Instant Pot Mongolian Beef (Gluten-Free, Paleo)

Made with flank steak and gluten-free, low-sugar ingredients, this Instant Pot Mongolian Beef is a healthy take on the Chinese classic. You can serve it with regular rice or cauliflower rice or greens for a paleo version.

If you’ve never had Mongolian beef before, it’s a dish usually served in Chinese restaurants. The dish was originated in Taiwan and its ingredients and how it’s prepared are not actually based on Mongolian cuisine. The beef stir-fry is made with sliced flank steak (usually), onions, and vegetables tossed in a BBQ-like, sweet and salty Asian sauce. It’s really moreish and is normally served over rice or noodles.

Most traditional recipes use a lot of sugar and corn-starch or regular flour to thicken the sauce. Our gluten-free and paleo-friendly version is low in sugar and uses corn-free, grain-free ingredients. Don’t worry, it still tastes pretty amazing and will get the thumbs from kids and grown-ups alike.

Flank steak Instant Pot Mongolian Beef recipe



Which cut of beef to use? 

Most Mongolian beef recipes call for flank steak, which is a tasty yet cheap cut of beef. We used skirt steak, which is very similar to flank and is interchangeable in our opinion. Flank steak is probably a little more tender, so, by all means, use that instead. Here is a bit more info about the differences between flank and skirt steaks. You can use rump steak or another type of steak as well.

Sliced Skirt Steak For Instant Pot Mongolian Beef

What we used to make the sauce healthier

Many recipes call for brown sugar (a lot of it) and soy sauce. We used coconut sugar instead. It’s a great natural sweetener, which has a much lower glycemic index and no fructose compared to regular sugar. It has a lovely nutty, caramel sweetness, so it’s a great alternative to brown sugar. We found that we didn’t need to use as much as the traditional recipe use. This brand of coconut sugar is quite popular. You can use less than the amount stated but it will be less sweet.

And instead of soy sauce, we used gluten-free Tamari sauce. You could also use coconut aminos for a paleo version.

Thickening the Mongolian beef sauce

We prefer to use arrowroot starch or tapioca flour instead of corn starch, but you are welcome to use whatever you have on hand. Because we’re not flash-frying the beef in a hot pan, we’re going to add the thickening starch at the end of the cooking process, rather than coating the meat before frying.



You will find the full list of ingredients, instructions and a nutritional breakdown below in the recipe card. Here are the basic steps and pictures to guide you along. 

Step 1. Saute ginger, garlic, chili and sliced steak for a few minutes.

Step 2. Add the sauce and sweeteners and pressure cook on HIGH for 12 minutes with 2-3 minutes natural release.

Step 3. Add the vegetables and cook for a few minutes on Saute function. Prepare the starch slurry mixture.

Step 4. Stir in the starch slurry to thicken the sauce and turn the Instant Pot off. 

Making Flank Steak or Skirt Steak Instant Pot Mongolian Beef


If you’re following a lower-carb, grain-free or paleo diet, you can serve this dish with cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, shirataki or konjac noodles or extra steamed Asian greens. 

Alternatively, simply serve with cooked white rice or brown rice, quinoa or noodles of choice. We love a side of greens or a simple Asian salad. 

Instant Pot Mongolian Beef (Healthy Recipe)


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Instant Pot Mongolian Beef (Gluten-Free, Paleo)

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Chinese


Mongolian beef just got better with our healthy take on the Chinese classic. This Instant Pot version is low in sugar and uses corn-free, gluten-free ingredients.


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 5 slices of long red chili
  • 1/2 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1.1 lb / 500 g beef skirt steak or flank steak, cut into thin strips
  • 3 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1/3 cup tamari sauce (regular soy sauce or coconut aminos can also be used)
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar (if you can’t find it, then use brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional but we love it)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional but adds a little umami flavour)

To finish off

  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour or arrowroot flour (starch)
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 23 green onions, cut into 1-2” long pieces (green and pale green part only)
  • Serve with cooked white rice or cauliflower rice


  1. Press the Sauté key on the Instant Pot (it should say Normal, 30 mins). Add coconut oil, ginger and chili and stir through. Add the beef strips and garlic. Cook for a minute, stirring a couple of times.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients but not the tapioca, carrots or green onion. Cancel the Sauté function by pressing Keep Warm/Cancel button. Place and lock the lid, make sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to Sealing. Press Manual (High Pressure) and adjust to 12 minutes. After 3 beeps the pressure cooker will start going.
  3. Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release for 2-3 minutes naturally and then use the quick release method before opening the lid.
  4. Add the carrots and press Sauté key again. Cook together with the beef for 2 more minutes.
  5. In the meantime, combine 1/4 cup hot water with the tapioca or arrowroot starch in a small bowl. I used my fingers to dissolve the starch. Add the green onions to the beef and then add 4 tablespoons of the tapioca slurry liquid. Stir through and turn the pressure cooker off. The sauce will thicken as soon as you stir in the starch.
  6. Transfer to a bowl and serve with cooked white rice or cauliflower rice.

Keywords: Taiwanese, Flank Steak



Instant Pot Mongolian Beef - Healthy Pressure Cooker Recipe

Instant Pot Recipes
By Instant Pot Eats

About us: We are a team of Instant Pot enthusiasts, who love good food and cooking. Our blog is dedicated to delicious Instant Pot recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.
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  1. Great recipe! Kids loved it! Unfortunately I didn’t have any chilis, so I used hot sesame oil instead of regular, which worked nicely. Did also substitute regular soy sauce, brown sugar and corn starch. Added some toasted sesame seeds for looks as well. Will definitely make again!

  2. Made this just yesterday and it was delicious. I very nearly ate it all myself. I have a question though. I’d like to double the quantity. Can you recommend what the cook time should be changed to, with that in mind?

  3. Fantastic! Despite my doubts, this came out so delicious. I thought it was going to be too dry. My entire family absolutely loved this recipe. I served this with white rice and stir fry veggies.

    1. Yes, you can add a teaspoon or two of Srirracha or a half a teaspoon of chili flakes or powder.

  4. Very good and so quick. I did reduce the sugar and the next time I make it I will probably reduce it a little more. 2T is what I am thinking. Love the ginger flavor .

  5. Turned out great! Meat was surprisingly tender! We don’t eat much sugary stuff so the sweetness factor was a bit much for our pallet—would use less sugar. I also ended up needing to add much more green onion to bulk up the flavor away from just sweetness, & added more hot pepper (we like spicy) :). All in all we were happy with it! Definitely best over rice & veggies 🙂

  6. Awesome recipe!!! I used 1/3 cup brown sugar and no fish sauce. This recipe was a hit in our family!

  7. This has over 20 grams of sugar per serving. I would cut it in half and then add a LOT more vegetables and serve over brown rice mixed with cauliflower rice. Then it could be considered a healthy recipe.

    1. Hey Katy, agree it may seem like quite a bit of sugar, however we are using coconut sugar which has a much lower glycaemic index compared to white sugar and is also 3 to 9 % fructose content vs 50% of white sugar. We also had a gian bowl of veggies on the side 🙂 Hope that clarifies the use of word ‘healthy’. You are of course welcome to cut the sugar in half, which will change the flavor profile (we tried to stay as authentic as possible) but will undoubtably still be tasty. Thanks for your feedback.

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