Marinated Flank Steak

The best flank steak marinade for juicy, flavorful, buttery tender flank steak every time!

This flank steak recipe will have everyone singing your praises, begging for the recipe and coming back for seconds and thirds.  The flank steak marinade creates melt-in-your-mouth tender, juicy steak with complex savory, tangy, sweet and spicy notes. The marinade is made with soy sauce, balsamic, lemon juice, brown sugar and seasonings that infuse the steak with tons of flavor. And the best part of grilled flank steak?  It’s SO easy with zero clean up!  Marinate then grill – that’s it! (I’ve also included oven and stove top instructions.) Flank steak is also extremely versatile and can be served up with your favorite sides like mashed potatoes and fruit salad or in salads, wraps, pasta, sandwiches and more.

top view of flank steak recipe cut in thin slices on a white platter with grilled corn  and asparagus

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FLANK STEAK RECIPE

I love grilling everything in the summer! From classic BBQ chicken to chicken gyros to steak fajitas, to grilled shrimp to chicken kebabs to flank steak – there’s just no better way to achieve that smokey caramelized char with hardy any cleanup.

So, today, I’m bringing you one of the EASIEST, TASTIEST grilled proteins – grilled marinated flank steak just in time for 4th of July!  Grilled flank steak is one of my all-time favorite steaks to cook – and eat.  The marinade takes 5 minutes to whisk together, and the steak takes less than 15 minutes to grill for a hearty, succulent, steak dinner that everyone will love plus it mixes up the usual hot dog/hamburger/chicken routine with impressive results. 

Flank steak has a reputation for being tough because it is so lean, but this flank steak marinade works magic!  It produces intoxicatingly tender, juicy, flavorful grilled flank steak every time.  This steak was SO good that Patrick and I couldn’t stop eating – we polished off almost the entire steak in one sitting!  This flank steak marinade was so incredible, I’ve already used it in my steak kabobs recipe but it can also be used on any cut of meat.

This flank steak recipe is delicious in its simplicity (again we were eating it straight from the serving platter) or its scrumptious in steak salad, steak tacos, fajitas, pastas and more!

I am going to dive into everything about flank steak – the best flank steak marinade, how to cook, how to customize, how to serve, etc. so read on or SKIP to the recipe by using the “jump to recipe” button at the top of the page.

WHAT IS FLANK STEAK?

In summary, flank steak is cut of meat from the cow’s abdominal muscle. It is extremely lean and muscular with very little fat but carries an intense, rich beefy flavor.  Flank steak is a relatively long, flat cut of beef, about a foot long, less than one-inch thick with very distinct grains.

Although flank steak is a tough cut of beef, it still emerges incredibly juicy and flavorful when marinated.  It is extremely versatile and a favorite for grilling and stir fries because it should be cooked quickly at high temperatures. Read on for all you ever wanted to know about your new favorite cut of beef!

flank steak basics

  • Where is flank steak from? Flank steak is a brawny cut of steak from the bottom abdominal area of the cow. This means it is a hard-working muscle with very little fat.  It is sold as the whole muscle.  The tough muscle fibers need to tenderized with a marinade and then shortened so they aren’t chewy; that is why flank steak should always be cut across the grain. 
  • How much does flank steak weigh? Flank steak is traditionally sold as the entire muscle and weighs 1.5 -3 pounds.  Flank steak is relatively long, flat with a relatively uniform thickness.
  • What does flank steak taste like? Is it tough or tender? Flank steak boasts an intense, rich beefy flavor even through it is lean and doesn’t have rich marbling like more expensive cuts of beef.  Without a marinade, however, flank steak can be a little tough.  With a tenderizing marinade, it not only becomes buttery tender but drinks up notes of the marinade whether that’s lime juice, lemon juice, orange juice, soy sauce, Worcestershire, or vinegar.  The end result is melt-in-your-mouth buttery tender, juicy, flavor exploding steak as long as it is not over-cooked.

How to cook and use flank steak

  • How do you tenderize flank steak? Flank steak is extremely lean with hardly any fat or connective tissue so it does not need to be trimmed but it should be pounded with a meat mallet in order to tenderize the steak. 
  • Do you have to marinate flank steak? Flank steak needs to be marinated or braised to increase tenderness. Marinating flank steak with an acid such as citrus or vinegar chemically breaks down the tough muscle fibers to produce tender steak. Marinating also imparts tons of flavor. 
  • How should you cook flank steak?  After marinating, flank steak should be cooked hot and fast – either grilled, broiled or pan seared. It can become tough when cooked too long at low temperatures unless it is braised low and slow until tender like in ropa vieja there is no middle ground when it comes to cooking flank steak. 
  • What is flank steak good for? Flank steak is famous for London broil, which is essentially marinated, broiled flank steak.  It is also popular for grilled fajitas, steak tacos, carne asada as well as Asian stir fries such as beef and broccoli, pepper steak, Szechuan beef and Mongolian beef. It is equally delicious simply marinated and grilled like in this recipe alongside your favorite backyard barbecue favorites. Flank steak is also popular to roll, stuff and tie in pinwheel or braciola due to its even, flat, long shape.

