If you are not vegan or vegetarian, you probably love to enjoy a delicious piece of steak from time to time. Steaks are one of the most popular foods for many people who like to eat meat.
One of the best steaks out there is flank steak. This popular cut of beef, which comes from the lower abdominal muscle of the cow, is both delicious and healthy since it is packed with proteins.
It is also very versatile and it goes well with various Mexican dishes like beef fajitas and tacos. On top of that, it is quite affordable as well.
But what if you can’t find it at your local grocery store or if your favorite butcher is out of stock? You don’t have to worry because there are plenty of substitutes for flank steak.
If you want to know what those substitutes are, continue reading.
The Ultimate List Of 11 Substitutes For Flank Steak
As stated in the introduction, I tried my best to provide you with the greatest flank steak alternatives that you can find on the market. There are a lot of other similar steaks on the list, but there are also some unexpected and interesting alternatives.
Let’s take a look.
1. Beef Skirt
First on this list of substitutes for flank steak is one that best resembles it in terms of tenderness.
The beef skirt, also known as skirt steak, comes from the cow’s diaphragm muscle which makes it a quite lean and tender steak, even a bit leaner and more tender than our flank steak.
Also, the beef skirt is often more marbled with fat than flank steak, which makes it juicier and even more flavorful.
Mainly because of the similar texture, the beef skirts can be similarly used in cooking. It is also suitable for grilling over medium-high heat and it can be also cooked in a slow cooker or braised until tender.
Just like flank steak, it is a great choice for beef tacos and fajitas.
Take note that you will probably have to cook it a bit longer than flank steak because it has a tougher consistency that needs more time to become tender.
2. Tri-Tip Steak
The second on this list is a triangular-shaped cut of beef that comes from the bottom sirloin and it is also known as triangle steak because of its shape.
This steak is a decent flank steak substitute because it is even leaner than flank steak.
It can also be used in similar recipes since it is suitable for grilling and broiling as well. Tri-tip steak is also a popular choice in flank steak recipes that require longer cooking times, like stews.
Nowadays, tri-tip steak can be found at almost any grocery store or supermarket, which wasn’t a thing in the past.
However, you should also know that there are some differences between these two. Tri-tip steak is a bit more tender and it also has a stronger flavor due to its high-fat content.
So, you should take that into consideration as well.
3. Hanger Steak
This is another beef steak and it comes from a similar part of the cow flank steak. It is also known as “butcher steak” because, in the past, it was usually given to the butcher and not sold.
Hanger steak is a cut of beef taken from the plate of the cow, near the diaphragm. It is a bit more tender when compared with flank steak, so it is not ideal for recipes that require tougher meat, like for example fajitas.
However, these two steaks have similar flavor profiles. The only difference lies in the fact that hanger steak has a bit more robust flavor and more fat, which makes it juicier and more flavorful.
Because of the juiciness, tenderness, and flavor profile, hanger steak can be an excellent option for stir-fries or salads.
One more note. If you are not a fan of that robust beefy flavor, you can add some seasoning before cooking to adjust the flavor profile.
4. Flat Iron Steak
Flat iron steak is relatively less popular than the other steaks on this list. However, it is gaining more and more popularity in recent years because of its tenderness and amazing flavor.
This cut is taken from the shoulder of the cow, i.e. from the top blade muscle and it has a unique shape that resembles an old-fashioned flat iron.
When it comes to differences and similarities with flank steak, flat iron steak has a similar beefy flavor that is a bit more pronounced because of its higher fat content.
It is also much more tender than flank steak. It is suitable for grilling, broiling, baking, and smoking, and it can be used in various dishes as a substitute, including stir-fries, sandwiches, and salad toppings.
Take note that it isn’t a good idea to overcook it because it can become chewy and less appetizing. Also, it is not so easy to find it at grocery stores and supermarkets, unlike flank steak.
5. Top-Round Steak
It is a lean cut of meat that comes from the upper rear leg of the cow. Top-round steak can be often found under the name London broil in most grocery stores.
