Pan seared flank steak is a quick and easy meal. Marinated in a balsamic and rosemary marinade then quickly pan seared, this beef is tender and flavourful. Serve with some potatoes, a salad, or on a toasted hoagie roll for a complete meal.
At one time I would have passed by flank steak and headed straight for the rib-eye or strip-loin. I like tender cuts of meat with lots of flavour.
As it turns out, I wasn’t giving flank steak a fair chance. That’s because when it’s cooked properly, it actually is tender and very flavourful. It is also a much cheaper cut of meat.
Flank steak is often done as a London Broil. The beef is marinated, then it is placed under a broiler to cook. You could certainly cook this recipe using that method, but I prefer to pan sear in a cast iron skillet where I can keep my eye on it.
The most important thing with pan seared flank steak is not to overcook it and to slice it against the grain so that you don’t end up with tough, chewy meat.
Why this recipe works
While flank steak can turn out tough if not cooked properly, the marinade in this recipe helps to tenderize the meat while also infusing it with flavour.
Then the steak is cooked quickly in a hot cast iron pan preventing the meat from overcooking and becoming tough.
You can let this steak marinate in the fridge all day, if you like, so that when dinner time arrives you can get it to the table quickly.
- Flank Steak – You will want about 1.5 pounds to feed 4 people
- Balsamic Vinegar – This will help tenderize the meat. If you don’t like balsamic, you can use red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- Olive Oil – Use a good quality, extra-virgin olive oil if you can for best flavour
- Worcestershire sauce – Gives the meat great flavour
- Beef Broth – Helps to extend the marinade and add flavour. You can use water or chicken broth if you don’t have beef broth.
- Dried rosemary – rosemary has great flavour that pairs well with the balsamic vinegar and the beef. If you don’t like rosemary, thyme is a great option.
- Garlic – I’ve used fresh for this recipe, but you can use dried, roasted, or powdered
- Salt & Pepper
- Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl
- Place the steak in a shallow dish or ziplock bag, add the marinade and allow to marinate for 1 hour or overnight
- Remove from the marinade and place the steak in a hot cast iron skillet.
- Cook for 5 minutes, flip and cook an additional 5 minutes then cover for 2 minutes.
- Remove from the pan, allow the steak to rest 5 minutes then slice against the grain and serve
Pro Tip – Don’t skip the step of resting the meat before slicing. This will prevent too much juice from seeping out of the steak when you slice it.
This steak should only take about 12 minutes to cook, depending on how thick it is. If you like your steak rare, then it could be done in as little as 8 minutes.
To ensure you are reaching the correct doneness you can use meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the centre of the steak. As this is a thin cut of beef, be careful not to pierce all the way through.
- 125 F – Rare
- 135 F – Medium rare
- 145 F – Medium
- 150 F – Medium well
- 160 F – Well done
For the best result, you do not want to go past medium.
There are so many great ways to serve flank steak. We usually keep it simple and serve with potatoes and a salad. These creamy ranch mashed potatoes go perfectly with this dish.
Another great way to serve this beef is on toasted hoagie rolls with some creamy horseradish for a steak sandwich, or sliced and served over Caesar salad.
It is possible to cook this steak without marinating it first. However, letting it marinate, even for 30 minutes, will help break down this tough cut of meat resulting in a more tender and flavourful steak.
Please don’t! If you prefer your steak well done than I recommend choosing a different cut of beef. Flank steak is a tougher cut of meat and the longer it cooks the tougher it will be. It is really at its prime flavour between rare and medium.
If you don’t have a cast iron pan any heavy non-stick pan will do. However, you will want to lower the heat to prevent ruining the non-stick finish. You can cook over medium heat and add a couple of minutes to the total time.
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- 1.5 Pound Flank steak
- 2 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1/4 Cup Balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 Cup Beef broth
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Dried rosemary
- 2 Cloves Garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- Mix all ingredients, except steak, in a small bowl.
- Place the steak in a shallow dish or large ziplock bag and add the marinade. Allow to marinate for a minimum of one hour or overnight
- When ready to cook, heat a 14 inch cast iron skillet on medium high heat
- When skillet is hot, remove the steak from the marinade and place in the pan. Discard remaining marinade, or spoon a bit over the top of the steak.
- Cook for 5 minutes, then flip and cook the other side another 5 minutes
- Place a lid on the skillet and cook an additional 2 minutes
- Remove from the pan, cover with foil and allow to rest at least 5 minutes before slicing against the grain.
- Serve immediatly topped with any remaining pan juices.