How to purchase and store flank steak

  • Is flank steak expensive?  Flank steak is generally one of the least expensive cuts of beef.  It is traditionally slightly more expensive than skirt steak and flap meat at $7-10 per pound.
  • How much flank steak do I need per person? The general rule of thumb is to allow 4-8 oz. of steak per person, so an average flank steak will serve 3-5 people.   You will need to take into consideration the appetite of your eaters (adults/children) and what else you are serving with the flank steak.
  • Where to buy flank steak? Flank steak is widely accessible and should be easy to find at any grocery store.  It is located in the beef section or at the butcher counter. Flank steak sometimes comes packaged in marinade, so make sure to double check the packaging – for this flank steak recipe, we want just the steak.
  • What to look for when buying flank steak? Look for flank steak that’s an even, deep red color with a fair amount of fine fat running along the length of the muscles. Look for steak that is smooth verses poorly buttered steak that suffers nicks or gouges from the membrane aggressively being removed. Finally, look for the steak that’s the most uniform in thickness to avoid overcooking thin ends.
  • How do I store raw flank steak? Uncooked flank steak should be stored in its packaging until ready to marinate or transferred to a freezer bag with all excess air squeezed out. Store in packaging for up to three days.
  • How do I store cooked flank steak? Cooked flank steak should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to five days.  Flank steak can also be frozen in an airtight container with excess air squeezed out or vacuum-sealed to prevent freezer burn.  Frozen flank steak is good for up to three months.

Is flank steak London Broil?

  • Is there another word for flank steak? One of the most common names for flank steak is London Broil. Flank steak can also be called flank steak fillet and jiffy steak
  • Are London broil and flank steak the same? “London broil” originally referred to broiled flank steak, thus the name.  In other words, it refers to a method of preparation rather than a specific cut of meat like in this London Broil recipe. Today, however, grocery stores sometimes label flank steak “London Broil.”  This can be confusing because butchers often label top round as “London broil” as well so you’ll need to know what it looks like to make sure you’re purchasing the correct cut of beef. 

Skirt Steak vs. Flank Steak

  • What is the difference between flank steak and skirt steak?  Flank steak is a thicker, wider cut of meat than skirt steak. Flank steak and skirt steak come from two different parts of the cow which affects how tough they are.  Skirt steak comes from the diaphragm muscle of the cow which contains more tough muscle fibers than flank steak and is therefore tougher; these fibers, however, also boat a more intense flavor.  
  • Can I substitute skirt steak for flank steak? If you want to substitute skirt steak for flank steak, it should only be cooked to rare or medium-rare otherwise it will be too tough and chewy to eat. 
marinated flank steak on a cutting board cut into thin strips showing how juicy it is

FLANK STEAK MARINADE

This flank steak marinade is AMAZING! It produces grilled flank steak dripping with so much intoxicating flavor you will be obsessed.

The flank steak marinade is made with richly flavored soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, and of course plenty of seasonings in perfect proportions.   What truly sets this flank steak marinade above the rest, however, are the seasonings. The unique blend adds complex flavor without being overpowering. 

FLANK STEAK MARINADE INGREDIENTS:

  • Olive oil: use quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
  • Soy sauce: use reduced sodium soy sauce or your grilled flank steak will be too salty.
  • Balsamic vinegar:  quality balsamic vinegar for the best flavor.
  • Worcestershire sauce: adds a depth of complex umami, slightly tangy flavor.
  • Lemon juice: freshly squeezed is best but you can use bottled.
  • Brown sugar: balances the tangy lime juice and umami of the soy
  • Dijon mustard:  I promise it won’t make your flank steak taste like mustard!  It adds a depth of tanginess.
  • Seasonings: you will need common seasonings such as paprika, pepper, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, dried rosemary and then dried dill weed and ground coriander to round out he flavor profile. If you don’t keep dried dill weed and ground coriander stocked, you can skip them, but I use them in a lot of other recipes so they are worth keeping stocked.

FLANK STEAK RECIPE VARIATIONS

  • Swap citrus.  Swap the lemon juice for lime juice or orange juice.
  • Swap vinegar.  Swap the balsamic for red wine vinegar.
  • Swap seasonings.  Mix up the flavor profile and swap the seasonings in the recipe for Cajun seasonings, Fajita seasonings, or Asian inspired seasonings such as Chinese 5 Spice, ginger and garlic.
  • Make it spicy.  Add additional red pepper flakes or swap the red pepper flakes for some cayenne or chipotle chili powder.
  • Add chimichurri. Chimichurri is AMAZING with steak! I highly recommend my tangy, fresh Cilantro Jalapeno Chimichurri Sauce used in my grilled pork recipe. It is the perfect complement to the earthy, smoky grilled steak.

