If you’re after gourmet food that won’t break the bank, the best meat choice by far is the prized flank steaks.
Quite simply, you will never go wrong with flank steak and it fits perfectly well with pretty much any recipe you can think of. Just ask the butcher for that perfect cut and you’re good to go.
This is a pretty diverse selection of alternatives for when you want a substitute for flank steaks.
Flank Steaks Substitutes
Let’s see how to use these substitutes in recipes that commonly call for flank steaks.
1. Beef Skirt
If the flank steak cut is unavailable in your nearby butcher for any reason, the best substitute that most closely resembles it is beef skirt.
This specific cut comes from the diaphragm area of the animal. Ask your butcher for this cut instead of flank steaks.
If you’re after the fat and juiciness of the meat, you might even prefer beef skirt. Unlike flank steaks which are mostly lean, the beef skirt is thin meat with marbled fats on the surface.
Since it’s thinner than flank, it cooks perfectly well in a shorter period of time and goes well with any dishes you might think of experimenting with.
2. Beef Hanger
Another beef cut substitute for flank steaks is the beef hanger. The beef hanger is more similar to beef skirt, and less like flank steak.
It’s also thinly cut with marbled fats. It’s one of the most sought-after beef cuts for many consumers as it offers a meaty, juicy texture when cooked.
Keep in mind that this type of cut can be hard to find. It’s famously known as the Butcher’s Cut. The animal has only one hanger and butchers tend to keep it for themselves.
However, if you get lucky, make sure to buy this cut – you will really notice the difference in your dish.
3. Beef Fajitas
If you’re a fan of Mexican food, you should be familiar with this cut. You don’t really need to go to a butcher – you can easily find freshly packaged beef fajitas in your nearest grocery store.
You can also buy them frozen, and ready-marinated. Beef fajitas are also quite thin and have a good amount of fat, making them perfect for a quick stir-fry.
You can make delicious recipes from this beef cut, like Carne Asada, Beef Tacos, and Beef Fajitas. Beef fajitas are not limited to Mexican dishes – this cut can also be used in different recipes in place of flank steaks.
4. Chicken Breast
Whether you’re staying away from red meat or just don’t like beef at all, chicken breast is the best substitute for flank steaks.
Chicken breast is healthy white meat. It’s also high in protein (which helps muscle growth and strength). You can prepare various healthy dishes from chicken breast such as steaks, stir-fries, stews, steamed with vegetables, or even grilled.
If you have a craving for Mexican food, chicken is also perfect for chicken fajitas and taco fillings. Just make sure that you cook it correctly. Overcooking chicken breasts could result in tough, dry meat.
Follow the cooking instructions carefully to ensure that you end up with juicy and tender chicken breast.
5. Vegan Steaks
Being vegan or vegetarian allows us to discover amazing substitutes for our favorite meats like flank steaks.
Nowadays, there is a huge selection of vegan and vegetarian food in the grocery stores, and there are even whole aisles dedicated to vegan food.
If you want to avoid flank steak, try substituting it instead with vegan steaks. Vegan steaks are ready-made and packed just like processed meat.
However, they are healthier and obviously don’t contain any animal products – perfect for those who are trying to stick to a healthier lifestyle.
You can pick from various options including chickpeas, tofu, and mushrooms.
Another healthy alternative for flank steaks is mushrooms.
Mushrooms have always been a favorite side dish and are now considered an excellent meat substitute. Most of them offer that umami meaty taste and a savory flavor, especially when seasoned and cooked right.
The best mushrooms to use if you prefer a meaty taste are Portobello mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, or regular brown button mushrooms.
You can mix them with your favorite stir-fried dishes, or maybe grill them and enjoy them with your favorite sides. You can also take advantage of what’s seasonally available, and enjoy fresh mushrooms at home.
Another protein-packed substitute is tofu.
Tofu comes from soybeans which are processed into soymilk, which then curdles to transform into square, cake-like tofu.
Some may shy away from tofu if they aren’t accustomed to eating it. But all it really needs is a decent marinade and balanced seasoning.
Tofu is excellent in absorbing flavor, making it easy to love even for meat addicts.
If you can’t have your favorite flank steaks, try another protein substitute like tofu to help you meet your daily protein needs.
8. Flat Iron Steak
Flat iron steak is a tender and marbled cut with a rectangular shape and rich beefy flavor. It is a cut that is great for marinating and grilling.
Flat iron steak is tender and very juicy if it is cooked properly. This versatile cut is used in many different recipes such as sandwiches, stir-fries, and steak tacos. Flat iron steak and flank steak are different cuts of meat because they came from different parts of the cow.
Flank steak comes from the belly muscle and is leaner than flat iron steak. While flat iron steak comes from the shoulder of the cow and is marbled, denser, and thicker cut than flank steak.
You can grill or pan-sear flat iron steak and enjoy its flavor.
9. Top Round
The top round is a lean and tough cut because it comes from the leg and rump muscles of the cow. The best part? It’s low in fat.
You can use this cut for beef carnitas, beef chili, and beef stew, but it is also very delicious if it is marinated and then grilled.
You can use the top round as a substitute for a flank steak in slow cooking recipes, or you can marinate it to make it more tender. Whatever way you choose you will get a flavorful piece of meat.
10. Tri-Tip Steak
Tri-tip steak is a very tender meat cut if you cook it properly. It comes from the bottom sirloin sub-primal, as a triangular shape, and has good marbling.
