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How to Cook a London Broil

Updated August 9, 2018
London Broil
This inexpensive cut of beef with the fancy-sounding name stretches the food dollar and provides a tasty, easy-to-prepare steak dinner.

How to Cook a London Broil

While there is debate on whether the name refers to the actual cut of meat or the technique of marinating before cooking—either way—you can’t go wrong with a classic London broil. Traditionally speaking, a London broil is a top round roast, flank or skirt steak, and is a great money-saving option for family meals or anyone on a budget. Because it’s a lean muscle cut, it also tends to be tougher due to its low fat content. However, when prepared properly, a London broil can be just as delicious as any expensive cut of meat.

In terms of how to cook a London broil, the most classic technique is to broil! Because it is simple and quick, this is the preferred and most used method that yields deliciously foolproof results. In eight to 10 minutes under the broiler, any tough cut of meat can be turned into a restaurant-worthy steak. The trick is to avoid overcooking. If it’s cooked too long, it will turn into chewy, leather-like meat. However, when done correctly, you will enjoy the flavor and texture of an expensive cut of beef. This is why broiling is the best technique for a cut of meat such as top round or flank steak because it quickly sears the outside quick enough for a nice brown crust to develop while preventing the inside from overcooking. The result is the perfect rare to medium-rare temperature.

Does cooking a London broil intimidate you? Follow these simple instructions and you’ll master the method.

What You Need:

  • Cutting board
  • Cutting knife
  • 10-inch skillet
  • Sheet pan


  • 1-pound high-quality beef flank steak
  • 1 tablespoon margarine or butter
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

Step 1: Place the beef steak on the cutting board and using the knife, cut both sides of the steak into a diamond pattern, 1/8 inch deep.

cut steak in diamond pattern

Step 2: Heat margarine in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Sauté onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt in margarine about 4 minutes or until light brown; keep warm. 

sauteed onions

Step 3: Mix remaining ingredients; brush half of the mixture over beef.

brush over steak

Step 4: Set oven control to broil. Broil beef with top 2 to 3 inches from heat about 5 minutes or until brown.  Turn beef; brush with remaining oil mixture.  Broil 5 minutes longer.  Pull the meat out of the oven and let it rest for about five minutes before carving. Cut beef across grain at slanted angle into thin slices; serve with onions. 

London Broil

How to Cook London Broil in an oven

If you’re more comfortable with the idea of baking instead of broiling, you can easily prepare London broil in an oven. Unlike broiling, cooking the meat in an oven is best done slowly over a few hours and at a temperature around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t want the oven too hot or you’ll end up with dry, chewy meat. When employing this technique, it’s best to add some form of liquid to the baking pan, whether that’s marinade, broth, wine or water to prevent the meat from drying out. The benefits to cooking in the oven is that not only can you impart even more flavor over the course of the cooking time via the added liquid, but the meat can become fall-apart tender as well.

How to Cook London Broil on the Grill

Another go-to method for preparing a London broil is to cook it on the grill. This is a perfect dish for summer grill-outs because it not only takes less time than cooking in the oven and won’t heat up your house, but it also makes a lot of meat quickly that’s easy to share with the family or your backyard barbecue buddies. Cooking a London broil on the grill is a great way to get a nice sear on the outside while adding tons of smoky flavor at the same time. After heating up the grill, simply place the meat onto the grill over medium-high heat and then cook with the lid closed for five to 10 minutes. Flip the meat over, close the lid and continue cooking for another five to 10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches around 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve medium-rare. And as is the case with all London broil recipes, it’s essential to marinate the meat beforehand for at least a few hours and even better if left up to 24 hours. Keep in mind that marinades with a higher sugar content have a tendency to burn more which can cause the meat to stick to your grill.

How to Cook London Broil on the Stove

Another very easy method for preparing a London broil is to cook it on the stovetop. When cooking a London Broil on the stove, you can use a frying pan, a cast iron skillet or cast iron griddle. If using a frying pan or cast iron skillet, heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in the pan, add in the meat, then sear each side for a few minutes until the internal temperature reaches 130-135 degrees. Marinades that are higher in sugar are actually great for this method as it helps achieve a nice caramelization when searing the outside of the meat. Just remember to keep a close eye, because sugar tends to burn easily. Also adding a bit of butter to baste the meat is another great way to add flavor and moisture when pan-searing. For a griddle, the method is similar, simply heat up your griddle, and sear each side of the meat again aiming for that 130-135 degree temperature to achieve medium-rare doneness.

