Top 10 Flank Steak Substitutes

You can use flank steak in many different dishes, including fajitas, enchiladas, sandwiches, beef stroganoff, stews, and so much more.

Since flank steak itself is such a versatile meat, it only makes sense that there are also a variety of substitutes for flank steak that you can use in any of these dishes, so you can get the taste, texture, and consistency you want for your meal.

There are plenty of both meat-based and non-meat-based alternatives for flank steaks.

If you’re opting for similar meats, you can choose from flap steaks, flat iron steaks, hanger steaks, skirt steaks, top round, top sirloin, and tri-tip steaks. There are also a few non-beef substitutes, including chicken breasts, vegetarian portobello mushrooms, and vegan tofu.

Depending on the dish you are planning to make and how you are preparing it, you can choose to use flank steak or one of these other options.

We’ve come up with 10 great alternatives from which you can choose to use in dishes instead of flank steak.

Some are less expensive, others are healthier, and some are so similar to flank steak, you can barely tell the difference. 

Whatever the case, you’re bound to find one that meets your specific wants and needs.

Below, we’re going to dive into the top 10 flank steak substitutes that you can choose for your upcoming meal ideas. Let’s dive in!

1.Flap Steak – Best Substitute for Marinades and Grilling

Flap steak, also known as Bavette steak, is a cost-effective substitute for flank steak that is very tender and absorbs marinades extremely well.

It is cut from the bottom sirloin, which is next to the flank primal and has a coarse grain that is similar to flank steak. This makes it great for recipes involving marinades specifically. 

Grilling with a high heat is the best way to cook this cut of meat, but it will be done very quickly, so proceed with caution.

That said, you can get a really nice char on the edges while still maintaining a soft inside. Precise cooking temperatures are a must here.

Undercooked flap steak will be very chewy while overcooked ones will be very dry. Be sure to slice across the grain once the meat is cooked and you’re ready to serve it.

2.Flat Iron Steak – Best Substitute for Grilling, Pan-Frying, and Slow-Cooker Recipes

Flat iron steaks come from the shoulder, or chuck primal, of the cow. It is attached to the top blade roast by fatty connective tissue.

This type of steak is about one-inch thick and resembles an old-fashioned flat iron. This cut is not as lean as flank steaks, and cooks very well with a marinade. You should aim to cook this type of steak to medium rare for best results.

It is a rich and tender cut of meat that is marbled with juicy, beefy flavors, which makes it great for grilling, pan-frying, and slow-cooking.

It’s important to be careful with cooking it though because it can become chewy and touch when overdone.

Flank steaks can also be braised and is usually used for steak fajita dishes and carne asada.

3.Hanger Steak – Best Substitute for Basting with a Marinade

Hanger steaks have a higher fat content than flank steak, making it more tender and extremely flavorful.

It is a thin cut that comes from the underside of the cow, near the loin. Other than this extra tenderness, it is very similar to flank steak in terms of texture and flavor.

The best way to prepare hanger steak is by basting with a marinade for a few hours and grilling over a low heat.

Even though you can grill it, you will want to be extremely careful about cooking times and keep a close eye on it as you’re cooking it.

Grill for about two minutes on each side to avoid any toughness. Hanger steak is a popular alternative to flank steak for fajitas and other similar dishes. 

4.Skirt Steak – Best Substitute for Grilling, Broiling, or Cooking in a Cast Iron

Skirt steak isn’t as lean as flank steak, so it has more marbling and a higher fat content.

This cut typically comes from the center of the steer below the ribeye. It can get rather tough when prepared, so you should marinate it, cook carefully, and always slice against the grain to avoid any extra toughness.

Skirt steak is a great alternative for flank steak, especially when cooking over high heat in a cast iron, broiling, or grilling. 

Since it’s a thinner cut, it cooks very quickly. Typically, you will only need to cook it for about two or three minutes on each side.

Then, let it rest for about 10 minutes. Skirt steak often makes a great replacement for fajita dishes and stir fries.

5.Top Round – Best Substitute for Marinating and Grilling

Top round steaks come from the top of the hind legs. They are lean and tough, and are very similar to flank steak in terms of composition.

In fact, they are both part of the same family of steaks that are typically labeled “London broil.”

