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How long should a flank steak be cooked on each side?

Quick Answer

For a medium-rare flank steak that is about 1 inch thick, cook for 4-5 minutes per side. For a medium flank steak, cook for 5-6 minutes per side. For well-done, cook for 6-7 minutes per side. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.

How Thick Should a Flank Steak Be?

Flank steak is a thin, flat cut of beef from the abdominal muscles of the cow. It is long and narrow in shape. When purchasing flank steak at the grocery store, it is common to find steaks that are about 1 inch thick. However, thickness can range from 3/4 inch to 1 1/4 inches.

Here are some general guidelines for flank steak thickness:

Thickness Description
3/4 inch Very thin flank steak, best for grilling quickly or slicing into strips
1 inch Standard thickness that is commonly found at the grocery store
1 1/4 inches Thicker flank steak that may require slightly longer cooking time

When following a recipe, pay attention to the thickness called for, as it will impact the cooking time. If you cannot find the thickness specified, plan to adjust the cooking time accordingly. A thinner steak will need less time, while a thicker one may need additional minutes per side.

Determining Doneness of Flank Steak

Flank steak is typically cooked to medium-rare or medium doneness. Here are some ways to test the doneness:

Touch test: Lightly press on the steak with your finger. A rare steak will feel soft and spongy, medium-rare will be firm with some give, and medium will be firmer.

Cut into it: Use a knife to peek inside the steak. Rare steak will be bright red throughout. Medium-rare will have a red center that transitions to pink nearer the surface. Medium will have a thin line of pink.

Temperature: Use an instant-read meat thermometer for the most accurate reading. Insert into the thickest part of the steak.

Doneness Temperature
Rare 120-125°F
Medium-rare 130-135°F
Medium 140-145°F

Grilling Times for 1 Inch Flank Steak

For a flank steak that is 1 inch thick, here are approximate grilling times per side:

Doneness Grilling Time Per Side
Rare 3-4 minutes
Medium-rare 4-5 minutes
Medium 5-6 minutes
Well-done 6-7 minutes

Keep in mind that grilling times are approximate. The exact time will depend on the intensity of your grill’s heat. Use a meat thermometer to confirm the steak has reached your desired level of doneness. Also, let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes after grilling before slicing into it.

Tips for Grilling Flank Steak

Here are some helpful tips for grilling flank steak:

– Bring steak to room temperature before grilling. This helps it cook more evenly.

– Use direct high heat on the grill. Flank steak should be seared over direct flame. Avoid cooking over indirect heat.

– Only flip the steak once. Give each side enough time to get a good char.

– Slice across the grain after cooking. This makes the meat more tender.

– Add a marinade, spice rub, or sauce. Flank steak benefits from added flavor.

– Don’t overcook. Flank steak gets tough if cooked past medium. Use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking.

– Let rest before slicing into it. 5-10 minutes of resting allows juices to redistribute for more tender and juicy meat.

Other Cooking Methods for Flank Steak

While grilling is a very popular cooking method for flank steak, it can also be prepared using:

– Broiling: This oven cooking method mimics grilling. Place steak on a broiler pan and broil for a few minutes per side until desired doneness.

– Pan searing: Cook steak in a heavy pan over high heat. Use just 1-2 minutes per side to get a nice sear while keeping the interior medium-rare.

– Stir frying: Cut steak across the grain into thin strips. Stir fry in a wok or skillet over high heat just until cooked through.

– Braising: Brown steak first, then braise in liquid at low temperature until very tender. The long cook time helps tenderize flank steak.

– Slow cooker: Add whole or sliced steak to a slow cooker with other ingredients like tomatoes, onions, peppers. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.

Serving Suggestions for Flank Steak

Flank steak has an excellent beefy flavor when served simply with salt and pepper. But it also takes well to various seasonings and sauces:

– Chimichurri – This South American herb sauce adds a fresh, tangy flavor.

– Teriyaki – For an Asian inspired marinade, use a teriyaki sauce or stir fry with a teriyaki glaze.

– Steak sauce – A savory sauce like A1 steak sauce, barbecue sauce or steakhouse mushrooms are all good choices.

– Spice rubs – Spice up flank steak with dry rubs using chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, brown sugar and other spices.

– Salsa – As a leaner cut, flank steak benefits from the added moisture of pico de gallo, salsa verde or other fresh salsas.

– Compound butter – Top grilled or broiled flank steak with a flavored butter blended with herbs and spices.

Slice flank steak as thinly as possible across the grain before serving to maximize tenderness. Pair it with sides like a salad, roasted potatoes, rice pilaf or grilled vegetables. Use leftovers for tacos, sandwiches or stir fries.


Flank steak is a flavorful, lean cut that can be prepared to various doneness levels. For a 1 inch thick steak cooked to medium-rare, allow about 4-5 minutes per side on the grill or under the broiler. Check for your desired doneness with a meat thermometer, as temperatures will range from 130-135°F for medium-rare steak. Let flank steak rest after cooking before slicing thinly across the grain. Season or marinate the steak for added flavor. Flank steak also cooks well when pan seared, stir fried or braised. Serve with chimichurri, teriyaki, salsa, steak sauce or other toppings and pair with vegetable sides.