This Slow Cooker Flank Steak is ultra tender and coated in a flavorful brown sugar chili powder rub. This easy weeknight dinner requires less than 10 ingredients!
If you’ve ever had flank steak, you know it can be kiiiiiiinda bland, tough, and overall underwhelming. Not today, my friends, not today. This slow cooker flank steak is fall apart tender and PACKED with flavor thanks to my special blend of spices (hint: chili powder and brown sugar).
PSST – Don’t skip the drizzle of honey mustard dressing on top. It takes this recipe from great to OMG I can’t even handle the deliciousness.
How do you cook flank steak so it’s not tough?
Flank steak has a reputation for being too tough, chewy, and not nearly as tender as other cuts of beef. BUT, it’s cheaper than other cuts of beef, which is why it’s so popular with families, especially those on a budget.
So, how do you make flank steak tender? The slow cooker! The longer, slower cook time really breaks down the meat allowing it to become fall-apart tender.
8 pantry staple ingredients are all you need to make the most flavorful, tender flank steak dinner!
- Olive Oil – adds fat to the meat to help create a tender texture and also helps keep the steak from sticking to the bottom of the crockpot.
- Dark Brown Sugar, Chili Powder, Ranch Seasoning Mix, Paprika, Salt, and Cayenne Pepper – make up a sweet and smoky spice rub with just a hint of spice to add tons of flavor to the steak.
- Flank Steak – this ultra lean cut of beef cooks low and slow in the crockpot to become fall apart tender. You’ll need two pounds for this recipe.
- Honey Mustard – for drizzling, if desired!
How to make
I love anything you can make in the slow cooker…and this slow cooker flank steak is no exception. Just 15 minutes to prep then sit back and wait for your perfectly tender steak to be ready!
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together brown sugar, chili powder, ranch mix, paprika, salt, and cayenne.
- Rub the spice rub into the steak to fully coat it.
- Pour olive oil into a greased crockpot, then top with seasoned steak. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or on LOW for 8 hours.
- Remove steak from the crockpot and use a sharp knife to slice it into strips against the grain, then serve as desired.
How to cut flank steak
The key to cutting flank steak is to slice against the grain, which means cutting opposite to the muscle fibers. Cutting against the grain shortens the long, tough meat fibers which makes the meat more tender!
How to serve slow cooker flank steak
- As an entree. Serve plain, over cauliflower rice, on white or brown rice, on top of mac and cheese, over mashed potatoes, and with a side of steamed or roasted veggies!
- In fajitas or tacos. Serve in place of chicken in this fajita recipe or in soft of hard shell tacos with lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, and more of your favorite fix-ins.
- In stir fry. Use it in place of chicken in this stir fry recipe.
- As a sandwich. Sandwich between two slices of your favorite toasted bread and with melted cheese. Check out my Philly cheesesteak recipe for inspiration!
- In a quesadilla or over nachos. Load the shredded steak onto a tortilla or your favorite tortilla chips, plenty of monterey-jack cheese, and serve with a drizzle of cilantro lime sauce or honey mustard dressing.
How to store
Leftover flank steak will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge if frozen then microwave, bake, or warm on the stove.
Slow Cooker Flank Steak
Equipment for this recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar packed
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 (1 oz) packet ranch seasoning mix
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper omit if you don’t like spice
- 2 pounds flank steak
- Honey mustard for drizzling, if desired
- Grease a 6 quart crockpot with cooking spray, then pour in olive oil. Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together brown sugar, chili powder, ranch mix, paprika, salt, and cayenne. This is our spice rub.
- Rub a few spoonfuls of the spice rub onto the steak to fully coat it.
- Place steak into the prepared crockpot, then sprinkle on remaining spice rub.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.
- Remove steak from the crockpot and use a sharp knife to slice it into strips against the grain (this will basically shred your steak, but will prevent it from creating long and stringy pieces).
- Serve as desired - on a bun, in a quesadilla, over mashed potatoes, on top of Mac and cheese, as nachos, etc. with a drizzle of homemade honey mustard sauce, if desired!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.