by-Step Guide to Instant Pot Beef & Broccoli:

  1. Prep Time: (5 minutes)
    • Thinly Slice the Beef: Using a sharp knife, cut the beef (2lbs) against the grain into thin strips. This ensures the meat cooks quickly and stays tender.
    • Steam or Thaw Broccoli: If using frozen broccoli florets (4 cups), there’s no need to thaw them beforehand. However, if you prefer fresh broccoli, wash and cut them into bite-sized pieces.
    • Measure and Prep Other Ingredients: Have all your ingredients – minced garlic (2 Tbsp), beef broth (1 cup), rice vinegar (2 Tbsp), brown sugar (1/3 cup), cornstarch (3 Tbsp), salt, pepper, and soy sauce (1/2 cup) – measured and ready to go.
  2. Sautéing the Beef: (5 minutes)
    • Heat Up the Pot: Set your Instant Pot to “Sauté” mode and add a drizzle of cooking oil. Let the oil heat up until shimmering.
    • Brown the Beef: Working in batches if necessary, add the beef strips to the hot oil. Don’t overcrowd the pot, as this can prevent proper browning. Sauté the beef for a few minutes per side until it’s nicely browned on all sides. Remove the browned beef from the pot and set it aside on a plate.
  3. Building the Sauce: (3 minutes)
    • Deglaze the Pot: Once you’ve removed the browned beef, there might be some browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. This is flavor gold! To release these flavorful bits, deglaze the pot by adding a splash of beef broth and scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon.
    • Flavor Explosion: Add the minced garlic (2 Tbsp) to the pot and sauté for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic, as it can turn bitter.
  4. Pressure Cooking Magic: (10 minutes)
    • Pour in the Liquids: Add the beef broth (1 cup), rice vinegar (2 Tbsp), and soy sauce (1/2 cup) to the pot. Stir to combine everything well.
    • Sweet and Savory Touch: Add the brown sugar (1/3 cup) and stir until it dissolves completely.
    • Season to Perfection: Season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
    • Bring it Back: Return the browned beef strips to the pot along with the broccoli florets (4 cups).
    • Pressure Cook: Close the lid of your Instant Pot, ensuring the valve is set to “Seal.” Select the “Manual” cooking mode and set the timer for 10 minutes.
  5. Release the Pressure: (10 minutes)
    • Natural Release: Once the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. This allows the steam to gradually release, preventing a sudden pressure drop that can toughen the meat.
    • Quick Release (Optional): After the natural release, you can perform a quick release by carefully turning the pressure release valve to “Vent.” Be mindful of the hot steam escaping.
  6. Thicken the Sauce (Optional): (2 minutes)
    • Slurry Power: In a small bowl, whisk together a cornstarch slurry using 2 tablespoons of water and 3 tablespoons of cornstarch.
    • Thicken Up: With the Instant Pot set to “Sauté” mode, open the lid and carefully add the cornstarch slurry to the pot. Stir continuously for 1-2 minutes until the sauce thickens and reaches your desired consistency.
  7. Serve and Enjoy!
    • Presentation is Key: Transfer the delicious Beef & Broccoli to a serving dish and garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds for a delightful finishing touch.
    • Carb Lovers Rejoice: Serve this dish over steamed rice or noodles for a complete and satisfying meal.

This recipe offers a quick and easy way to enjoy a restaurant-quality Beef & Broccoli dish in the comfort of your own home. With the help of your Instant Pot, you can have a flavorful and satisfying meal on the table in under 30 minutes. So ditch the takeout menus and impress your family and friends with this culinary gem!

Recommendations for Recipe Success:

This recipe is designed for ease and flexibility. Here are some additional tips to ensure your Instant Pot Beef & Broccoli turns out perfectly every time:

  • Cut Consistency: Ensure your beef strips are all similar in size for even cooking. Thinly sliced strips cook quickly and remain tender.
  • Don’t Crowd the Pot: When browning the beef, don’t overcrowd the pot. This prevents proper browning and can result in steamed rather than seared beef. Cook the beef in batches if necessary.
  • Deglazing is Key: Don’t skip the deglazing step! Those browned bits on the bottom of the pot hold immense flavor. By deglazing with a splash of broth, you release all that deliciousness into your sauce.
  • Adjust the Spice: This recipe provides a starting point for the seasonings. Feel free to adjust the amount of salt, pepper, and soy sauce to your taste preference.
  • Fresh vs. Frozen Broccoli: Both fresh and frozen broccoli work well in this recipe. Frozen florets offer convenience, while fresh broccoli can provide a slightly more vibrant texture. The choice is yours!
  • Thickening Options: The cornstarch slurry is an optional step, but it creates a thicker and richer sauce. You can adjust the amount of cornstarch used to achieve your desired consistency. Alternatively, you can thicken the sauce by letting it simmer for a few minutes on “Sauté” mode after adding the broccoli back to the pot.

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid:

1. Skipping the Sear: While the Instant Pot does most of the work, searing the beef beforehand adds a crucial layer of flavor and texture. Don’t skip this step for a truly restaurant-worthy dish.

2. Overcrowding the Pot: As mentioned earlier, overcrowding the pot during the browning stage prevents proper browning and leads to steamed beef. Cook the beef in batches for optimal results.

3. Not Deglazing: Those browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pot are flavor bombs waiting to be released! Deglazing with broth unlocks all that deliciousness, enriching your sauce.

4. Using Tough Cuts of Beef: Flank steak or other thin, tender cuts are ideal for this recipe. Avoid using tough cuts of beef, as they won’t become tender even with pressure cooking.

5. Forgetting the Cornstarch Slurry (Optional): If you prefer a thicker sauce, the cornstarch slurry is your friend. Don’t forget to add it towards the end for a silky smooth and flavorful sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

1. Can I use a different type of meat?

Yes, you can! While flank steak is traditional, you can substitute it with other thin cuts like skirt steak, round steak, or thinly sliced beef chuck roast. Just ensure the meat is thinly sliced against the grain for optimal tenderness.

2. What if I don’t have an Instant Pot?

This recipe can be adapted to the stovetop. Simply brown the beef in a large skillet, then add the remaining ingredients and simmer until the beef and broccoli are cooked through. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your beef strips.

3. Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

Yes! The cooked Beef & Broccoli can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through.

4. What can I serve with this dish?

Steamed rice or noodles are classic accompaniments to Beef & Broccoli. You can also serve it with brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice for a healthy twist.

5. Is this recipe freezer-friendly?

While the cooked beef can be frozen, the broccoli might become mushy upon thawing. It’s best to enjoy this dish fresh or freeze the cooked beef separately for use in future meals.


This Instant Pot Beef & Broccoli recipe is a delicious and convenient way to enjoy a classic takeout dish at home. With its simple steps, flavorful ingredients, and pressure-cooking magic, you can whip up a restaurant-worthy meal in under 30 minutes. So ditch the takeout menus, grab your Instant Pot, and impress your family and friends with this culinary gem.

This recipe offers endless customization possibilities. Experiment with different vegetables like baby carrots, snow peas, or bell peppers. Adjust the spice level to your preference, or add a touch of ginger for a more complex flavor profile.

With a little creativity and this versatile recipe, you can create endless variations of Beef & Broccoli, making it a weeknight dinner staple that everyone will love.

Leave a Comment