7 Best Substitutes For Flank Steaks in 2023
Looking forward to some mouthwatering steak for dinner? While they aren’t exactly steaks, flank steaks are excellent all-purpose beef cuts that are lean and flavorful when mixed with marinades.
Flank steaks may run out fast in your supermarkets and grocery stores because they’re the popular go-to for chefs when making fajitas and other gourmet dishes in restaurants.
Worst-case scenario is you’d have to go to a butcher to get some.
If there are no flank steaks in your kitchen or local stores and you have no time to go to a butcher, you can substitute a flank steak for skirt steak, hanger steak, tri-tip steak, flat iron steak, top round, flap steak, and top sirloin.
Flank Steak 101: 7 Perfect Alternatives
There are a variety of substitutes to choose from when replacing flank steaks. The best part? They don’t always have to be beef cuts. If cooked perfectly, you will still achieve the tender flavor you were going for, and before you know it, your steak recipes will reach professional chef level.
Want to know how? Check out this diverse, curated list for more information:
What this substitute has in common with flank steak is that they both come from the underside of a cow. However, flavor-wise and texture-wise—that’s where they draw the line in similarities.
Skirt steaks have more visible, coarse grains and are fattier, with extra marbling that gives a delectable richness when grilled hot over fire or seared in a cast-iron pan. Remember to cut thinly against the grain!
Depending on the texture you want to go for, skirt steaks come in two varieties: outside skirt and inside skirt. Outside skirts are more tender, softer, and more suitable for medium-rare searing while inside skirts are tougher and thicker, making it chewy.
Go for this tender, fattier, and juicier substitute that’s similarly rich in flavor with flank steaks. Hanger steaks are popular among butchers and were once referred to as the “butcher’s cut,” indicating its premium flavor.
You can use hanger steaks for fajitas, and meat tacos, or eat it as is with some shallots, salads, butter-grilled vegetables or wine on the side.
The best way to cook hanger steaks is by basting it in marinades and grilling it in high heat, but not for more than two minutes on each side. Hanger steaks dry out pretty easily, so unless you want the meat to be tough, avoid overcooking it.
Considered a lean and mild beef cut, it is commonly used for roast beef. Top round steaks are quite affordable too. When you’re in a tight pinch, you can use this substitute for flank steaks to help give a tender, flavorful boost to your recipes.
Top round cuts can be mistaken for flank steaks since they’re both labeled as London broil in some grocery stores, which is a family term used for lean and tough steaks. Hence, it is quite interchangeable with flank steaks.
You can mix top round cuts in marinades before broiling, grilling or roasting to meaty perfection. Some people like to scour the meat with just salt, pepper, and garlic.
Also known as the triangle steak, this boneless beef cut is another affordable alternative for flank steaks. Tri-tip steaks have a rich and meaty flavor with fatty edges that you can trim easily right after cooking. They’re perfect for brisket-like recipes when you have a lot on your plate (no pun intended!).
Tenderize your tri-tip steaks by marinating them and let it cool in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours or overnight for the best results, although they already taste great as is.
Make sure to cook it to medium-rate since it is leaner than most cuts and overcooking it can cause it to become tough and dry. Let it rest for about 5 minutes before finally slicing them.
This substitute is often interchanged with flank steaks due to their similarities in their coarse grain texture and compatibility with marinades. Flap steaks are obtained from the belly of the seer, which is near to where flank steaks are from.
Flap steaks cook quickly on high-heated grills. If you’re feeling creative, you can char the edges to a crisp for a more explosive culinary experience.
Don’t forget to keep a close eye on the steak’s temperature. Undercooking it can make it become too chewy while overcooking it gives an unpleasant dryness. You wouldn’t want to mess this up.
As mentioned earlier, this article contains a diverse list of flank steaks substitutes and that includes non-beef ones too. If you’re looking for a non-beef alternative or just simply seeking to expand your horizons, you can use chicken breast instead.
Chicken breasts are not only more widely available, they’re also great for stews, stir-fries, sautéeing it with vegetables, grilled recipes and even using in Mexican seasonings in dishes such as tacos, fajitas, and burritos. They’re also compatible with dry rubs and marinades you normally use for flank steaks.
Be on the lookout as you may end up accidentally overcooking chicken breasts. They are volatile and can go from juicy and chewy to dry and tough.
For a great vegetarian substitute, mushrooms are the way to go. The best varieties include portobello mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, or even just your regular brown button mushrooms. You can experiment and see which one tastes the best for you!
Mushrooms have an earthy, meat-like flavor and texture. They’re also great for absorbing marinades quickly and can match to the size of some meat cuts.
You can prepare mushrooms in a number of ways such as baking, roasting, and grilling. They can be key ingredients in enchiladas, fajitas, tacos, stir-fried dishes, and mushroom bourguignon. With some wine and dessert, mushrooms can easily give you a gourmet experience unlike any other.
How To Choose A Flank Steak Substitute?
It depends on what you’re looking forward to creating and what characteristic you want to replicate. Say, you want more of that beefy richness or the coarse grain texture. It could also depend on whether you’re preparing vegan-friendly dishes when you’re in the mood for it or when you call your friends over.