With a few simple tricks and this savory, smoky Flank Steak Marinade, you can use pantry ingredients to transform a tough cut of beef into something tender, juicy, and flavorful—like magic!
Why You’ll Love This Flank Steak Marinade Recipe
- It’s Not Your Average Steak Marinade. Instead of using the standard Worcestershire sauce, this marinade combines soy sauce with honey for the perfect balance of sweet, savory, and umami flavors. Fresh ginger brings some warmth, while garlic, chili powder, and cumin add big, bold flavors that complement the beefiness of flank steak.
- Your Flank Steak Will Be Tender and Juicy. Flank steak has a reputation for being tough, but marinating it first helps tenderize the meat. While I love my Salmon Marinade and Chicken Marinade, this marinade is developed specifically for flank steak.
- You Can Use It for Grilling or Broiling. During the summer, use this marinade for my smoky Grilled Flank Steak recipe. When it’s not grilling weather, turn on your broiler and cook your steak in the oven. Either way, it tastes outstanding.
- It’s Made With (Mostly) Pantry Ingredients. Other than the ginger and maybe the garlic, you probably have everything you need for this marinade already. Just add flank steak and you’re good to go!
- Marinated Flank Steak Is the Perfect Addition to Your Next Dinner. Use it for Flank Steak Tacos, Steak Fajitas, Steak Sandwiches, Steak Salad, or add it to a bowl of brown rice with stir fried veggies.
How to Make Flank Steak Marinade
- Flank Steak. Flank steak should be smooth, with a deep red color and no membrane. Unlike skirt steak, flank steak is a lean cut of meat, so there shouldn’t be very much fat on it.
- Low-Sodium Soy Sauce. This brings plenty of savory, umami flavor to the table—without making it too salty.
- Canola Oil. I like using canola oil here because it has a higher smoke point than extra-virgin olive oil.
- Honey. A light-colored honey will sweeten your marinade, while a darker honey will add sweetness and a subtle honey flavor. If you prefer, you can use brown sugar. For more smokiness, use maple syrup.
- Garlic. No list of steak marinade ingredients would be complete without garlic!
- Fresh Ginger. Don’t substitute ground ginger! Fresh ginger has a warmer, punchier flavor that doesn’t compare to the dried stuff. Don’t want to mince it? I get it! Look for it sold in a tube in the refrigerated section or frozen in convenient cubes.
- Chili Powder. Chili powder adds some very mild heat—for a little extra, try adding red pepper flakes or cayenne too.
- Ground Cumin. Cumin is earthy and a little bit citrusy, adding depth to this flank steak marinade.
- Ground Black Pepper. You can add even more if you like your steak peppery.
- Prep the Steak. Pat the steak dry, then score it with a knife and place it in a zip-top bag.
- Make the Marinade. Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients.
- Marinate. Add the flank steak marinade to the bag with the steak and marinate in the refrigerator.
- Cook. Grill the steak over high heat or broil it in the oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 130 degrees F.
- Rest and Serve. Transfer the grilled flank steak to a plate, cover it with aluminum foil, and let it rest. Thinly slice the steak against the grain, then serve. ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover flank steak in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- To Reheat. Reheat leftovers in a 350 degree F oven, or in a skillet on the stove. You can also warm up the steak in the microwave, but the oven or stovetop are preferable.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftover steak in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating according to the instructions above.
Meal Prep Tip
You can make the flank steak marinade a day in advance and keep it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
What to Serve with Flank Steak Marinade
- Veggie Sides. Simple side dishes like Sauteed Broccoli and Roasted Mushrooms are an excellent pairing with flank steak.
- Asian-Inspired Dishes. The flavors in this recipe complement the flavors in Asian dishes like Asian Cabbage Salad and Stir Fry Noodles.
- Fries. Elevate the classic steak-and-fries combo by pairing this marinated flank steak with Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries, Homemade Fries, or Zucchini Fries.