How to Make Flank Steak Marinade

A marinade is essential to tenderize flank steak and imparts significant flavor.  This flank steak marinade is made with marinade essentials: fat, acid, salt, sugar and flavor enhancers. Here’s how it works:

  • FAT:  The olive oil dissolves fat-soluble flavor compounds from the seasonings and other flavorings and evenly disperses them onto the surface of the beef and helps them stick. 
  • ACID:  Balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice help tenderize the flank steak by breaking down lean muscle fibers.  The trio also boast layers of rich and tangy flavor.
  • SALT: Soy sauce acts as a brine, which increases the moisture capacity of the meat, helping it become juicer and more flavorful.  First, the salt hydrates the muscle tissues via osmosis; second, it changes the cells’ structure so that they can no longer contract when cooking.  This means less water will be squeezed out and lost, resulting in juicier steak.  Finally, the brine draws the rich umami soy flavor further down below the surface into the beef. 
  • SUGAR:  Brown sugar balances both the salt and the acid.  It also promotes caramelization, quicker browning and beautiful grill marks. 
  • FLAVOR ENHANCERS:  I’ve used onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, dried herbs such as basil, oregano and rosemary, red pepper and black pepper for a kick as well as seasonings commonly found in Montreal steak seasoning such as ground coriander and dried dill weed.  All the ingredients come together to create an epic steak marinade worthy of your time.  You may substitute the seasonings for your favorites such as Cajun seasoning or your favorite steak seasoning.

FLANK STEAK MARINADE Basics

When it comes to marinating flank steak or any protein, there are some safety rules to follow to avoid cross contamination.  Follow these simple rules to maintain sanitary conditions and food safety:

  • Use food safe containers.  I prefer food-safe sealable plastic bags such as freezer Ziploc bags.  They really allow the marinade to envelop the steak vs. a dish in which the marinade might not cover all of the steak.  When using a plastic bag, make sure to squeeze out excess air before sealing then roll up the bag so the steak is nice and snug. Sealable bags are also great for easy cleanup – just toss them! You may also use food grade plastic, stainless steel, or glass containers and cover with plastic wrap if they don’t have a lid.
  • Flip steak occasionally.  If you marinate the flank steak in a shallow dish, make sure to flip the steak over occasionally so it marinates evenly.
  • Marinate in the refrigerator. Always marinate steak for a prolonged period of time covered in the refrigerator and not at room temperature to avoid food-born illness.  Only remove it from the fridge to the counter 60 minutes before you’re ready to grill to help bring it to room temperature so it cooks evenly.  
  • Don’t reuse marinade.  Never reuse a marinade even for basting unless you boil it first to destroy any harmful bacteria. If you want to use the marinade for basting, drizzling or dipping, it is best to reserve a portion before you add the steak. I do this in countless of my recipes including this one.
  • PRO TIP: You can also reserve a couple tablespoons of marinade (not contaminated) to drizzle on veggies before grilling or cooking like I do in my chicken fajita recipe and many kabob recipes to make them uber flavorful without any extra work!

How long should you marinate flank steak?

Flank steak should be marinated for at least two hours in order to reap the benefits of the tenderizing properties. For the maximum benefit, however, marinate for 12 hours.  If your marinade contains citrus or a lot of vinegar like this flank steak marinade or marinades common for steak fajitas, don’t marinate longer than 12 hours or the steak can become mushy; otherwise, you can marinate the steak for up to 24 hours.

Should you poke holes in flank steak before marinating?

In contrast to popular belief, you should NOT poke holes in the steak before marinating. This actually drains out the valuable juices and will result in less juicy steak.

Can you freeze steak in the marinade?

If you can’t get to cooking your marinating flank steak within 12 hours, just pop it in the freezer – another perk of using sealable plastic bags. When it’s time to cook, just thaw the flank steak and cook!

top view of grilled flank steak on a cutting board garnished with parsley

How to COOK FLANK STEAK

Flank steak is simple to cook with just a little know-how. Here are detailed instructions so you can make the best grilled flank steak every time.

TENDERIZE FLANK STEAK

Even if your steak looks even already, you’ll still want to give it a good pounding to tenderize it (works wonders!).  Place steak in between two pieces of plastic wrap or I just place it in a freezer size plastic bag.  Pound it evenly with a meat mallet or side of a can. 

showing how to make flank steak recipe by tenderizing with a meat mallet

Marinate Steak

Whisk the flank steak marinade ingredients together directly in a freezer size Ziploc bag (yay for no dishes!).  Add steak, press out excess air and seal.   Massage the marinade into the steak with your hands through the outside of the bag.  Turn the bag over a couple times so it wraps up and the steak is completely enclosed in the marinade.   Marinate for 4-12 hours.

showing how to make marinated flank steak recipe by adding flank steak to a plastic bag

HOW LONG TO MARINATE STEAK?