Tri-tip steak is best when it is grilled, pan-seared, or broiled.
You can marinate tri-tip steak or dry rub it to make it even more delicious. It is juicy, tender, and flavorful with a nice beefy flavor and a great addition to sandwiches and tacos.
Just don’t overcook it and slice it properly (against the grain to get a tender tri-tip steak with great flavor).
11. Flap Steak
Flap steak or sirloin tip comes from the same place as tri-tip-the bottom sirloin butt. It is a cheap and versatile cut that can be very flavorful and tender if you prepare it properly.
To do so you need to marinate and cook flap steak at high temperature grilling, pan-searing, or broiling, and then cut across the grain.
Flap steak is best and tender if it is cooked medium-rare or medium. That way you will get a nice, tender, juicy, and flavorful flap steak and a good substitute for flank steak.
12. Top Sirloin
Top sirloin comes from the sirloin sub-primal. It is a thick and lean meat cut with a bold beefy flavor.
Top sirloin is a versatile cut and one of the best you can use for grilling. However, it can be also roasted, pan-fried, and broiled.
Top sirloin is a good and flavorful substitute for flank steak. It is good on its own but it can be also marinated to get the best flavor from it.
Prepare and cut the top sirloin properly and enjoy.
13. Sirloin Tip Side Steak
Sirloin tip side steak is a lean and boneless cut that comes from the side portion of the sirloin. You can marinate the sirloin tip side steak to make it more tender and grill it. You can also pan-fry, stew, or braise sirloin tip side steak.
Just make sure that the steak is properly cooked because if it is overcooked it can become chewy. Sirloin tip side steak is great for sandwiches, salads, tacos, fajitas, stews, or kabobs.
14. Ground Beef
Ground beef is easy to find and a cheap substitute you can use instead of flank steak in sandwiches, tacos, stir-fries, burritos, or stews.
If you want to make the ground beef more flavorful you can season it and use it to make some of these recipes. Ground beef is not the same as flank steak but at least you will get a dish with a beefy flavor.
Seitan is a vegan substitute for meat that you can use instead of flank steak. It is made from wheat gluten and depending on the way it is prepared it can have a chewy, meaty, soft, or firm texture.
Seitan has a mild, savory flavor and can easily take on the flavors from the ingredients it is cooked with. You can find seitan sold in strips, slices, or ground.
Seitan can be grilled, fried, sautéed, braised, and roasted. You can use it as a substitute for meat in sandwiches, tacos, stir-fries, stews, fajitas, and other recipes.
What’s Another Name for Flank Steaks in Grocery Stores?
You might have missed this, but there is a beef cut called London broil. Flank steaks are also called London broil in many grocery stores. But before picking this cut, make sure you ask the butcher first to clarify if it’s really a flank steak. Sometimes the top round cut is also called London broil.
Is Flank Steak Expensive?
Despite the demand for this beef cut and how good it is, it’s still one of the cheapest cuts you can get from the beef section.
Unlike other cuts such as sirloin, ribeye, and T-bone, flank steaks are fairly cheap and perfect for cooks trying to enjoy some occasional red meat on a budget.
Is Flat Iron Steak the Same as Flank Steaks?
No, they are totally different. The flat iron steak comes from beef chuck roast and cuts into thin slices. While flank steaks are cut from the lower back of the animal.
Make sure to not get confused between these two cuts – you don’t want to pick the wrong thing!
Do You Need to Tenderize Flank Steak?
Although flank steak is fairly thin, it’s still nice to have it tenderized so that its texture is soft. This will also lessen the cooking time, helping you to retain the meat’s juicy flavors.
How Do You Tenderize Flank Steak?
You can either cut it up or pound the meat with a meat mallet. Make sure to tenderize the meat first before adding your favorite marinades.
There you have it! There are so many substitutes for flank steak in your favorite recipes. Whether you’re a vegan or not, we hope that you will find a suitable alternative on this list.
Top Round vs Flank Steak: What’s the Difference?
The main difference between top round and flank steak is the place of the cow they come from.
The top round comes from the leg and rump muscles of the cow, while the flank steak is a cut from the abdominal muscles of the cow. Flank steak is a lean cut and is best grilled or slow-braised.
You can marinate flank steak to make it more tender and flavorful. The top round is low in fat and is best for beef carnitas, beef chili, and beef stew. However, you can also marinate it, then grill it and enjoy a lovely meal.
Can I Use Sirloin Instead of Flank Steak?
Sirloin comes from the hip of the cow and is leaner and tougher than other cuts. Top sirloin can be used instead of flank steak because it is more tender and best for grilling.
It is a thick, lean meat cut with a bold beefy flavor that comes from the sirloin sub-primal. It’s also a versatile cut and one of the best you can use for grilling. However, it can be also roasted, pan-fried, and broiled.
What’s a Flank Steak Substitute for Mongolian Beef?
Mongolian beef is a Taiwanese dish made with sliced beef –usually flank steak, and vegetables, served over steamed rice. But if you don’t have flank steak you can use skirt steak or flat iron steak.
What’s a Cheaper Alternative to Flank Steak?
A cheaper alternative to flank steak is hanger steak, skirt steak, tri-tip steak, flap steak, and flat iron steak.
Where does the fajita come from on the cow?