10 Hanger Steak Substitutes [Low-Fat, Non-Beef, & Vegetarian]

What’s more delicious than a juicy, tender hanger steak? Many people think of hanger steak as being a tough cut, but it is actually incredibly tender.

This is because the meat literally “hangs” on the cow, so the muscle is not used much. Hanger steak is also full of fat, making it incredibly juicy and flavorful.

However, hanger steak can be kind of expensive and hard to find in some grocery stores!

If you are looking for a substitute for marinating a hanger steak, shoulder, skirt, or flat iron are you best options. For low-fat substitutes, try skirt steak or flank steak. If you would prefer a non-beef substitute, chicken breast, pork chops or lamb chops are all great ones to try. Finally, as a vegan substitute, seitan or tofu are your best bets.

We’ll be going over these substitutes in more detail and discussing ways to choose the best substitute for hanger steak.

We’ll also be answering some questions you may have about hanger steak!

Hanger Steak Substitutes

1. Shoulder Steak

If you can’t find a hanger steak at the grocery store and are seeking a very close substitute, shoulder steak is your best bet by far. Shoulder steak is juicy, rich in fat, and just as delicious as a hanger steak.

Shoulder steak comes from the shoulder region of the cow and is desirable for its rich beefy flavor.

Shoulder steak is very versatile, it can be used as a slow-cooked roast, barbecued, or pan-seared like a steak. Marinate it overnight in a flavorful marinade for a rich and delicious steak.

Shoulder steak can replace hanger steak at a 1:1 ratio.

2. Flat Iron Steak

Flat iron steak is also cut from the shoulder of the cow. It’s an increasingly popular cut because of its affordability and delicious flavor.

Flat iron often gets confused with flank steak because they look very similar.

However, the flank is cut from the stomach, a completely different part of the cow. Flat iron does have some marbling but benefits greatly from a rich marinade to elevate the flavor.

Flat Iron Steak

An overnight marinade and then a flash cook in a hot pan is an excellent way to serve a delectable flat iron steak. You can replace hanger steak with a flat iron steak at a 1:1 ratio.

3. Skirt Steak

Skirt steak is another great substitute for hanger steak. It has an excellent fat content and long grains, like the hanger steak.

It has a rich beefy flavor that holds up well to marinades and dressings, but it is rich enough that it can also just be flash seared, making it just as versatile as the hanger steak.

Skirt steak is the most popular choice for fajitas and tacos because of their toothsome chew that is still tender and easy to eat.

Make sure when serving skirt steak to cut against the grain for the most tender bite.

If you’d like to read more about skirt steak and great substitutes for them, check out this article: 10 Substitutes for Skirt Steak [Vegan & Budget Options]

Skirt Steak 

Skirt steak can replace hanger steak at a 1:1 ratio.

4. Tri-tip

Tri-tip is taken from the tri-tip roast. It is a lean and tender cut of beef, although it does have a fair amount of marbling in a good cut.

Since it is a bit leaner, a bit of marinade can spruce it up, although there is typically enough fat in it that it will be ok without the marinade as well.

One important thing to note is that tri-tip goes by many names. If you can’t find it in your grocery store, try looking for cuts called California cut, Santa Maria cut, Culotte steak, bottom sirloin tip, or even Newport steak.

tri-tip roast

Tri-tip will replace hanger steak at a 1:1 ratio.

5. Flank Steak

Flank steak, also known as bavette or Saldanha, is a prized cut from the stomach muscle of the cow. It is lower in fat content than a hanger steak, so it does benefit from a rich marinade.

Try a chimichurri style marinade made with olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper for a Brazilian flair to your next steak dinner.

If you are a bit squeamish about seeing some red in your steak, flank might not be the best bet.

flank steak

But if a little red doesn’t scare you, feel free to give flank a try and enjoy the rich beefy flavor of this easy-to-find cut. Flank steak can replace hanger steak at a 1:1 ratio.

6. Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is a very healthy alternative to hanger steak. If you do not eat beef for religious or health reasons, chicken breast can be a great substitute in a variety of recipes.

Chicken breast is a very firm piece of meat with lots of surface area to take on delicious marinades and sauces and will create an excellent sear in a hot pan.

Unlike a steak, chicken breast will need to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 (per USDA guidelines) to ensure doneness. You cannot cook a “rare” chicken breast because of food safety concerns.

Chicken Breast

If you are seeking that reddish or pinkish internal color, chicken breast is not your best choice.

Note that chicken breast will take a bit longer to cook than a steak as well, so adjust your cooking times accordingly. Chicken breast can replace hanger steak at a 1:1 ratio.

