Discover the Perfect Alternatives: 5 Best Substitutes for Hanger Steak

Exploring the best hanger steak substitutes

When it comes to delicious and tender steaks, hanger steak is often a top choice. However, if you can’t find hanger steak at your local grocery store, don’t worry. There are several fantastic substitutes that can be used instead. In this article, we will explore the five best hanger steak substitutes, their flavor profiles, and cooking methods.

1. Shoulder Steak

Shoulder steak is a flavorful and juicy option that can serve as a great substitute for hanger steak. This cut of meat comes from the shoulder of the cow and is known for its ability to retain its natural juices. The marbling of the fat in shoulder steak adds richness to its flavor, and it doesn’t dry out as quickly as leaner cuts of beef.
While shoulder steak is not as tender as hanger steak, slow cooking methods such as using a slow cooker or cutting it into thin strips can help improve its tenderness. It can be found in most grocery stores, sometimes labeled as chuck steak.

2. Skirt Steak

Skirt steak is similar in flavor to chuck steak and is often considered a good substitute. It is a flat cut of beef that runs along the cow’s belly. Skirt steak has a fine-grained outer layer that makes it tender, but the inner meat can be tougher with a coarser texture.
Despite its slightly tougher texture, Skirt Steak has a rich, beefy flavor that stands up to a variety of seasonings and marinades. It is best cooked quickly over high heat, making it perfect for grilling, stir-frying, and even fajitas. Look for bright red cuts of skirt steak with no visible fat for the best results.

3. Flank Steak

Flank steak is a long, flat cut of beef that comes from the abdominal muscles of the cow. It has a similar flavor profile to sirloin and offers a rich flavor. However, flank steak has less grain, which makes it a bit more difficult to cook. It requires proper handling to avoid a tough and chewy texture.
Marinating flank steak for several hours or overnight can help tenderize the meat and infuse it with a flavorful marinade. It is important to note that flank steak takes longer to cook than some other cuts of beef. When cooked properly, it is juicy, flavorful, and relatively lean, making it a great choice for a variety of dishes.

4. Chicken Breast

If you prefer a leaner and healthier option, chicken breast can be a suitable substitute for hanger steak. While it may not have the exact texture or flavor of beef, properly cooked chicken breast can provide a firm yet tender texture similar to hanger steak.
Chicken breast is often used in dishes that require marinating or when combined with other ingredients to enhance its flavor. It is important to avoid overcooking chicken breast to prevent dryness. Chicken breast can be a good alternative for those looking to reduce their red meat intake or looking for a lighter option.

5. Tofu

For vegan or vegetarian options, firm tofu can be an excellent substitute for hanger steak. Made from soybeans, tofu is a versatile and nutritious source of vegan protein. It is low in fat, rich in iron and calcium, and can be used in a variety of dishes.
Tofu can be pan-fried, added to soups, stir-fried, or marinated and grilled to mimic the appearance and texture of steak. While tofu may not perfectly replicate the texture of meat, it can absorb flavors well. Marinating tofu in sauces such as soy sauce or barbecue sauce before cooking can help it more closely mimic the flavors of hanger steak.


While hanger steak is a popular choice for its tenderness and flavor, there are several substitutes available for those unable to find it. Shoulder steak, skirt steak, flank steak, chicken breast, and tofu all offer their own unique characteristics and flavors. By experimenting with these substitutes, you can enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal regardless of the availability of hanger steak.


Can I use shoulder steak as a substitute for hanger steak on the grill?

Yes, shoulder steak can be a great substitute for grilling because it retains its juices and has a rich flavor.

How do I tenderize skirt steak to use as a hanger steak substitute?

The best way to tenderize skirt steak is to cook it quickly over high heat or marinate it for an extended period of time.

Can flank steak be used as a substitute for hanger steak in stir-fry dishes?

Yes, flank steak works well in stir-fry dishes as long as it is properly marinated and cooked to retain its juiciness.

Can chicken breast be as flavorful as hanger steak when used as a substitute?

While chicken breast may not have the exact flavor of beef, it can be delicious when properly seasoned and cooked to retain its tenderness.

What cooking methods are recommended for tofu as a hanger steak alternative?

Tofu can be pan-fried, stir-fried, or grilled after marinating to mimic the texture and flavor of hanger steak.

Are these substitutes suitable for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet?

Yes, tofu is an excellent vegan option and all of the other substitutes can be enjoyed by vegetarians. They provide alternatives that are both flavorful and nutritious.