Cast Iron Flank Steak

Easy Cast Iron Flank Steak

Flank Steak with vegetables

Why I Love Cooking with Flank Steak

Flank steak is one of my favourite cuts of beef. This lean cut of beef, known for its rich flavor and versatility, is a staple in my kitchen. What makes flank steak so great is its ability to absorb marinades so well, meaning each bite is the perfect bite. It’s also incredibly forgiving for cooks of all levels. I particularly enjoy cooking cast iron flank steak. Whether you’re an experienced chef or just starting out, choosing to make a flank steak has never let me down.

Flank Steak vs. Skirt Steak

People often confuse flank steak with skirt steak. While both are flavorful and great for grilling, there are key differences. Flank steak comes from the cow’s lower abdomen, making it leaner with long muscle fibers.

Flank steak cut

Skirt steak, on the other hand, is cut from the diaphragm muscles and tends to be fattier. The choice between them usually boils down to personal preference in texture and flavour. I lean towards flank steak for its leaner profile and deep flavor profile.

Flank steak vs skirt steak

The Key to Making Juicy Cast Iron Flank Steak

Getting a juicy, tender flank steak is all about the marinade and cooking method. Flank steak shines after a good time spent in a marinade, with ingredients like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and a touch of olive oil. The acid in the marinade helps break down the long muscle fibers, making the meat more tender.

Flank steak in sauce

Remember, patience is key – the longer the marinade, the more tender and flavorful the steak will be. I try to aim for at least 4 hours but overnight is best.

Best Way to Cook Flank Steak

There are several ways to cook flank steak, but the best way, in my opinion, is on a cast iron pan. The cast iron provides an even heat distribution, making sure every inch of the steak gets perfectly cooked. When cooking flank steak, aim for medium-rare to medium, as overcooking can make it tough. Ultimately, it is up to personal preference but I have found that medium-rare is the sweet spot.

Flank steak in cast iron

If you are on the hunt for new kitchen equipment be sure to check out our blog page for inspiration here or read through our article on the best pans to cook steak with.

Cast iron pans

How To Cook Flank Steak In Cast Iron

Pan-frying in a large cast iron skillet is an excellent method for cooking flank steak. Start with a hot pan over medium-high heat, adding a small amount of oil. Once the oil has come to temperature, gently place the steak and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side depending on the thickness.

Remember, the exact time may vary, so it’s always good to have a thermometer handy to check the internal temperature, aiming for around 130-135°F (55-57°C) for medium-rare. If medium doneness is more to your liking, aim for 140-145°F (60-62°C).

This method creates a beautiful sear on the outside while keeping the inside juicy and tender. It’s important to not overcrowd the pan and to let the steak cook undisturbed.

Cooking steak in cast iron pan

Using an instant-read thermometer is crucial to avoid overcooking, as flank steak can become tough if cooked beyond these temperatures. Remember to let your steak rest after cooking; this allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring every slice is as juicy as the last.

Ingredients and Substitutes

When it comes to making the perfect flank steak, a few key ingredients can make all the difference. Essential items include the flank steak itself, a neutral cooking oil, and your choice of seasoning. If you don’t have olive oil, other oils like avocado oil or even a light brushing of butter can be great substitutes. For those looking to lower their sodium intake, tamari or low-sodium soy sauce are excellent alternatives in marinades.

Flank Steak Marinade Ingredients

The ingredients for a flank steak marinade are simple yet transformative. Start with a base of olive oil and soy sauce. Add some acid – either lime juice or red wine vinegar works wonders. For aromatics, consider minced garlic and a touch of brown sugar for a hint of sweetness. Spices like garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper can be adjusted to taste.

Best Flank Steak Marinade Ever

In my experience, the best flank steak marinade combines savory, sweet, and tangy elements. Start with soy sauce and extra virgin olive oil as the base. Add in Worcestershire sauce for depth, lime juice for tang, and a bit of brown sugar for sweetness. A dash of red wine vinegar can add a nice kick. Finally, infuse it with garlic, and for an added twist, a hint of dried rosemary or garlic powder elevates the flavors.

Marinated flank steak

The secret to a great flank steak marinade lies in its balance of flavors. It should have enough acidity to tenderize the steak, a bit of oil to keep it moist, and a few spices to get that irresistible taste. Don’t forget to let your steak marinate for at least 4 hours, or even better, overnight in a shallow dish in the refrigerator for maximum flavor.

Marinated steak

Recipe Tip

A great tip for cooking flank steak is to slice it thinly against the grain. This means cutting perpendicular to the long muscle fibers of the steak. Using a sharp knife, make thin slices, which makes the meat more tender and easier to eat. Additionally, allowing your steak to rest before slicing lets the juices redistribute, enhancing the flavor and juiciness of your steak.

Sliced flank steak

The Best Sides for Flank Steak

Pairing the right sides with flank steak can elevate your meal to a whole new level. A classic choice is roasted vegetables – think bell peppers, onions, and zucchini drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with kosher salt and black pepper. For a heartier option, a casserole dish filled with scalloped potatoes or a warm quinoa salad works wonders.

Sliced flank steak on board

What to Serve with Flank Steak

Deciding what to serve with flank steak can be as exciting as cooking the steak itself. Consider lighter options like a fresh garden salad or steamed green beans tossed in extra virgin olive oil. For those who love grains, a side of fragrant jasmine rice or a pilaf can be a perfect accompaniment. These choices are not only delicious but also help balance the richness of the steak.

What to Make with Leftover Flank Steak

Leftover flank steak can be repurposed into a range of great meals. Thin slices of the steak can be fantastic in sandwiches or wraps, paired with a tangy sauce and fresh vegetables. Another great option is to chop the steak into small pieces and toss it into a stir-fry with vegetables and a savory sauce. The versatility of flank steak makes it a delightful ingredient for a variety of dishes, ensuring no leftovers go to waste.

Sliced flank steak served on plate

Looking for More Great Beef Recipes?

If you’re on the hunt for more beef recipes, explore various cuts and cooking methods. From a slow-cooked beef brisket to a classic beef bourguignon, there are almost unlimited recipes waiting to be discovered. Each cut of beef offers a unique flavor and texture, making it an incredibly versatile protein source in your kitchen.

Other Recipes You Might Like

For those who enjoyed this flank steak recipe, there are plenty more to explore. Why not try a beef stroganoff, where tender slices of beef are simmered in a creamy sauce? Or, for a quick meal, beef tacos with homemade seasoning can be a fun and interactive dinner option.

Cast Iron Flank Steak

Other great recipes to check out are from Life Tastes Good and The Wooden Skillet!

If You Like This Recipe, Be Sure to Check Out Some of Our Other Cast Iron Recipes!

Cast iron cooking doesn’t end with flank steak. If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, there are numerous others to try. Cast iron is perfect for skillet pizzas, roasted chicken, and even baked desserts like cobblers. The even heat distribution of cast iron cookware ensures perfect results every time. Check out the Abel Ruddachew blog for more inspiration.

Different cuts of beef


Cooking the perfect flank steak in a cast iron skillet is a great dinner option throughout the week or if hosting friends and family. From understanding the nuances between flank and skirt steak to mastering the art of the best flank steak marinade, this journey brings together simplicity and gourmet flavors in every bite. Whether you’re searing your steak to a juicy medium-rare or exploring the vast array of sides to complement this versatile meat, flank steak is a great option.

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