4-12 hour is the optimal time to marinate this flank steak recipe.  After 4 hours, the flank steak has absorbed a lot of the flavor but by 12 hours it will have become even more tender. I recommend marinating the steak for the maximum 12 hours.  This will infuse the steak with TONS of flavor and optimal juiciness. 

Don’t over-marinate.  This flank steak marinade is highly acidic which means you don’t want to marinate the steak much longer than 12 hours because the acid in the marinade will begin to change the structure of the meat and the muscle fibers can break down and become mushy. 

BRING FLANK STEAK TO ROOM TEMPERATURE

One of the biggest mistakes people make when cooking steak is grilling it straight out of the refrigerator – this is a big no-no.  Instead, the steak should be transferred to the counter 30-60 minutes before grilling.   

You always want to let any protein sit at room temperature before cooking in order for it to cook evenly otherwise you are left with an overcooked exterior and cold interior.  Bringing the steak to room temperature also relaxes the cold muscle fibers so they releases natural moisture which is then reabsorbed into the muscle for juicier results.

Heat Grill

Heat the grill with the lid closed cranked to the maximum temperature so it can achieve temperature more quickly; plan on 10-15 minutes.  Once the grill is hot, you can adjust the temperature.  Don’t add the steak until the grill reaches temperature or it won’t sear as nicely.

When to use high heat: if you like rare or medium-rare steak, then grill steak on high heat so it’s hot enough to get some color on the outside in a shorter amount of time. For medium, plan on cooking at medium-high.

CLEAN GRILL

Once the grill is fully heated, clean it thoroughly with a wire grill brush.  A clean grill ensures direct contact with the heat to create a beautiful sear and grill marks and helps prevent sticking. 

GREASE grill

It is important to grease your grill with olive, canola or vegetable oil even though the marinade contains oil.  To do this, first clean grill per directions above.  Next, make a wad of paper towels, drench them in oil, then use tongs to rub it along the grill grates. NEVER spray a firing grill with cooking spray.

GRILL STEAK

Place flank steak on the grill over direct heat. Grill steak for 5-6 minutes per side and only flip ONCE.  The steak needs constant direct heat to develop the intensely flavored, signature crust.  If you keep rotating the steak, it will brown but won’t char.

Only flip the steak using tongs.  Don’t use your hands or you’ll burn yourself and don’t use a fork or you’ll lose valuable juicy juices.  Instead, use tongs to gently flip steak over.

showing how to cook flank steak recipe by grilling steak over medium high heat

HOW DO I KNOW WHEN FLANK STEAK IS DONE?

Flank steak is a lean cut of beef, so it is best not cooked above medium or else it can be tough and chewy instead of juicy.  I would aim for medium, meaning it will be pink in the middle.  That being said, the marinade gives you a little wiggle room, but I wouldn’t push it.

Most steaks will take 5-6 minutes per side but this can vary depending on thickness of your steak and desired level of doneness.  The best way to see if your flank steak is cooked properly without overcooking is to use an instant read thermometer.

Insert the instant read thermometer into thickest part of the steak to check the temperature.  You want the temperature to register 5°F lower than the desired doneness temperature because the steaks will continue to cook while resting.  

  • Rare steak:  125 degrees F
  • Medium rare:  135 degrees F
  • Medium: 145 degrees F *RECOMMENDED*
  • Medium well:  155 degrees F
  • Medium Well (not recommended)
  • Well done: 165 degrees F (not recommended)

NOTE: The USDA recommends steaks and roasts be cooked to 145°F and then rested for at least 3 minutes for safety.

If you like rare or medium-rare steak, then grill steak on high heat so it’s hot enough to get some color on the outside in a short amount of time

LET STEAK REST

Transfer the grilled flank steak to a plate and let rest 10 minutes before slicing. While the steak cooks, the juices are forced away from the heat to the middle of the meat.  The resting time allows for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the whole steak for optimal flavor and juiciness.  If you don’t allow for this calming period, valuable juices will seep out and be lost when you slice into the steak, resulting in less juicy beef.

showing how to make grilled flank steak by letting it rest before slicing

HOW TO CUT FLANK STEAK

Flank steak has dense muscle fibers that that you can see running through the steak in one direction – this is called “the grain.”  It is important to slice the steak across the grain (meaning the opposite direction/perpendicular to the grain) in order to shorten the fibers.  This will ensure your flank steak is melt-in-your mouth tender instead of chewy.

