How to Pan Sear a Marinated Flank Steak

by Katina Coleman

appealing image of cooked flank steak on plate with garnish in kitchen setting

MackoFlower/iStock/Getty Images

Flank steaks are a lean cut of beef that often toughens when cooked. Marinating is a solution that not only adds flavor but tenderizes the meat. Uses of flank steak include fajitas, Philly sandwiches and stir-fry. Pan searing is a quick way to cook your flank steaks as it browns the meat at a very high temperature. This technique produces a crispy skin that contrasts with a tender center.

Trim the fat from the flank steaks with a sharp knife.

Place the steaks into a resealable plastic bag.

Pour your marinade over the flank steak in the bag. Use ½ cup marinade for each pound of meat. Use a marinade that consist of a combination of an acid base such as lime or lemon juice, an oil and seasonings.

Seal the bag and leave the steaks on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Turn the bag two or three times to evenly disperse the marinade.

Remove the flank steaks from the marinade and place them on a clean plate. Pat dry with a paper towel. Allow the steaks to rest for ½ hour at room temperature.

Drizzle vegetable oil into an aluminum or cast-iron pan, and heat the pan on the stove until the oil just begins to smoke.

Add your flank steak to the pan. Cook one steak at a time.

Sear each side of the flank steak for 2 to 4 minutes. Use fork or tongs to turn the flank steak once.

Test the flank steak with a meat thermometer for at least an internal temperature of 145 F right before you anticipate the cooking time for your steaks to end.

Remove the flank steaks from the pan with tongs or a fork, and allow it to rest on a cutting board for 3 minutes.


  • Steaks marinated in a sweet and sugary mixture tend to brown more quickly. Monitor your steaks closely to minimize the chances of burning.

    Use a prepackaged marinade or salad dressing if desired. If you plan to make a marinade from your flank steak, bring it to a rolling boil in a saucepan for 2 minutes.

Photo Credits

  • MackoFlower/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Katina Coleman is a research psychologist who has been writing since 2004. She has published and reviewed articles in various academic journals and consults on research projects related to health and education. Her research interests center on patient-doctor communication and cancer health disparities. Coleman holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Wayne State University.