An easy stovetop London Broil recipe that highlights the bold, beefy flavor of top round steak and requires very little work. Just make sure you don't overcook it!
The best thing about this recipe, apart from its wonderfully beefy flavor, is how easy is to make. It's a simple recipe that highlights the bold flavor of top round steak and requires very little work.
London broil is traditionally prepared by broiling or grilling a marinated top round steak or flank steak, then cutting the steak into thin strips. However, I like to cook it on the stove, in a cast-iron skillet.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
For the marinade: Balsamic vinegar, soy sauce (or a gluten-free alternative), Dijon mustard, garlic powder, and cumin. You can use any mustard you like, but I do like the creaminess and flavor of Dijon mustard.
Top round steak: I usually get it at the butcher counter at Whole Foods.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the steak could end up too salty.
The detailed instructions for making this recipe are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview.
London broil is very lean and very flavorful. But it can easily become tough. To make sure your steak comes out tender, you need to do three things:
Marinate the beef prior to cooking. Marinating, especially with a marinade that contains vinegar, tenderizes the meat.
Cook the steak to rare (120 degrees F), and certainly to no more than medium-rare (135 degrees F). Note that the USDA will disagree with me on this one, though. They want you to cook steaks to medium.
Expert tip: medium-rare is best
In terms of the level of doneness, I can't stress enough how important it is to cook this particular cut of beef lightly. Rare is best, and as you can see in the photos, that's how I like to cook it. But definitely don't cook it to more than medium-rare.
When cooked to medium or medium-well, it can become tough and difficult to chew, regardless of how long it has been marinated.
The CDC, though, wants us to cook steaks to medium (145 degrees F). So this is really a personal decision. But if you prefer to cook meat to medium, it's probably best to go with cuts of beef that are more tender, such as tenderloin or even sirloin.
Frequently asked questions
Yes! That's exactly how I cook it. I usually get a not-too-thick top round steak (1 inch is good). I marinate it for a few hours, then pan-fry it on the stove in a cast-iron skillet.
If you have a frozen top round steak, it's perfectly fine to marinate it while it's still frozen. I do it often. Simply place the frozen steak in a resealable bag with the marinade and place it in the fridge overnight.
If your cast iron skillet is well seasoned, there's no need to add oil to the pan before frying the steak. If you'd like to add fat to the skillet, it's best to use fats that are appropriate for high heat cooking, such as avocado oil.
Thinly sliced London broil makes the perfect salad topping, the next day for lunch. You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in a sealed container, for 3-4 days.
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Stovetop London Broil with Balsamic Marinade
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or use a gluten-free alternative and add salt as needed)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1.5 lbs. top round steak, 1 - 1.25 inches thick
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (not fine salt)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, garlic powder and cumin. Place the steak in a ziploc bag. Pour the marinade into the bag and rub all over the steak. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Place the bag in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. If you're home while the steak is marinating, flip it once in awhile.
- Remove the steak from the fridge 1-2 hours before cooking, to allow it to reach room temperature.
- Heat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the steak from the bag and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the steak in the hot skillet. Cook it 3 minutes, without moving. Flip to the other side (it should be deeply browned and slightly charred on the first side) and cook 3 more minutes, again without moving it.
- Using oven mitts, remove the skillet from the heat. Tent it with foil, and allow the steak to rest - and finish cooking from the skillet's heat - for 5 minutes. The best way to ensure that the steak is done to your liking is using an instant-read thermometer. Rare is 120-130 degrees F (a warm red center). Medium-rare is 130-135 degrees F (mostly pink center with some red in the middle).
- Transfer the London Broil to a cutting board. Slice it very thinly, and serve.