This Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef with Pineapple is made up of tender strips of steak cooked low and slow in a rich, sweet, sticky, and slightly spicy sauce. It’s a classic Asian takeout dish you can easily make right at home!
Serve over cooked rice, quinoa, or even cauliflower rice!
Table of Contents
- Why is it called Mongolian Beef?
- Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef ingredients and substitutions:
- How to make Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef
- What cut of meat to use for Mongolian beef?
- Can you put raw beef in the slow cooker?
- Tips and tricks for making mongolian beef
- Serving suggestions
- How to store leftover Mongolian beef
- Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef with Pineapple Recipe
At our house, we love Asian food. But I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no expert in Asian cooking. Which is why I’m sharing my good friend Kelly’s recipe from her cookbook, “The Asian Slow Cooker.”
I’ll be honest, there are so many amazing recipes in this cookbook that I had a hard time choosing which to share.
But this Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef with Pineapple was calling to me.
Why? Because 1. It’s tender beef cooked in a sweet, spicy, sticky sauce (hello, that sounds way too good to pass up), and 2. I’m mildly obsessed with pineapple. I put it in everything (BBQ sauce, fruit crisps, squares, meatballs, and lasagna.)
Okay, maybe the obsession is not so mild. 😉
Why is it called Mongolian Beef?
Although the name Mongolian Beef often leads people to believe that the dish originated in Mongolia, this classic Asian meal actually originated in Taiwan.
The name Mongolian Beef refers instead to the Mongolian BBQ style of cooking—not the place!
Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef ingredients and substitutions:
- Cornstarch, Baking Soda, Salt, and Pepper: coats the beef to add flavor and absorb moisture so it can get that nice, crispy finish as it browns.
- Canola Oil: used to brown the beef before adding it to the slow cooker which locks in moisture and flavor.
- Steak: you can use flank steak or sirloin steak depending on what you prefer. Flank steak is the classic cut of meat for Mongolian beef.
- Beef Broth, Brown Sugar, Hoisin Sauce, Thai Sweet Red Chili Sauce, Minced Garlic, and Minced Ginger: these ingredients make up a sweet, spicy sauce for the steak. If you like a bit of extra heat, try adding a drizzle of sriracha or a sprinkle of red pepper flakes!
- Pineapple Chunks: I use canned pineapple chunks. Don’t forget to reserve the juice! You’ll use that for the cornstarch slurry.
- Pineapple Juice and Cornstarch: makes up a cornstarch slurry which helps thicken the sauce.
- Matchstick Carrots: if you don’t like carrots feel free to leave these out, but they do add a nice crunch and a little bit of color.
- Green Onions: optional, for garnish.
- Hot Cooked Rice: you can use white rice, brown rice, quinoa, or even cauliflower rice for a low carb option.
How to make Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef
This easy slow cooker dinner takes just 25 minutes to prep!
- In a large ziploc bag, combine cornstarch, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Add in the beef and shake until coated.
- Heat oil in a large skillet, add in the coated beef, and sear for 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer to your slow cooker.
- In a bowl, whisk together soy sauce, broth, sugar, hoisin sauce, chili sauce, garlic, and ginger.
- Pour the sauce into the slow cooker with the beef, then cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
- About 30 minutes before serving, whisk together cornstarch and pineapple juice. Pour that into the slow cooker, then add in pineapple chunks and carrots.
- Cover again, turn the slow cooker to high, and cook for 30 minutes or until the sauce thickens to your liking.
What cut of meat to use for Mongolian beef?
The classic cut of meat for Mongolian beef is flank steak. It’s tougher than other cuts of beef, but it becomes super tender in the slow cooker.
If you don’t love flank steak, feel free to use sirloin steak, skirt steak, or round steak instead.
Can you put raw beef in the slow cooker?
Technically, yes, but I like to brown it first. This helps lock in moisture and flavor. It also gives the beef a crispier exterior which really takes this dish to another level.
Tips and tricks for making mongolian beef
- Slice against the grain. This shortens the long muscle strands which makes the beef more tender.
- Reserve the pineapple juice. Drain but don’t discard the juice from the canned pineapple. You’ll use it in the recipe.
- If you don’t like pineapple, check out my classic slow cooker Mongolian beef instead.
- Add more heat. Kelly’s original recipe had red chili flakes in the sauce. Since I’m cooking for the kiddos I left it out, but if you like spice feel free to add it back in!
I recommend serving this Mongolian beef over cooked brown rice (this Instant Pot Brown Rice is our favorite!) and topped with green onions for garnish.
You can also serve it over white rice, quinoa, or even cauliflower rice for a low carb option.
How to store leftover Mongolian beef
Leftovers will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To enjoy again, thaw in the fridge if frozen, then microwave or warm on the stove with a splash of pineapple juice or water to thin the sauce (if necessary.)
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Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef with Pineapple
- 1/2 cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons corn starch divided
- 1 teaspoon baking soda optional
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 1/2 lbs flank or sirloin steak sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2/3 cup beef broth
- 1/3 cup brown sugar packed
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon Thai sweet red chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
- 1/4 cup reserved pineapple juice
- 1 cup canned pineapple chunks drained and juice reserved
- 1/2 cup matchstick carrots
- green onions
- hot cooked rice
- In a large ziploc bag, combine corn starch, baking soda, salt and pepper. Add beef and shake until coated.
- Heat oil in a large skillet and sear the beef, about 1-2 minutes per side, before adding to the slow cooker.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, broth, sugar, hoisin sauce, chili sauce, garlic and ginger until combined and pour over beef. Cover with lid and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
- About 30 minutes prior to serving, whisk together the remaining 1½ tablespoons corn starch and pineapple juice. Add to the slow cooker along with the pineapple and carrots.
- Cover, turn to high, and cook 30 minutes until the sauce thickens. If sauce becomes too thick, thin with a little more pineapple juice.
- Garnish with green onions and serve over hot cooked rice.
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