I decided to use my new Crock Pot to bring back a favorite taste from childhood, and I’m really happy with how my Crock Pot Pepper Steak turned out!
Why does my family need to eat dinner every single night, right? Whether you cook for the joy of it or out of pure necessity, this easy Crockpot pepper steak recipe will satisfy hungry tummies without sacrificing taste. It’s simple to make and one of my favorite ways to save time on busy weeknights.
One of my fondest memories as a kid was visiting our neighborhood Chinese restaurant each Sunday for lunch. Creature of habit that I am, I ordered the same meal each week: green pepper steak.
I still remember that the menu item number for green pepper steak was L17. (But if you ask me for a date of birth for either kid, I have to think about it for a minute. Brains are funny things.)
This Green Pepper Steak recipe calls for sirloin. However, nearly any lean or well-trimmed cut of beef will do. I have a pretty strict food budget, so I often plan my meals around the yellow-tagged meats I find on the “reduced for quick sale” rack. Since sirloin is a versatile and popular cut, it rarely makes its way onto that particular shelf. If you’re on a budget, a replacement cut in your beef recipes can help save you money.
Choosing Beef for Pepper Steak
Here are some things you need to keep in mind when choosing meat other than sirloin for this dish.
Sirloin is a cut of beef that comes from roughly the upper middle portion of the cow. This is a muscle group that produces more tender cuts of meat, since it doesn’t get much exercise (After all, when was the last time you saw a cow using a row machine at the gym?).
The problem with using more budget-friendly meats in some recipes is that they’re taken from muscle groups that get a lot of use, such as those attached to the front and rear legs.
Cows do a lot of walking over the course of their day, and while all of this exercise is great for the cow, it creates a piece of meat that can be tough and challenging to cook well.
I still vividly remember one Christmas when my oldest was three. She dearly wanted to eat her piece of chocolate pie, but I told her she had to try a bite of her steak first.
At the time, I had very little knowledge of how to cook beef, and this poor child spent over ten minutes just trying to work that bite down before I took pity on her and let her spit it out. That was a memorable meal, but not for the reasons I would like!
Stories like these lead many inexperienced cooks to choose not to utilize these stew meat cuts with the mistaken belief that they aren’t worth the effort needed to cook them correctly.
They couldn’t be more wrong, though, as this budget beef can actually be just as, if not more flavorful than their more expensive counterparts (especially if they still have the bone attached. Yum!). You just need to know how to cook them.
Crock Pot Pepper Steak Ingredients
- thin-sliced sirloin steak beef strips (or a budget cut chosen based on the guidelines above), trimmed
- sliced green bell peppers
- sliced fresh mushrooms
- sliced onion (white or red)
- soy sauce
- sesame oil
- brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- freshly grated ginger
- Worcestershire sauce
- red pepper flakes
- Add the first four ingredients to the Slow Cooker
- In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, minced garlic, sesame oil, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, crushed red pepper, and ginger
- Pour over top of meat and vegetable mixture
- Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours in the Crock-Pot.
- Serve over rice
Now that’s an easy pepper steak recipe! Check out the tips below to get the best results with this Crockpot meal.
Cooking Pepper Steak in a Slow Cooker
Sirloin cooked in a slow cooker will come out tender and delicious and a CrockPot is perfect for cooking tougher (and usually cheaper) cuts of meat such as shank, round steak, flank steak, and brisket. This is because its low heat and long cooking time slowly break down the connective tissue in these cuts.
This is similar to the tenderizing process that you get when braising a roast on the stove top, but is magnified by the longer cook time. This is also why, in some recipes, it’s better to use the “low” option on your slow cooker rather than the “high” one
(It’s actually good practice to choose your cooking time and temperature based on the meat you are using. If you’re worried about your other ingredients turning to mush, you can always add them later on in the cooking process. Just set an alarm on your phone so you don’t forget!).
When it comes to beef, moisture is the name of the game. Cooking less-expensive cuts of meat in your CrockPot means that you can have juicy, flavorful meals even when you’re strapped for cash. That, my friends, makes this recipe a real winner in my book!
