About a year ago, I decided to throw together a stir fry with ingredients we had laying around the house. I didn’t do any planning, I simply whipped up something that sounded good.
To my surprise, it ended up becoming a top 5 dish for me, and one of my go-to dinners for the past year!
Allow me to introduce you to your new favorite stir-fry dish: Hot Honey Ground Beef & Broccoli.
This entire dish comes together in just 20 minutes, and it has SO much flavor packed into every bite.
While you might think this dish is very spicy, the sweetness actually balances out the heat perfectly, so it won’t destroy your tastebuds.
By using lean ground beef, the calories of this dish are surprisingly low as well. Each serving contains only 265 calories and has a generous 25g of protein. If you’re like me and go for two servings, you’ll be getting in a solid 50 grams of protein.
Trust me, this one will become a staple in your dinner rotation.
What is Hot Honey?
I’ll be honest: I used to avoid using honey because it is just another form of sugar, and I thought it would add way too many calories to my food. Silly me.
I recently started using it more, and I can proudly say that it is going to be sticking around (pun intended). It is such a versatile ingredient, and a little goes such a long way without adding a ton of calories.
I was gifted some “Hot Honey” and it took my honey game to the next level…
Hot Honey is exactly what it sounds like: honey that’s spicy. They take honey and infuse it with chilies, yielding the most amazing spicy & sweet condiment.
Mike’s Hot Honey is the most well-known variety out there, and I prefer to go with the “extra hot” version they sell. To be honest, the heat level is not very high, so you shouldn’t be afraid of it.
Or, grab some Trader Joe’s Hot Honey Sauce on your next Trader Joe’s run. They are virtually the same product, so you can use whatever you prefer.
This Hot Honey Ground Beef & Broccoli recipe uses hot honey as a main ingredient in the sauce, but don’t worry, this dish is not insanely spicy. I love spicy food, but I’m not a fan of sweating while I eat. We use this sparingly. As I said, a little goes a long way!
They sell Mike’s Hot Honey (or similar brands) all over the place, but it’s totally okay if you don’t have any desire to go out and buy some. In this recipe, you can use regular honey and just mix in some ground cayenne pepper or hot sauce to create your own quick hot honey.
It might not be quite the same, but it will work just fine! And if you go that route, you can very easily adjust the heat level as well.
Making Hot Honey Sauce for the Stir Fry
The main ingredients in our sauce for the Hot Honey Ground Beef & Broccoli are hot honey (obviously) and soy sauce.
We’re going to add some seasoning, lemon juice, and minced garlic to round it out.
- We’re not adding any salt. Soy sauce is very salty, so we’re good to not add any extra. I use “lite” soy sauce, which is a lower-sodium version, but it is still plenty salty so you do not need to add any to this dish.
- Speaking of salt, the addition of lemon juice will help cut the saltiness of the soy sauce. Nothing will ruin a dish quicker than too much salt, so lemon juice helps to avoid that massacre.
- This sauce calls for minced garlic. I’ve found that freshly minced garlic really elevates a dish, but you can buy minced garlic in a jar and it will be a great time saver if needed.
- Give the sauce a quick taste before adding it to the pan. Don’t worry, the flavors mellow out in the pan and the sauce improves as it cooks down, but this is your chance to test the heat level. If you want it super spicy, mix some cayenne pepper into there!
How to Make Hot Honey Ground Beef & Broccoli
I’m no stranger to my friend Mason Woodruff’s recipes, and I discovered a trick when going through some of his recipes.
This may not be news to you, but it was to me: when you make your ground beef, don’t immediately break it up in the pan.
I have always dropped the meat into the pan and immediately broken it up to cook it quickly, but if you leave the entire pound of ground beef intact before breaking it up, you can get a great sear on it.
When it comes to making stir fry, a sear on the beef will really elevate the flavors. By waiting to break up the beef, it will really help to develop the flavors of this dish.
Once the beef is seared, we’re going to break it up and add our broccoli. I used fresh broccoli, but I’ve made this recipe with frozen broccoli before and it also works really well (no thawing necessary).
The broccoli is going to take up most of the pan, but that’s okay! It cooks down surprisingly quickly.
Add the sauce to the pan, mix everything together, then cover the pan. Covering the pan will help the meat to fully cook, but it will also steam the broccoli, which is super important.
