Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: August 24, 2021

Since flank steak is a pretty simple cut of beef, many different substitutes can be found on the market.

Also referred to as ‘London Broil’ and ‘stir-fry beef’, this cut is taken from the belly muscle of a cow and can be used in a ton of grilling recipes.

Despite its popularity and rich beefy taste, it can be quite difficult to come by at the meat counter.

So, if you’ve pulled up a recipe that requires flank steak, you’ll be happy to know there are a bunch of great substitutes for your fajitas.

After going on an internet quest, browsing a bunch of online forums, I can present to you the best substitutes to use for all your flank steak needs.

Top 5 Beef Flank Steak Substitutes

Looking for a cut of that flavorful, sort-after London broil steaks but can’t quite get your hands on it? Luckily for you, there are 5 alternatives you can substitute for flank steak:

1. Beef Skirt Steak

Beef skirt steak sliced off

Beef skirt steak is a good substitute for flank steak as it is the closest cut of beef you’ll be able to get your hands on.

While it is cut from the same area (the belly) of a cow, you’ll notice it’s a lot thinner and longer than flank steak.

In fact, you may even prefer beef skirt steak over flank. It’s super juicy, fatty, and takes less time to cook. It goes great with a handful of dishes and benefits greatly when marinated.

Skirt steak offers a light to moderate fat marbling, however, it can easily be overcooked due to its width.

Grilling up this cut for a short amount of time will result in a very tender, delicious steak.

Recommended Article: Flank Steak Vs Skirt Steak

2. Beef Hanger Steak

Beef hanger steak on table top

Sticking with the beef theme (yes, there are actually foods in this list that aren’t even meat at all), we move onto the beef hanger.

It holds a similar flavor profile to flank steak, however, it resembles a beef skirt more than anything. You may also find it under the name “Butcher’s Cut.”

The reasoning behind the similar flavor is down to where the cut originates from.

Beef hanger is cut from the last rib of a cow, right next to the flank.

The hanger is thinly sliced and has noticeable marbling along the surface of the meat.

Due to the meaty, juicy texture of the hanger, it is incredibly sought-after and in turn, difficult to find.

It’s also rather costly since cows only have one hanger, so you will most likely have to call ahead and ask for hanger steak from your butcher.

Something to be aware of, however, is since these particular steaks hold a very low-fat content, it is easy to overcook the thin slices.

This results in an extremely tough and chewy piece of meat. So, while it fits well with tacos and fajitas, always take care when grilling.

3. Top Round

Top round steak on plain background

Another meat that will give you that lovely beefy flavor is a cut called top round. Not to be confused with flank steaks, which are usually also referred to as London broil.

Top round comes from the hindquarters of a cow, and much like flank is a large steak.

It works as a great substitute for flank steak, but only for recipes that require slow cooking as the muscle needs time to break down.

Similar to other cuts of steak, top round also requires marinating prior to cooking.

Many people don’t enjoy marinating their steak, however, it is needed to tenderize the meat.

If you want to have a tender cut, you should avoid grilling or frying the lean beef. Stick to braising or broiling.

4. Tri-Tip Steak

Tri-Tip steak on plain background

Tri-tip steak, also known as triangle steak, is a good alternative if you can’t find flank steak.

It’s rather popular on the West Coast and is lightly marbled, cut from behind the flank steak area.

Similar to the top round, tri-tip steak is best served slow-cooked or braised, after being marinated.

You can also grill this particular cut, however, to keep the meat tender, it is better in a slow cooker.

Tip cut is low in fats, it is juicy with a nice, beefy flavor, but you will get this result only if you cut it properly and cook it well.

5. Flat Iron Steak

3 pieces of Flat Iron Steak meat

Another flank steak alternative is flat iron steak. Over the recent years, it has gained popularity over the United States and is super tasty, tender, and an all-around great cut of beef.

Flat iron comes from top blade steak and is sliced into two separate pieces that connect the heavy fat tissue.

Flat iron works just as well when grilled or pan-seared as it does when slow cooked.

Just like many other beef cuts, if overcooked it becomes incredibly chewy and tough.