How to Marinate a London Broil

You can’t have London broil without marinating the meat first. Many cooks start the marinating process the night before so they don’t have to deal with it in the morning. For the marinade to be effective, you want to pierce the meat multiple times either with a tip of a knife or other metal utensil so that there are several holes in the surface. Another way is to slice the surface of the meat with a knife creating a crisscross pattern as demonstrated in the recipe above. Piercing the meat is crucial as it helps the marinade to penetrate. Since London broil has so much muscle fiber and connective tissue, it also has very little fat marbling resulting in a tougher cut of meat. Without the holes, the marinade won’t be able to reach the inside of the meat which means the meat won’t be tender.

For the marinade itself, there are endless options. You could do a dry rub that uses salt to tenderize the meat and herbs to add flavor. Or you could use a liquid marinade and incorporate citrus or vinegar. The acidity from the citrus or vinegar will help tenderize the meat while also adding lots of flavor. Typically Worcestershire, soy sauce or beer are added, and sweeteners such as sugar or honey are used as well.

Once you have your marinade made, the next step is to allow the meat to absorb as much as possible. Place the meat in a sealable plastic bag, store in the fridge and leave it for at least four hours and for as long as 24 hours. The longer it sits, the better the flavor and more tender the meat.

What You Need:

  • Sealable plastic bag
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon or whisk
  • Knife, or fork, or metal skewer


  • Soy sauce, beer, or Worcestershire sauce
  • Vegetable oil
  • Red wine, balsamic vinegar, fruit juice, hot sauce, fresh ginger, and any other combination of herbs and spices • Flank or top round steak

Step 1: Poke holes in the steak and slide it into a self-sealing plastic bag.

Step 2: Pour the marinade mixture inside.

Step 3: Move meat around inside the bag and let sit in fridge overnight. Turn the bag over a few times in the morning to make sure all the meat is covered.

How to Carve London Broil

The final piece in preparing London broil is carving it. Just like wood, meat has fibers that runs through it, so when cooks talk about cutting across the grain, they are talking about cutting across those fibers. Look for the strands running left to right across the steak and cut vertically through them, making thin slices. If desired, take a cup of the marinade, simmer it in a saucepan while the meat is resting and drizzle it over the top of the steak before serving. Remember, do not ever use the marinade unless you boil it because it held raw meat.

London Broil Cooking Tips

While we’ve gone over many aspects of preparing a London broil, the most important cooking tip to achieve the perfect London broil is the marinade. Skipping the marinade would be a big mistake as it not only adds flavor, but it helps tenderize the meat, which is crucial in preparing a London broil. Without this step, your London broil will be a tough and chewy. And remember to always allow the meat to rest after cooking. Whether it’s from the broiler, oven, grill or stove top, allowing the meat to rest for at least a few minutes before slicing helps to keep the juice in the meat, which means a better, juicier and more delicious steak.

How to Make London Broil Tender

As previously mentioned, because the London broil cuts are very lean, it’s necessary to break down the muscle fiber and connective tissue so that the meat becomes tender and edible. This is why the most important step is again, the marinade. Ingredients in marinades like salt or acids like vinegar and citrus break down the fibers and tissue. Also making sure to puncture the meat prior to marinating ensures that the marinade penetrates as much of the meat as possible. And don’t skimp on the time; the longer it marinates, the better. Prep the night before and you can have a steak that’s ready to go when dinnertime rolls around the next day.

What to Serve with London Broil

The best part about a London broil is that not only is it easy to prepare, but it’s perfect for any season, so the side dish options are endless. Lighten it up for the summer with a fresh garden salad or grilled asparagus. Or, if you’re craving comfort food, serve it with a side of golden, crispy potatoes. And don’t forget to add in some sautéed onions; the caramelized sweetness pairs perfectly with the flavorful meat. Whatever side dishes you choose, they’ll taste amazing alongside your delicious London broil. Here are some ideas to get you started:

What is a London Broil

Food enthusiasts will be quick to tell you that London broil is not a cut of beef, but a cooking method. Tough pieces of meat—commonly, flank or top round steak—are left to marinate overnight, and then broiled under high heat and served by thinly slicing the meat “across the grain.”

No one knows where the “London” comes from in the name since this is a decidedly American dish. But it has become such a popular cooking method that many butchers simply use the term “London broil” for flank steak since the method has become nearly synonymous with that cut of meat.