Pan-Fried London Broil Steak

BeefLondon BroilSteak

London Broil - Top round steak, seasoned with dry mustard, salt, pepper, and rubbed with butter, pan fried to brown, then finished in the oven if necessary with thicker cuts.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

What is London Broil?

“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 London Broil 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 Sliced on Cutting Board

How to Cook London Broil

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?

Butter.

I know. I don’t usually recommend searing anything with butter. If you’re not careful, the 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.

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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 olive oil in the pan first, before adding the steak.

Ingredients

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

Method

1 Prep and salt the steak: 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.

2 Rub steak with dry mustard, salt, pepper, butter: 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.

3 Brown steak on both sides on stovetop: 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.

4 Finish steak on stovetop or in oven, depending on thickness: 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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Links:

A great write-up on About.com on the origins of London Broil

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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139 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. LSCSM

    Our London Broil was about 1.5 inches. Took much longer than I anticipated; but came out decently tender at medium rare. I dried and dried the meat as I think that is the key to a good beef ‘crust’. This recipe did not prove that wrong. We were a little disappointed in the flavoring, maybe I didn’t use enough dry mustard or salt? To us, it needed more of a sauce. Sauteed fresh mushrooms in pan drippings, super yummy. Served alongside Trader Joe’s portobello mushroom ravioli in browned butter with fresh sage and rosemary. Oh, and a decent red blend wine. And fresh beets with baslamic (ala Ina Garten). Five stars if I’d used more seasoning. Going to try again with refinements.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. jcgiles

    So simple and delicious. Gave it 4 instead of 5 only because the 2 I’ve made have been too thick that it takes longer even in the oven. Feeds my family of 5 with full bellies and little leftover.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. MC

    I had given up on London broil because the old tried and true marinade and grill method kept turning out tough. This was perfect! I didn’t even add any extra spices even though I was tempted. I will save this and it will be one of our staples from now on.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  4. Sue

    Hooray! My long, sad history of ruining London Broil Steaks has finally ended. This recipe was super easy and produced a delicious, flavorful, and NON-DRIED OUT result. Thank you so much! (Note: I coated my cast-iron pan with a some garlic-infused olive oil. But I know it would have been wonderful even without that :P )

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Donald

    Steak was beautifully done using this method. Finished in oven, using an in oven thermometer. Used unsalted butter to keep smoke to a minimum.

    xxxxxyyyyy

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