My Crock Pot makes it so easy to use fresh ingredients to get dinner on the table with minimal hassle. That’s a huge priority in my life right now with kids, work, etc. If you’re reading this, you probably are in a similar boat.
I love the features of my newest Crock Pot. Check them out!
- Easy-Grip Handle For Single-Hand Carrying
- Countdown Digital Timer
- Convenient WARM setting
- Removable Stoneware
- Cord Management Keeps your cord securely wrapped for transporting
- Secure-Fit Locking Lid
- Dishwasher-safe stoneware and glass lid
- Serves 7+ people
- 6-quart capacity
The locking lid and single hand carry handle are my favorite features. It’s very sturdy and you can tell the lid isn’t going anywhere. Perfect for taking to potlucks or bringing meals on the go.
Of course, this Crock Pot pepper steak recipe will work in whatever slow cooker you currently have in your kitchen, even if it’s one from the ’80s passed down from your mom (I can see those cute country geese with blue ribbons encircling it now.). However, now that I’ve switched to this model I’m really liking it because of the locking lid feature.
Have you ever noticed that while your Crock-pot is cooking, there is a thin ring of water between the lid and the rim of the pot itself? Believe it or not, that little ring of water helps your food to stay moist!
It does this by creating a seal that prevents water and aerosolized fats from escaping the pot and evaporating onto your countertop and cabinet doors (Yeah. That’s where that sticky film comes from.). Instead, it gathers on the lid and sides and drips back down onto the delicacies inside.
You can see similar action with the little teeth on the underside of the lid of your favorite cast-iron Dutch oven.
Tips for Making Slow Cooker Pepper Steak
- Be sure to trim your piece of meat of any large pieces of fat. Fat brings flavor, but in the Crock-pot, too much of it can turn your “braise” into soup which is not what we’re going for here.
- If your beef isn’t pre-sliced or isn’t sliced thinly enough, slice your steak into beef strips- much like you see in restaurant stir-fry. I’d keep them at about ¼”-1/2” thick. Remember, they’ll shrink a bit as they cook. Buying thin-sliced beef strips at the grocery store is a time-saver here.
- Use a slow cooker liner before adding your ingredients to the Crockpot in order to make cleanup a cinch!
- Cut your green peppers and onions in the same way and the same size to ensure they cook evenly. I like my veggies to stay a little more on the firm side for meals like this, so I tend to make my strips a little wider than the ones I made with the meat.
- While any onion will work, I prefer a sweet onion for this recipe. They take on such a delicious, caramel flavor.
- This is actually a very versatile slow-cooker pepper steak recipe. The one I’ve chosen is seasoned with more traditional ingredients, but you could change it up for something a little different. Other versions I’ve tried included toasted sesame seeds, honey, lime, pineapple chunks, or even peanut butter if you’d like a little bit of Thai flair for your supper. Let me know what you come up with in the comments below.
- Fresh is what I used, but ginger paste or ground ginger will work, too. Add them slowly and taste your sauce as you go.
- Serve over white rice or egg noodles if you aren’t watching your carbs. (Learn how to use a rice cooker to make amazing sticky rice every time.) If you’re watching your carb intake, it’s also tasty in a low-carb wrap or even rolled into your favorite leafy green. or you can serve it over cauliflower rice. It’s absolutely satisfying no matter how you choose to eat it.
- This slow cooker pepper steak recipe freezes ahead very well. Simple add the sauce to the bottom of a freezer bag, top with thin slices of beef then the vegetables. If you freeze the ingredients in this position you can simply dump the entire frozen thing in the Crockpot when you’re ready and the veggies will be at the bottom with the sauce-topped steak next.
Crockpot Pepper Steak
- 1 lb thin sliced sirloin steak
- 1 thinly sliced green pepper
- 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 thinly sliced onion white or red
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper
- Add first four ingredients to the Slow Cooker
- In a small bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients
- Pour over top of meat and vegetable mixture
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours
- Serve over rice
Steak fans, check out this chuck eye steak recipe too and you’ll be glad you did, especially if you love budget beef cuts.
Serve your delicious Crock Pot Pepper Steak with Chinese Green Beans for a Chinese-style meal that’s heavy on the veggies.