HOW TO CUT STEAK FOR TACOS

Flank steak is usually sliced against the grain in order to shorten the tough fibers, but for tacos you will cube the steak so you are essential cutting in both directions – with the grain and against the grain, so it doesn’t really matter what end you start with.  I recommend slicing the steak into ½-inch slices then ½-inches slices the other direction to create ½” cubes.  You really don’t want pieces much larger than this as smaller pieces create the most melt-in-your-mouth texture.

showing how to cut flank steak across the grain by slicing it on a wood cutting board

HOW TO COOK FLANK STEAK IN THE OVEN

My preferred method for cooking flank steak is on the grill. Grilling delivers the characteristic smokey flavor but you can use the other methods such as cooking on the stove or in the oven (directions to follow) if you don’t have a grill or when it’s not grilling season.

OVEN BROILED:  Broiling the flank steak mimics the high directional heat of the grill. Place steak on a baking sheet.  Broil 8 inches away from the broiler for 6-8 minutes on each side or until it reaches desired temperature.

HOW TO COOK FLANK STEAK ON THE STOVE

You may pan sear flank steak but unless you have a large grill pan, your steak will not fit and will need to be cut in half and cooked in two batches.

STOVETOP:  Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook for 6-8 minutes per side or until it reaches desired temperature.

TIPS FOR GRILLED FLANK STEAK RECIPE

Flank steak is quite simple to make as long as you follow my easy instructions. Here’s a summary of the tips and tricks included in the post for perfect marinated flank steak every time:

  • Pound the steak to an even, thin thickness to tenderize and for even cooking.  
  • Don’t marinate much longer than 12 hours or the muscle fibers can break down and become mushy but please aim for 12 hours for optimal flavor and juiciness. 
  • Bring steak to room temperature before cooking by letting it sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes. 
  • Clean the grill very well before cooking for beautiful grill marks and to prevent sticking.
  • Grease the grill very well with a wad of oiled paper towels using tongs.  NEVER use spray oils once the grill is on.
  • Don’t add the steak until the grill is hot to achieve a beautiful sear.
  • Only flip/touch your steak once for the perfect caramelized crust.
  • Only use tongs to flip the meat because a fork will pierce the meat and you will continuously loose juices and tenderness.
  • Don’t overcook or your steak won’t be as juicy. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness and grill to 140 degrees for medium.  The steak will rise to 145 degrees after it rests. 
  • Let steak rest 10 minutes before slicing so it has time to reabsorb the juices that have accumulated in the middle of the steak to redistribute throughout the steak.
  • Slice steak across the grain to shorten the muscle fibers for tender steak.
showing how to make flank steak by basting with reserved marinade after the steak is cooked and sliced

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT GRILLED FLANK STEAK

  • Storage:  transfer flank steak to an airtight container.  Store in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • Microwave:  transfer sliced steak to a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 60 seconds then at 15 second intervals as needed.
  • Skillet: warm sliced flank steak in a skillet on the stove top over medium heat, stirring often until warmed through.
  • Oven: Transfer steak to a baking sheet, cover with foil and reheat at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or just until warmed through.

HOW TO FREEZE FLANK STEAK

You may freeze the flank steak either after it is cooked or as soon as it’s added to the marinade.

  • Freeze Marinating Steak: Add steak to the marinade in a freezer bag, squeeze out excess air, label and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight then use immediately.
  • Steak: After you have cooked the steak, let it cool completely then transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.

CAN I MAKE GRILLED FLANK STEAK AHEAD OF TIME?

Flank steak is best if marinated up to the time of grilling but you can make the marinade ahead of time.  Whisk the marinade together in an airtight container up to 5 days ahead of time and store in the refrigerator WITHOUT the steak.

CAN I MEAL PREP FLANK STEAK?

Yes!  Flank steak makes fantastic meal prep or leftovers if not initially overcooked.  If you are making flank steak specifically to reheat later then consider cooking it slightly less than your desired doneness because it will cook a little more when reheated.    

What goes with THIS FLANK STEAK RECIPE?

Flank steak pairs well with pretty much everything from salad to pasta salad, to potatoes rice to fruit. We particularly love serving them our favorite backyard barbecue foods.  You can go as simple as chips and watermelon or amp it up with pasta salad, fruit salad and grilled corn. 

Here are some of our favorite sides to serve with flank steak:

top view of flank steak cut in thin slices on a white platter with grilled corn  and asparagus and bell peppers showing how to serve

HOW TO SERVE MARINATED FLANK STEAK

The most common way to serve marinated flank steak is as the main entree with sides. Just pick any of the aforementioned sides and call it dinner! That being said, flank steak is also a chameleon and delicious in salads, pastas, fajitas, etc. Here are some fun ideas to mix up how you serve grilled flank steak:  

