Friday, June 13, 2014

Grilled Cuban Flank Steak Recipe (Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Can Be Paleo)

Flank steak is delicious when it's marinated in Cuban flavors and grilled.

Grilled Cuban Flank Steak Recipe found on

(For Phase One Fridays I feature Phase One Recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites,  and this Cuban Flank Steak is one of my most-used ways to cook beef on the grill.   If you're grilling for a beef-loving Dad this weekend, I can promise this will be a hit!)

In one of my previous lives, before I became a food blogger and a South Beach Dieter, I used to be president of my local teacher's association, aka the teacher's union. This was a demanding high-pressure job that I sometimes loved, sometimes hated, but one thing I did enjoy about the job was the chance to travel. I went all over the U.S., and it was in Miami Beach that I had my first experience with Cuban food. I loved the way beef and pork were marinated in lime juice in the Cuban cuisine, so a few years ago I tried to re-create that flavor in this flank steak. If you like flank steak, give this flavorful Cuban-style marinade a try!

You can't read the price, but this lean flank steak I got at my local market was a bargain. If you're making this for the South Beach Diet, remember the guideline to choose meat with less than 10% fat.

Combine the fresh lime juice, olive oil, cumin, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, soy sauce, Chipotle chile pepper (or hot sauce), and lime zest (if using.) Whisk together.

Put the steak in a Ziploc bag or plastic container with a tight-fitting lid, pour in marinade, and marinate in the refrigerator for 8 hours (or up to 24 hours.)

Let meat come to room temperature while you oil the grill and then preheat to medium high, then grill to desired temperature, 140-145 for medium rare or 155-160 for medium.  (Flank steak is best when it's not cooked above medium. I use my Polder Digital Meat Timer to check the temperature.)
When meat is done, let it rest for 5-minutes before you slice it.

Cut meat into thin slices and serve with fresh lime pieces on the side to squeeze over the meat when you eat it. (I should have cut mine a little thinner!)

Cuban Flank Steak
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

1 large piece of flank steak (this recipes makes enough marinade for 1-3 pounds of meat)

Marinade Ingredients:
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 T soy sauce (or coconut aminos for Paleo version)
1/2 tsp. ground chipotle chile powder (or use your favorite hot sauce)
2 tsp. lime zest (optional)

Combine marinade ingredients. Put flank steak into a ziploc bag and pour marinade in, seal bag, and marinate all day in refrigerator. (You can marinate up to 24 hours if desired.)

Take meat out of refrigerator and let it come to room temperature before grilling. Oil the grill with a paper towel dipped in olive or grapeseed oil, then preheat gas or charcoal barbecue grill to medium-high (you can only keep your hand there for a few seconds.)

Grill meat to desired doneness, approximately 4-5 minutes per side for rare to medium rare or 6 minutes for medium. I wouldn't cook flank steak more than medium or it will be tough. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your flank steak, the best way to judge the doneness is to use an instant-read meat thermometer, cooking to 140-145 for medium rare or 155-160 for medium. (The meat in the photo was cooked about 5 minutes per side.)

Remove meat from grill and let rest about 5 minutes. (You can cover with foil to keep it warm if needed.) Slice across the grain and serve hot, with slices of fresh lime to squeeze on the meat.

South Beach Suggestions:
Lean flank steak is a perfect main dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet or any type of low-glycemic or low-carb eating plan. This would be good with Black Beans with Cilantro (for phase one) or Black Bean, Rice, and Cilantro Salad (for phase 2 or 3) if you want to continue the Cuban menu.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight using The Glycemic Index partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Ideas with Flank Steak:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Marinated Flank Steak from Kalyn's Kitchen

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak from Simply Recipes

Marinated Flank Steak from Humble Recipes

Grilled Flank Steak with Ponzu and Honey Glaze from The Perfect Pantry

Marinated Flank Steak from Sarah's Cucina Bella
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

More to Chew On:


  1. Kalyn, this is one of my 4 standard flank steak marinades. I love it and so does the rest of my family.

    Thanks for sharing it with the rest of the world.

