Soy Marinated Flank Steak Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 10 min. + marinating Grill: 15 min.
With an overnight soy sauce marinade, a quick sear on a hot grill and the correct slicing technique (always against the grain), you can take a lean flank steak and make it oh-so-tender.

Updated: Jun. 27, 2024

Flank steak is a quick-cooking steak that should be a part of everyone’s grilling repertoire.

I actually discovered it by mistake when I worked at a restaurant that made fajitas and steak tacos with skirt steak. One week, due to a shortage, our meat supplier sent us flank steak instead. Upon opening the package, the first thing I noticed was the meat’s lack of marbling. These steaks had close to no fat, and I was afraid the lean meat would become tough and dry.

After grilling the marinated flank steak, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was beefy, flavorful and incredibly juicy. Everything I look for in a steak!

What is flank steak?

Flank steak is a long, flat muscle cut from the flank primal (one of the eight primal cuts in American butchery). It’s often compared with skirt steak because both steaks are cut from the belly of the cow. However, skirt steak is located in the plate primal below the ribs, and flank steak is cut from an area further back toward the hindquarters.

It’s a lean steak that contains a lot of connective tissue. Flank steak lacks the marbling found in more expensive steaks, so it benefits from special treatment. Acidic marinades tenderize the meat, and cooking it to medium-rare ensures it won’t dry out or become tough.

Flank steak is a great grilling steak, but it’s versatile enough to be used in beef fajitas, Mexican flank steak tacos or steak stir-fry. Flank steak is also a popular choice for making beef jerky.

How to Cook Flank Steak

There are several ways to cook flank steak. Grilling is my favorite because of the gorgeous char that brings out the meat’s robust beefy flavor. Whether you cook the steak on the grill, oven or stovetop, I recommend cooking it to medium-rare (135°F when probed with an instant-read meat thermometer). If you don’t care for medium-rare steak, you can continue to cook it to medium or medium-well, but the meat will be tougher and chewier.

  • Flank steak on the grill: To make grilled flank steak, grill the steak over medium-high heat for 6 to 10 minutes on each side or until the meat reaches the desired doneness.
  • Flank steak in the oven: Roast marinated flank steak in a 400° oven for 25 to 30 minutes to make a sheet-pan steak dinner.
  • Flank steak under the broiler: Broil flank steak 4 to 6 inches from the heat for 6 to 10 minutes per side until it reaches the desired doneness.
  • Flank steak on the stovetop: Sear the steak in a hot skillet over high heat for two to three minutes per side. Use the tips from our skillet steak recipe to get a good sear. Once browned on both sides, reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook it, flipping every few minutes, until the steak reaches the desired doneness.
  • Stir-fried flank steak: Instead of cooking the steak whole, slice the meat into quarter-inch strips to make flank steak stir-fry.
  • Slow-cooked flank steak: Although flank steak is typically cooked to medium-rare, it can also be slow-cooked or braised for dishes like slow-cooker carne asada. Try slow-cooking flank steak for four to five hours on the low setting until it’s tender enough to shred with a fork.

Flank Steak Ingredients

  • Flank steak: Flank steak may be called London broil, jiffy steak or bavette (the French name for flank steak). Be careful with packages labeled as “London broil,” though, as some packers use this label for round steak or top sirloin. Ask your butcher about the cut of meat to ensure you come home with a flank steak.
  • Soy marinade for flank steak: Soy sauce is the primary ingredient in this steak marinade. It infuses the meat with umami-rich, savory flavor and contains salt to help the meat retain moisture as it cooks. It’s also a mild acid, which helps to tenderize the meat. The marinade also uses canola oil to add fat to the lean meat, brown sugar for a touch of sweetness and flavorful seasonings like garlic, ginger and pepper.

Directions

Step 1: Marinate the flank steak

Add the steak and turn to coat it with the marinadeTMB Studio

In a shallow dish, combine the soy sauce, water, garlic, sugar, oil, ginger and pepper. Add the steak and turn to coat it with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate the marinating steak for eight hours or overnight, turning occasionally.

Step 2: Grill the steak

Grill the steak over medium-high heat for six to eight minutes on each sideTMB Studio

Drain the steak and discard the marinade. Grill it, covered, over medium-high heat for six to eight minutes on each side or until the meat reaches your preferred doneness. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the flank steak should read 135° for medium-rare, 140° for medium or 145° for medium-well.

Slice the grilled steakTMB Studio

Slice the flank steak against the grain and serve.

Editor’s Tip: You can cook flank steak straight out of the refrigerator, but it will cook more evenly if you let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes. Letting the steak come to room temperature also gives the exterior time to dry out, which helps get a better sear.

A delicious plate of Soy Marinated Flank Steak with vegetablesTMB Studio

Flank Steak Variations

How to Store Flank Steak

Leftover flank steak can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to four days. It can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to three months. Thaw the steak in the fridge overnight. Reheat steak in the microwave, in the oven or on the stovetop until warmed through.

Raw flank steaks that haven’t yet been marinated can be stored in the freezer (preferably in vacuum-sealed packaging to avoid freezer burn) for 4 to 12 months.

Flank Steak Tips

Two plates of Soy Marinated Flank Steak with vegetables elegantly presented on a tableTMB Studio

Do you have to marinate flank steak?

You don’t have to marinate flank steak, but I always recommend it. Marinating does more than just add flavor; a marinade’s acidic ingredients tenderize the meat’s tough muscle fibers. In my experience, marinated flank steak is always juicier and more tender, even if it only sits in the marinade for two hours. It is possible to over-marinate flank steak, though, so don’t let it marinate for more than 24 hours.

Should you poke holes in flank steak?

Some recipes suggest poking holes in flank steak to tenderize the meat, but I prefer other techniques to make tough meat tender. The soy marinade used in this recipe should be enough to tenderize the steak, especially when it’s cooked to medium-rare. If you don’t have time to marinate the steak for the full eight hours, lightly pound the meat with a meat mallet to tenderize it physically.

How long do you cook flank steak?

Cook flank steak to medium-rare by cooking it for about six minutes per side on a grill preheated to medium-high heat. If you’re going for a higher degree of doneness (like medium or medium-well), flank steak can handle up to eight minutes per side.

What is the best soy sauce to use for soy-marinated flank steak?

The salt in soy sauce tenderizes flank steak, and you can choose any soy sauce you think tastes best. Dark soy sauce (known as koikuchi) is the most common and offers a well-rounded flavor. Despite its name, light soy sauce (or usukuchi) actually has a higher salt content and a more intense flavor. The word “light” refers to its color, not its flavor.

If you’re considering tamari vs. soy sauce, the two can generally be used interchangeably. Tamari sauce is often used as a gluten-free alternative (but be sure to check the ingredient list to be sure). It has a distinctly rich flavor that you may enjoy in soy-marinated flank steak.

Watch how to Make Soy Marinated Flank Steak

Soy-Marinated Flank Steak

Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 15 min
Yield 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 beef flank steak (1 pound)

Directions

  1. In a shallow dish, combine the first 7 ingredients; add steak and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
  2. Drain steak, discarding marinade. Grill, covered, over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes on each side or until meat reaches desired doneness (for medium-rare, a thermometer should read 135°; medium, 140°; medium-well, 145°).

Nutrition Facts

3 ounces cooked beef: 209 calories, 11g fat, 59mg cholesterol, 326mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate, 0 fiber), 24g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat.

This soy-marinated flank steak is my son's favorite. I usually slice it thinly and serve it with twice-baked potatoes and a green salad to round out the meal. Leftovers are great for French dip sandwiches. &mdash Gayle Bucknam of Greenbank, Washington
Recipe Creator