Are you planning a dinner party and wondering if you can substitute flat iron steak for flank steak in your recipe? While both cuts of meat are popular and delicious, they do have some differences that may affect the outcome of your dish. In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences between flat iron steak and flank steak, and whether or not you can make the switch.

What is Flat Iron Steak?

Flat iron steak comes from the shoulder of a cow, specifically from the top blade muscle. It is a relatively new cut of meat that has gained popularity in recent years due to its tenderness and rich flavor. Flat iron steaks are usually thin, with a uniform thickness throughout the cut.

What is Flank Steak?

Flank steak comes from the abdominal muscles of a cow. It is a long, flat cut of meat that is known for its toughness but also its intense beefy flavor. Flank steaks are usually thicker on one end and taper to a thinner end.

The Differences Between Flat Iron Steak and Flank Steak

The main difference between flat iron steak and flank steak is their tenderness. Flat iron steak is much more tender than flank steak due to its location on the cow’s body.

The top blade muscle doesn’t get as much exercise as the abdominal muscles, which makes it more tender. Additionally, flat iron steaks have a higher fat content than flank steaks, which also contributes to their tenderness.

Another difference between these two cuts of meat is their cooking method. Flat iron steaks are best cooked quickly over high heat, such as grilling or pan-searing. Flank steaks require longer cooking times over lower heat to break down their tough fibers.

Can You Substitute Flat Iron Steak for Flank Steak?

While flat iron steak and flank steak have different textures and flavors, you can substitute one for the other in most recipes. However, keep in mind that the outcome of your dish may be slightly different. If your recipe calls for marinating the meat or slow cooking it, using flat iron steak instead of flank steak may result in a more tender and juicy dish.

If you decide to substitute flat iron steak for flank steak, keep in mind that flat iron steaks are usually thinner and cook faster than flank steaks. Adjust your cooking time accordingly to avoid overcooking the meat.


In conclusion, while there are differences between flat iron steak and flank steak, they can be substituted for one another in most recipes. Keep in mind that flat iron steak is more tender and cooks faster than flank steak, so adjust your cooking time accordingly. No matter which cut of meat you choose, both flat iron steak and flank steak are delicious options for any meal.