London broil is actually a type of cooking suitable for some steaks, including top-round steak.
Since top-round steak is a lean cut of meat that can be even tougher than flank steak, it is mostly suitable for slow cooking over low heat in which its tough muscles will slowly but successfully break down.
Although tougher and not so flavorful, top-round steak can be as juicy and tender as flank steak if you cook it slowly and with the right seasonings. Just like flank steak, it can also be added to fajitas and burritos.
On top of that, it is not too expensive, so if you are after an affordable but delicious steak, this one might be your best bet.
6. Top Sirloin Steak
Sirloin steaks are one of the most affordable types of steaks out there. Two main types of sirloin are top and bottom sirloin.
The top sirloin is a much more desirable cut because it is more tender and has a decent flavor profile. However, unlike some other similar types of steak like NY Strip, sirloin steak doesn’t have the marbling that makes it juicier after cooking.
Just like flank steak, it is also a leaner cut of meat and that makes it a good substitute. However, you should be careful not to overcook it because it will become very chewy.
Top sirloin steak is a good candidate for sauteing or grilling and it can also be used in tacos and fajitas if you don’t have any flank steak.
And, did I mention that it is also very budget-friendly?
7. Flap Steak
This steak is also known as flap meat, sirloin tip, or bavette in French cuisine. It comes from the lower part of the sirloin and the upper part of the cow’s belly, which means that it comes from a similar part as the flank steak.
This fact alone makes it a good candidate for flank steak substitute. These two types of steaks are similarly textured. However, flap steak is more tender.
But, that doesn’t stop it from being a decent alternative for flank steak in dishes like steak sandwiches, fajitas, and stir-fries. It is also worth mentioning that flap steak is a popular choice in beef kebabs.
Also, take note that overcooking flap steak can lead to an overly chewy texture that can be quite unpleasant. So, be careful with that.
These two steaks both have rich beefy flavors. However, some people describe the flavor of flap steak as being slightly nutty or buttery, so you should take that into consideration as well.
Finally, flap steak is more affordable and can be found at most grocery stores and supermarkets.
8. Ground Beef
Flap steak was the last steak on this list and now we are moving to some slightly different types of meat that can decently replace flank steak in various recipes.
This option is also a type of beef meat, but it is a ground version. I immediately have to emphasize that ground beef is quite limited when using it as a substitute for flank steak.
The reason is obvious. These two types of meat have very different textures, i.e. ground beef does not have that natural grain of the flank steak.
However, since both types of meat come from the same animal, their flavor profiles are similar. Aside from that, ground beef is quite affordable and can be found at almost any grocery store.
What’s more, it is a versatile type of meat that thrives in so many recipes, from burgers to meatloaf. It can successfully replace flank steak in stir-fries, tacos, burritos, and sandwiches.
You can freely use the same amount of ground beef in these dishes when substituting.
9. Chicken Breast
It is impossible not to mention one of the most eaten foods in the world. Chicken is definitely one of the most popular meats out there and there are numerous reasons for that.
First, it is a versatile meat that is quite affordable and can be found at most grocery stores or supermarkets. Also, it can be very flavorful if cooked the right way in the right dishes. And on top of that, it is very healthy since it is full of proteins.
This especially goes for chicken breasts as it contains lean protein. The fact that they are a leaner version of meat puts them on this list.
However, it is important to emphasize that chicken breasts do not contain fat like flank steak does. Aside from that, chicken breasts are much milder in flavor, contrary to the flank steak which possesses a rich beefy flavor.
But, they can be a decent alternative in some recipes where the flavor profile and fat content are not so important.
Also, chicken breasts can successfully replace flank steak in stir-fries and fajitas as a much healthier alternative that can provide you with a lot of protein. This especially goes for those following a low-calorie diet.
10. Tuna Fillet
Maybe this one won’t be a top choice for hardcore meat lovers and it is quite counterintuitive to be the substitute for a steak, but tuna filet can replace flank steak in some dishes.