If you’re still struggling to find a flank steak alternative, you can also try top sirloin, bottom sirloin, or flap steak.

3 Non-Beef Alternatives

Interestingly enough, you can use other types of meat as a substitute, and some are not even meat at all.

1. Chicken

Raw whole chicken in a ceramic plate

If you’re not a fan of flank steak, or you’re trying to stay away from beef and red meats, you can actually use chicken breast instead of your typical London broil.

Not only is it healthy, but it’s also high in protein which in turn can help build muscle mass [1].

Great dishes to whip up with thin chicken breast include stews, stir-fries, tacos, steaks, with a vegetable side or grilled.

When the Mexican recipe calls for flank steak, take a trip to the grocery store and pick up some chicken instead.

Of course, you also have to ensure it’s prepared right to avoid chewy and overcooked meat.

Check out taco recipes or chicken fajitas to see how they achieve a tender and juicy chicken breast.

2. Mushrooms

Oyster mushroom on gray background

If you’re trying to steer away from meat completely, it’s a good idea to pick up some mushrooms.

Not only are mushrooms a great substitute for flank steak, but it’s also incredibly healthy and adds a delicious, savory flavor when you cook them right.

If you’re into cooking with mushrooms, you should pick up shiitake, portobello, porcini, or brown button mushrooms from your local grocery store.

All of these add a great meaty texture to your favorite dish.

Of course, you also have to ensure it’s prepared right to avoid chewy and overcooked meat.

Check out taco recipes or chicken fajitas to see how they achieve a tender and juicy chicken breast.

3. Tofu

Top view of Tofu on white plate

Last but not least, we have tofu. This substitute is full of proteins and is great at absorbing all that juicy flavor within your favorite dishes.

Tofu is derived from soybeans which are then processed into soymilk [2].

When you struggle to find flank steaks at grocery stores, pick up some tofu to add to your favorite dishes.

Of course, you also have to ensure it’s prepared right to avoid chewy and overcooked meat.

Check out taco recipes or chicken fajitas to see how they achieve a tender and juicy chicken breast.

Basic Flank Steak Recipe

Flank steak on a cutting board

If you’ve managed to find yourself a lovely slab of flank steak, you’re going to want to know how to cook it right. For this easy flank steak dish, you’re going to need the following:

  • One flank steak, either from the butcher or grocery store
  • 2-3 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • Pepper
  • Salt

If you’ve picked up a frozen flank steak, you’re going to want to defrost it before we get started. After it has been defrosted, it’s a good idea to tenderize flank steak before adding the seasoning.

This will ensure flank steaks don't get tough when cooking.

To tenderize flank steak, you’ll need to either cut it up or tenderize it with a meat mallet. Then, you can rub the flank steak with garlic, paper, and salt, then place it into a shallow dish.

Alternatively, if you have a favorite steak rub, you can use that.

“The real trick is to keep your flank steak grill time to a minimum; this lean cut is best cooked rare, medium-rare, or medium.” - Kansas City Steak Company

Once seasoned, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for about an hour.

Fire up your grill and set it to medium-high. Place the steak on the grill and rotate it every 4 minutes at a 45-degree angle. Repeat this for another 4 minutes.

You can use a meat thermometer to check if the flank steak has reached 125 degrees F. Once you’ve reached this temperature, you can put the flank steak onto a warmed plate and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Then, you may cut the flank steak and serve it hot.

Keep in mind, flank steaks are a very versatile cut, so other dishes may require slow cooking or to slice the flank steak into thin pieces before cooking.

Will You Try These Flank Steak Alternatives ?

Flank steaks are great for a whole range of recipes, including Mexican fajitas and Asian curries. Due to Flank steak being rather cheap and sort-after, it can sometimes be difficult to pick them up.

Thankfully, there are at least 8 different alternatives you can use for flank steak, both other steaks, and non-meat foods.

The great thing about cooking is the fact you don’t have to think inside of the box.

Whether you use skirt steaks, flat iron steaks, or tofu, trying out new things is a wonderful way to find your favorite flavor.


References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/protein-in-chicken
  2. http://www.madehow.com/Volume-2/Tofu.htm

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