The Perfect Flank Steak Recipe

easy flank steak recipe in cast-iron pan

This flank steak recipe cooks quickly and is loaded with juiciness and flavor. Plus, it’s super easy to make!

Flank steak is quick enough for an easy weeknight dinner, and also makes an awesome weekend entertaining meal. Use this method to make it perfect every time.

I know the thought of cooking steak at home might seem an intimidating task, but this recipe always turns out awesome—caramelized crust on the outside and a soft, pink inside that just melts in your mouth. In fact, the flavors in this flank steak recipe are so rich that you don’t even need to marinate the meat beforehand.

What is Flank Steak?

Flank steak is a tough yet lean cut of meat and comes in thin pieces at the butcher counter. It’s a fantastic source of protein and iron and cooks fast, so it’s my go-to for a weeknight dinner. The key to cooking flank steak is to first bring it to room temperature, pat it dry and salt it, then sear it at a high heat on both sides to lock in the flavor.

Pair your flank steak with a fresh, crisp green salad for a lighter meal, or roast some potatoes and vibrant veggies for a wholesome dinner. I love to serve it with a bright chimichurri sauce, like in the photos on this page.

cooked flank steak recipe elizabeth rider

Key ingredients

Flank steak: There’s one main ingredient you need to make this recipe, which, of course, is a 1-to-1.5 pound flank steak that you can get at the butcher counter at your local store. Aside from that, there are a few pantry staples you’ll need to really enhance the natural flavors of your steak and get that beautiful finish every time.

Salt and pepper: Two simple seasonings to bring this lovely cut to life. I like to use Real Salt, but Kosher salt also works perfectly. Always use freshly ground black pepper.

Cooking oil: I recommend avocado oil for cooking your flank steak because it has a high heat tolerance. You can also use olive oil if that’s all you have.

How to cook flank steak on the stove

Cooking a cut like this is easier than you think—all you have to do is follow these simple steps. It really cooks best in a cast-iron pan, which you can get for around $20 and it will last a lifetime (here is the one I use).

cooked flank steak

Step 1: Bring Your Flank Steak to Room Temp

For the best results, let it sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before cooking so that the meat can absorb the salt. Bringing meat close to room temperature before cooking also prevents it from seizing up in the pan, resulting in a juicier, more tender flank steak.

You can marinate it if you want, but I find it’s not necessary.

Step 2: Pat It Dry & Season with Salt

Pat it dry with paper towels, then season each side with about 1/2-to-1 teaspoon of salt right when you remove it from the fridge. The meat will absorb the salt as it comes to room temperature (through osmosis, science is fun!), so you’ll need to pat it dry again and season with a bit more salt right before you sear it. Add the back pepper right before you sear it.

patting dry flank steak

Some recipes tell you to cut slits in the meat to make it more tender. But allow me to clear things up… I’ve tried it and I don’t think it makes a difference.

Step 3: Sear It for 7-8 minutes

Preheat a cast-iron pan over medium-high to high heat, and prep your meat for searing. Remember, wet meat doesn’t sear, so pat dry again, then season both sides again with salt and add the black pepper. If you don’t have a cast-iron pan, you can use any non-stick pan.

Add two tablespoons of avocado oil to the pan, swirl it around and place your steak in the pan. It should sizzle right away – if it doesn’t – it’s a sign to turn up the heat. When it comes to how long to cook the flank steak, you want to do 7-8 minutes on the first side, untouched, until a nice brown crust forms. It will smoke a bit and let off steam, so be sure to turn your air vent fan on.

searing flank steak in cast-iron

Step 4: Flip, and cook another 4-6 minutes

Flip your steak, and cook for another 4-6 minutes on the other side. It’s done when both sides are browned and the inside is pink. You can use a meat thermometer if you prefer, and it should read 135°F-145°F in the pan once done.

Step 5: Let it rest, then slice against the grain

Take your steak out of the pan and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing – you can tint it with tinfoil here to keep it warm but it’s not 100% necessary.

slice flank steak against the grain

Note: Always slice against the grain for the most enjoyable texture. Flank steak is a tough cut of meat that cooks fast, so the way you slice it matters.

Optional Step 6: Top with a Sauce

While it’s not necessary, I highly recommend a quick chimichurri sauce to top your flank steak.  Here’s my favorite chimichurri recipe.

Enjoy warm and keep leftovers in the fridge. It’s even good cold.

What to serve with flank steak

I always like to serve something fresh like a simple salad or herby potato salad alongside a steak.

I mentioned the chimichurri recipe above, and a simple arugula salad or romaine lettuce salad would also be great with this flank steak recipe.

If you want to go steakhouse-style, why not cook my easy (and healthier/plant-based) French onion soup or Caprese salad as a light starter? They’re both quick and easy to pull together and are great crowd-pleasers.

flank steak recipe with chimicurri sauce

Recipe variations

Steak is a classic dish, and when cooked well, can be the star of the show all on its own. But drizzling a sauce on top of your meat is a great way to experiment with new flavors, and I’ve got a few suggestions you can try out.

  • Flank steak tacos: Slice up your flank steak and serve it in tacos with your fave toppings. We even like the chimichurri inside our tacos!
  • Flank steak salad: Toss your flank steak into any salad for an extra serving of protein.
  • Flank steak quesadilla: Cut your flank steak into smaller pieces and use it inside a stovetop quesadilla.
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cooked flank steak

Perfect Flank Steak Recipe

  • Author: Elizabeth Rider
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Sear
  • Cuisine: American

Description

We’re keeping it simple with a flank steak recipe that guarantees juicy slices of meat in every bite. Get ready for your new favorite weeknight dish that’s good enough to entertain with. I plan on 1/4 to 1/3 pound of steak per person. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1-to-1.5 pounds of flank steak
  • sea salt (or Kosher salt)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or your oil of preference), for searing

Instructions

For best results always bring meat to room temperature before cooking by letting it sit on the counter for 30-60 minutes.

  1. Pat the steak dry with paper towels and season with salt. Do this once with you bring it from the refrigerator, then again right before you cook it. 
  2. Preheat a cast-iron pan to high heat and pepper both sides of the steak. 
  3. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil, swirl around the pan and sear the steak for 6-8 minutes on the first side without touching it. It will smoke a little so turn your vent fan on. If it smokes too much turn the heat down to medium. The pan should be hot enough to create a brown crust in 6-8 minutes on the first side. If your meat is straight from the refrigerator it may take longer.
  4. Flip the steak over and cook for another 4-6 minutes, until the inside of the meat reaches 135°F – 145°F. It should be browned on both sides and pink in the middle.
  5. Rest the steak for 10 minutes before slicing it against the grain.
  6. Enjoy plain or top with fresh chimichurri sauce.

Keywords: flank steak recipe, how to cook flank steak

Flank steak recipe tips

How to store and reheat cooked flank steak

Steak is best enjoyed fresh, but if you’ve got leftovers, don’t worry, cold flank steak is delicious! You can heat it up in a saute pan over medium heat, or give the leftover steak a new lease of life by tossing it in a vibrant stir fry – even substituting it for chicken in this recipe.

Let’s talk portions: how much flank steak per person?

A pound of steak usually serves around 3-4 people for the main meal. I plan on 1/4 of a pound of meat for kids and 1/3 of a pound of meat for adults.

How to cut flank steak

When you’re slicing your steak, remember to cut against the grain so that it stays lovely and soft – no one wants to chew tough meat.

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