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Japanese Pepper Steak

Get ready to savor a taste of my kitchen with this Japanese Pepper Steak recipe! Inspired by the crave-worthy flavors of Pepper Lunch’s iconic pepper sauce, I’ve crafted a dish that brings the restaurant experience right to your table! Whip it up in just 10 minutes using basic Japanese ingredients, and you’ll see why this recipe is a must-try!

Japanese pepper steak on a plate with sauce being poured on.

Why I Love This Recipe

What makes this recipe truly special is its my take to the Japanese Pepper Steak served at the iconic Pepper Lunch restaurants! Drawing inspiration from my Japanese Beef Pepper Rice dish and using my proven pan-seared steak technique of my Steak Donburi Bowl and Japanese Hibachi Steak recipes, we’ve crafted a dish that’s both authentic and easy to make at home! Picture sweet savory flavors of the Pepper Lunch Sauce similar to that found in my Japanese Style Garlic Steak, but with the added kick of black pepper!

It’s a fail-proof way to enjoy a Japanese-style steak dish, made with simple ingredients and ready in just 10 minutes! Whether you’re craving a taste of your favorite restaurant or looking for a quick and delicious meal idea, this recipe is sure to hit the spot. So why not treat yourself to a homemade Pepper Plate experience today? You won’t be disappointed!



  • Steak – 1/2 inch thick, ribeye or NY strip works best with this recipe.
  • Salt – sea salt preferred to lightly season the steak.
  • Black Pepper – ground. Gives the signature flavor found in the pepper sauce.
  • Neutral Oil no taste or flavor with high cooking temperature. Some choices are sunflower oil, peanut oil, sallower oil, vegetable oil, and canola oil. 
  • Rice – rice of choice.
  • Corn –  canned corn kernals or fresh corn. Used as topping of the rice.
  • Butter – salted or unsalted. Used to mix with corn.
  • Carrots – boiled baby carrots, optional side.
  • Green Beans – boiled green beans, optional side.
  • Soy Sauce – low-sodium Soy Sauce preferred. Can also use tamari for gluten-free.
  • Japanese Sake – typically will come in a large bottle labeled junmai sake. Can also substitute with dry sherry wine or Chinese cooking wine, found at local grocery stores or Asian markets. Helps give the pepper sauce umami flavors.
  • Sweetener – use your preferred sweetener.
  • Black Pepper – ground. Gives the signature flavor found in the pepper sauce.
  • Garlic– freshly grated garlic.

🥩 Steak Note

If Slicing the Steaks Yourself, consider placing them in the Freezer for 20-30 Minutes until they are Semi-Frozen. This technique allows for cleaner and more accurate cuts, ensuring uniformity in your steak slices.

Ingredients for Japanese pepper steak on the countertop.

Essential Kitchen Equipment


☑ Before Getting Started

Before getting started, ensure you have a Large Frying Pan with a Flat Bottom, preferably a Cast Iron Skillet. This will provide ample room for your steaks to sear evenly, resulting in a delicious crust and juicy interior.

Step 1 Pat dry steaks with a paper towel and then lightly season with salt and black pepper.

Steak being seasoned.

🧂 Seasoning Pro Tip

For even seasoning, try Sprinkling from a Higher Above. Allow the steak to Rest for 20-30 Minutes after seasoning. This time will enable the steak to absorb the seasoning and reach an even temperature, ensuring a perfectly cooked steak.

Step 2 Start by boiling out Japanese sake in a skillet for 15-20 seconds.

Japanese sake being boiled in a pan.

🍶 Boiling Sake Pro Tip

For a quicker alternative to boiling sake, you can simply Microwave for 30-45 Seconds.

Step 3 Prepare the sauce by mixing boiled Japanese sake, soy sauce, sweetener, grated garlic, and black pepper together.

Japanese pepper steak sauce in a bowl.

💡 Sauce Pro Tip

For optimal results, Rest the Sauce for 10-15 Minutes at room temperature before using it. This allows the flavors to meld together perfectly, enhancing the overall taste of your dish.

Step 4 Mix corn kernels and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave until the butter melts, about 15-25 seconds. Serve the buttered corn on top of bed of plated rice.

