Quick Flank Steak Recipe

by Shelley · May contain affiliate links

(The Easiest-Ever Marinated, Grilled Flank Steak Recipe … AKA “Chrissy’s Flank Steak”)

~ This ultra-simple, Quick Flank Steak recipe has been a family favorite for decades. You need just 2 ingredients … seriously, JUST 2! Yet it’s flavorful, tender and delicious, every single time! And if you’re not a grill master? No worries! It’s really easy, and I break down every step so you can get it exactly right, even if you’ve never grilled flank steak before in your life! ~

This Recipe:     Includes Make-Ahead Steps  

Overhead of entire flank steak after grilling, with several slices cut off one end and fanned out and little drops of marinade at edges.

This insanely easy Flank Steak is probably the simplest dinner recipe you will ever prep in your entire life.

I mean, besides nuking a Lean Cuisine or eating Fruity Pebbles straight out of the box … that kind of thing.

But in terms of real, honest-to-goodness, seriously amazing, your-whole-family-will-LOVE-this dinners … the prep work here is as easy as easy gets!

And yes, there will be love. Lots and lots of love! And you will make this again and again and again. (I 100% speak from experience on this … my family loves this recipe for just a whole bunch of reasons … more on that in a minute.)

But for now, let’s start with the most important question:

Why Will You L-O-V-E This Flank Steak?

  • Because it’s delicious and wonderful and amazing. I am absolutely not kidding when I say this is a family favorite recipe. It has been for decades. Across generations. Legendary and never, ever disappoints. It is SOOOO good. Beefy and savory and rich and a little salty and loaded with umami-ness. Tender and moist and juicy. Amazing every time.
  • Two ingredients. TWO. Only two. And this isn’t one of those recipes that claims two ingredients, but technically ISN’T only two, because things like oil and water and salt and pepper are “freebies” that nobody counts. Nope. TWO. Truly two. And besides the flank steak, the other one can hang out in your in your fridge practically forever, ready whenever you need this (which will be often!).
  • Healthy! As beef goes, flank steak is actually a pretty healthy choice, especially if you watch your portion size. Men’s Health explains, “It’s one of the healthiest beef cuts – ounce for ounce, a flank steak has fewer calories and more protein than a ribeye or porterhouse. It’s one of the great cuts – very lean and with a lot of flavor if you don’t overcook it and know how to slice it.” (Psssst … that slicing thing is critically important – I coach you through the proper technique a little later in this article. But don’t worry – it’s super easy!)
Tines of antique carving fork twined in several slices of steak on wooden board.
  • Cheap! Well, cheap for a steak dinner. Remember … you’ve only got two ingredients here. And flank steak is generally one of the more affordable cuts of beef. It’s also a flavorful choice (somewhat similar to skirt steak), with plenty of beefy bang for those precious bucks.
  • And so darn easy to prep! Dump those two (and only two!) ingredients in a gallon bag, seal it up, toss it in the fridge, and walk away. It might take you as much as a minute, but only if you’re moving really slowly.
  • It’s flexible. Sure, the recipe card very specifically lists 1/2 cup of marinade. But do you have to measure precisely? Not really. If you end up with 3/4 cup, that’s gonna be just fine. Plus, I know you probably won’t find EXACTLY an even 1 pound of beef. Up to a pound and a half or even a little more will still be fine with around 1/2 cup of marinade, so use what your store has cut and ready, without sweating over hitting an exact pound of meat. But if you do end up buying a lot more beef … maybe doubling the recipe with a second flank steak? No prob. Dump in some extra marinade. Don’t over-think it.
  • And how long you marinate the flank steak is flexible, too. So, don’t panic if your kiddo’s baseball game goes into extra innings or your last meeting of the day takes twice as long as it was supposed to. Your flank steak will keep right on marinating away, ready whenever you are.

So, ok. What about this marinade? How is it so magical? (I don’t exactly know how, but it truly is!) Here’s what I can tell ya …

The Very Best, EASIEST Flank Steak Marinade

Sometimes the easiest way is seriously the best.

Soy sauce is all you need for a crazy-delicious, easy steak marinade. I pinky-swear promise. No need to make it any harder than that.

