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What Can Substitute Flank Steak? [DIFFERENCES EXPLAINED]

What Can Substitute Flank Steak? [DIFFERENCES EXPLAINED]

Flank steak is a flat and long cut of beef obtained from the cow’s underbelly. The cut is pretty lean, and most people love it for its delicious taste. If you are preparing a flank recipe and the main ingredient is missing, you can always find a replacement.

The skirt steak, hanger steak, top round, flat iron steak, top sirloin, ground beef, tri-tip steak, and the flap steak can make great substitutes for a flank steak. These potential substitutes are lean, all-purpose, and you can grill, roast, broil or sauté. You are at liberty to use your preferred method as long as you do not overcook.

Read on for more details about the flank steak and the best substitutes.

What Is Flank Steak?

A flank steak is a cut of beef obtained from the abdomen muscle of a cow. The cut is also known as London broil because it is popular in the city.

The flank steak is characterized by long grain, making it tougher than similar steaks. Therefore, when cooking it, you need to marinade and adopt slow cooking to make it tender. In addition, the steak has lots of protein and low-fat content, rendering it a healthy option for those who do not want to bump a lot of fat into their body.

Besides being a lean cut, it is an excellent source of B vitamins, zinc, iron, and phosphorus.

When it comes to cooking, you need to cook it until it attains an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Once it is ready, you can use it in stir-fry dishes, stews, fajitas, and casseroles.

Buying Flank Steak

When buying the flank steak, you must ensure you know what you are looking for to avoid investing in the wrong cut.

The flank steak has a deeper red color than other steaks, such as the Ribeye steak. Further, it has long strands of muscle fiber that run throughout the entire length of the cut. It is good to note that the deep red color should not have dark spots, holes, or brown discoloration. If you notice brown discoloration, that is an indication that the meat is not fresh.

Another critical point to pay attention to is the amount of fat on the cut. Generally, a flank steak should not have a lot of fats; if any, it should be very little. Too much fat indicates that the butcher did not trim it properly.

What Is A Substitute For Flank Steak?

People look for a flank steak substitute either because they could not find it in their favorite store or want to try something different. If you need a flank steak substitute, you can go for ground beef, chicken breast, ground beef tofu, tri-tip steak, flat-iron steak, top round, tuna filet, or top sirloin steak.

Since each substitute offers something a little bit different, you need to make sure that you exactly know what you need to achieve with your selections.

What Is The Best Substitute For Flank Steak?

While many flank substitutes exist, some tend to be more potent than others. The Skirt steak, for instance, is the most similar cut to the flank steak.

The flank steak is a thin cut you can slice across the grain for excellent stir fry or fajitas. Further, you can cook it as if you are cooking flank steak.

However, it is essential to note that the main difference between the skirt steak and the flank steak is the skirt steak is fattier, implying that it is more tender and that you would not have to worry about it drying when preparing it.

Hanger Steak

The hanger steak can also make a suitable replacement for the flank steak. It comes from the underside part of a cow, close to the loin area, implying that it is a fattier and tender cut. Although many grilling bosses believe that it gives a slightly different texture when compared to the flank steak, the flavor is close enough to make a great substitute.

When grilling hanger steak, it is essential to avoid overcooking it because it is easy to mess it up despite having a higher fat content. Essentially, most flank steaks can dry easily and become tough when overcooked.

Top Sirloin Steak

Although the top sirloin steak is a good replacement for a flank steak, it has a flavor and texture that is more inclined to tri-tip steak than the flank steak. It is also fattier and tender, making it a perfect option for sautéing or grilling. Its tenderness makes it easy for anyone to distinguish it from the flank steak.

The best way to ensure that you get the most from your sirloin steak is to grill it to medium rare and allow it to rest before slicing against the grain.

Top Round Steak

If you walk into a grocery store to purchase flank steak and find out it is unavailable, you can walk out with a top-round steak and never regret it.

The top round steak comes from the top rear of the leg, which makes it as tough as the flank steak. Therefore, you can use your favorite marinades on the top-round steak and expect them to work perfectly. In addition, it is one of the inexpensive cuts you can get in the store.

Tri-tip Steak

The tri-tip steak is sometimes referred to as the triangle steak. It is easy to prepare as it has a reasonable amount of fat in a single strip on the side. You can leave the fat strip when cooking and cut it off when serving to bring out the flank steak’s leanness.

However, if you want to achieve a high degree of juiciness and tenderness, you may want to consider leaving the strip of fat after cooking. The versatility of the tri-tip steak makes it a favorite option for many people.

The Flap Steak

The flap steak is one of the commonly known alternatives for flank steak because it is a thin cat with a similar shape to the flank. Additionally, just like the flank steak, it comes from the belly of the cow, and it has a coarse grain.

If your preferred method of preparing is grilling, then the flap steak will not disappoint because its thin edges are char and crisp nicely, cutting extra texture and flavor.

Chicken Breast

There is no way you will fool your family or guests that you have prepared a flank steak when serving a chicken breast. However, the chicken breast can be a good dinner alternative, especially if there is no way you can get flank steak.

The chicken breasts have a coarse grain, and adding marinades will make it delicious. One caution, though, is that you should avoid overcooking it as that can easily ruin and make it tough and chewy.

flak steak

How To Tenderize Flank Steak

One of the best-known characteristics of flank steak is that it is lean and therefore does not have a lot of fat content like other steaks. Since fats break down when cooking the steak to tenderize it naturally, you will have to tenderize it in the absence of fat.

To tenderize a flank steak, you can embrace either of the two main methods. The quickest method is to use a meat tenderizer. If a meat tenderizer is unavailable, you can choose the second option, making a marinade. With marinating, you will have to wait long, preferably overnight, for the meat to marinate.


Cooking the flank steak the right way will give you a delicious meal. If you cannot find the flank steak in your favorite store, you should not hesitate to substitute it with skirt steak, as that can provide a similar flavor.