  2. You should try making some Carne Asada!

  3. what beautiful pictures you're taking these days, Kalyn! The pink and the green in that picture ... wow.

  4. Hi Ruth, It's a good combination for flank steak, isn't it?

    Bill (WMM) I'd love to learn to make Carne Asada. I order it at a place near my house. Do you have a good recipe?

    Patl, thanks. I said it before and I'll say it again, it's the camera and Photo Studio in a Box, not me!

  5. That looks incredible.... Wow.

  6. For the dieters out there, I like chipotle-mayo with flank steak. Mayo, roasted garlic, lime juice, tomato paste, canned chipotles, cilantro, salt & pepper.

  7. This looks wonderful Kalyn. I'm making your cilantro marinated halibut for guests tonight. Will try this flank steak later this week.

  8. I love beef! There's another great way to fix it. Thanks!

  9. Kalyn,
    wow, what can I say, the beef is cooked to perfection! I'm totally hopeless in any beef dish (well, except Italian meat balls), now your recipe gives me a good start! Btw, I really love cumin.
    And a thank-you note to you, I just grilled the fish with the coriander source according to your recipe, it's splendid!

  10. Bythebay, thanks!

    Marco, love the sound of your chipotle mayo. I love Chipotle.

    Christine, hope you like the halibut.

    Cyndi, it was really good.

    Gattina, your new grill must have arrived. I'm glad you like the Halibut with Garlic and Cilantro Sauce. I loved it. Now I might try the same recipe with oregano, since I have a lot of that in my garden surviving the frost.

  11. Hi Kalyn- based on your recommendation, I just ordered Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything" cookbook! It looks awesome!

  12. Becky, it's a great book. He's an unpretentious expert, something I find refreshing. I like all the books of his that I've tried, but this one is such a great resource. Hope you like it.

  13. Actually I know this is a few days old, but I just thought I'd let you know that I tried out this marinade on a steak I cooked for dinner last night, and it tasted great! It was really salty because I accidentally used garlic salt instead of garlic powder (oops), but fortunately I like salty food and I thought it was delish! Thanks!

  14. I'm chuckling because I reposted this with new photos and just noticed there is a comment here complimenting me on the old photos (which were not horrible, but not great. And I'm not 100% happy with the new ones either!)

  15. Kalyn this looks like a recipe well worth repeating. My family would love it.

  16. Thanks Barbara. I like it a lot.

  17. This is really fantastic! Yummy!

  18. can this be made in the oven? I don't have a grill and it looks so delicious!

    I read here that you like chipotle - I would love recommendations from you for favorite recipes with chipotle (especially for phase one - this is my fourth day and it is SO HARD!)

  19. Elle, I'd recommend you enter "chipotle" into the search box; you will find all the recipes on the blog that use it. I never post recipes unless I really like them, so they'll all be good.

    As for phase one, have you found the Phase One Index? There are lots of good recipe ideas there. Hang in there! (I'm doing phase one myself right now to lose a few pounds.)

  20. I am totally DROOLING over this recipe! I just started making flank steak recently and am now wondering what took me so long? Such a delicious cut of meat and so easy to prepare. Your recipe and photos look amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  21. Kudos Kitchen, thanks! I agree, flank steak is such a bargain and so many tasty ways to prepare it.

  22. Hi Kalyn-
    Cubans DO NOT eat chiles. Not one national dish contains anything hot in it. It is of personal choice when someone does. In fact the Habanero pepper is Mexican not Cuban as the name suggests. Everything else but the soy sauce is exactly authentic though. This is actually classic "Cuban Mojo"/"Mojo Criollo" (same thing). Mojo simply means sauce/dipping sauce in Spanish.

  23. Lime is so delicious with so many things. I love Cuban flavors.

  24. Vici, thanks for that information, and actually I'd like this just as well without the hot chili pepper flavor.

    (Sorry if my comment moderation was confusing. The comments don't show up until I publish them. If I don't do that, tons of people leave comments "advertising" things.)

  25. That marinade sounds amazing! Yum.

  26. I was just looking for a flank steak marinade, I think we both got a super deal since it looks exactly like the piece I bought! Your blog is such a blessing.