Sure, there are plenty of recipes out there for more complicated flank steak marinades, with longer lists of ingredients. Brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce. A garlic clove. Maybe a little olive oil or a squirt of lime juice or lemon. There are lots of paths you can take in making a great marinade.

But I never saw the point. Why over-complicate things when you’ve got this blissfully simple recipe in your back pocket?!

Overhead of 7 slices off end of steak, with remaining whole steak visible at edge.

The soy sauce is an umami flavor bomb that highlights the meaty flavors of the beef without overshadowing them.

Reduced-sodium soy sauce (like Kikkoman Less Sodium) is the only kind I keep in my kitchen. You know I like to have control over how much sodium I’m adding to my recipes. And even with its reduced sodium level, it’s still plenty to season the beef with crave-able, salty vibes.

So, grab your soy sauce, and let’s make this!

How to Make This Crazy-Easy Recipe

You literally need about 1 minute of prep time, and under 15 minutes of grilling time. The rest is hands-off waiting around, letting the steak do its delicious thing.

Super quick, super easy!

But I know grilling a steak can feel intimidating if you don’t do it often, so I’ll walk you through everything, if you need a few hints to get you started. Truly though, after making it once, you’ll agree … easy, easy!!

Step #1

Start with a whole, unsliced beef flank steak.

Flank steak is a leaner cut of beef, and usually isn’t sold with a lot of fat on the exterior. But, if there do happen to be any large areas of visible fat, I usually opt to trim those off before I marinate and grill the beef, but that’s up to you.

Slip your steak into a heavy-duty, gallon-sized, zippered plastic bag and pour the soy sauce in. Be sure the soy sauce thoroughly coats the entire steak, and then zip the bag closed.

Step #2

So … just checking in here … is this, or is this not, the most ridiculously easy marinade prep ever? All you have left to do is pop that bag in the fridge and do a happy dance.

Success! Dinner is prepped and you’re free to go do other exciting things with your day!

If you happen to walk by the fridge now and then, you can turn the bag throughout the marinating process, making sure all that yummy umami marinade is spending lots of quality time in touch with the surface of the beef. But if you’re prepping this recipe before you leave the house for the day, fear not: it really shouldn’t be necessary to flip or turn it, if you’ve coated the steak well with the marinade before popping it in the fridge.

How Long to Marinate Flank Steak

The short answer is that it varies: anywhere from a quick half hour, up to about 8 hours – depending on how much you want the marinade flavor to infuse the steak, and how much time you’ve got to work with.

I promised you an easy recipe, and this part’s easy and flexible and forgiving. Here’s what I mean:

Yes, ideally, your flank steak should marinate for around 8 hours for tons of flavor. So getting it started in the magically easy and delicious marinade before you leave the house in the morning is truly the best scenario. (More than about 8 hours, though, and the soy sauce can start to overwhelm the beef.)

But, we’ve tested this recipe for you with a wide range of other timings, too. For great umami flavor, a minimum of 2 hours marinating time is best, if you can’t get all the way up to 8 hours.

What if you forgot to get this started in the morning, though?!?! All is not lost, I promise! In a pinch, you can get by with marinating the flank steak for only 30-40 minutes. Will it be as turbo-loaded with flavor as a steak that marinated for 2 hours, or 6 or 8? Nope. It honestly won’t. But it’ll still be pretty darn good. And sometimes getting dinner done at a “pretty darn good” level is a win worth taking!

Step #3

Ready to make dinner? This part’s super-easy, too … even if you don’t consider yourself a grill boss.

There are different approaches for grilling the perfect flank steak, but mine works like a charm and keeps you in control of the process.

First, fire up that grill and get it preheated over high heat.

We’re not gonna incinerate the steak over high for the entire cook time, but that high temp is key to creating those coveted grill marks that make grilled steak look so … well, so grilled.

Step #4

While your grill’s getting hot, take your steak out of the soy sauce marinade (and pitch the excess marinade and marinating bag).

Marinated flank steak on white oval plate before being grilled.