This refers to a style of cooking, so if you see London broil at your grocery store, you can expect to either get flank steak, top round, or some other tougher cut of meat.

That said, these two steaks can be substituted for each other in a variety of dishes. This is especially true for recipes involving marinades since it is naturally such a tough meat.

If you don’t want to use a marinade, you can still use garlic cloves and peppers to rub down the steak and let it rest for about an hour.

Grill for about seven or eight minutes on each, flipping the steak over every four minutes or so.

6.Top Sirloin – Best Substitute for Recipes Calling for Rubs or Marinades, Stir Fries, and Grilling

There are two types of sirloin, including top and bottom sirloin. When replacing flank steak, you should opt for top sirloin, which is found just underneath the tenderloin.

This cut of meat is much more tender than bottom sirloin, which is usually ground, stewed, or braised.

The best recipes to use top sirloin instead of flank steak include those that need rubs or marinades. Top sirloin is also great on the grill or in stir fries.

You can grill top sirloin even without a marinade, but you’ll have to be much more careful not to overdo it.

Once you cook it to a medium rare temperature, let the steak rest and cut into it diagonally for best results.

7.Tri-Tip Steak – Best Substitute for Barbecuing and for Stew Meat

Tri-tip steak comes from the bottom of the sirloin and is also known as triangle steak. It has a fatty edge that is easily trimmable.

That said, you should wait until after cooking before trimming it for the best flavor. Tri-tip steak is more affordable than flank steak, which makes it a great alternative for every-day dishes.

At first, tri-tip was thrown away because it was thought of as a waste of space in display cases at the butchers. After that, it was often ground up or used as stew beef.

8.Chicken Breasts – Best Low-Fat Substitute for Flank Steak

If you’re looking at a recipe that involves flank steak but don’t really want to use beef in the dish, you can always use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead.

This is a great low-fat, high-protein substitute for stews, stir fries, and any recipes calling for grilling.

Chicken Breast

Chicken has far fewer calories than flank steak, but you will be missing out on a bit of extra protein as well as some vitamins and minerals when using this as a substitute.

Chicken absorbs flavors from dry rubs and marinades, which makes them a great choice for many dishes, especially those that are paired with vegetables. Some common dishes include fajitas, tacos, and burritos.

Most people will choose to substitute chicken for flank steak if they are looking for a healthier option or if they like the recipe but are not feeling beef for the dish.

When cooking your chicken, be sure it’s cooked all the way through but not overcooked. Otherwise, you risk the meat getting too dry.

9.Portobello Mushrooms – Best Vegetarian Substitute for Flank Steak

Portobello mushrooms make for a great vegetarian substitute to flank steak. They offer an earthy, meaty flavor, and are able to absorb marinades.

Plus, they are rather large with caps averaging five to six inches in diameter. These mushrooms are extremely versatile and can be prepared in a variety of ways, even grilling. 

The best dishes to use them in lieu of flank steak include fajitas, tacos, enchiladas, and mushroom bourguignon.

Using portobello mushrooms is a great way to add a vegetarian twist to otherwise meat-heavy recipes.

Whether you’re a vegetarian, or you just want to take a break from eating meat for the night, cooking portobello mushrooms is a fantastic direction to go in.

10.Tofu – Best Vegan Substitute for Flank Steak

If you want to take things a step further, tofu makes for a great vegan substitute for flank steak for dishes like fajitas, quesadillas, tacos, and pot pies.

Tofu

This soy-based protein is low in calories, high in fat content, and offers many other nutrients, so you can get the healthy, well-balanced meal you need without using any meat. 

After that, you should shape the tofu mixture into a shape that resembles a flank steak, bake it, and refrigerate it.

Once you’re ready to make your dish, you can take it out and grill it for any specific dishes you have in mind.

Finally, It’s Time to Start Cooking!

Now that you have a handful of alternatives to flank steak for plenty of different dishes, you can start cooking!

Whether you’re looking for a healthier choice, a less expensive meat, or a vegetarian- or vegan-friendly option, you have plenty of substitutes from which you can choose. 

In addition to going with your personal preference, be sure to pay attention to how you’ll be preparing your dish.

Some options are better suited for grilling versus slow-cooking, or anything in between.

Whatever you choose, you’re in for a delicious meal with a lot of variety, whether you’re cooking for a group or just yourself!

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