  • Flank steak salad: pick your favorite greens and load with thinly sliced steak and your favorite veggies such as sweet grilled corn and peppers.  Throw in some buttery croutons for crunch and top with your favorite dressing such as balsamic dressing or blue cheese dressing. 
  • Flank steak pasta:  add chopped steak to any of your favorite creamy pastas such as Fettuccine AlfredoSun-Dried Tomato Fettuccine,  Cacio e Pepe, Creamy Mushroom Pasta, Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese or Homemade Mac and Cheese.  You can also swap it for the protein in any of your favorite pastas such as Linguine with Sun-Dried tomato Sauce, Buffalo Mac and Cheese, Beef Stroganoff.  You can also go low carb and serve flank steak with zoodles or spaghetti squash.
  • Flank steak risotto: stir chopped steak into any of your favorite risotto recipes:  Mushroom RisottoParmesan RisottoSpinach Risotto – yum!
  • Flank steak pizza:  get creative and channel CPK to make your favorite steak pizzas such as Philly Cheesesteak Pizza, Fajita Pizza, or Steakhouse pizza with mushrooms, Gorgonzola and microgreens.  You can also make shortcut pizza using French bread or mini pizzas using bagels.
  • Flank steak grain bowls: add your favorite grains to a bowl and pile with grilled flank steak and your favorite veggies. The veggies can be roasted/cooked like roasted broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or butternut squash, or raw such as fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced radishes, sprouts etc. or pickled like pickled jalapenos, carrots, etc. or a combo of all three!  You can also top with a fried or soft-boiled egg.
  • Flank steak ramen: this might sound unconventional, but my husband’s favorite use of leftover steak is to stir it into ramen. The textures are a match made in heaven.
  • Flank steak baked potatoes: poke holes in washed, dried potatoes. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and lightly brush with oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender and the skin is crispy.  Slice open the potatoes, top with chopped steak and cheese then place back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts. Top with sour cream, green onions, etc.
  • Flank steak scrambled eggs or omelettes:  chop up shrimp then add to scrambled eggs along with mozzarella cheese when the eggs are almost set.
  • Flank steak frittata: add chopped steak to this scrumptious frittata recipe.
  • Flank steak wraps:  wrap grilled flank steak in flour tortillas or flatbread with lettuce, tomatoes and any other desired veggies/toppings along with something creamy like Greek yogurt.
  • Flank steak tacos or lettuce wraps:  pile steak into tortillas or bib lettuce and top with mango salsa, pineapple salsa, corn salsa, or black bean and corn salsa and avocado crema.
  • Flank steak quesadillas.  Sandwich steak, cheese, black beans and cilantro in between two flour tortillas and toast in a skillet to golden, cheesy perfection. Serve with pico de gallo, salsa, salsa verde, and/or guacamole.
  • Flank steak burritos: Layer a burrito size tortilla with  cilantro lime rice or pineapple rice, black or pinto beans, cheese, steak, guacamole, sour cream and lettuce.  Serve with additional sour cream, salsa and hot sauce.
  • Flank steak burrito or taco bowls: Layer cilantro lime rice or pineapple rice with black beans, steak, pickled red onions, pickled jalapenos, chopped lettuce or slaw, salsa (pineapple, mango, avocado, corn, etc.) your favorite creamy topping such as sour cream/Greek yogurt or I highly recommend either Tomatillo Avocado Ranch or Cilantro Lime Dressing.
  • Flank steak tostadas.  Layer a tostada with refried beans or avocado mash, top with steak, lettuce or slaw, cilantro, avocados, sour cream, cotija cheese or queso fresco etc. and salsa, pineapple salsa or mango salsa.
  • Flank steak nachos:  Pile thick restaurant style tortilla chips with cheese and beans and bake.  Top with chopped steak and toppings such as jalapenos, pico de gallo, salsa, salsa verde, sour cream, and guacamole.
  • Taquitos.  You can make traditional taquitos with steak and cheese or make Hawaiian style taquitos like in my VERY FIRST recipe post ever (I give you permission to make fun of the photos). Add some pineapple and cheese, roll and bake until crispy.

Is STEAK HEALTHY?

Flank steak is a very lean cut of beef with a high amount of protein, amino acids, iron, and zinc.  Here are some health benefits of steak:  

  • Protein:  Steak is a powerful source of protein to fuel your body. It is excellent for helping to build muscle and for maintaining muscle mass.  Even fit individuals can suffer muscle atrophy if they do not consume enough protein which contains amino acids (the building blocks of protein).  Protein can also help repair muscles from wear and tear and to relieve muscle aches.
  • Amino acids:  Steak also contains the dietary amino acid called beta-alanine, which helps form a dipeptide called carnosine, which is crucial to support physical activity.  Healthy levels of carnosine reduce fatigue and improves muscle performance, endurance and precision during physical activity.
  • Iron:  Steak contains high levels of iron which is absorbed more quickly than iron found in supplements and even some vegetables.  Iron is needed to carry oxygen tofrom the lungs to all parts of the body.  Your body also needs iron to make some hormones and keep your hair, skin and nails healthy.  If you do not have enough iron, you won’t have healthy oxygen circulation, which will cause fatigue and grogginess.
  • Zinc:  A (3.5-ounce) serving of beef contains 4.8 mg of zinc, which is 44% of the Daily Value.  Zinc is vital for a healthy immune system, correctly synthesizing DNA, and healing wounds.

