Pan-fried London Broil Steak

“London Broil” used to be a way of describing a method for cooking lean beef cuts such as flank or top round, which originally was to pan-fry it quickly on medium high to high heat, cook it only to medium rare, and then slice it thinly on the diagonal.

The term has since evolved to a method of marinating, and then either grilling or broiling the steak. Furthermore butchers now sell a cut of beef that is called a London Broil which is typically a couple inches thick and is top round.

London Broil Steak

My mother has a method for pan-frying her steak which she calls London Broil, which does not involve marinating. The steaks we use are usually an inch thick. Her secret?


I know. I don’t usually recommend searing anything with butter. If you’re not careful, butter will burn. But if you rub softened butter into well seasoned steaks, and sear the steaks on a cast iron pan heated on medium high heat, just until you get a good sear and no longer, the flavor really is amazing.

Do you have a favorite way to prepare London Broil? Tell us about it in the comments.

Updated, from the recipe archive. Originally posted in 2006. 

Pan-fried London Broil Steak Recipe

  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4

We recommend using a well-seasoned cast-iron frying pan for this recipe, which can take high heat and are relatively stick-free. If you do not have a cast iron pan, you can use a thick-bottomed frying pan. If using stainless steel, heat a little canola oil or olive oil in the pan first, before adding the steak.



  • 2 lb top round cut of steak
  • Kosher salt
  • Dry mustard
  • Pepper
  • Butter, softened to room temperature


1 Remove steak from refrigerator 2 hours before cooking to bring to room temperature (only do this with whole cuts of meat, never with ground meat.) Cut away any tough connective tissue on the surface of the steak. Use a meat pounder to even out the thickness of the steak if necessary. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt on both sides.

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2 Heat a large, cast iron skillet to medium high heat. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels. Rub a little dry mustard into both sides of the steak. Sprinkle both sides again with salt, and with a little black pepper. Rub butter over both sides of the steak.

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3 Place the steak in the hot pan. Let cook for 2-3 minutes on each side (without moving), check before flipping to make sure it has nicely browned.

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4 At this point, if you have a steak only an inch thick or less, you can take the skillet off the heat and just let the steak sit for several minutes in the skillet (tent the steak with aluminum foil). The cast iron pan will retain enough heat to cook the steak to medium rare.

You can use a finger pressure method to test for doneness. You can also test for doneness by using a small sharp knife and cutting into the center to check the color. Or, if the steak is brown on both sides and it is weeping red juice, it's done.

If you have a steak thicker than an inch-thick, you can finish it off in the oven, at 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes or so.

Use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of the steak. Pull it out of the oven at 130°F for medium rare (the steak will continue to rise in temperature for a few minutes after you pull it out).

If you are using the oven method, when done, remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into it.

You want to cook the steak only to medium rare, as cooking it further will make it more tough.

5 Slice the steak thinly, across the grain.

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A great write-up on on the origins of London Broil

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Showing 4 of 66 Comments

  • Tammy

    Delicious!! It’s hard to screw up a London Broil, unless you A). overcook it or B). slice it too thickly. My favorite recipe comes from Southern Living and involves an overnight marinade of soy sauce, citrus (lemon, lime and orange), garlic, cumin and red pepper flakes. Score the meat on the diagonal (not very deep), leave in marinade overnight (or a couple hours), throw on a nice hot grill (time for each side depends on thickness of cut), slice thin on the bias and serve with a spicy/sweet mango salsa. Smoky, savory, with a little heat… mmmmm. But honestly, if it’s nice and rare and sliced real thin across the grain, it doesn’t matter WHAT it’s flavored with. It will be lovely!

  • Barbara

    I like to use orange juice, lime juice, pureed chipotle en adobo and a bit of cumin to marinade, and then I cook it pretty much like you do.

    A salsa made of mango, lime, onion, garlic, cilantro, ground coriander and chipotle goes very nicely with it.

  • Jonathan Kart

    Looks like you’re getting a lot of advice on this one. I suppose it just proves your point that there are plenty of ways to do London Broil ;)

    My 2 cents: considering using a more refined fat with a higher smoke point than butter. Butter has great flavor, but not if it burns! A flavorless oil like canola allows you cook at a much higher temp without burning up your fat. This gives a great crust, and great fond for pan sauces. Although, I like your idea about rubbing the meat first. If you are going use butter for the flavor, your rubbing trick makes sure the fat hits the pan when the meat does, which reduces the chances of it burning.

    Great site!

  • Danielle

    don’t have dry mustard? use regular jar mustard! i marinated my london broil in spicy mustard, worsteshire, chopped garlic, salt & pepper for about 2 hours…. cooked under the broiler for a short time…. delicious!!

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