Did you know that your favorite flank steak is not technically a steak? (*)
Fact: Steak is defined as a high-quality beef cut taken from the hindquarters of a cow.
Here’s the thing: Flank steak comes from the cow’s belly or lower chest muscles, not from its hindquarters.
Despite not being a steak, this cut is one of the most popular non-steak steaks out there due to its rich flavors and versatility. As a result, it’s used in many dishes, including fajitas, stir-fry beef dishes, London broil, and many more.
You’re planning to cook any of these dishes but don’t have a flank steak on hand?
Don’t fret because there are plenty of flank steak substitutes that you can use.
Do you want to know what these are?
Keep on reading to find out!
10 Top Flank Steak Substitutes For Meat Lovers
Are you ready to discover what to substitute for flank steak? Well, you don’t have to wait for it any longer! Here are some of our best recommendations:
1. Skirt Steak
The most popular flank steak alternative is skirt steak, also known as a beef skirt, and it comes from the diaphragm area, which is located below the ribeye.
As compared to flank steak, which is lean, this cut is thinner and has lots of marbled fats all over its surface. Because of this, it’s considered to be extra juicier.
When to use it: When you cook skirt steak right, it can be an excellent substitute for flank steak for stir-fries and fajitas.
Pro Tip: Even though it’s a thin-cut steak, shirt steak tends to get still a bit tough when cooked. To avoid this, you should marinate it, avoid overcooking, and make sure to slice against its grain.
2. Flat Iron Steak
Flat iron steak, also called Top Blade Steak, is a cut of steak that comes from the shoulder blade of the animal.
It has fatty connective tissue, so it’s not as leaner as flank steak. This membrane also makes this cut a little bit tougher than other steaks.
Despite this, it has recently gained popularity for steak lovers because of its versatility. You can marinade it to enjoy its beef flavors fully or slice it thinly and slow cook for a more tender texture. Thanks to its beautiful marbling, this cut is perfect for broiling and grilling.
When to use it: You can replace flank steak with flat iron steak for making sandwiches, stir-fry dishes, beef fajitas, and salads.
Pro Tip: This cut is best served rare to medium-rare only since it can get tough.
3. Hanger Steak
This cut comes from the cow’s underside, located near its loin.
It’s commonly called butcher’s cut steak because butchers consider it a prized cut, making it one of the most sought-after steak types in the market.
The main reason butchers adore this cut is because its’ packed with rich and savory flavors. This part also has a high-fat content, giving it a meaty and juicy texture. Indeed, there are a lot of things to like about this part.
Just heads up: hanger steak might be a lot harder to look for than flank steak, but the hunt is worth it!
When to use it: It’s best served marinated, so it’s perfect for substituting flank steak for fajitas.
Pro Tip: If you decide to grill hanger steak, make sure not to cook it for more than 2 minutes per side to keep it as tender as possible.
4. Tri-Tip Steak
Tri-Tip steak is a small steak cut derived from the bottom or top sirloin.
It’s boneless and has a triangular shape, which is why most people refer to Tri-Tip steak as triangle steak.
Good news: This cut is a lot more affordable than flank steak, so it’s the best alternative if you have a tight budget.
The best thing about this type of steak is lean, tender, and has fantastic marbling. What makes Tri-Tip steak unique is that it gives you the benefit of trimming off its fatty edges.
When to use it: Because it’s lean and tender, this is an excellent flank steak alternative for slow-cooked dishes like soups and stews.
Pro Tip: To maximize its juiciness, you should cook it as a whole and slice it afterward. If you want to grill it, cook it for 5 minutes on one side and 8 more minutes on the other.
5. Top Round Steak
The Top Round steak is probably one of the broadest steak cuts you can find, and it’s collected from the animal’s hind legs tops.
When you pass by the display area in the meat section and see a piece of meat labeled London broil, you’re looking at a Top Round Steak.
Fun Fact: London broil is not a specific cut of steak but a cooking style. However, it’s sometimes used to refer to a family of lean steak cuts but a bit tough—like the flank steak and the Top Round steak.
When to use it: It’s pretty obvious already, but we’ll say it anyway. It’s a great flank steak alternative for making London broil.
Pro Tip: It’s recommended that you marinate this cut before grilling or broiling to make it more tender. You can also try rubbing it with pepper and garlic cloves and letting it sit for an hour at room temperature before cooking.
6. Top Sirloin
There are two types of sirloin: top sirloin and bottom sirloin. If you’re looking for a suitable flank steak substitute, you should go for the top sirloin.
Fun fact: Top sirloin comes in many names, including hip sirloin steak, center-cut sirloin, and top butt steak.
Located just under the tenderloin, top sirloin is considered more tender.
When to use it: This cut of meat is highly recommended for recipes that call marinades like fajitas.
Pro Tip: If you want to make sure it will be tender, cook it only up to medium-rare.
7. Flap Steak
The most popular flank steak alternative is the flap steak, which is collected from the belly of the seer, situated near where flank steak is. That’s why it’s also thin and lean meat like the flank steak.
Fun fact: Flat steak cut into cubes is called sirloin tip.
Not only that, many people prefer using flap steak because of its affordable price.
When to use it: Because of their similarities, flank steak and flap steak are used interchangeably in a wide range of recipes, most especially in grilled recipes. This part also has a coarse grain, making it an excellent choice for marinated recipes.
Pro Tip: make sure to check the steak's internal temperature when cooking as it tends to become chewy when undercooked and too dry when overcooked.
8. Packaged Beef Fajitas
Are you too busy to make beef fajitas from scratch?
You need to know this secret: you can buy frozen and ready-marinated beef fajitas strips from your local supermarket.
Since it’s already thinly sliced and marinated, you can save a lot of time preparing your dinner.
When to use it: Since it’s already marinated, you can use it for all types of Mexican dishes like carne asada, beef fajitas, and beef tacos.
Pro Tip: You can also use this for non-Mexican dishes like salads and sandwiches.
9. Chicken Breast
If you want to cook fajitas and cut down on your red meat consumption at the same time, here’s one dish you should try: chicken fajitas. A boneless and skinless chicken breast is the best option for this.
In addition to being low in fat and high in protein, chicken breasts can easily absorb flavors from marinades and dry rubs, so you’re assured that your dishes will turn out to be flavorful.
When to use it: In addition to fajitas, you can also use chicken breast as a flank steak alternative for stews, grilled dishes, and stir-fries.
Pro Tip: The best way to cook chicken breast is baking. To prevent it from going dry or tough, cook medium-sized chicken breasts for 18 to 20 minutes and large-sized chicken breasts for 20 to 22 minutes.
10. Portobello Mushrooms
For a healthier and vegan-/ vegetarian-friendly substitute for flank steak, portobello mushrooms are your best bet.
If you’re a die-hard meat eater, this substitute won’t most likely fool you. However, it’s more than enough to add a meaty texture and an earthy flavor to any dish.
Not only that, this is one of the biggest mushrooms you’ll ever see. A piece can be as big as one cut of steak.
When to use: Mushrooms can easily absorb sauces and marinades, so they are the best flank steak substitutes for dishes like enchiladas and tacos.
Pro Tip: Other mushroom types that you can use are porcini mushrooms, brown button mushrooms, and shiitake mushrooms.
The Bottom Line
Using any of these flank steak substitutes, you can be able to whip up your favorite recipes and meaty dishes without any worries!
We’ve already provided you with the best alternatives.
Now, the only thing you need to do is choose which substitute will best suit your dish.
Have fun cooking!