If you’re planning to cook a recipe that calls for flank steak, but can’t find it in your local grocery store, you may wonder if top round can be used as a substitute. After all, both cuts are lean and flavorful, but are they interchangeable? Let’s take a closer look at the differences between top round and flank steak to determine if you can use one instead of the other.

What is Top Round?

Top Round is a cut of beef that comes from the rear end of the cow. It’s a relatively lean cut with little marbling, which means it’s not as tender as other cuts like ribeye or tenderloin. However, it’s still flavorful and can be cooked in various ways.

What is Flank Steak?

Flank steak comes from the abdominal muscles of the cow and is known for its rich beefy flavor. It’s also relatively lean but has more marbling than top round, which makes it more tender.

Can Top Round Be Used Instead of Flank Steak?

In general, top round cannot be used as a direct substitute for flank steak in recipes. The two cuts have different textures and flavors that will affect the final dish.

If your recipe requires flank steak to be grilled or seared quickly over high heat, using top round could result in tough meat that’s difficult to chew. Additionally, because top round has less fat than flank steak, it may not have the same depth of flavor when used in marinades or sauces.

However, there are some recipes where you could use top round instead of flank steak with some adjustments. For example, if your recipe calls for flank steak to be slow-cooked or braised until tender, top round could work as an alternative. Just keep in mind that you may need to increase cooking time to achieve the desired tenderness.


While top round and flank steak may seem interchangeable at first glance, they have significant differences that make them better suited for different recipes. If your recipe calls for flank steak specifically, it’s best to stick with that cut. However, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to experiment with top round, be sure to adjust your cooking method accordingly to ensure a delicious and tender final dish.