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The Top 7 Substitutes For Flank Steaks

Flank steak is a cut of beef that comes from the underbelly of the cow, and it is flat and typically longer than most cuts of beef. It is one of the most inexpensive cuts of beef, and it is popularly used in South America and Europe, as well as the US.

It is slightly tougher than other cuts of beef due to its location, but with the correct method of cooking and flavor, it is definitely delicious.

Flank steak can be cooked as a normal steak and eaten with garlic butter, but it is used in dishes such as London broil, (marinated broiled beef in thin strips) as well as in fajitas, stir fries, asian cuisine and as jerky.

You can use flank steak in any dishes that you would typically use steak, and it is relatively easy to cook because it is a lot thinner than other cuts of beef. 

Beef is diverse, with many different cuts. Most of the time, they’re similar in texture and taste, so luckily if you need an alternative, it’ll be easy to find one!

If you want to use a different meat, or make a dish vegetarian, we have you covered! Below, we will list some of the best substitutes for flank steak. 

What is flank steak?

To sum it up, flank steak is a thin and long piece of meat, that is usually cheaper, and is sometimes trimmed off to use for beef mince. It is one of the healthiest cuts of beef, because it is taken from the cow’s abdominal muscles.

It has less calories than cuts such as sirloin or t-bone, and it is rather lean due to the location of the cut on the cow. You need to slice flank steak across the grain to achieve the best, and tastiest results. 

The Top 7 Substitutes: 

1. Skirt Steak

Skirt steak is one of the most popular alternatives for flank steak, and it holds similar properties. Skirt steak is not as lean as flank steak, and it comes from the plate of the cow which is just below the ribeye.

It comes from a muscle inside the chest and abdominal cavity, so it has slightly more calories because it is taken from a thicker area, with more fat. It is long and flat, and it is not the most tender cuts of beef, but is loved for its flavor and how quickly it takes to cook.

It is slightly more expensive than flank steak, but just as good. It is typically cooked as a steak on its own, or in stir fries with noodles and vegetables. It takes on flavor really well, so is good for marinating and grilling, frying or oven roasting with aromatics and herbs. 

2. Flat Iron Steak

Flat iron steak is a good substitute for flank steak. It comes from the shoulder (chuck) of the cow, and has the grain from the chuck, meaning it is more marbled and slightly tougher than other cuts of beef.

It has a grisly membrane from the connective tissue in the shoulder, so it needs to be cooked slowly and at a lower temperature than a more tender cut of beef. The cut of beef is flavorful, like flank, and holds similar characteristics to a flank steak. 

Flat iron steak would be perfect for beef gyros, beef ramen, stir fries, and asian inspired beef dishes. 

3. Hanger Steak

Hanger steak is another obvious and excellent choice for a flank steak substitute. It is a thinner cut of beef, similar to flank, and it has a slightly higher fat content, meaning it is more tender, and has more protein.

It comes from the loin of the cow, from the underside. This means it comes from a similar place to flank steak, so it has similar properties. It is a good substitute in dishes such as beef fajitas, because it can be made tender.

When grilling or cooking, make sure you do not cook it for too long on each side. It is thin, so it will cook much quicker. It is best to cook it on a lower heat, searing each side if you desire.

It is popular in the US for its price, tenderness, and attainability. Butcher’s also love the cut, and it has been referred to as the ‘butcher’s cut’ because of how easy it is to cut, and its flavor profile. 

4. Top Round

Top round is a lean, tough cut of beef. Because of this, it is inexpensive, and flavorful. It is most used for roasting and slices into paper thin slices, but it also makes an excellent alternative to flank steak.

Flank steak is lean and tougher, similar to top round. It is versatile, and extremely easy to flavor and marinate. It is perfect for using in tacos and fajitas, along with beef chili or stew.

It does not have much fat, hence why it is so lean. This means that it is intrinsically tougher, but this is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on how you are going to cook it. It’s a good alternative to flank steak because it can be flavored easily due to how lean it is, and can be sliced thinly and added to soups and stir-fries. 

