How to Cook Skirt Steak
How to Cook Skirt Steak

Skirt Steak is every meat lover’s dream! This thin, quick-cooking cut is packed with meat flavor and stays tender and juicy after a quick sear in a hot pan. Learn how to cook a skirt steak with finesse with these simple tips.

In this recipe

  • What is skirt steak?
  • Skirt steak versus flank steak
  • Cook skirt steak
  • Cut skirt steak
  • Marinate skirt steak
  • taste ideas
  • Serve skirt steak

Oftentimes, a crisp piece of ribeye or fillet will grab your attention at the market. However, there are other options for delicate, flavorful, and more affordable cuts that are often overlooked. Next time a beef craving strikes, try something new and exciting and grab the unsung skirt steak.

Skirt steak can easily be seasoned or marinated for added enjoyment – it’s often used to make fajitas. It is best cooked briefly at high heat to bring juicy slices of meat to the dining table quickly.

Skirt steak is a thin, long piece with a visible grain. It comes from the short plate or membrane area of ​​the ox, just below the rib section.

There are actually two types – the outside skirt steak and the inside skirt steak. This is important to know as the texture and tenderness will vary, especially as this cut tends to be lean with some tough muscle fibers.

  • The outer skirt is more desirable because it is tender and less coarse. It will be about three to four inches wide, about 1/2 to 1 inch thick, and noticeably longer compared to the inside cut.
  • The inner skirt is wider, about five to seven inches, half as thick, and gives a tougher bite. If only the inner skirt is available, use a mallet to tenderize it to 1/4-inch thickness plus some marinade.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if the steak you’re looking at is an inside or outside cut, especially since the beef is folded when it’s packaged. If the butcher is available, I recommend asking for the location of the cut.

What is the difference between skirt steak and flank steak?

Both the skirt steak and flank steak are lean cuts of beef that are often grilled, stove-roasted, or pan-fried.

Flank steak comes from the flank primal, the belly area right next to the short plate where the skirt is. It has a less intense meat flavor compared to the skirt and is noticeably thicker.

A good visual clue is that on the skirt steak, the grain runs across the width of the meat, while the flank runs lengthwise. For both steaks, you should cut across the grain to end up with a tender slice.

What is the best way to cook skirt steak?

Skirt steak is best seared in a hot pan. A cast iron skillet or a sizzling grill are my top picks. Here are some more tips for cooking the best skirt steak!

  • Dry the surface for a better crust: I always dry the surface of my steak before I season or sear it. Excess moisture creates steam and reduces the chance of a nice crust forming on the steak.
  • Do not overcook: A quick hot sear creates a flavorful browned crust, and undercooking by just a minute lessens the fear of going too far. The best texture is achieved after just a few minutes of contact on the heated surface to medium-hard doneness. Skirt steak is thin and lean, resulting in an extremely dry and tough steak if it goes past medium or medium doneness.
  • Cook hot! Cook it quickly on high heat instead of low heat for slow cooking. There isn’t much connective tissue in the skirt steak. Fattier cuts of meat with lots of connective tissue do better when cooked over a longer period of time over low heat, as the low-and-slow method helps break down connective tissue. This is not a problem with the skirt steak.

Hot and fast is the best way to cook skirt steak to get a tender cut of meat at the end. The short drying time of just a few minutes on each side ensures a juicy finish.

What is the best way to cut skirt steak?

Be sure to slice the skirt steak across the grain into thin pieces about 1/4 inch thick. I like to hold my knife at a 45 degree angle to create a bevel cut. This adds extra tenderness by creating more surface area between the muscle fibers so they don’t stack, making it easier to eat.

Should You Marinate Skirt Steak?

Marinating the steak can add interesting flavors and aromas to the meat.

Skirt steak has a unique accordion-like structure made up of coarse muscle fibers that provide increased surface area. This means more flavor can be trapped, giving the meat a flavorful boost.

Don’t take more than 30 minutes of marinating time so the flavor doesn’t overwhelm the beef. Instead, serve with some additional sauce for dipping or topping. Be sure to dry the meat after marinating (before cooking).

Need flavor ideas?

The robust flavors of skirt steaks can use some hearty dry rubs or marinades.

Try creating a custom mix of coarse salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, thyme, oregano, mustard, chilli powder, cayenne, or cilantro, or use this Steak Dry Rub recipe!

Get creative with marinades like citrus juice, chopped fresh herbs, garlic, red wine vinegar, or soy sauce for an Asian twist.

How do you serve skirt steak?

Skirt steak can be served as a main course with fried potatoes or grilled vegetables.

My favorite sauce is a tangy avocado chimichurri. Slice for fajitas with sautéed peppers and onions. Lay it on a salad, with veggies like romaine, spring mix, or arugula with a tangy vinaigrette. Chop it up to make quesadillas or nachos.

Whenever I have some leftovers, I always look forward to breakfast the next morning, which I then enjoy with super light eggs, sliced ​​avocados and sautéed spinach.

Need more steak recipes?

  • Skewered skirt steak
  • Flank steak with orange and avocado
  • Flank steak and mushrooms
  • Grilled Chili Lime Flank Steak
  • steak salad.


Watch How to Cook a Skirt Steak

How to cook skirt steak

preparation time
8 minutes

cooking time
15 minutes

total time
23 minutes

4 servings

Open your windows or turn on your air vents if you have any. Searing a steak this way can produce a lot of smoke.


  • 1 lb skirt steak

  • 1 teaspoon kosher saltas needed for seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepperas needed for seasoning

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Cut the steak:

    If the skirt steak comes in one long strip, cut it into 2 or 3 smaller pieces, 5 to 7 inches long. This will make them fit better in the pan and make them easier to cut later.

  2. Drying and seasoning the steak:

    Pat the steaks dry thoroughly on each side with paper towels. The surface should be very dry so that the surface of the meat turns brown. Generously season each side of the steaks with salt and pepper.

  3. Heat the pan:

    Heat a large 12-inch cast iron skillet over high heat for 3 minutes. Once hot, add the olive oil.

  4. Prepare steak:

    Use tongs to gently place the steak in the pan, then press the surface firmly a few times to get more contact. Sear the first side until browned, about 2 to 4 minutes depending on the thickness of the meat. Flip and cook for another 2 to 4 minutes. For medium rare doneness, cook the steak until it reaches an internal temperature of 130oF. If necessary, work in two batches.

  5. Let the steak rest:

    Place the steak on a cutting board, cover loosely with foil and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

  6. Slice and serve the steak:

    Hold the carving knife at a 45-degree angle, then slice the steak across the grain into slices about 1/4 inch thick. Place skirt steak on a serving platter.

nutritional information (per serving)
330 calories
23g Fat
0g carbohydrates
28g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!