Balsamic Rosemary Flat Iron Steak

published Dec 28, 2021
Flat Iron Steak Recipe

It takes under 30 minutes to make this incredibly tender flat iron steak.

Serves 4

Prep10 minutes

Cook12 minutes to 15 minutes

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Flat iron is considered to be the second most tender cut, after the tenderloin.
Credit: Meleyna Nomura

Flat iron steak did not actually exist until this century. Around the year 2000, meat scientists conducted a study focusing on cheaper parts of the cow traditionally turned into hamburger to look for undiscovered cuts. This research led to the discovery of the flat iron. Sidled up to the shoulder bone under a ton of connective tissue and separated with a fat layer of sinew, it requires quite a bit of butchery to extract. But it was a treasure hunt indeed— the flat iron is both very tender and has a ton of beefy flavor. It’s great with just salt and pepper, but holds up well to a marinade.

There are only four flat iron steaks per animal (two for each shoulder). Because of this you might not see it regularly stocked in the meat case, but it’s worth asking if they have any behind the counter.

Credit: Meleyna Nomura

Is Flat Iron Steak Tender or Tough?

Flat iron is considered to be the second-most tender cut, after the tenderloin. It’s cut from the shoulder, a well-worked muscle whose cuts (chuck and brisket) typically require long, slow cooking to yield tender results. But the flat iron is buried deep within the muscle, requiring quite a bit of skill to find this tender piece.

What’s the Difference Between Flank Steak and Flat Iron Steak?

While flat iron and flank have a similar wide, flat shape, they’re actually very different cuts. 

  • Flat iron comes from the shoulder, while flank steak comes from the belly area (the flank). 
  • Flat iron steak has a lot more fat marbling and a denser structure. Flank is quite lean with a more open structure.
  • Flat iron steak is quite tender, whereas flank has a chewier texture.

Flat Iron Steak Recipe

It takes under 30 minutes to make this incredibly tender flat iron steak.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 12 minutes to 15 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 2 sprigs

    fresh rosemary

  • 2 cloves


  • 2

    medium scallions

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon

    balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon

    soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon

    Dijon mustard

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    ground coriander

  • 1

    (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-pound) flat iron steak

  • 2 tablespoons

    neutral cooking oil, such as canola


  1. Prepare the following, adding each to a zip-top gallon bag as you complete it: Pick the leaves from 2 fresh rosemary sprigs until you have 2 teaspoons and coarsely chop, smash and peel 2 garlic cloves, trim and cut 2 medium scallions into 1-inch lengths.

  2. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, and stir to combine. Add 1 flat iron steak, press to remove any air, and seal the bag. Massage the steak to coat in the marinade. Place on a plate and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

  3. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the steak and cook, rotating the pan 90° halfway through, until a golden-brown crust forms on the bottom, 4 to 5 minutes total. Flip the steak and repeat browning the second side.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium. Flip the steak and continue to cook, flipping every 1 to 2 minutes, until the thickest part of the steak registers 125°F to 130°F for medium rare, 4 to 6 minutes more (for a total cooking time of 12 to 15 minutes from when the steak first went into the pan). Transfer the steak to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice across the grain to serve.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.