The Secret To Panda Express' Black Pepper Angus Steak

The black pepper Angus steak from Panda Express is one of those menu items that has spurred a thousand copycat recipes. It features tender pieces of Angus steak and a medley of crisp vegetables, but the real secret to this one-pan fan favorite dish is the sauce.


Savory and tangy, the black pepper steak sauce is a dark brownish merlot in color, similar to A1 steak sauce, but slightly thicker in consistency. It is added to the stir-fry toward the end of the cooking process, and tossed to coat the beef and veggies before plating.

The sauce is difficult to replicate at home in the kitchen because its ingredients have never been made public by the fast casual Chinese food chain. Although Panda Express has posted videos on TikTok of its chefs cooking the dish, the sauce had already been prepared in those videos. Rumor has it from some Redditors that the sauce may actually come premade in a bag, adding to its air of mystery.


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What's in Panda Express' black pepper Angus steak sauce?

Based on taste tests and flavor profiles, some internet sleuths have pieced together what are likely to be the main components of Panda Express' black pepper Angus steak sauce. According to copycat recipes floating around online, it likely features soy sauce (a combination of both dark and light), oyster sauce, beef stock, and a thickener of either cornstarch or tapioca starch. Some copycat recipes add in other ingredients such as brown sugar, Chinese cooking wine (a dash of which can elevate your fried rice and instantly make it taste like delicious takeout), and seasonings like chili, garlic, and ginger, but the odds that the sauce is soy sauce-based are high.


Although some Redditors would disagree. One user claimed that the black pepper Angus steak sauce is tomato sauce-based, perhaps with some Szechuan or teriyaki sauce added. Either way, customers love this staple sauce. Even though it's likely less than authentic Chinese cuisine, it's still a much-loved classic on the menu.