7. Pork Chop

Pork chops are a delicious and flavorful choice because they have a large fat cap running along the outside of the chop.

They are a very inexpensive option as well, which makes them a great choice if you are looking to save a buck and still get some great flavor.

Pork chops are another meat that needs to be cooked to a higher internal temperature (to 160 degrees per USDA guidelines) than steak due to food safety concerns.

This means it will take a bit longer than a typical steak. However, it is an easy swap that needs no marinades and only minimal seasoning to still make for a delicious dinner.

pork chop

You can swap pork chops for hanger steak at a 1:1 ratio.

8. Lamb Chop

If you are looking for a more unique substitute, lamb chops may be what you are looking for. Lamb chops are tender and succulent, very flavorful, and easy to cook up in a flash.

Unlike pork chops or chicken, lamb chops can safely be cooked at a lower temperature like a steak, which can yield a tender rarer presentation if that is what you are seeking.

lamb chops

Lamb does have a distinctive, “gamey” taste that is not to everyone’s preference. The top cooking recommendation for not having an overly gamey lamb dinner is to buy very fresh lamb and cook it within 24 to 48 hours. Lambchop can replace hanger steak at a 1:1 ratio.

9. Seitan “Steak”

Seitan is a popular meat replacement in east Asia. It has traditions in Buddhist communities in east Asia searching for a meat alternative.

Seitan, also known as vital wheat gluten, is made from the protein found in wheat flour.

Seitan is high in protein and has a denser texture than tofu, making it an ideal meat alternative. Seitan can be marinated and seared in the same way as a steak, and even sliced like a steak.

You can also make seitan at home by “washing” high-gluten flour until it forms a rope-like texture.

However, this process is very time-intensive. Importantly, seitan is NOT gluten-free, as it is made entirely of wheat flour, making it not a good choice for those with Celiac disease.


You can replace seitan for hanger steak at a 1:1 ratio.

10. Tofu “Steak”

Now obviously, tofu is not a steak. However, as veganism and vegetarianism take off in popularity, it is becoming an in increasingly popular meat alternative that is being used in a wide variety of preparations.

Tofu will not offer the same kind of “bite” and texture that a steak will, but with the right seasoning and preparation, it can taste delicious.

To prepare a tofu steak, you will want to choose extra firm tofu. Slice the tofu to the thickness that you want your steak, wrap it in paper towels, and lay something flat and heavy on top of it for 30 minutes to drain the excess liquid.


You’ll then want to marinate your tofu in whatever seasonings you have prepared -for an umami steak preparation you could try balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper.

Sear at a high temperature for a couple of minutes on each side and serve with sauteed mushrooms for an old-school steakhouse feel. Tofu can replace hanger steak at a 1:1 ratio.

Choosing The Best Substitute

When looking for a substitute you will want to consider your recipe and what you are looking for in your protein choice. Do you want a cut of meat with lots of fat on it, or do you prefer a leaner cut?

Does your recipe include a marinade, or simply a flash cook in the pan? Are you looking for a non-beef or even vegetarian alternative?

Consider what you are serving with your meat, how much time you have to prepare, and what texture of meat or meat substitute you are looking for when choosing your hanger steak substitute.

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Cook Hanger Steak?

Hanger steak is a rich and beefy cut that is well-marbled. It is very versatile and can be flash-cooked, marinated, or even slow roasted in a braise.

If you are choosing to cook your hanger steak like a classic steak, simply season your steak with salt and pepper for at least 15 minutes before putting it in the pan. You will your pan to be searing hot.

Cook for 2-4 minutes on each side (depending on how well done you like your steak), then let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Letting the steak rest before cutting is important for the most flavorful and tender steak.

If you choose to slow roast your steak, put it in a roasting pan at 350 degrees along with some beef stock or red wine.

Cook it for 2-3 hours along with some roasting vegetables until it is tender and the wine is cooked down into a jammy sauce.

For an easy recipe on how to cook hanger steak, check out this Food Network recipe. Hanger Steak Recipe | Robert Irvine | Food Network

Why Is Hanger Steak So Hard To Find In The Grocery Store?

Hanger steak is a delicious piece of meat, full of fat and very tender. It used to be called “butcher’s steak” because the butchers would actually hold it back for themselves and not sell it to their customers -that’s how delicious it is!

However, each cow only produces one hanger steak. This makes it a rarer cut of meat, and grocery stores will not keep very many of them in stock.

If you want to be sure to get a good hanger steak, call your local butcher before heading over so that they can reserve one for you.

Final Considerations

There are so many delicious cuts of beef that can make for fantastic substitutes for a hanger steak.

The next time you are looking to cook up a steak, consider trying one of these easy swaps and see how they work out!

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