Depending on how long the beef had to hang out in your simple but perfect marinade, your steak should have a bit of an alluringly yummy, rich, mahogany stain.

Sear that gorgeous beef over the high grill heat for 2 minutes on each side. That should get you those “WOW – I actually AM a grill boss” grill marks.

Step #5

Next, turn the heat down to about medium or move the steak to a cooler part of the grill. Either way, you want to get your steak away from that ultra-high heat before it chars, and move it to an area where it can finish cooking at a moderate temperature.

Close your grill and let your steak continue grilling until it’s medium rare (medium at the very most). That should take about 7-10 minutes more.

But, exactly how long? And how do you know??

Grills vary widely in exact temperature settings, and precisely how thick each cut of steak is can vary, too. So how do you achieve perfection??

Fear not … we’ve got this!

The Perfect Flank Steak Doneness

Flank steak is best grilled only to about medium-rare. If you like really well-done steak, this probably isn’t the best cut for you to choose. That’s because flank steak is very lean, so overcooking it leads to it being sadly dry, tough and chewy.

To be absolutely sure you get a perfect medium-rare level of doneness (which will equal a juicy and tender flank steak), grab a meat thermometer to check your steak in the middle. You’re shooting for a final, internal temperature 130-135F.

Steak on grill grates with seared grill marks, and asparagus on tray in background.

BUT … as I’ll explain in a moment, you want to let your meat rest for a few minutes after grilling, before you cut it. During that “resting” time, it’ll keep cooking a little more due to internal, residual heat. As explained by The Kansas City Steak Company, a great strategy is to pull it off the grill when your thermometer reads 130°F. It’ll gain about 5 degrees as it rests, ending up at a perfect 135°F.

Do I always use a thermometer? Nope. It’s not strictly necessary, and once you’ve made this recipe a couple times, you can probably wing it without a thermometer. But if you do happen to have a meat thermometer, it’s a handy tool to get you started.

One key note here, though: the thinner, tapered ends of your flank steak will almost always be a bit more done that the center, thickest part of the steak. So, if some family members prefer their steak more well done, you can go for a “perfect” medium-rare in the middle, and still serve up more fully cooked end pieces, too.

Step #6

Ok, so you’ve got your fabulous steak off the grill, hanging out on a clean plate.

This is the all-important resting stage.

I know, I know. You don’t want to wait. It looks sooooooo good.

But resist the temptation. Your steak will be 1,000% better (which I know is not actually a real number … but you get my drift) if you WAIT.

Overhead of grilled steak resting on cutting board with carving fork nearby.

Just 5 minutes – although 10 is even better, if you can possibly make yourself wait that long. It’s worth it!

Why?

Because letting your steak rest allows the muscle fibers to relax, and the marvelous, delicious juices to redistribute back through the meat.

You know how all great steak photos (including mine you’re looking at them right now!) feature some appetizing juices artfully coloring the cutting board around a sliced flank steak? Actually, as good as that looks, you want as few juices spilling out as possible. Instead, you want all the flavorful moisture INSIDE your steak, not artfully on the board below. (So forgive me … I still had to give you some juiciness to look at because … you know … we all “eat with your eyes first.” But in real life, you’re shooting for minimal spilled juiciness. Keep those juices within your beef!)

How do you do that? Just let it rest. Resist the urge to dive in straightaway … you can do it!

Step #7

Slice and ENJOY!!!!

Oh, but hang on there a sec … the slicing might be the absolute most important part of all.

Like everything else about this recipe, it’s super easy, though.

Here’s how to do it right ….

How to Cut Flank Steak So It’s Tender

If there is one make-or-break, you-have-to-get-this-part-right step in this entire Quick Flank Steak recipe, this is it.

Cutting your Flank Steak right is CRITICAL to turning a potentially tough cut of meat into pure, beefy bliss.

Notice how your flank steak has long muscle fibers running in all one direction.

You want to cut ACROSS those fibers, shortening them into tender bits that are easy to chew.

Also, you want to cut THIN slices … again, so those fibers are nice and short, making them tender as you eat them.

Carving fork holding steak as a long knife makes thin slices.

