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Grilled Five Spice Flank Steak

May 18, 2024

A Chinese five spice-hoisin marinade sinks into scored flank steak like nobody's business, and turns a simply grilled flank steak into a total flavor bomb.


thin slices of grilled flank steak marinated in hoisin and five spice next to an asian salad on a plate

Five-Ingredient, Five Spice Flank Steak—Say That Three Times Fast!

Or don’t. Instead, maybe just grill that easy, five-ingredient flank steak and eat it up! When summer hits, the days just fly by and all we want to do is be outside in the sunshine. And dinnertime is no exception! Grilling means we don’t have to go inside to cook, or risk heating up the house by cranking up that oven. Grilling also happens to be the ideal way to cook a steak—seared to medium-rare perfection over an open flame is clearly the best way to cook steak.

flank steak, asian salad, sesame seeds, hoisin, Chinese five spice
scored flank steak with hoisin and Chinese five spice marinade

Hoisin Sauce + Five Spice Powder = The Best Flank Steak Marinade Ever.

Sure, you could whip up a fussy flank steak marinade with a zillion ingredients and it’d probably be delicious. But when you can make the best flank steak marinade ever with just two ingredients, why bother? Plus, grilled steak is all about simplicity—you just want to slap that steak on a hot grill, flip it and eat it. No muss, no fuss. If you’re not yet familiar with the greatness of these two Chinese ingredients, let us show you the way!

  • Hoisin sauce. The sticky, sweet-salty condiment of your dreams, hoisin sauce is an Asian sauce that’s become a new pantry staple for us. Made from a mixture (that varies recipe to recipe) of soybeans, garlic and spices, the sauce is assertive and complex, and pairs especially well with beef—like this flank steak—and pork.
  • Five spice powder. In much the way that hoisin sauce does, Chinese five spice powder packs a ton of flavor into one little jar. A blend of star anise, Szechuan peppercorns, fennel, cinnamon, and clove, it’s warm, complex and a bit sweet

The Secret To Tender Grilled Flank Steak? Scoring!

We’re telling you to score the flank steak before you marinate it. But do you really have to? And if so, why? Well, first of all, no—you don’t absolutely have to. But it takes an extra 30 seconds to do, and scoring the steak will really pay off! Scoring the meat does two things. First, it tenderizes a traditionally tough-ish cut of beef. Second, it creates lots of wonderful nooks and crannies for the hoisin-five spice marinade to seep into the steak, ensuring that those gorgeous flavors permeate the whole juicy steak.

raw flank steak marinating on a rimmed baking sheet
grilled flank steak marinated in hoisin sauce and Chinese five spice on a baking sheet

How To Make A Really, Really Easy Steak Dinner

Big flavors, a hot grill, and a couple little short cuts are the secret to getting a satisfying, healthy steak dinner on the table super fast.

  1. Score that steak! Use a sharp knife to make shallow cuts against the grain in one direction and then cut again in the other direction to make diamond shapes on the surface of the meat.
  2. Marinate it for an hour. If you go a little over, that’s OK, but try not to go for less than an hour.
  3. Grill it! The general rule of thumb is about six minutes per side for a medium-rare flank steak, but use a meat thermometer—135°F is medium-rare—to check for doneness.
  4. Serve! And here comes the ultimate shortcut—bagged salad! Yep, on a busy weeknight, those bagged salad kits with dressing included are the difference between serving veggies and not serving veggies. We love to serve this with the kind that have lots of crunchy bits and a sesame dressing, usually labeled “Asian chopped salad” or “Asian chopped slaw”, but you can also feel free to serve this grilled steak with whatever salad you love best.
thin slices of grilled flank steak marinated in hoisin and five spice next to an asian salad on a plate

Tools You’ll Need:

  • A grill! We’ve written the recipe for a gas grill, but you could also use a charcoal grill, or even cook the flank steak under a broiler in a pinch.
  • A sheet pan. We marinate the flank steak on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Sharp knife. We know, we always say this, but for this recipe it’s especially essential! You’ll need it to score the steak, and to slice it after grilling. Remember, always slice the steak against the grain of the meat.

More Grilled Steak Recipes to Try This Summer!

Ah, summer. Slap a steak over those hot coals and dinner is DONE.

thin slices of grilled flank steak marinated in hoisin and five spice next to an asian salad on a plate
thin slices of grilled flank steak marinated in hoisin and five spice next to an asian salad on a plate

Fire Up That Grill!

All summer long, friends. We hope you give this five spice flank steak a spin! Let us know how you like it! Snap a photo of your steak and salad dinner, and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

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Grilled Five Spice Flank Steak

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  1 hr 5 min
  • Cook Time:  15 min
  • Calories: 403


  • 1½ pounds flank steak
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup hoisin sauce, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 (13 ounce) bag Asian salad kit with sesame dressing
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Pat the steak dry. Lightly score the surface of the flank steak with a sharp knife. Season all over with the kosher salt.

  2. In a large bowl, stir together the hoisin and Chinese five-spice powder. Add the steak to the bowl and turn to coat on all sides. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour, up to 4 hours.

  3. Preheat the grill on medium. Place the steak on the grill and cook until the internal temperature of the steak reaches desired doneness on an instant-read thermometer (see Note), about 4-6 minutes per side.

  4. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak against the grain

  5. Meanwhile, make the salad. In a large bowl, toss the salad and all the fixings until combined.

  6. Arrange the salad on a large serving platter. Top with sliced steak, drizzle with hoisin sauce and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Serve family-style.

Note: Steak Doneness Temperatures: Medium Rare 130° F, Medium 140° F, Medium Well 150° F, Well Done 160° F +.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories403
  • Protein29 g
  • Carbohydrates32 g
  • Total Fat20 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol47 mg
  • sodium954 mg
  • Total Sugars18 g

Grilled Five Spice Flank Steak

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Copeland

    Where do I find the recipe for the Chinese Five Spice

    You can buy it at most any major grocery store! Look for it in the spice section! Or search for it online!

  • Alysonne

    This was a great, easy weekday meal. I used the Asian bag salad at the grocery, but sadly couldn’t find any Chinese 5 spice. I subbed some garam masala and ground anise but am looking forward to trying with the correct ingredient.

    Glad you enjoyed it Alyssonne!

  • Jim

    It was delicous, cooked perfect, and tasted absolutely amazing. Compliments to the chef who created this! I did not expect this to be amazing, but it was outstanding. Did not expect the five spices to be great, but it was amazing!

    Thanks so much Jim! So happy you enjoyed it so much!

  • Claire

    Really great flavours, we made this with edamame, soba noodles, and sweet red peppers. Thanks for sharing!

    So glad you loved it!

  • Rosemary

    Quick, easy and delicious! Made it last night in the air fryer because of thunderstorms, and it turned out great. Made a tasty steak salad with the leftovers today too. Will definitely be making this again. Thanks!

    Yay! Thanks for the review!