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Best Flank Steak Marinade

This simple recipe for flank steak marinade is made with just a handful of ingredients and is an easy way to infuse delicious flavors like garlic, lime juice, and cumin into your meat while keeping it juicy and melt-in-your-mouth tender!  

Sliced flank steak on cutting board.
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Easy Flank Steak Marinade Recipe

This simple flank steak marinade is an easy way to infuse a ton of flavor into an already flavorful cut of meat. It helps to ensure a tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth bite that tastes amazing.

All it takes is a combination of oil, lime juice, fresh garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper, and a marinating time of just 30 minutes! 

The great thing about a marinade is that it’s pretty flexible on ingredients and seasonings and below I’m sharing some ideas for substitutions.

I use it for my grilled flank steak recipe, which is especially tasty in flank steak tacos, but it also works for skirt steak, sirloin, and even poultry and seafood too! 

Why We Love Marinade For Flank Steak

  1. Texture. The acid in the lime juice helps to break down the tough fibers in the meat. The oil helps to keep it moist. They work together to make what is normally a tough cut of beef, nice and tender.
  2. Flavor. Lime, garlic, and cumin add delicious flavor to the meat that can be enjoyed with some mashed potatoes or used in recipes like tacos, quesadillas, salads, etc.
  3. Super simple. Marinated flank steak doesn’t need to be complicated or take hours to develop flavor. You can keep it for longer, but this simple recipe requires just 30 minutes and a handful of ingredients.

Why do you Marinate Flank Steak?

It helps meat become even more tender and flavorful. The marinade penetrates the surface of the meat infusing all of it with whatever flavors are in the marinade making it super tasty. 

Switching things up with a marinade means you can make a completely different meal. Sometimes you might want to use an easy steak marinade or switch it up to a teriyaki steak marinade, or steak fajita marinade. It just depends on what you’re in the mood for. 

It’s also great for caramelizing a crust while it’s searing on the grill!

Flank steak marinade ingredients on countertop.

Marinade Ingredients

See full printable recipe below.

  • Flank steak: This marinade makes enough to coat a 1-pound boneless piece. You can easily double or triple the amount of marinade if needed.
  • Olive oil: Helps keep the meat nice and moist while keeping the acidity mellowed out. If you don’t have olive oil you can use vegetable oil.
  • Lime: We use both the juice and zest of the lime for a fresh vibrant flavor. The acid is what helps break down the muscle fibers. If you don’t have lime, use lemon juice instead, or 1-2 Tablespoons of vinegar.
  • Garlic: Tips on how to mince garlic are useful. Take a look and keep it saved for all sorts of recipes.
  • Cumin: An earthy warm spice commonly used in Latin and Indian cuisine. 
  • Salt & pepper: Kosher salt to ensure you’re not oversalting while drawing out the moisture and black pepper to balance it out.

How to Make Flank Steak Marinade Recipe

  1. Combine marinade ingredients and whisk them together in a large bowl. Add the flank steak and submerge it into the mixture, making sure to coat the entire surface of the meat. 
  2. Allow it to marinate for at least 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature if you plan on using it right away. If not, keep it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Cover it in plastic wrap if you’re worried about the smell in your fridge. Bring it back to room temperature about 30 minutes before cooking.
  3. Transfer the meat to a preheated grill and cook until the steak has reached your desired level of doneness. I like mine medium-rare with a caramelized crust, which takes about 6 minutes per side. 
  4. Rest the meat before cutting it into thin slices. Use a sharp knife and slice against the grain. Serve as desired.

Temperature Guide

Depending on the thickness of your meat and how you like yours, here’s a quick guide to internal temperatures:

  • Medium Rare (130°-140°F) 
  • Medium (140°-150°F) 
  • Medium Well (150°-160°F)
  • Well (Over 160°F)

This guide works for grilling directly on the grate, using a grill pan, a large cast-iron skillet on the stove top, or using the oven to broil your steak. In the end, using a meat thermometer is the most accurate way to achieve perfect results!

Flank steak marinating in glass bowl.

Marinade Flavor Variations

Meat usually needs fat and acid as the base (like oil and citrus or vinegar). Other than that, you can get creative with all the seasonings! 

  • Add red pepper flakes for some heat.
  • A dollop of Dijon mustard can add a kick! 
  • Flavored vinegar like red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar can change the flavor profile from the lime to something a little different.
  • Worcestershire sauce or low sodium soy sauce can add umami flavor if that’s what you like. 
  • Garlic powder can replace fresh garlic in a pinch. Onion powder is great too.
  • Fresh ginger can also pack a punch! 
  • Paprika pairs well with cumin for extra flavor and a bit of smokiness. 
  • Herbs like oregano, rosemary, and fresh cilantro always pair well with beef

Make Ahead 

Prep the marinade up to 3 days in advance by combining the ingredients and storing it in a mason jar or covered bowl. Do not marinate the meat that long, no more than 24 hours. 

I prefer to prep the meat in the morning, have it marinate all day, and then grill it that same evening. 

FAQs

Can I reuse marinade?

NO! It has been contaminated with raw meat. As soon as you transfer your meat to the grill, discard the remaining marinade.

What happens if I marinate the meat for too long?

If you leave the meat for too long, it can start to break down completely and become mushy.

How to store leftover steak?

Cooked meat can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Sliced flank steak on a wooden cutting board.

More Ways to Season Steak

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Flank steak marinating in glass bowl.

Best Flank Steak Marinade

5 from 6 votes
This simple recipe for flank steak marinade is made with just a handful of ingredients and is an easy way to infuse delicious flavors like garlic, lime juice, and cumin into your meat while keeping it juicy and melt-in-your-mouth tender!  
Prep Time: 5 mins
Marinade: 30 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound boneless flank steak
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lime , juiced and zested
  • 2-3 garlic cloves , chopped or minced
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lime, garlic, salt, cumin, and pepper. Add the flank steak and marinate at least 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Set out 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Using tongs, transfer meat to a preheated grill and cook until it reaches desired doneness (about 6 minutes per side for medium rare (130°-140°F), depending on thickness of steak). Remove from grill and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
  • Cut against the grain and serve as desired.

Notes

Meat: This marinade also works great for skirt steak or sirloin. 
Citrus: You could also use lemon in place of the lime. If you don’t have any, feel free to add in 1-2 Tablespoons of vinegar. 
Make ahead: This marinade can be made up to 3 days in advance, however I don’t recommend marinating the meat longer than 1 day. Typically I like to add the meat in the morning and grill that evening. 
Storage: Discard any leftover marinade and do not reuse since it has touched raw meat. You can store leftover meat in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. 
Steak doneness: 
  • Medium Rare (130°-140°F) 
  • Medium (140°-150°F) 
  • Medium Well (150°-160°F)
  • Well (Over 160°F)

Nutrition

Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 429mg | Potassium: 282mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 11IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Author: Jamielyn Nye

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