In need of a flank steak substitute? Whether your supermarket is simply out of this steak cut, or you’d prefer something vegetarian, we have five delicious alternatives for you to consider. These are great everyday meal swaps, where the cut of meat won’t break your bank account, nor will the flavor be less than expected. Let’s break down your best options.
Table of Contents
- Best overall: Skirt steak
- Good for a starring role: Hanger steak
- Excellent for soups and chilies: Top round
- The white meat alternative: Chicken
- For vegetarians: Portabello mushroom caps
- Must-read related posts
Best overall: Skirt steak
Skirt steak is a great option when you are looking for a flank steak substitute. It is less expensive than flank steak, relatively easy to find at stores, and has a similar enough flavor that the swap won’t be a surprise in the taste department. Though, the taste of skirt steak tends to be a little richer and beefier as a whole.
–> Learn More: Skirt Steak Vs. Flank Steak – How Do They Compare?
One key difference to note: Skirt steak tends to have a bit more fat than flank, which increases calories but also makes it slightly more tender. Though, neither cut is known for being incredibly tender as it is.
Skirt steak is best used as a flank steak alternative for fajita strips, taco steak, or even steak sandwiches. Really, anywhere where the steak is accompanied by many other ingredients. It also takes well to marinade.
Good for a starring role: Hanger steak
While it is not as widely available as flank steak, hanger steak can be found at most butcher shops. Hanger steak is a long, thin strip of meat that hangs down from the cow’s diaphragm. Why is it not as widely available? Well, there’s only one steak per animal, meaning it’s scarce, and as such more expensive.
Hanger steaks tend to be a bit more tender than skirt or flank steaks. That’s because the area where hanger steak is cut from isn’t as worked as the areas where those two steak cuts are sourced. Hanger steaks also tend to be thicker, giving less chance of them drying out when cooking.
So as a flank steak substitution, go here when the steak is more of the focal point of the meal.
Excellent for soups and chilies: Top round
Top round is a steak cut from the muscle near the cow’s rear leg. This steak is relatively lean, but has a minimal amount of fat marbling. Top round makes an excellent flank steak substitute cubed for soups, stews, and chilies. The steak takes in the flavors of the ingredients that surround it.
But really, top round is a terrific all-around steak cut for this potential substitution. It can work as strips or on its own. Top round is, in fact, the steak that’s used in the popular London broil.
The white meat alternative: Chicken
If you’re looking outside of red meat, chicken works quite well as a flank steak substitute. It cubes well and takes in the flavor of marinades and seasonings, too.
It’s certainly a healthier choice. Chicken is significantly lower in saturated fat than flank steak. This means that it’s a healthier option overall, especially if you’re trying to watch your cholesterol levels. Chicken also contains fewer calories, making it a good choice if you’re trying to lose weight.
For vegetarians: Portabello mushroom caps
Portabello mushroom caps are about as meaty as vegetables get. Its texture has a meat-like quality. They grill exceptionally well and provide an earthy flavor reminiscent (to an extent) of eating red meat, too. The portabello mushroom is also low in calories and fat, making it an excellent choice for those on a diet.
Must-read related posts
- What Steaks Should You Use For Fajitas? Are there certain steak cuts that are better than others? Yes, and we go through each of them.
- All About Marbling In Meat: What is it? What impacts it? And so much more.
- Beef Cuts 101 – What You Need To Know: Learn about the areas of the cow and what steaks come from each.