Flank steak and skirt steak are two cuts of beef that are often used interchangeably in recipes. However, can they truly be substituted for one another? In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences between flank steak and skirt steak to determine if they can be used as substitutes.

Flank Steak

Flank steak is a lean cut of beef that comes from the abdominal muscles of the cow. It is a long, flat cut with visible grain running along its length.

Flank steak is known for its intense beefy flavor but can be tough if not cooked properly. It is best prepared by marinating it before grilling or broiling to help break down the muscle fibers.

Skirt Steak

Skirt steak comes from the diaphragm muscles of the cow and is a long, thin cut with visible fat running along its length. Skirt steak has a rich, beefy flavor and is more tender than flank steak. It is best cooked quickly over high heat, such as on a grill or in a skillet.

Can Flank Steak Be Substituted for Skirt Steak?

While both cuts are flavorful and delicious, they cannot always be substituted for one another. The main difference between flank steak and skirt steak is their texture. Flank steak has a coarser texture due to its wider grain while skirt steak has a finer texture due to its thinner grain.

If a recipe calls for skirt steak and you substitute it with flank steak, you may notice that your dish has a tougher texture than intended. This is because flank steak needs to be marinated beforehand to tenderize it, whereas skirt steak does not require as much preparation.

On the other hand, if you substitute skirt steak with flank steak in a recipe that requires quick cooking over high heat, such as fajitas or stir-fry, you may find that the flank steak is not as tender as the skirt steak would have been.


In conclusion, while flank steak and skirt steak are similar in flavor, they cannot always be used interchangeably due to their texture differences. If a recipe calls for one cut specifically, it is best to stick with that cut to achieve the intended texture and flavor. However, if a recipe is flexible and allows for substitutions, keep in mind that flank steak may require more preparation time than skirt steak to achieve the desired tenderness.