Pepper Steak – Instant Pot or Slow Cooker (Crock Pot)

pepper steak with noodles

Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

Pepper Steak is a classic dish that warms you through and through on a chilly evening.  It is often described as “Chinese American” but it feels mostly American to me. I guess soy sauce as an ingredient qualifies it as a little Chinese?

Either way, Pepper Steak is simple and satisfying.  I’ve made this many times in a slow cooker and recently adapted the recipe for Instant Pot use, for even faster and more convenient preparation.

How to make Instant Pot Pepper Steak

raw ingredients for pepper steak

To start, cut the beef into strips. The recipe calls for sirloin, but I have used many different cuts of meat, such as chuck or stew meat. When you use an Instant Pot or slow cooker, pretty much any cut of beef becomes tender and delicious. 😃

The beef strips are sprinkled with garlic powder and then browned in a skillet before transferring to the slow cooker (Use the sauté function for the Instant Pot). Green peppers and onion are cut into strips or large chunks as desired. Some people use one green and one red pepper, which sounds lovely and very colorful, but I have always stuck with 2 green bell peppers. Your choice. 😀

sauteed meat and raw veggies in the instant pot

Then, all the other ingredients are dumped into the slow cooker or Instant Pot.

In my slow cooker I set it on low for 6 to 8 hours. For the Instant Pot I use the meat/stew setting, which is 18 minutes of cooking time (Note: Estimate about an hour’s total cycle time with the pressure/depressurize steps).

Once the cooking cycle is done you have the option of serving as-is or thickening the sauce with a mix of cornstarch with water – totally up to you.

finished pepper steak with noodles

Pepper steak is great with egg noodles or rice, according to preference (Whisper: And no one needs to know how easy it was!). 😄

pepper steak
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5 from 17 votes

Pepper Steak – Instant Pot or Slow Cooker

An easy, family favorite meal made in the Instant Pot for fast results, or in the slow cooker to cook all day while you are off to work.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Chinese
Servings: 6
Calories: 294kcal
Author: Sula


  • 2 pounds beef sirloin cut into 2-inch strips
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 large green bell peppers seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 14.5 ounce can stewed tomatoes, with liquid
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Sprinkle strips of sirloin with garlic powder to taste.

Slow Cooker:

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the vegetable oil and brown the seasoned beef strips. Transfer to slow cooker.
  • Mix beef broth with cornstarch until dissolved. Pour into slow cooker with meat. Stir in onion, green peppers, stewed tomatoes, soy sauce, sugar, and salt.
  • Cover and cook on High for 3 to 4 hours, or on Low for 6 to 8 hours.
  • Thicken as desired with additional cornstarch/water solution.

Instant Pot:

  • Turn Instant Pot setting to sauté. Add oil and seasoned beef and cook until browned. Turn off the sauté function.
  • Mix beef broth with cornstarch until dissolved. Pour into the Instant Pot with meat. Stir in onion, green peppers, stewed tomatoes, soy sauce, sugar, and salt.
  • Cover, seal, and set to meat/stew cooking cycle (18 minutes). When cooking cycle is complete, allow IP to vent naturally for at least 20 minutes before removing the lid.
  • Thicken as desired with additional cornstarch/water solution.


Calories: 294kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 1142mg | Potassium: 822mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 289IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.

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    34 thoughts on “Pepper Steak – Instant Pot or Slow Cooker (Crock Pot)

    1. 5 stars
      I haven’t had pepper steak in ages. This looks like pure comfort as it was a regular family meal in childhood!

    2. 5 stars
      We had this for dinner last night and it was so delicious! We used the Instant Pot and it turned out perfectly!

    3. I’m making this right now but me and hubby like are vegetables a little crispy so I’m going to cook it for 15 minutes and instapot do a quick release and then add the peppers and onions that have been seared and cook for another 3 minutes!

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