When cooked right, grilled flank steak is a robust-tasting meat that’s a great choice for a crowd. Once marinated, your delicious steak dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes.
And there are lots of great ways to use leftovers if you’re lucky enough to have any.
I’ve been making flank steak forever so I’ve learned a thing a two. It’s a great main dish for guests as it is much less expensive than higher end beef cuts, very flavorful and cooks quickly.
I absolutely love the flank steak marinade in this recipe. It’s rich, full bodied and slightly on the sweet side.
Why make this flank steak recipe
- We share tips on which meat to buy (including alternatives), how to cook it for best results, how to adapt it to your taste and what to serve it with
- The marinade adds tons of flavor to the meat
- You can turn the marinade into a sauce for even more flavor (or make a delicious shortcut sauce)
- It’s easy to make
As you can see, the ingredients are simple pantry staples or ones you can find at any grocery store. I need to highlight just two.
- What flank steak to buy
- Choose a dark red-colored piece of meat with little to no membrane covering it.
- Since flank steak is a lean, tough cut of meat, I like the higher end cuts like Certified Angus Beef, AAA or Prime for maximum tenderness and flavor. These will be more marbled. I try to get these cuts on sale as they are pricier. Choice cut will be fine too.
- Balsamic vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar can be very expensive, but since most recipes call for a small amount, I try to splurge for decent quality balsamic. The difference in taste is remarkable and quality balsamic vinegars won’t taste acidy like cheaper ones.
- If you’re interested, here is a good article on everything to know about balsamic vinegar by Serious Eats. And another on the best balsamic vinegars for every budget by Eating Well.
Tips for Success
- To maximize flavor and tenderness
- Buy the best meat you can afford
- Tenderize the meat by poking it all over with a knife.
- Marinate the flank steak to significantly enhances its flavor
- Cooking process
- Ideally, cook the meat to rare or medium-rare – beyond that, the meat gets tougher. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
- Sear the marinated flank steak on high heat. It only takes 3-5 minutes per side depending on the thickness.
- Let the meat rest for at least 10-15 minutes (important!) to retain the juices in the meat.
- Cutting flank steak: Slice thinly across (perpendicular to) the grain to serve.
Step by step instructions
Tailor To Your Taste
Here are some substitutes to try.
Flank steak alternatives: skirt steak, hanger steak, flat iron steak
Marinade options: Our flank steak marinade recipe is a great marinade, but if you’re short on time, you can use a store bought one such as Asian, teriyaki, spicy, Italian, Mediterranean, etc.
Condiments: instead of turning the marinade into a sauce (as per the recipe), we suggested several other condiments below under ‘what to serve with steak’.
Change the cooking process: If you have sous vide equipment, try our delicious and popular sous vide flank steak recipe. You can also broil the flank steak instead of grilling it.
- Buy a marinade of your choice.
- Use a packaged product for a sauce. My favorites are Knorr Swiss Bearnaise Sauce and Knorr Swiss Peppercorn Sauce. I don’t feel guilty using these any more because guests always rave about them. I often have to fess up when I’m asked for the recipes 🙁
- Flank steak can be marinated ahead and grilled (and rested) just before serving.
- Alternatively, grill the steak and rest it. Slice before serving. The steak will not be as warm so I serve the sauce hot to compensate.
Flank steak is a long thin lean cut of beef with lots of flavor. It can be tough if cooked too long or not sliced properly. In France, it’s called bavette. Flank is generally less expensive than e.g. ribeye, striploin or tenderloin.
Figure about 3 people per pound/450 grams of meat. Make it 2 if you want some leftovers or if you have big eaters.
If you can’t find flank steak, try skirt steak (fattier, thinner, very flavorful cut of steak ), flat iron steak or hanger steak.
What to serve with steak
I love to serve this recipe with crispy smashed potatoes, Chinese stir fry green beans, roast pumpkin with couscous, bread salad with charred snap peas, grilled zucchini slices, simple Thai mango salad or a party salad with grilled vegetables and quinoa
If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟in the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks very much!
Grilled Flank Steak (Marinated)
- 2 pound flank steak, Note 1 preferably certified angus beef, prime, AAA or choice cut
Flank Steak Marinade (and Sauce), Note 2
- 1/3 cup oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar or honey (maple syrup is fine too)
- 2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar, Note 3
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or thyme – or 1 tsp dried (optional)
- MARINATE FLANK STEAK: Put all the marinade ingredients in a sealed freezer bag. Squish around until well blended. Feel free to add 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes if you like heat. Pierce the flank steak all over with a fork or sharp knife to help tenderize the meat. Place flank steak in ziploc bag, seal and refrigerate for 3-24 hours.
- GRILL FLANK STEAK: Heat the grill to medium-high heat (450-475F/232-246C). Remove flank steak and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve marinade if making a sauce. Spray flank steak with cooking oil (or coat with olive oil). Sprinkle with salt. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until internal temperature with an instant meat thermometer reaches 130F/54.4C for medium rare (temp will rise further when resting). Note 4 for other temperatures. The meat should still be fairly soft when you poke it with your finger. Remove from heat and place steak on cutting board. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 10 minutes (important!).
- MAKE SAUCE (optional): While flank steak is grilling, pour reserved marinade into a small sauce pan. If you prefer a slightly thickened sauce (I do), stir in 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Boil for a few minutes to ensure all impurities are cooked away. Adjust seasoning and add a tablespoon or two of water if needed to reach desired consistency. The sauce can be boiled for about 90 seconds in microwave instead in a glass measuring cup. Note 2 – other sauce options.
- SLICE AND SERVE: Slice meat into thin strips against (opposite way of) the grain of the meat at a wide 45-degree angle. Serve warm or at room temperature with your choice of sauce or condiments. Flank steak can also be broiled instead of grilled.
- How to choose a flank steak:
- Choose a dark red-colored piece of meat with little to no membrane covering it.
- Higher end cuts that are more marbled like Certified Angus Beef, AAA or Prime will be more tender and flavorful. Choice cut will be fine too. Try to get these on sale as they are pricier cuts.
- You will need 1/3 pound/151 grams per person or 1/2 pound/227 grams for bigger eaters or if you want leftovers.
- This recipe makes enough marinade to be converted to a good amount of sauce for serving if desired.
- For a shortcut or other sauce options to buy, try: 1) Bearnaise sauce (shhh – I use Knorr Swiss – it’s excellent!). Follow directions but use half the butter if desired. 2) mayo and horseradish 3) mango salsa 4) chimichurri sauce 5) peppercorn sauce (Knorr Swiss brand great here too) 6) Dijon mustard 7) store bought marinades such as Asian, teriyaki, spicy, Italian, Mediterranean, etc.
- Balsamic vinegar:
- A good quality brand is best. Here is an article on best balsamic vinegars for every budget by Eating Well.
- Red wine vinegar can be substituted in a pinch, but don’t marinate with it for more than 6 hours
- Cook to desired temperature (take the meat off at this temperature and it will rise 5 degrees with resting):
- Rare: 125F/52C
- Medium rare: 130F/54.4C
- Medium: 140F/60C (note that rare or medium rare is best for tender flank steak)
- Make Ahead: Flank steak can be marinated ahead and grilled (and rested) just before serving. Alternatively, grill the steak and rest. Slice before serving. The steak will not be as warm so I serve the sauce hot to compensate.