Pan seared flank steak with garlic butter is flavorful and easy to prepare for a weeknight meal. An affordable cut of steak is transformed into a delicious family dinner, served with a rich garlic butter.
This pan seared flank steak with garlic butter requires only a few basic ingredients and about twenty minutes in the kitchen. It's easy enough for a quick weeknight meal, and impressive enough to serve to company.
Flank steak is quickly seared in a hot cast iron pan (just like my ribeye steak recipe!) to make a perfectly juicy and flavorful steak. Topped with a quick garlic butter made in the same pan, this flank steak recipe couldn't be easier.
Try slicing your flank steak thin and plating it on top of some mashed potatoes. Or, serve alongside roasted broccoli and roasted potatoes.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Flank steak is a long, thin, boneless cut of beef. To pan sear steak, you'll want to use a cut of beef that's about 1 to 1 ¼ inch in thickness. Thicker steak will need to be finished in the oven to cook through properly.
- Salt and pepper
- Oil - Choose an oil with a high smoke point, which is ideal for searing steaks at a high temperature. Any oil with a smoke point over 400 degrees Fahrenheit will work, like canola oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, or avocado oil.
- Unsalted butter
- Garlic cloves
- Parsley - optional, as a garnish. Adds color to the dish.
Best pan for searing steaks
I like to sear my steaks in a cast iron skillet. They always sear perfectly, never stick, and cleanup is simple. Plus, cast iron pans are basically indestructible and will last you a lifetime.
For this recipe, you'll need either a cast-iron pan or stainless steel pan. I do not recommend using nonstick cookware for this recipe. It is not safe to heat a nonstick pan to the temperature needed to properly sear a steak.
Oil for searing steaks
You need an oil with a high smoke point when searing steaks on the stovetop. This means that your oil can withstand higher temperatures without smoking/burning.
I recommend canola oil, peanut oil, or any oil with a smoke point over 400 degrees Fahrenheit for best results. While I normally use olive oil in my cooking, I wouldn't recommend it for this recipe.
Here's a great article breaking down the smoke points of many popular oils: Cooking Oils and Smoke Points: What to Know and How to Choose the Right Cooking Oil
Tips for cooking flank steak
Flank steak is a thin, lean, and inexpensive cut of meat. If you've never worked with flank steak, here are a few of my favorite tips for best success:
- Since flank steak is lean, it's important not to overcook it because it can quickly dry out. I suggest cooking flank steak to no more than medium for best results.
- Flank steak is best served thin sliced, cut against the grain. You want to slice your flank steak against the grain because this breaks up the muscle fibers, making your meat more tender.
- Make sure you're thin slicing your flank steak. Thinner slices will have shorter muscle fibers, making them easier to chew.
- Sometimes, a cut of flank steak is unevenly cut (it will have a thick side and a thin side). This will cook unevenly when prepared as one piece. To prevent uneven cooking, cut your steak in half, or into four smaller steaks. Then, cook the similarly sized steaks together (cook your two larger steaks together, then cook your two thinner steaks together).
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure your steak is cooked to your preferred doneness.
What to serve with flank steak
Looking for side dishes to serve next to your flank steak? Here are a few of my favorites:
- Creamy mashed potatoes
- Bacon garlic mashed potatoes
- Parmesan asparagus with lemon butter
- Roasted parmesan frozen broccoli
- Oven roasted potatoes
- Kale cranberry salad with lemon vinaigrette
Pan Seared Flank Steak with Garlic Butter
- 1.5 pounds flank steak
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Gently pat your flank steak dry with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper on each side. If your steak is unevenly cut, or too long for your pan, consider slicing your steak into two or more pieces and cooking them separately for best results.
- In a cast iron (or stainless steel) pan over medium-high heat, add oil. When hot and shimmering, add flank steak with tongs and allow to sear for 2 and ½ minutes on the first side.
- Flip steak and sear for an additional 2 and ½ minutes. For a 1-¼" flank steak (like pictured) this will give you a medium-rare flank steak. Add additional time as needed for a thicker or more well-done steak.
- Cooking times for your steak will vary based on the thickness, size, and shape of your steak. For best success, I suggest using a meat thermometer. You'll want to remove your steak from the pan when the temperature reaches 5 degrees below your desired doneness. The steak will continue to cook slightly while it is resting. - Rare: 125 degrees (Fahrenheit)- Medium-rare: 135 degrees- Medium: 145 degrees- Medium-well: 150 degrees- Well done: 160 degrees
- Once your steak is cooked to your liking, remove from the pan, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice steak thinly and against the grain.
- Meanwhile, turn the heat to medium-low and return pan to heat. Add butter to pan and melt. Add garlic to pan and cook for up to 1 minute, or until garlic begins to brown (garlic will brown quickly - do not walk away).
- Remove from heat and pour garlic butter over flank steak. Optionally, garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Serve and enjoy.
- Here is a great resource to visualize the degrees of doneness for your steak: Degree of Doneness - Certified Angus Beef
- Use an oil with a high smoke point for pan-searing steaks. I recommend canola oil, peanut oil, or vegetable oil. I do not recommend butter or olive oil.
- Since flank steak is a lean cut of meat, I suggest cooking it to no more than medium doneness to prevent your steak from drying out.
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