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Flank Steak Substitutes


When it comes to flank steak substitutes, there are a few different options that you can go with. Flank steak is the delicious protein used in beef tacos, beef fajitas, and the classic flank steak entrée – Mongolian beef. This versatile steak option is affordable and works well with various Asian, Italian, and Mexican recipes. Here is a list of flank steak substitutes for when you can’t find this steak at the grocery store.

cutting board with sliced flank steak cooked medium raw

What Is Flank Steak?

Flank steak is a cut of beef that comes from the abdominal area. This particular cut of meat is known to be tougher and leaner than other varieties, making it a more affordable option.

This type of cut was overlooked in the past because of its tough consistency. However, once chefs realized thinly slicing flank steaks aided in creating an easier-to-eat food, this cut became a widely used option.

Now, you can find flank steak in recipes from London Broil to stir-fries and beef stroganoff.

13 Delicious Flank Steak Substitutes

1. Skirt Steak

Skirt steak is the best option as a replacement for flank steak due to its similar muscular consistency. In recipes, this creates a texture like that of flank steak. This type of steak needs to be cut similarly – thin slices against the grain to produce tender pieces of meat that are not too chewy.

Pros

Use skirt steak for fajitas, salads, tacos, and the main entrée. This steak soaks up marinades better than flank steak.

Cons

This cut of meat is more expensive than flank steak, which can be out of budget for some. There is a noticeable flavor difference as skirt steak offers a milder taste.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio for this flank steak alternative.

2. Tri-Tip Steak/Triangle Steak

This option provides a similar beefy taste as you find in flank steak. It also has a leanness that mimics that of flank steak for a similar consistency in recipes.

Pros

This replacement is relatively the same price as flank steak in stores. Use tri-tip steak for grilling, broiling, and sautéing. It’s also an excellent option for flank steak recipes that require more prolonged cooking, like stews.

Cons

When cooked too long, this cut of meat can become tough to eat.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace flank steak with tri-tip steak.

3. Flat Iron Steak

Flat iron steak works well as a substitute for flank steak in many recipes like stir-fries, fajitas, sandwiches, and topping for salads. It provides a similar beefy taste like flank steak, though it’s fattier, so it adds more richness to dishes.

Pros

This steak cut is much more tender than flank steak. Flat iron steak is versatile; you can grill, broil, bake, smoke, and cook it sous-vide style.

Cons

Overcooking this swap will lead it to become chewy and unappetizing. It’s also more expensive and more challenging to find in grocery stores.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace flank steak with flat iron steak.

4. Hanger Steak

This flank steak swap provides a delicious richness to recipes because of the fat content. You can only cook hanger steak on the grill or broil it for a short time. This cook time limits the recipes that you can use with this alternative.

Pros

Use this swap for quesadillas, tacos, and fajitas. A similar strong beef flavor is present in hanger steak, mimicking the flank steak taste.

Cons

This option is very pricey and can be challenging to find at local grocery stores. Cooking hanger steak too long results in a chewy, undesirable consistency.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio for this alternative.

5. Top Round Steak

Top round eye steak is lean meat cut, like flank steak creating a similar consistency in recipes. It is a versatile cut to braise, pan-fry, broil, and grill. The flavor of top round steak is very similar to that of flank steak.

Pros

This steak is an excellent choice as a replacement for flank steak in London broil, with some stores selling it under this name. You can also use top-round steak for burritos and fajitas.

Cons

This cut is one of the pricier steak varieties available. This steak can be even chewier and tougher than flank steak if not cooked properly.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio when using this swap.

6. Flap Steak

Flap steak comes from the same cow area as flank steak, so it offers a similar consistency in recipes. This option works well in any recipe that calls for flank steak.

Pros

This swap provides a similar beefy flavor found in flank steak. It’s also more affordable than flank steak and skirt steak. Plus, it’s an easily accessible replacement as it’s found at most grocery stores.

Cons

Flap steak should be thinly sliced against the grain like flank steak to avoid a tough cut of meat. Like most steaks, overcooking flap steak creates an overly chewy texture in recipes.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace flank steak with flap steak.

7. Sirloin Steak

Sirloin steak is another leaner cut of meat, like flank steak. This note means that overcooking the meat will cause a chewy consistency. Sirloin has a more intense flavor than flank steak due to its marbling and fat content.

Pros

Use top sirloin steak for fajitas, stews, and tacos. This option is also great for slow-cooked recipes as it will stay moist even when cooked for longer periods. Sirloin steak is great for those in search of a budget-friendly alternative.

Cons

The flavor of sirloin steak is similar to that of flank steak, though milder.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio when swapping flank steak for sirloin steak in dishes.

8. Ground Beef

Ground beef is easy to find, affordable, and versatile. It is not a perfect swap in all recipes. However, you can use it for tacos, burritos, stir-fry, and sandwiches for a beefy flavor.

Pros

This swap soaks up marinades, sauces, and seasoning, easily creating a tasty meal.

Cons

The uses for ground beef are limited due to consistency. It also does not offer a similar appearance to flank steak in recipes.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace flank steak with ground beef.