It is important to emphasize that tuna filet, and fish in general, usually have a much more delicate texture with a milder, most often, fishy flavor.
Meat, and especially steaks like flank steak, have a much firmer texture with a strong, beefy flavor. And, on top of that, they need to be cooked for longer periods of time, unlike tuna filets which are mostly cooked quickly over high heat.
But, if your intention is to use tuna filet as a source of proteins in your dish, it can serve as a decent alternative. That is especially the case if you use it in a taco or stir-fry recipe.
But again, the dish will have a different flavor and texture and that is something that you need to be aware of.
11. Premade Burritos Or Fajitas
The last substitute on this list is an interesting one. It is quite limited really, but it can serve well in those situations when you don’t have time to make your own burritos or fajitas from the pieces of flank steak.
In that case, since many grocery stores and supermarkets make them in advance and then store them in the frozen foods’ section, maybe you will have the luck to find the one that you prefer.
The great thing is that they are quite affordable. The downside is the fact that you can not adjust the flavor because they are already seasoned with certain spices.
And also, there is a high probability that you will find them at the grocery store, but with some other type of steak.
A Few Amazing Vegan Substitutes For Flank Steak
The fact that you are vegan shouldn’t stop you from enjoying food with certain flavors and textures you like. For this very reason, I made an extra list with top vegan alternatives for flank steaks that everyone can enjoy.
Let’s see what those interesting alternatives have to offer.
1. Vegan Steaks
The first and most obvious vegan substitute for flank steak is vegan steak. As the name suggests, vegan steaks are created to mimic the flavor and texture of real steaks and the latest versions do that very well.
Considering that, it is no surprise that they can substitute flank steak in some recipes, especially in recipes used as a protein source like fajitas or stir-fries.
However, you should take note that there are some downfalls. First, many vegan steaks may contain color, preservatives, and artificial flavors that can potentially damage your health.
Aside from that, the texture and flavor won’t be the same when you use vegan steaks instead of real ones. And finally, vegan steaks tend to be quite pricey, even more than some of the most expensive steaks on the market.
Seitan is a well-known ingredient among vegans and vegetarians. It is a vegan protein source made from wheat gluten and it is also known as wheat meat or meat gluten because it is usually used as a vegan alternative to meat.
Because of this, it can be a decent substitute for flank steak as well and it will even mimic its flavor and texture quite well. It can be grilled, roasted, fried, and braised.
You can use it in those dishes that serve you as a good source of protein, like for example in fajitas and stir-fries. It is a great source of protein and it can be a healthier alternative.
The only problem is the fact that it is made from gluten, so people intolerant to gluten or those who suffer from celiac disease, won’t be able to enjoy it.
3. Portobello Mushrooms
It may be a surprise to some people, but mushrooms are the best natural vegan substitute for meat. They have that specific umami flavor and meaty texture that can mimic meat very well.
Just like flank steak, as well as many other types of steaks, mushrooms can be grilled, roasted, and stir-fried and they will provide you with a similar savory flavor.
The only problem is the different nutritional profiles of mushrooms. They can not provide you with the same amount of protein or other important nutrients as meat.
Aside from Portobello mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, regular brown button mushrooms, and porcini mushrooms can serve as a decent substitute for meat.
4. Seasoned Tofu
Tofu is definitely one of the most popular types of foods for vegans. Just like meat, it is a soy-based product and an excellent source of protein.
The texture of tofu can successfully mimic that of meat in many situations. The different story is with flavor which is quite different and much milder, almost neutral in some cases.
However, it can absorb the flavors of other ingredients very well, so it is a good idea to season it with your favorite spices and achieve a desirable flavor profile.
It is not an ideal option and it is quite limited as well.
But cauliflower can be used as a flank steak substitute if your grill is warm and ready for transforming your food into mouth-watering deliciousness.
However, if you want to replace flank steak with this vegetables that start with C on the grill, you can not just do that however you want. Marinades are key and some Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce can do wonders in that situation.