person slicing a meat on brown wooden board

Are you fond of eating steak and usually crave it? Are you familiar with what kind of steak you are eating? A lot of people are fond of steaks but are not familiar with what differentiates one steak from another.

This includes the skirt steak and flank steak. Have you heard about the difference between skirt steak and flank steak? Most of the time, skirt steak and flank steak are used interchangeably in most recipes. And that is true even in the culinary world. It is best to determine the difference between skirt steak vs flank steak to be able to use the right kind of steak in your chosen recipe and to enjoy them in the best way possible. In this article, you will be able to deeply recognize the difference between the two.

What Are the Differences between Skirt Steak and Flank Steak?

The terms: skirt steak and flank steak are interchangeable, as was already established. But, do you realize that after reading this article, you will be able to tell a flank steak from a skirt steak? Here is a list of ways to tell which one is a flank steak from a skirt steak.

1. Anatomical

Both the skirt steak and the flank steak come from cows. The area from which they are cut makes a difference between flank steak and skirt steak. The abdominal muscles on the bottom side of a cow’s belly are used to make flank steak. Meanwhile, a typical flank steak is taken from the back of the cow’s plate, above the shank, and below the bottom sirloin and short loin. Skirt steak is taken from the cow’s diaphragm. It is lean and has tough fibers.

2. Physical

Flank steak and skirt steak are used interchangeably because of their almost similar physical appearance. In this article, you will notice even the tiniest difference between the two based on their physique. Flank steak is rich in muscle content and full of tough muscle fibers. Flank steak is thicker and wider than skirt steak. A good quality cut flank steak has little fat on its end and a small number of connective tissues. Also, flank steak has well-defined and closed-knit fibers that make it easier for slicing.

On the other hand, skirt steak has more tough muscle fibers than flank steak and is darker in color than the flank steak. It is thinner, longer, narrower, and smoother in texture because it contains more grain than flank steak. Skirt steak also includes a row of fat on top and visible muscle fibers.

3. Fat Content

There is almost no need to trim anything in the flank steak as it has the smallest amount of fat content. Skirt steak is the fattiest because it is taken from two different muscles within the chest and the abdomen. So, do not be fooled by how lean the skirt steak is because is a lot of fat content here.

4. Levels of Flavor and Tenderness

Skirt steak is beefier in flavor than flank steak because of its coarse muscle fibers. Flank steak has that rich and intense beefy flavor which goes well when marinated as it helps to make it more tender and use a meat tenderizer. The best approach to tenderize nearly any tougher protein cut, like flank steak, is to use an acidic, flavored marinade. For a juicy medium-rare, the flank is perfect for grilling or pan-searing.

The lengthy muscle fibers of the skirt steak are perfect for soaking up and storing marinades, which will enhance the flavor of your steak. Despite being very tasty, it will benefit from a marinade because it is challenging. For best effect, let it soak in your mixture for several hours or overnight. If you would like, you may just use a dry rub to tenderize the meat that includes kosher salt. To release the flavorful richness and juiciness of the skirt steak, you should slice it across the grain.

4. Cooking Time

If you want to enjoy eating the flank steak and skirt steak, you should cook them in the recommended amount of minutes. Although the cooking times for the two steaks vary, they are both excellent alternatives for high-heat grilling. Cooking a flank steak quickly over high heat is the best method. It can be grilled, seared, or stuffed and is typically cooked for about five minutes on either side.

Cooking skirt steak is simpler than cooking flank steak. You only need two to three minutes to cook a skirt steak, and you are done. Anything more will render your skirt inedible. Here is a tip for cooking your skirt steak on a grill: you should crank up the heat before your skirt steak meets the cooking metal.

While skirt steaks are intended for dishes where the meat is cooked to medium, flank steaks are best suited for recipes where the meat should be fully cooked. Due to its well-defined and flexible meat structure, skirt steaks absorb marinades better than flank steaks.

5. Cutting

You must allow the flank steak to rest for five to ten minutes after cooking it. The meat will have plenty of opportunities to settle throughout the resting period, bringing out its best, most juicy flavor. Then, make a 45-degree downward cut while cutting against the grain. This will make it simpler to rip apart and consume while also aiding in the separation of the fibers. The flank steak will be overly chewy if you cut it against the grain.

For skirt steak, once grilled, you have to let it rest for about five minutes before cutting and serving it. The cutting process for skirt steak involves cutting it along the grain about five to six inches wide. After that, rotate them in a 90-degree and cut thin slices against the grain.


Although it can be difficult to tell one from the other, the preparation that comes with your steak is what matters. Both the flank steak and skirt steak have unique qualities. Flank steaks are larger, thicker, and simpler to cook. But skirt steaks absorb more than flank steaks do. To enjoy both steaks, you might try using them simultaneously. And the secret: prepare them the right way with the right amount of time.