Helpful tools for this Flank Steak recipe:

  • Instant-read thermometer:  you need an instant-read thermometer for the juiciest steak, chicken and pork AND for perfectly fried everything! It allows you to cook any protein to the exact temperature every time and allows you to heat oil to the correct temperature for frying.
  • Grill brush:  is essential for keeping your grill clean!  This grill brush with scrapers cleans stubborn stains deeply and efficiently. 
  • Quality Knives: a chef’s knife will be your most used kitchen tool by far! Quality knives make prep time much quicker, are important for safety and essential for finely slicing flank steak. If you’re concerned about moola, please remember that your best chef knives, depending on how hard you use them and how well you take care of them, can easily last 25 years or more. I love my Wusthof but there are hundreds of less expensive knives with great reviews such as this one.
  • Cutting Board:  I use my big solid cutting board daily so it’s worth the investment.  This extra-large cutting board allows you to prep all your veggies on one surface and the bamboo is easier on knives than plastic
up close of grilled marinated flank steak recipe on a cutting board cut into thin strips showing how to cut the steak against the grain

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Marinated Flank Steak

This marinated flank steak recipe will have everyone singing your praises, begging for the recipe and coming back for seconds and thirds. The flank steak marinade creates melt-in-your-mouth tender, juicy steak with complex savory, tangy, sweet and spicy notes. The marinade is made with soy sauce, balsamic, lemon juice, brown sugar and seasonings that infuse the steak with tons of flavor. And the best part of grilled flank steak? It’s SO easy with zero clean up! Marinate then grill – that’s it! (I've also included oven and stove top instructions.) Flank steak is also extremely versatile and can be served up with your favorite sides like mashed potatoes and fruit salad or in salads, wraps, pasta, sandwiches and more.
Servings: 3 -5 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Whisk marinade ingredients together in a freezer size ziploc bag. Reserve 2 tablespoons to use later. Add steak, press out excess air and seal. Massage marinade into the steak with your hands through the outside of the bag.
  • Marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours.
  • Preheat outdoor grill (or indoor grill pan) to medium-high heat, (450 degrees F when lid is closed).
  • Grill steak for 5-6 minutes per side, or until an internal thermometer reads 130-135 degrees F for medium rare or around 140 degrees for medium. Grill time will vary depending on thickness of your steak and desired level of doneness.
  • Remove the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice steak into thin strips against the grain (perpendicular to the long strands) or ½-inch cubes. Drizzle with the 2 tablespoons reserved marinade.

Notes

TIPS AND TRICKS

See the post for more detailed tips/tricks and instructions. 
  • Pound the steak to an even, thin thickness to tenderize and for even cooking.  
  • Don’t marinate much longer than 12 hours or the muscle fibers can break down and become mushy but please aim for 12 hours for optimal flavor and juiciness. 
  • Bring steak to room temperature before cooking by letting it sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes. 
  • Clean the grill very well before cooking for beautiful grill marks and to prevent sticking.
  • Grease the grill very well with a wad of oiled paper towels using tongs.  NEVER use spray oils once the grill is on.
  • Don’t add the steak until the grill is hot to achieve a beautiful sear.
  • Only flip/touch your steak once for the perfect caramelized crust.
  • Only use tongs to flip the meat because a fork will pierce the meat and you will continuously loose juices and tenderness.
  • Don’t overcook or your steak won’t be as juicy. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness and grill to 140 degrees for medium.  The steak will rise to 145 degrees after it rests. 
  • Let steak rest 10 minutes before slicing so it has time to reabsorb the juices that have accumulated in the middle of the steak to redistribute throughout the steak.
  • Slice steak across the grain to shorten the muscle fibers for tender steak.
  • Steak doesn't just have to be served plain - see the post for TONS of ways to use flank steak!

Flank Steak Temperature

  • Rare steak:  125 degrees F
  • Medium rare:  135 degrees F
  • Medium: 145 degrees F *RECOMMENDED*
  • Medium well:  155 degrees F
  • Medium Well (not recommended)
  • Well done: 165 degrees F (not recommended)
NOTE: The USDA recommends steaks and roasts be cooked to 145°F and then rested for at least 3 minutes for safety.

HOW TO COOK FLANK STEAK IN THE OVEN

Broiling the flank steak mimics the high directional heat of the grill. Place steak on a baking sheet.  Broil 8 inches away from the broiler for 6-8 minutes on each side or until it reaches desired temperature.