9. Ready Made Beef Fajitas or Burritos

Some grocery stores offer fajitas or burritos premade in the frozen section or ready-made area. These alternatives are great for when you’re short on time and still want to consume these meals.

Pros

These are generally affordable choices at the grocery store.

Cons

You cannot adjust the seasoning so that some options may be overly spicy. Different cuts of meat may be used for premade fajitas and burritos, meaning you may walk away with an option that does not contain flank steak.

Cooking Tip:

The fajita meat and burrito are already portioned out, so serve as much as you’d like.

10. Chicken Breast

The chicken breast does not offer the same flavor as beef, though it is a leaner variety of meat, especially when you purchase skinless chicken breasts. The taste is much milder, allowing you to use this protein in any flank steak recipe.

Pros

This replacement is easily found in any grocery store in the frozen and refrigerated meat sections. It’s a more affordable option than any other steak cut, making it an excellent alternative for those on a budget.

Cons

The consistency of chicken breast is not the same as flank steak, causing a noticeable difference in recipes.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace chicken with flank steak.

11. Vegan Steaks

Vegan steaks are an excellent alternative for those who cannot consume flank steak due to dietary restrictions. This replacement offers a similar consistency and appearance to flank steak.

Pros

This swap is great for any basic flank steak recipe like stir-fries, burritos, tacos, and even fajitas.

Cons

Vegan steaks can be very pricey depending on the brand, which may put this option out of budget for many. The flavor is much different when using vegan steaks in recipes.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace flank steak with vegan steaks.

12. Portobello Mushrooms

Portobello mushrooms are a more affordable way to replace flank steak for vegetarians and vegans. This mushroom is widely available and offers a meaty, earthy taste in recipes.

Pros

Use portobello mushrooms in stir-fries, fajitas, sandwiches, and salads. These mushrooms work well grilled, baked, and sauteed. They offer a similar consistency to flank steak, especially when thinly sliced.

Cons

These mushrooms require more prep than flank steaks as they need to be thoroughly washed and the gills/end of the stem need to be removed before slicing.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace portobello mushrooms with flank steaks in recipes.

13.Tofu

Tofu is another vegetarian and vegan-friendly alternative for those who want to consume recipes that call for flank steak. It’s a much more affordable option, and many grocery stores carry tofu.

Pros

Use tofu for recipes with a sauce or liquid bases like Mongolian beef and soups. This replacement also works well baked, marinated, and pan-fried.

Cons

The appearance and consistency of tofu are much different than that of flank steak. Its taste does not match the beefiness of flank steak either, as it has a very mild flavor.

The prep for tofu is much longer as you will need to press the additional liquid out of each block before marinating or seasoning this swap. This process will add about 20 minutes to any recipe.

Cooking Tip:

Use a 1:1 ratio to replace flank steak with tofu.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Use Instead of Flank Steak?

You can use many alternatives to replace flank steak in dishes like skirt steak and tri-tip steak. They both offer a delicious beef flavor and are pretty easy to find in the grocery stores. Tri-tip is the more affordable option, though skirt steak is closer in consistency to flank steak. Vegan-friendly options include tofu, vegan steaks, and portobello mushrooms.

What Are the Differences Between Flank Steak vs. Skirt Steak?

When comparing flank steak vs. skirt steak, there are a few differences, including the cut, size, texture, and flavor. Skirt steak originates from the diaphragm section, while flank steak is from the loin area. Flank steak is larger and heavier than skirt steak; it also offers a more fibrous consistency. Skirt steak has a more subtle flavor in recipes, while flank steak provides a strong beef taste. Other differences include the fat content and how long each takes to cook.

What Is Flank Steak Good For?

As mentioned above, quite a few recipes now incorporate flank steak, including Asian, Mexican, and Italian-inspired dishes. You can cook flank stead a variety of ways like grilling, pan-searing, and broiling. However, the thin slices of this cut allow for the best texture as it helps avoid overly tough pieces.

Are Flank Steaks Tender?

Flank steaks are tender if you cook them properly. Overcooking flank steaks or improperly cutting them leads to tough, chewy meat. Slicing the steaks against the grain aids in breaking up some of the fibers found in this type of meat. Using this cutting method creates a more tender flank steak.

Can You Substitute Sirloin for Flank Steak?

Yes, you can substitute sirloin for flank steak. Like skirt steak, sirloin has a much subtler flavor. However, it still adds a pleasant beef taste to recipes. It provides a similar lean consistency, so you will need to be careful not to overcook this cut of meat.

Where to Buy Flank Steak?

As flank steak has grown in popularity, finding this beef cut in grocery stores has become easier. A local butcher should carry it if your local grocery store does not carry this cut or has run out. It’s a common cut of beef, so you should also be able to find it at farmers markets. It is sold under London broil at times, so check for this cut of meat before leaving the store empty-handed.

Summary

When searching for an alternative to flank steak, opt for skirt steak or tri-tip steak as the best substitutes for flank steak due to their similarities in flavor and consistency. Those seeking budget-friendly options can use ground beef or sirloin steak. Vegans can opt for vegan steaks as the best alternative in recipes.

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Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document easy real food recipes perfect for busy families. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!

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