Flank Steak is one of the most loved cut meat types. This red meat is boneless, low in fats, and rich in flavor. It is highly versatile and can be cooked in several different ways.
It is an affordable London broil meat variety. Although it requires some expertise to be cooked, the result is delicious and worth the work. But if you can’t get flank steak nearby, or want a non-beef or vegetarian alternative, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of some of the best flank steak substitutes you can get.
Top Flank Steak Substitutes To Try
Flank steak is lean-cut meat with a prominent beefy flavor. It is tough with a grainy texture. You can broil, grill, or pan-sear it. But it turns chewy and rubbery if slow-cooked.
1. Skirt Steak
It is the closest and most commonly used alternative to flank steak. Skirt steak is not as lean as flank steak. So it is a bit tender and has a visible grainy surface. However, it toughens slightly when cooked. This red meat is derived from the center of the steer. It is located just below the ribcage and close to the diaphragm region.
You’ll find outside and inside skirt steak in the market. While the outside steak is tender and thicker, the inside one shrinks when cooked. Outside skirt steak is the better alternative here. Also, it has a more intense beefy taste.
Cut it into thin slices for proper cooking. Always slice against the grain to further tenderize the meat. Just like flank steak, skirt steak absorbs marinades well. You can also rub it with seasonings before grilling to get the best flavor. Since the meat is narrow, flat, and boneless, avoid including it in slow-cook recipes or it’ll turn chewy. Remember that this beef has a low cooking period, so don’t overcook it.
Skirt steak can be broiled, grilled, or cooked in a cast-iron skillet. Use it when making stir-fries, fajitas, or include it in cold steak and salad.
2. Tri-Tip Steak
As the name suggests, this cut is triangular. This is because this boneless meat is derived from the bottom region of the sirloin. It is an affordable alternative and usually an inch thick. Although it is lean, there is a layer of fat surrounding its edges. You can trim out this fat portion, but do it after cooking. This will prevent the edges from turning tough and chewy.
Tri-tip steak originated from a town in California, named Santa Maria. It also has a prominent beefy taste. The meat is tough due to its low-fat content. So marinade it and leave it for about an hour before cooking. This will help tenderize the meat.
You can broil or grill the steak, or smear it in a pan. But avoid overlooking it or it’ll turn chewy. Unlike flank steam, tri-tip steak works well in slow-cooking recipes like stews.
3. Top Round
Top round is also a part of the London Broil meat category. So it’s a given that you can use it in place of flank steak. This red meat is derived from the top part of the rear leg. It is also lean, and hence, tough. It is even tougher than flank steak. You’ll need to cut it into thin slices to tenderize it further and aid in proper cooking. However, due to its tougher texture, it requires a longer marination period.
Top round also absorbs marinades very well. Always follow this process before cooking to keep the cut tender. You can cook it by roasting, broiling, or grilling. Season the raw meat with garlic cloves, salt, and pepper and leave it for about an hour.
Grill the seasoned cuts on a medium-high flame. Cook each side for 6 to 8 minutes before turning it around. Then let the sides cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook it.
Top round has a nice flavor, very similar to flank steak. And unlike flank steak, it can also be used in slow-cooking recipes. Try including too round in stews, stir-fries, beef tacos, and casserole recipes.
4. Hanger Steak
You might know hanger steak as the butcher’s steak. It is thin-cut meat with high fat content. Hence, hanger steak is more tender than flank steak. It is derived from the region near the loin area. This red meat has hints of a liver-like taste. Due to its intense meaty flavor and juicy texture, it is very popular among meat lovers. However, while it is affordable, it is not as easy to get.
Just like skirt steak, it also has a visible grainy surface. So if you need to cut it, slice against the grain. Hanger steak absorbs marinades well. It can be grilled or seared in a pan. But remember not to grill each side for more than a couple of minutes. Or else, it’ll get overcooked and turn rubbery.
5. Chicken Breast
If you don’t like or avoid including red meat in your diet, this is your best option. It is cheaper and healthier than flank steak and other red meats. While you won’t get the beefy flavor, this alternative can replace flank steak in all recipes.
Chicken breast is a boneless and skinless white meat with low-fat content. It has a nice meaty taste and a tender texture.
This meat is quick to absorb flavors from seasonings, dry rubs, and marinades. You can cook it by sautéeing, grilling, broiling, or steaming it with vegetables and herbs of your choice. Avoid overcooking or it’ll turn tough, dry, and chewy.
Chicken breast tastes delicious with Mexican seasonings. Use it when making fajitas, burritos, stews, or tacos.
6. Portobello Mushrooms
It is a vegetarian substitute for flank steak with a meaty flavor and texture. You won’t get the beefy taste here, but it tastes delicious with its umami flavor and earthy undertones. The caps of this mushroom are around the size of cut pieces of meat. Also, its dense and fibrous stems are edible.
Like flank steak, it goes well with marinades and seasonings. Use it when making stir-fries, tacos, enchiladas, or casserole recipes. You can also use Porcini or Shiitake mushrooms if you don’t get Portobello.
Tofu can work as a vegan alternative for flank steak. While it lacks a meaty taste, it has a similar texture. And it tastes good too. Pair tofu with seitan, a type of vegan meat derived from hydrated gluten, for the best flavors.
Like flank steak, you can use seasonings and marinades with tofu. It can be cooked the same way as flank steak. Include this alternative when making tacos, pot pie, quesadilla, or fajitas.
Tofu has low calories and is rich in proteins and healthy fats. It also has a high nutrient content.
8. Flat Iron Steak
Flat Iron Steak is usually considered great for grilling and works well with slow-cooking recipes as well. Put it in a food smoker and you can expect delicious results following the long and slow cooking. The cut comes from the shoulder (chuck primal) of the cow.
This teak is a specific cut of blade steak. It’s named flat iron due to the resemblance of its shape with old-fashioned flat irons that were heated with coals to press clothes.
9. Top Sirloin
Affordable and excellent for grilling, top sirloin is a good replacement for flank steak. Remember, the sirloin is divided into two parts. These are the top and the bottom steak. The top is the better choice for our current requirements, as it’s good for grilling and works quite well with rubs and marinades. It’s not an ideal replacement, but it is acceptable if you must use an alternative.
Tips For Cooking Flank Steak
Flank steak is tough due to its low-fat content. To tenderize it you can marinade the cuts. It also has a visible grainy texture. So if you need to cut the pieces, slice them against the grain. This London Broil meat can be used in fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, and stir-fries.
Avoid overcooking the meat or it’ll turn even tougher and chewy. You can cook it by broiling or grilling, and at high heat. Don’t include it in slow-cooked recipes.
How To Choose The Right Flank Steak Alternative
We discussed some beef-based, non-beef, and vegetarian substitutes for flank steak. Some of them are slightly tender and some tougher. You can include some options in slow-cooking dishes and others taste best when grilled or broiled.
Consider the recipe you’re preparing and compare your requirements with the alternatives. This will help you determine which flank steak substitute would work best in your dish.