- Salads. Lay slices of juicy steak atop Arugula Salad or Asian Noodle Salad.
- Potatoes. Keep it light with Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes or make a pan of Oven Roasted Potatoes seasoned with rosemary, oregano, smoked paprika, or Parmesan cheese.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Sharp Chef’s Knife. A high-quality chef’s knife is a kitchen multitasker every cook needs.
- Instant Read Thermometer. Using a thermometer to check for doneness ensures that your steak will be tender and juicy every time.
- Measuring Cup. I like to whisk the flank steak marinade in a measuring cup so I can pour it into the zip-top bag without any spills or drips.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Score the Meat. Even a full day of marinating will only allow the marinade to soak a few millimeters into the surface of the steak. Scoring it before marinating it will help all those flavors penetrate better.
- Don’t Marinate More Than 24 Hours. The steak will begin to break down after a day of marinating, which isn’t what you want! A minimum of 4 hours and a maximum of 24 hours marinating in this flank steak marinade will yield a tender, juicy flank steak.
- Watch the Temperature, Not the Time. The exact cooking time needed will vary depending on the temperature of your grill or oven and the thickness of the meat. This means the best way to tell if your flank steak is done cooking is by using an instant-read meat thermometer. When it reaches 130 degrees F, the steak is ready.
- Don’t Slice It Right Away. Let the flank steak rest, covered, for 10 minutes before you slice it. This will keep the juices from seeping out and give you tender, flavorful slices of beef.
- Cut Thin Slices Across the Grain. This also helps keep the steak tender, as you’ll be cutting through the tough muscle fibers.
Flank Steak Marinade
- Pat the steak dry. With the tip of a sharp knife such as a paring knife, lightly score the steak in a diagonal crisscross pattern, placing the cuts about 1 or so inches apart—your cuts should be very thin and shallow (this isn’t 100% necessary but does help the marinade penetrate more quickly). Place the steak in a gallon ziptop bag.
- In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup with a spout, whisk together the soy sauce, oil, honey, garlic, ginger, chili powder, cumin, and black pepper. Pour over the steak.
- Seal the bag, removing as much air as you can, then turn the steak several times to coat it. Place in a shallow dish to catch any drips. Marinade flank steak in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours, turning 2 to 3 times throughout.
- To cook, remove the steak from the marinade, shaking off any excess (discard the marinade). Cook to medium rare (130°F). You can grill it over high heat for 3 to 4 4 minutes per side (see Grilled Flank Steak for more detail). Or cook it under the broiler: position the rack about 6 inches away from the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place it under the broiler for 5 minutes to preheat. Add the flank steak, then return the sheet to the oven. Broil without flipping for 6 to 8 minutes, until the steak reaches 130°F.
- Remove the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes (do not skip!). Slice VERY thinly (1/8-inch) against the grain. Enjoy warm.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover flank steak in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- TO REHEAT: Reheat leftovers in a 350 degree F oven, or in a skillet. You can also warm up the steak in the microwave, but the oven or stovetop are preferable.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftover steak in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating according to the instructions above.
- Marinade is from my favorite Flank Steak Marinade
- Nutritional information is an estimate and has been calculated without the marinade to account for the fact that most of it will be discarded after use.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, if flank steak is marinated for more than 24 hours, the texture will begin to suffer as the proteins in the meat breakdown.
Acids like balsamic vinegar and lemon juice or lime juice are commonly used to tenderize flank steak, but a lesser-known tenderizer is soy sauce. Like acid, soy sauce will break down the proteins just enough to make for a tender steak. This flank steak marinade is made with low-sodium soy sauce.
No, flank steak is not a cut that works well if you like your meat well-done. Flank steak is best cooked to medium-rare, with pink in the middle and a nice sear on the outside. If you like your steak well-done, try this Air Fryer Steak and cook it a bit longer.
Marinating the flank steak at least 4 hours, letting it rest before slicing, and cutting it THINLY across the grain will keep it from getting tough.