  27. Renie, thank you. I love hearing that it's helpful for you.

  28. Very nice flavorful marinade for one of my favorite cuts of beef. I'm saving this one!

  29. One can never have enough steak marinades! My son is not a beef eater, so when my daughter was little I just never gave her beef. When she was about 4 she had her first taste and her eye went wide with absolute pleasure! This will be right up her alley. Thanks!

  30. Christine, thanks. I think you'll like it if you try it.

    Kim, cute story! Hope it's a hit with her.

  31. So often I prepare flank steak with a soy sauce-based marinade (which I love), but want a little variety. This looks like just the ticket!

  32. Oh yum, this marinade sounds delish I have to try it soon. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Debs, it's a keeper; hope you like it.

  34. This is really something. I'm keeping this and the next time the bbq is used, I'm definitely using your marinade. My husband thanks you already. Haha. Cheers!

  35. Sarah, tell your husband he's welcome! (Hope he likes it.)

  36. We made this a few days ago and it was absolutely stellar. We upped the chipotle powder but that's the only change. Our result looked just like the pictures and tasted as good as it looked. Then, since we're overrun with tomatoes, we made a pico de gallo to go over it and we had peaches/cream corn on the cob. What a great meal. Thanks!

    (Marcia, leaving your e-mail address in a blog comment is not a good idea unless you want a lot of spam e-mail, so I took it out.

  37. Marcia, so glad it was a hit. Love the sound of Pico de Gallo with this.

  38. This looks great, but before I try it out I wanted to know if this has a lot of fire behind it? I'm not that big on spicy and I was wondering if this would taste good without the hot sauce, or if you could recommend a nice flavorful substitute without a lot of heat.

  39. Amanda, I think it would taste great without the spiciness. I'd just leave out the Chipotle or use the tiniest amount of hot sauce.

  40. Hi Kalyn,

    Thanks for the recipe. Just made this tonight. Hubby and I enjoyed it.

    I made a super big salad of romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots and blue cheese, and put the flank steak on top. It was delicious!

    Also cheated on the marinade as I did not have any fresh limes at home...used lemon juice in a bottle instead.

    It is definitely a repeat marinade!

    Just finished marinating some chicken with your other marinade recipe(used the red wine vinegar instead, still have not had chance to go to the store to get me some white wine vinegar - will report back)!



  41. Jenn, that sounds like a yummy dinner. (And good to know that the marinade will still work with bottle lemon juice!)

  42. This was so yummy! I made it with a mango-red onion salsa and a side of black beans. Love the marinade, so fresh and flavorful.

  43. Sofia, so glad you enjoyed it!

  44. Is flank steak the same thing as skirt steak?

  45. Cristy, they are not exactly the same. I think skirt steak would work for this, but it might be a little thinner. Here's something I found on the difference between flank steak and skirt steak if you want to read it.

  46. Thanks Kalyn! I couldn't find flank steak at my locally owned grocery store so I asked the workers in the meat department about it and they said skirt steak! I was surprised at that answer because I do use it for fajitas! I live in New Mexico so of course they were out of skirt steak! Must have been a lot of fajitas made yesterday! Thanks for the info!

  47. this recipe was awesome! i did mine with some shoulder steaks that i beat down with a meat mallet. also wrote a post about it and gave you credit for the recipe and a link to this page. thanks again! here's the link to my blog entry....

  48. So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  49. Thanks for posting this! I pinned this a few days ago on Pinterest & this morning was thinking about what to do with the flank steak sitting in my fridge. Can't wait to try out your recipe :)

  50. OMG Kalyn, that looks DELICIOUS! We do a lot of grilled meats and I'm always looking for interesting new marinades. This one fits the bill!

  51. Would this work well for a FLAT IRON Steak??

  52. It wouldn't hurt to marinate flat iron steak in this marinade for a few hours, but flat iron doesn't really need to be marinated; it's much more tender than flank steak. Here is my favorite recipe for Flat Iron Steak.

  53. I love Cuban flavors and like to marinate beef, shrimp and even fish in the lime and cumin. Flank steak on the grill really is the best!


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