Plate of rice topped with butter corn

Step 5 Heat cooking oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat until it’s preheats. Then, add the steak and cook for 20-30 seconds per side for Medium-Rare, 30-40 seconds per side for Medium, 40-50 seconds per side for Medium-Well, and 50+ seconds per side for Well-Done. The cooking times will vary greatly depending on the thickness of the steak.

Thinly sliced steak cooked in a skillet.

🌡 Internal Temperature Check

For an accurate internal temperature check, aim for 125°F for Medium-Rare, 130°F for Medium, and 135°F for Medium-Well. Using a meat thermometer ensures precise cooking and allows you to achieve your desired level of doneness with perfection.

Step 6 Slice the steaks and arrange them on the sides of the rice. Just before serving, drizzle the sauce over the top.

Japanese pepper steak served in a plate with rice and corn.

🥩 Steak Pro Tip

For best results, allow the steak to Rest for 5 Minutes after cooking to let the juices redistribute before slicing.

🍽️ Serving Pro Tip

For serving, you have two options: you can either Mix Everything Together and drizzle the sauce on top, or simply Drizzle the Sauce on Top and enjoy without mixing. Both methods offer a delightful way to enjoy the flavors of the dish, allowing you to customize your experience based on your preference.

Recipe Variations

You can take the same pepper sauce and thinly sliced beef to make my Japanese Beef Pepper Rice dish. The tender, flavorful beef, coated in the pepper sauce, adds a deliciously simple twist to the recipe.

Pairing Recommendations

To complete your dish, serve it alongside a fresh green salad dressed in either my Japanese Ginger Salad Dressing or a zesty Japanese Wafu Salad Dressing. For an authentic Japanese touch, pair your meal with a classic bowl of Tofu Miso Soup.

Japanese pepper steak served on a plate with rice, corn, carrots and asparagus.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different cut of beef for this recipe?

Yes, you can try using different cuts like sirloin or flank steak, but keep in mind that thinner cuts work best for the quick pan-searing method.

Can I make the sauce ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the sauce in advance and store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

What type of rice is best to serve with this dish?

Traditionally, Japanese short-grain rice is served with this dish, but you can use any type of rice you prefer such as brown rice of cauliflower rice for a low carb option.

Storage Tips

Best enjoyed immediately. However, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. The unused sauce can also be stored separately in an airtight container for 14-21 days. This ensures that your leftovers remain safe and flavorful for future enjoyment.

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Watch How To Make It

Japanese pepper steak served on a plate with rice, corn, carrots and asparagus.

Japanese Pepper Steak

Discover the savory delight of Japanese Pepper Steak – a homemade twist on the iconic Pepper Lunch favorite! With tender steak coated in a flavorful pepper sauce, this quick and easy recipe brings the taste of Japan right to your kitchen. Perfect for a delicious meal in just 10 minutes!
5 from 2 votes
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: Japanese pepper steak
Prep Time: 2 minutes
5 minutes
Total Time: 7 minutes
Servings: 2
Print Recipe
Calories: 645kcal



  • 2 Steak 1/2 inch thick ribeye or NY fillet
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Cooking Oil neutral oil with no taste
  • 2 Cups Rice rice of choice
  • 2 tbsp Corn Kernals
  • 1/2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 Pieces Baby Carrots boiled, optional side.
  • 4 Stalks Green Beans boiled, optional side.


  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Japanese Sake
  • 1 tsp Sweetener your preferred sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Clove Garlic


  • Gather all the ingredients.
    Ingredients for Japanese pepper steak on the countertop.
  • Dry steaks with a paper towel, then sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
    Steak being seasoned.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine boiled out Japanese sake, soy sauce, sweetener, grated garlic and black pepper.
    Japanese pepper steak sauce in a bowl.
  • Microwave corn with butter covered for 15-25 seconds until the butter is melted then place on top of a bed of plated rice.
    Plate of rice topped with butter corn
  • Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add steaks and cook: 20-30 seconds/side for Medium-Rare, 30-40 seconds /side for Medium, 40-50 seconds /side for Medium-Well, or 50+ sec/side for Well-Done. Times will vary depending on thickness of the steak.
    Thinly sliced steak cooked in a skillet.
  • Slice steaks and plate with rice. Drizzle sauce on top before serving.
    Japanese pepper steak served in a plate with rice and corn.


Calories: 645kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 49g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 790mg | Potassium: 691mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 146IU | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 5mg
*Values Based Per Serving
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