After about 5 minutes, look how much the broccoli cooks down:
That’s all there is to it!
I serve my hot honey beef alongside some simple white rice, because the extra sauce from the pan flavors the rice really well. However, this stir fry would pair great with fried rice, noodles, or even cauliflower rice.
Making substitutions for this hot honey ground beef & broccoli
This recipe is very versatile, and you can customize it if you need to adjust the calories to fit your goals. While I recommend following the recipe as is, here are a few ideas:
- Serve over cauliflower rice to keep this dish low calorie and low carb
- I don’t recommend leaving the hot honey out (that’s the point of the dish) but if you absolutely had to, you could use brown sugar or maple syrup instead. The sweetness from the honey really balances out the rest of the flavors.
- I use 90/10 ground beef for this recipe. Generally speaking, lean meat works very well for stir fry, and you could even go a little bit leaner if you need to save a few more calories. If you use something like 80/20 ground beef, I’d recommend draining some of the fat before you add your sauce to the pan to prevent the dish from becoming too oily.
I always like to drizzle a little extra hot honey over the top of my dish to give it a little additional heat (like I do with my homemade pizza) but you can leave that off if you do not have a high heat tolerance.
Otherwise, I recommend topping with some sesame seeds or chopped green onion.
Interested in more dinner recipes?
My focus on this blog has always been high-protein desserts, but simple dinner recipes are quickly becoming my new favorite. If you want some other easy recipes you can throw together for dinner, especially if you want to meal prep, here are some great ones to check out:
- Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake For Meal Prep
- Creamy Cajun Chicken and Shrimp Alfredo Pasta
- Healthy Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs or Eggs
- Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich in the Air Fryer
- Quick & Simple Bacon Mac & Cheese
- 1lb Lean Ground Beef (I used 90/10 beef)
- 3-4 Cups Fresh Broccoli (can use frozen as well)
- 2-3 Tbsp Hot Honey (2 tablespoons works very well, but 3 tablespoons is great for extra heat)
- 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 Tbsp Water
- 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice (about half a lemon)
- 3-4 Garlic Glioves (minced)
- 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper (add more if you prefer extra spicy)
- Put a large frying pan on the stove and let it heat up on a med-high heat setting.
- Lightly oil the pan (sesame oil works very well, but any oil will do). Add your ground beef to the pan, lightly season with salt & pepper, and let it cook for 3-5 minutes. Do not break up the ground beef yet! It helps to get a good sear on the ground beef before breaking it up.
- Flip the beef over to sear the other side, about another 3-5 minutes.
- While the beef cooks, add all the rest of the ingredients to a bowl and whisk together to make your sauce. This sauce will have a kick to it but won't be painfully spicy- feel free to taste and add extra spice if you want it to be hotter.
- Break up the ground beef in your pan (it's okay that it's not fully cooked yet). Add your broccoli to the pan, then pour your sauce over the top. Mix everything up to make sure the sauce is evenly distributed, then cover and let cook for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, remove the lid and make sure the beef is no longer pink. If it is, you can let the meat continue to cook until needed. Mix everything up once more, then remove from heat.
- Serve over the rice of your choice (I always prefer jasmine rice) or enjoy it on its own for a low-carb meal. This pan should yield you 4 servings, each with 4oz of meat. Top wit a drizzle of hot honey and enjoy!
- Hot Honey is very easy to make yourself, although I recommend buying it at the store if you can find it, because it's delicious. To make your own, take 2 tbsp of regular honey and mix in some ground cayenne pepper (or hot sauce) until it reaches the hotness level you are after!
- I prefer my food to not be drenched in sauce, so this sauce is relatively light. You can add more honey and/or soy sauce if you prefer a heavier sauce.
- You can use any ground beef you'd like here. I used 90/10, but you can use leaner beef as well. If you use 80/20 or 85/15 beef you will have some extra fat in the dish and it may require draining some of it.
- With a serving of jasmine rice, each serving is roughly 420 calories, 11g of fat, 50g carbs, and 28g of protein. If you want to keep this low carb, cauliflower rice works too!
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1/4 of Recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 265Total Fat 11gCarbohydrates 14gFiber 2gSugar 8gProtein 25g