5. Flap Steak

Flap steak is often used instead of flank in many recipes, and it is very similar in taste and texture. Flap steak is thin and lean, and also comes from the underside belly of the cow.

It has a grouse grain, so it takes on flavor well, and is perfect for marinating. It is slightly tougher, similar to flank steak, and is perfect for grilling and marinating, or serving in a ramen or soup-based dish.

Because it is so thin, it cooks really quickly. You should cook flap steak on a high heat, for just a couple of minutes per side. If you overcook it, it will be tough. Slice flap steak across the grain into thin strips. Like flank steak, it is perfect for fajitas and stir-fries. 

6. Tri-tip Steak

Tri-tip steak is also a good choice for a substitute for flank steak. It comes from the bottom of the sirloin, which is based in the mid-underside of the cow, towards the back. It is tender, and is very rich in flavor.

The cut is triangular and thicker than flank steak, but it makes a good alternative because of its cheap price and tender texture. The sirloin is extremely tender and rich, so tri-tip steak is too, as it comes from the same place. 

7. Chicken Thigh

If you don’t fancy beef, chicken thigh makes a good alternative to flank steak. You can use chicken breast too, but chicken thigh has a meatier taste, and is a darker, richer meat. It is tender, and higher in fat than chicken breast.

It can be flavored easily, and is perfect for marinating. It is a good alternative to flank steak because it has a similar texture, and goes really well in fajitas and asian-style food such as ramen or pho.

Chicken breast could also work, as it is typically slightly tougher than thigh, but is more difficult to flavor. 

Honorable mention: 

Shiitake or Portobello Mushrooms

If you are vegetarian, meaty textured mushrooms such as shiitake or portobello would be a good alternative to using flank steaks. They have a tougher, meaty texture compared to general field or wild mushrooms.

They are widely used in asian cuisine, similar to flank steak. This is mostly because of their texture, along with how easy it is to flavor them and marinate them. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is more tender than flank steak? 

The more fat content a cut of beef has, the more tender it will be. Flank steak is not the most tender meat, but is known for its cut and flavor. Skirt steak is similar to flank steak, and is more tender because it is taken from the ribeye area.

It has more fat, which cooks down during the cooking process, making your meat more tender. Other tender cuts of beef include top loin, tenderloin, and sirloin. Anything from the underside of the cow is more likely to be tender as it has a generally higher fat content. 

Is flank steak better than ribeye?

It is up to personal preference. If you prefer a flavorful and slightly tougher cut of meat, then you may prefer flank. It is really easy to marinate and flavor, hence why it is so loved in asian cuisine.

Ribeye is tender, but it is expensive compared to flank steak. This does not mean it is worse than flank steak, but it is dependent on what dish you are making. 

Is chuck roast the same as flank steak? 

Chuck roast is not the same as flank steak. Chuck roast derives from the shoulder of the cow, whereas flank comes from the underside of the cow. Flank steak is long and flat, whereas chuck roast is thick and rounded.

Chuck roast is known for being tough, so it is often slow cooked or barbecued. 

What’s the best way to cook flank steak? 

The best way to cook a flank steak also depends on what you prefer. It is preferred to cook it in a pan with salt, pepper, and any other spices and seasonings you desire. This is because it needs to be cooked before it is added to dishes.

It is also helpful to tenderize the meat beforehand, because it does not have a high fat content. By tenderizing it, you are flattening the meat to ensure it will cook evenly and quickly, as well as staying tender and softer.

Once cooked, add your flank steak to your favourite dishes, or serve it with tortillas and salad for fajitas. 

The Top 7 Substitutes For Flank Steaks

5 from 1 vote

Flank steak is a relatively inexpensive cut of meat that is perfect for grilling. Here are some of the best substitutes for flank steak.

Ingredients

  • Skirt Steak

  • Flat Iron Steak

  • Hanger Steak

  • Top Round

  • Flap Steak

  • Tri-tip Steak

  • Chicken Thigh

Directions

  • Decided on what substitute you need
  • Pick a substitute from the list above
  • Read what you need to substitute with
  • Create the recipe and enjoy

Recipe Video

Jess Smith