This deliciously simple Mongolian beef slow cooker recipe is simple & tasty, quick & easy, and will satisfy that mad desire for takeout ANY time.
And amazingly, it's easy to cook in several different ways. So no matter your schedule, time frame, and budget…you can have copycat PF Chang Mongolian beef any time you want it!
For this deliciousness, your cooking alternatives include slow cooker, stovetop stir fry, and pressure cooker. And, of course, it works as a freezer meal as well.
I adore all the cool meals you are able to make with beef, it is by far my favorite meat to use in making slow cooker recipes. Take a look at these recipes for some more slow cooker beef inspiration; Crockpot Beef & Noodles, Easiest Crock Pot Beef Roast, or this Slow Cooker Ranch Beef Stew.
This crock pot Mongolian beef is the perfect freezer-friendly recipe. And there are several ways to do freezer meal cooking.
You do not have to jump in feet first into creating a bunch of freezer meals. Just a few make-ahead meals now and then can lead to amazing cost savings…
Before we go any farther, let's get the legal stuff out of the way…this post may contain affiliate links. This means I get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This will NOT increase your cost in any way. But does give you awesome recommendations that have been tested by myself or someone I dearly trust.
Copycat PF Chang Mongolian Beef Freezer Meal Options
These are just a couple of options to start creating make-ahead meals:
- Prep just two batches of this spicy Mongolian beef recipe. Make one for now and a second for next month. Follow this method every few meals for a couple of weeks. Write it down in this
freebie meal plannerand don't forget to add a created or "consume by" date. You’ll have a stash in no time at all.
- Pick out 3-5 slow cooker recipes. Make sure and set the number of servings for the mouths you'll be feeding using the printable recipe options.
- Prep your grocery list
- Go shopping
- Prep the meals per the freezer meal instructions on each recipe
If you make 5 recipes using this method and double it; you will have ten. And now! You have meals prepped for at least ten days.
- Or join our newsletter and to get a
free copy of one of our make-ahead meals cooking sessions. You will receive six recipes, menus, and simple to follow instructions. It's a freebie and then you will receive an email when new ones are available.
The majority of uncooked freezer friendly recipes will keep for 2 1/2 to 3 months. So keep that in mind when you’re
logging them on your freezer meal calendar.
Substitutions & Ingredients to Make Mongolian Beef
There are so many yummy things about this recipe. And there are so many ways to modify it too! Not just the multiple cooking processes, but the actual ingredients. All you have to do is change one or two ingredients to make a different, interesting recipe.
The main ingredients for making Mongolian beef in a crockpot, instant pot, or on the stove are listed below. The remainder of the ingredients is part of our
recommended pantry staples list.
Meat Options & Subs for Crockpot Mongolian Beef
Flank Steak is the beef that is traditionally used for making this stir fry Mongolian beef recipe. It’s a decently cheap steak cut that is cut across the grain.
AND if you’re like I was when I started cooking almost everything from home, you might not have a clue what that means. Check out this article AND 2-minute video to see how to cut meat against the grain.
AND though flank steak is the traditional meat to use…ANY beef cut works! Or even ground beef too. Any cut of boneless, skinless chicken is delicious as well. Ground turkey, ground pork, or even ground chicken.
I’ve never tried pork, but I’m thinking pork tenderloin would be an excellent option.
Additional Vegetables Add-In Ideas for Mongolian Beef Recipe
For making this slow cooker Mongolian beef we’re just using onions. Both yellow onions and green onions. But that does NOT mean you can’t add more!
I’ve seen several recipes that add broccoli as well. I use broccoli in my Crockpot Beef & Broccoli recipe and it’s delicious!
And if you can add broccoli, you could use any frozen stir-fry mix. You could also use a mix of thinly sliced or julienned carrots too.
Mongolian Sauce & Spices
Most Asian recipes have a distinct flavor. That is because they have distinct ingredients. As far as
our list of pantry staples goes, soy sauce and powdered ginger are essentials.
Now, I prefer fresh ginger for most cooking. But in a pinch ground ginger can work too. I don’t always keep hoisin sauce stocked, but if I run out, there are homemade options available. Scroll down to see the homemade options and substitutions for hoisin sauce.
Why Vary the Ingredients in Your Mongolian Beef?
And the reason for changing up the recipe a bit? So we can shop for those meat sales and purchase them in bulk. Planning your meals, shopping sales, and bulk purchases are the greatest moves you can do to help your budget. And knowing the steps with your sales shopping purchases, that's the way to get a stock of freezer meals, being thrifty AND far less stress in your life.
This freezer meal excursion is part of cooking in bulk by meat sales shopping. Of course, this isn't intended to eat Mongolian beef of ANY cooking method for a whole week straight, BUT that isn’t the goal here.
The goal is to shop sales, cook bulk meals here and there, and set up a
meal planning calendar. And if you are able to hit the sales for a couple of weeks, you can set up that calendar and rotate that stash.
Cooking Variations for PF Chang's Mongolian Beef
View the printable recipe and check out how simple cooking with each method can be. Now, occasionally one cooking method is more simple than another. BUT for this recipe, that really isn’t the case. All versions of this recipe use the exact same quantities and ingredients.
