Marinating is a popular technique used to tenderize and flavor meat. Flank steak, in particular, benefits from marination due to its tough texture. However, it’s important to know how long you can keep flank steak in marinade before it becomes unsafe to consume.

What is Marination?

Marination is a process in which meat is soaked in a mixture of liquids and spices for an extended period. The acidic ingredients in the marinade help break down the protein fibers and tenderize the meat. Additionally, the spices and herbs add flavor to the meat.

How Long Can You Keep Flank Steak in Marinade?

While marinating can be beneficial for flank steak, it’s important not to overdo it. Leaving flank steak in marinade for too long can result in mushy and unappealing meat. Moreover, if flank steak sits in marinade for too long, it can also become unsafe to eat.

In general, 12-24 hours is the ideal marinating time for flank steak. This timeframe allows enough time for the marinade to penetrate the meat while ensuring that it doesn’t become mushy or over-flavored.

If you’re short on time, you can marinate flank steak for as little as 30 minutes. However, this will result in less flavor penetration and tenderization.

How Can You Tell if Flank Steak Has Gone Bad?

If you’ve left your flank steak in marinade for too long or stored it improperly after marination, it may have gone bad. Signs that your flank steak has gone bad include a sour smell or slimy texture.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard the meat instead of risking food poisoning.


In conclusion, marinating flank steak is a great way to add flavor and tenderness to this tough cut of meat. However, it’s important to not leave the flank steak in marinade for too long to avoid mushy meat and food safety concerns. Remember to always check for signs of spoilage before consuming any marinated meat.