That’s all there is to it: cut your flank steak THINLY and ACROSS the grain of the meat.

You can use virtually any long, really sharp knife you happen to have. A very sharp chef’s knife, or a long, serrated knife can both work. Honestly, although it’s way to ugly to show you in my photos, I most often dig out a decades-old, vintage-olive-green electric knife that we somehow inherited through the years. Works great, too!

Ok. Now that I’ve walked you through all the steps and hints and tips, I can’t bring myself to publish this recipe without a nod to its history. It truly is a love story, on multiple levels!

A Decades-Long Love Story

So, I fell in love with the guy (the ONE who would steal my heart forever and ever), right about the same time I fell in love with this steak recipe. Nearly 35 years ago. And the rest is history.

(picture a time warp here, definitely with some 80s music …)

I first met my future-husband, way wayyyyyy back … when I was just 14 years old. I mean, he wasn’t my husband yet. But he was destined to be. He was dreamy and adorable (with a teenage 80s mustache and a mullet OMG) and smart, and always knew how to make me laugh … it was only a matter of time!

This Flank Steak will always be one of the things I remember most clearly about meeting my {future} mother-in-law, Chrissy. And in this one simple recipe, it pretty much sums up some of the very best things about her.

It’s relaxed (dare I say … fun!), it’s wonderful, and it’s low-stress and welcoming. Just like Chrissy is.

Six steak slices on grooved cutting board with meat fork in foreground.

And from all those early memories of meeting his family and starting to fit in there, one of my clearest recollections is of casual, happy family meals at his mom’s pretty home. There was always something wonderful to eat, and despite being a busy working mama, Chrissy always made mealtimes seem stress-free, like a moment of tranquility amid whatever chaos was swirling about in the lives of her three children. And no matter what, she always made me feel welcome, too.

This flank steak recipe was a family favorite long before I ever showed up in their lives. Already playing on regular repeat, to everyone’s delight.

And once I’d grown up and finally married my dreamy high school sweetheart, Chrissy’s Flank Steak recipe went into regular rotation in our new little home, as well.

Then, of course, once we had our own kiddos, it became one of their favorite meals, too – all throughout grill season (and sometimes even when it’s freezing cold here in Ohio and not really grill season at all).

We love it. No exaggeration there. Our entire family’s loved it through years and years, and generations.

And I know YOU’LL love it, too!

What to Serve with Flank Steak

One of our favorite ways to serve this flavorful steak recipe is with garlic-y Grilled Potatoes and maybe some grilled green beans or asparagus.

Six slices of beef on dinner plate with grilled potatoes and asparagus for complete meal.

If you’re firing up the grill, anyway, why not toss some side dishes on those hot grill grates, too? Super easy!

You could also use this as the protein in a satisfying steak salad or in a hearty wrap. Mmmmmm … or how about flank steak tacos, piled high with your favorite Mexican toppings? Trust me, even though we started with Asian-inspired soy sauce, those Mexican vibes will be A-ok!

Some of our other favorite sides that would be fantastic alongside this steak are:

And for dessert? Sticking with the grill theme again … how about:

So many ways to enjoy your Flank Steak … you pretty much can’t go wrong!

FAQs At-a-Glance

Is Flank Steak Healthy?

Flank steak is considered to be one of the healthier beef options because it’s a leaner cut of meat, yet high in protein. If you keep an eye on your portion size, it’s one of the healthiest steak options you can choose.

How Long to Grill Flank Steak?

It takes about 11-14 minutes for a perfectly grilled flank steak. Our favorite method is to sear it quickly over high heat for about 2 minutes per side, to get pretty grill marks. Then reduce the heat or move the steak to a cooler section of your grill, to finish grilling over a more moderate, medium heat. The exact timing will depend on the thickness of your steak and the exact temperature settings of your grill. Remember that you’ll want to rest the flank steak for about 5-10 minutes before you cut it, and it will continue to cook a little from residual, internal heat during that resting time. So, you may want to take your steak off the grill slightly before it’s “perfect,” to avoid overcooking this potentially tough cut of beef.

How Do You Cook Flank Steak So It’s Not Tough?