HOW TO COOK FLANK STEAK ON THE STOVE

You may pan sear flank steak but unless you have a large grill pan, your steak will not fit and will need to be cut in half and cooked in two batches.  Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook for 6-8 minutes per side or until it reaches desired temperature.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT 

  • Storage:  transfer flank steak to an airtight container.  Store in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • Microwave:  transfer sliced steak to a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 60 seconds then at 15 second intervals as needed.
  • Skillet: warm sliced flank steak in a skillet on the stove top over medium heat, stirring often until warmed through.
  • Oven: Transfer steak to a baking sheet, cover with foil and reheat at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or just until warmed through.

HOW TO FREEZE 

You may freeze the flank steak either after it is cooked or as soon as it’s added to the marinade.
  • Freeze Marinating Steak: Add steak to the marinade in a freezer bag, squeeze out excess air, label and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight then use immediately.
  • Steak: After you have cooked the steak, let it cool completely then transfer it to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out any excess air. Freeze for 2 to 3 months.
 

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30 Comments

  1. Ekta says

    Sounds yum! Would this marinade taste as good on pork or lamb Jen?

    • Jen says

      Yes! It is so good, it will make practically everything tasty!

  2. Stephanie says

    Hope you’re enjoying your 4th weekend! Tried this marinade on some ribeyes for the 4th bbq & it was tasty! I love flank but had ribeyes, so went with it. Also made your twice baked potatoes, with the gruyere/cheddar combo….those were some darn good melt in your mouth bacon topped taters!

    • Jen says

      Thanks for being the first to report back on this marinade Stephanie! And what a yummy combo with the twice baked potatoes – yum! Happy 4th!

  3. Nicole says

    This looks amazing. Can’t wait to make. I’m not sure if I missed it— but how much flank steak do you recommend for the marinade in the recipe?

    • Jen says

      It’s for 1 1/2- 2 pounds. I hope you love it as much as us!

  4. Sandy says

    Looks delicious! How many pounds of meat / what size steak is this for?

    • Jen says

      Hi Sandy! It’s for 1 1/2- 2 pounds. Enjoy!

    • Jen says

      Thanks Michael! I’m so happy you loved it!

  5. Deborah says

    Hi — Two things. I was confused by the TBS abbreviation for the garlic and onion powder. Tablespoons? Because, honestly, two full tablespoons of powder seems like a lot to me. Second, I am unclear about taking the steak out of the marinade. Am I supposed to drain it some? Or just slap it right on the grill?

    Thanks!

    Deborah

    • Jen says

      Hi Deborah, yes it is 1 tablespoon onion powder and 1 tablespoon garlic powder. When you remove the steak form the marinade, the marinade will drain off naturally. So, just pick it up with tongs, let the excess marinade drain off then add it to the grill. Enjoy!

  6. Rachel says

    This is RIDICULOUSLY good! Used red wine vinegar instead of balsamic and added some chopped cilantro… had to pan cook the steak but took the reserved marinade and made a sauce w/ roux and chicken broth. SO good.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for your awesome comment Rachel! I’m so pleased you loved the flank steak and I love your idea of making a sauce with the marinade!

  7. Olga says

    Do you think it would work to keep all the wet ingredients the same but sub Montreal steak seasoning for the dry spices? (If I’m feeling lazy or don’t have all the dry spices on hand;)

    • Jen says

      Yes! I think that will work great!

  8. Kristen says

    My oven has a high and low broil setting. Which would you recommend for this?

    • Jen says

      You want about 550 degrees F, so I am guessing high. Good luck!

  9. Nita says

    What is the difference in poking holes and pounding to thin & tenderize? Are you saying to pound it before marinating or just before cooking?

    • Jen says

      Hi Nita, you want to pound it with the flat side of the mallet as to not poke holes in it. Pound it thin before marinating. Enjoy!

  10. Susan Allums says

    BEST flank steak marinade EVER. I have made many flank steaks and this is by far my fave. Thank you for sharing

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome Susan, I’m thrilled you loved it!

  11. Sarah says

    I love this marinated flank steak! With the chimichurri recipe recommended and on some tacos it is HEAVEN! Also, a side of the Mexican street corn too and you’ve got a great meal. Thanks for some great recipes, setting up an awesome weekend dinner!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Sarah, I’m so pleased this flank steak is a favorite! I love your creativity of adding chimichurri and making into tacos – YUM!

  12. Lou says

    I haven’t made this yet but I just wanted to say what an awesome post this is. Every thing a person needs to know about flank steak is here. Great job!

    • Jen says

      Thank you for your kind comment Lou, I appreciate it!

  13. Peg says

    This is very tasty, coats the meat well and tenderizes it just right. It will be a go-to for now on.

  14. Kat says

    I’ve tried different marinades for flank steak, but this was the best by far! I loved all the extra tips for helping it to come out perfectly. They worked – it was delicious!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Kat, I’m honored it’s the “best” marinade so far!