How to Reverse Sear Flank Steak

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Photo by Kasumi Loffler

Flank steak comes from the abdominal area of a cow, so as you’d expect, it can become tough if not cooked properly. That’s because of its muscle content that needs some extra TLC during the cooking process.


Reverse searing is one cooking method that can help break down those tough fibers to result in a more tender flank steak. This method cooks the steak evenly and slowly in the oven, allowing the meat to tenderize as it roasts. Then, you crisp the outside in a pan to add texture and flavor.

Preparation for Reverse Sear Flank Steak

Before you learn how to reverse sear flank steak, let’s go over a few quick preparation steps.

Flank Steak Prep

Remove the steak from the refrigerator 45 minutes before you’re ready to cook it. Salt it generously on both sides, using your fingers to push the salt into the steak. Keep it at room temperature for the full 45 minutes. Right before cooking, sprinkle the steak with black pepper and your choice of other seasonings.

Stove Prep

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in a cast-iron skillet. If you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, a regular non-stick skillet will work. Set the pan aside until you’re ready to sear, which happens after you take the steak out of the oven.

Oven Prep

Move an oven rack into the middle position in the oven. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees 10 minutes before cooking. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by spraying it lightly with cooking oil.

Cooking Time

To cook flank steak using the reverse sear method to medium-rare, set aside about one hour, total. The steak takes 30-45 minutes in the oven and about 5-6 minutes to sear. Then, you’ll need 5-10 minutes to rest the steak before serving.

Final Temperature

The following temperature chart can help you determine the proper temperature range for flank steak when removing it from the oven (second column) and after searing and resting it (final column) for your preferred steak doneness.

Steak DonenessTemperature to Remove from OvenFinal Temperature
Medium-rare125°F-130°F130°F-135°F
Medium135°F-140°F140°F-145°F
Medium-well145°F-150°F150°F-155°F
Well-done155°F-160°F160°F-165°F

Reverse Sear Flank Steak to Medium Rare 

To reverse sear a flank steak to medium-rare, set the oven to 225. After seasoning the steaks, transfer them to the oven on a rimmed baking sheet to cook for 30-45 minutes. Then, sear on each side for 2-3 minutes before resting at room temperature on a foil-tented plate for 5 minutes.

Reverse Sear Flank Steak Tips

Boost your chances of success when reverse searing flank steak by following the tips below:

Use a High-Heat Oil

Searing steak requires some oil in the pan, which keeps the steak from sticking and helps create that crispy outer edge. However, searing uses high heat, so it’s important to use an oil that can withstand those high temperatures. We recommend olive oil, mostly because it withstands the typical high searing temperatures without adding flavor to the steak. However, other contenders can do the same, including canola oil and avocado oil.

Use a Thermometer for Accuracy

Flank steak is on the thinner side, so it doesn’t take as long to cook as other steaks. Still, you should check the internal temperature of your steak with a meat thermometer to ensure that it meets your desired doneness level. Check the temperature after removing the flank steak from the oven and again after searing to gauge accuracy.

Choosing the Right Cut

At Chicago Steak Company, we’re all about quality steaks. We promote Premium Angus, USDA Prime, and Wagyu steaks because they’re top-quality based on the USDA’s standards of steaks. Try to look for these labels when buying flank steak to reverse sear.

For best results, also look for dry-aged or wet-aged labels. The weeks-long aging process churns out steaks with excellent flavor and texture using innovative techniques in a controlled environment, resulting in even yummier steaks on your dinner plate.

Reverse Sear Flank Steak Instructions

We’ve broken down the instructions for how to reverse sear flank steak to make them easy to follow:

Step 1: Prepare for Cooking

Remove steaks from the refrigerator and place them on a clean plate or cutting board. Salt them on both sides, and move them to the side to rest for 45 minutes. Spray cooking spray onto a rimmed baking sheet. About 10 minutes before you’re ready to cook your steaks, preheat the oven to 225 degrees.

Step 2: Reverse-Sear Flank Steak

Add black pepper and whatever other spices you’d like to the steak on both sides before placing them on the baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven’s middle rack. Set a timer for 30 minutes. Use a thermometer to check that the temperature falls in the range of your desired doneness using the temperature chart above. If not, cook for another 5-10 minutes, checking with the thermometer until the steak reaches the right temperature.

Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat with a drizzle of oil. Sear the steaks on each side for 2-3 minutes. 

Step 3: After Cooking

Move the steaks to a clean cutting board or plate tented with foil to rest for 5 minutes. 

Reverse Sear Flank Steak Recipe

Serves: 2

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cooking time: 1-1 ½ hours

Ingredients:

  • 1-1 ½ pounds of flank steak
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • Olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Season steak on both sides with salt. Keep at room temperature for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Add black pepper to both sides of the steak. Transfer to the middle oven rack. Cook for 30-45 minutes, using a meat thermometer to check the temperature. Preheat a cast-iron skillet with a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Sear for 2-3 minutes on each side.
  3. Move steaks to a clean plate tented with foil to rest for 5 minutes.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Reverse Searing

Should you choose reverse searing for flank steak over other cooking methods? Here are a few pros and cons:

Advantages

  • Helps cook flank steak evenly without overdrying
  • Doesn’t take as long as sous vide
  • Can create a more tender flank steak than other methods

Disadvantages

  • It might take some practice to perfect
  • Not as quick as grilling or regular pan-searing

Reverse-Seared vs Pan-Seared

Pan searing a flank steak requires you to sear the steak first in a pan before finishing it in the oven. With reverse-searing, you reverse the process to oven-cook the steak first and finish with a sear. Reverse-searing can result in a more even cook, allowing the inside of the steak to rise in temperature before searing.

FAQs for Reverse Sear Flank Steak

Can you reverse sear flank steak?

Yes. Reverse-searing flank steak takes about one hour total for medium-rare. It’s one of the best ways to ensure that you get a crispy steak without overcooking it.

How long does it take to reverse sear flank steak?

A medium-rare flank steak takes about one hour to cook with the reverse sear method.

How should I season flank steak before reverse-searing?

Season both sides with salt and leave them at room temperature for 45 minutes before cooking. Right before transferring the steaks to the oven, sprinkle black pepper and any other seasonings you prefer, like garlic powder or steak seasoning.

Can I reverse sear flank steak to medium?

Yes. While we suggest medium-rare for flank steak, medium works, too. Simply keep the steak in the oven for 5-10 minutes longer than you would for medium-rare steak, and check it with a thermometer to ensure that it’s between 135°F-140°F before searing.

reverse seared flank steak served with french fries

Reverse Seared Flank Steak

Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Servings 2 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1-1.5 lbs flank steak
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • cooking spray
  • olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Season steak on both sides with salt. Keep at room temperature for 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Add black pepper to both sides of the steak. Transfer to the middle oven rack. Cook for 30-45 minutes, using a meat thermometer to check the temperature. Preheat a cast-iron skillet with a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Sear for 2-3 minutes on each side.
  • Move steaks to a clean plate tented with foil to rest for 5 minutes.