Flank steak is best served medium-rare, or medium at the very most. Because it’s such a very lean cut of beef, it dries out and toughens if overdone. It’s also important to cut it properly – thinly and against the grain – to ensure you get to enjoy a tender, juicy steak.

How Much Marinade Is Absorbed by Meat?

This varies depending on a variety of factors, including the cut of meat and the marinade itself. So, there isn’t a definitive answer that can help you precisely calculate absorption, for purposes such as figuring out the nutrition of a recipe. To calculate the nutrition information for this specific Flank Steak recipe, I used the assumption proposed by Essential Health – that roughly 1/3 of a marinade’s sodium and calories would be absorbed.

The next time you need a dinner idea that’s quick to prep and quick to cook (wait … isn’t that practically every night?!?) … try this deliciously Quick Flank Steak recipe.

All the flavor, none of the fuss!

7 slices fanned on wooden cutting board with the rest of steak behind.

Try it and see why this easy little recipe has been such a favorite with generations of friends and family … for several decades running.

I just bet you’ll fall in LOVE, too!

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Several slices on wooden board with meat fork.

Quick Flank Steak Recipe

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Wait Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 12 minutes

This ultra-simple, marinated and grilled Flank Steak recipe has been a family favorite for decades. Only 2 ingredients, yet it's flavorful, tender and delicious, every single time!

 •  Includes Make-Ahead Steps  

Ingredients

  • 1 pound beef flank steak (trimmed of obvious external fat, if needed)
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce (we use Kikkoman Less Sodium)

Instructions

  1. Place flank steak in a heavy-duty, gallon-sized zipper bag. Pour soy sauce into the bag, thoroughly coating the steak. Zip the bag closed, removing most of the air as you do.
  2. Place the bag in the refrigerator, making sure that the steak is laying flat and is well coated in the soy sauce. (If you're concerned the bag may leak, you can double-bag the steak or place the marinating bag inside a 9x13 pan.) If you think of it, turn the bag occasionally throughout the marinating time, although this shouldn't be truly necessary if you've coated the steak well with the marinade. Let the steak marinate for at least 2 hours, but preferably closer to 8 hours. (See notes below.)
  3. Prepare your grill and preheat on high heat.
  4. Remove the flank steak from the marinade (discarding marinade) and sear on each side for about 2 minutes, to develop nicely seared "grill marks."
  5. Turn the heat down (on a gas grill) to about medium or move the steak to a cooler part of the grill (on a charcoal grill). Continue grilling until the steak is about medium rare to medium (see notes on doneness), about 7-10 minutes more. Remember that grills vary widely in temperature settings, so the settings and times you use may need to be adjusted according to your specific grill.
  6. Remove steak from the grill to a clean plate and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
  7. Slice very thinly across the grain of the steak (see photos in post) and serve immediately.

Notes

Marinating time: We've tested a wide variety of times with this flank steak marinade recipe, and prefer marinating for 6-8 hours, so the steak becomes really flavorful. In a pinch, we've marinated for just 2 hours and even tested marinating for only 30-40 minutes. While those shorter marinating times are ok if you forget to begin marinating earlier in the day, there really is a big flavor difference, and your steak will be much more flavorful if you are able to marinate longer.

Doneness: Flank steak can be one of the tougher cuts of meat if it's not cooked and cut properly. The best way to ensure juicy, tender steaks is to grill flank steaks only to about medium-rare (medium at the very most – remembering that steaks continue to cook a little further, through residual heat, during the resting time), and then to cut thin slices across the grain. Note, however, that when the middle, thicker part of your steak is a perfect medium-rare, the thinner, tapered ends will generally be more well done, which is perfect if some people at your table prefer their beef a bit more fully cooked. (Refer to additional details and photos in the post above about precise doneness temperatures, resting times, and how to cut your steak.)

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 of steak
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 223Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 412mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 32g

It's difficult to pinpoint precisely how much marinade (and its calories, sodium, etc.) are absorbed into meat. To calculate the nutrition information for this specific Flank Steak recipe, I used the assumption that roughly 1/3 of the 1/2 cup of marinade would be absorbed into 1 pound of flank steak. Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

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