So, if it slips your mind to put your Mongolian beef in the slow cooker in the morning, you can still have a yummy home-cooked, budget-saving supper… with no hassles.
Mongolian Beef Recipe & Homemade Ingredient Options
Since authentic Mongolian beef recipe is an Asian recipe, there will always be ingredients that many people don’t keep stocked or have easy access to. Many of them you can't easily make from scratch. But there ARE many substitutes that work very well.
Substitutes for Hoisin Sauce
First up, hoisin sauce. It is easy to purchase online, there are MANY options available. I prefer this hoisin sauce). BUT there are also lots of substitutions. This article from Greatist has 10 Subs for hoisin sauce.
Soy Sauce Substitutes
Soy sauce is another ingredient that can be substituted. I’ve tried online substitution recipes. And I’m going to be honest. I did NOT care for them. You might.
I DO know coconut aminos work the best for us. It’s a great substitution if you can’t have soy sauce for dietary reasons.
Brown Sugar Substitutes
Next up, brown sugar. I can’t tell you how many times in the past I’ve reached for my brown sugar canister and found a lump of unusable mess. As a young cook, I had no idea a shelf life. I mean, white sugar doesn’t really have one, so why would brown sugar?
Molasses Brown Sugar Substitute
The first brown sugar substitute I learned was using molasses. I didn’t have molasses either. Grrrrr. I don’t use it often. But the beauty of molasses is it has a VERY long shelf life. I’m talking years. So you really don’t have to worry about not having brown sugar ever again. Do yourself a favor. Get you a jug of molasses and keep it in the pantry. It doesn’t require refrigeration. Make your own brown sugar whenever you need it.
Honey to Sugar Substitute
Honey is another great brown sugar substitute. Just use a 3:4 ratio. So, like for this slow cooker Mongolian beef recipe you need a half cup of brown sugar. One cup of sugar has 16 tablespoons. So, a half-cup equals eight tablespoons.
And I know it’s a bit of algebra, but all you have to do is take that 8 tablespoons, divide it by 4 and then multiply it by 3. So, (8/4) *3. And that equals 6 tablespoons.
So, you’d need 6 tablespoons of honey. And you’d also need to add a little more of a solid substance. If we were baking, that would be flour. We aren’t baking here. But we ARE using cornstarch. So, you’ll need an additional tablespoon of cornstarch for every 4 servings.
One final note about honey. Honey has no expiration date. I think it’s legality that all consumable items have an expiration date, but real honey does NOT have one. It may crystallize and start turning to sugar, but it is still very edible. This is our favorite raw honey. I purchase it in at least one-gallon quantities at a time and separate it into quart-sized jars.
I'm not recommending canning jars at the moment. They have gotten SOOO expensive. If you'd like my recommendation, email me and I'll send you some info. But for honey, you can recycle jars. Just wash them very well with soap and water, remove the label if you want, and fill them up.
And btw, raw honey is by far the healthiest thing you can use. But it is said not to be safe for little ones and some people with health conditions. So please research that a bit before you go with this option.
Substitute Maple Syrup for Brown Sugar
Using maple syrup as a substitute for brown sugar works exactly the same as using honey. Exactly. But maple syrup does go bad unless you keep it in the freezer. Which is something you can do. Just let it come to room temperature before using it.
Use a clean spoon to scoop out the amount of maple syrup you need and return it to the freezer immediately. You’ll have all the maple syrup you need for a very long time.
More Crockpot Beef Recipes
I am, at times, astonished by how versatile and numerous slow cooker beef recipes are. They are quick and simple, add to your stockpile AND supply a home-cooked meal. Here are a couple more of our recipes that use beef and/or ground beef. Check them out, contact me with any questions, and most of all ENJOY! And of course, rock that crock 😉
- Easy Slow Cooker Beef Burgundy
- Crock Pot Beef & Barley Soup
- 4-Ingredient Crock Pot Beef Tips and Gravy
Copycat PF Chang's Mongolian Beef Slow Cooker Recipe
- Non-Stick Skillet
- 2 Gallon-sized freezer bags
- 1 Quart-sized freezer bag
- 1 pound flank steak cut into strips across the grain
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 large green onions sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
- 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
All Methods - Steps 1 thru 5
- Place flank steak and cornstarch into a resealable plastic bag.
- Shake to evenly coat the meat with cornstarch. Allow to steak rest for 10 minutes.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Cook and stir steak until evenly browned 2 to 4 minutes.
- Place onion, garlic, flank steak, green onions, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, ginger, and hoisin sauce in a slow cooker. Stir to coat.
- Cook on low setting for about 5-7 hours.
- Manual High for 8-12 minutes
- Turn burner to low, cover, and simmer 20-28 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Complete steps #1 through #3. Reopen the bag to remove as much air as possible. Seal and set aside.
- Mix remaining ingredients in a quart-sized freezer bag, remove as much air as possible.
- Label the 3rd bag with your ingredients and a use-by date. Toss in the meat bag and the sauce bag. Add a use-by date and freeze for up to 8 weeks IF you browned the meat; 3 months if the meat is raw.
#2 Cooking times will vary depending on how thick you cut your beef.