Leanest Cuts of Steak

A lean steak is a beef cut low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. It’s a great choice if you’re trying to eat healthy, especially compared to those fatty, marbled cuts. I’ve compiled a list of the top ten leanest cuts in this article based on USDA nutrition data. Unfortunately, it’s true that most lean steaks are tough, so you’ve got to cook them right. But don’t worry; some lean steaks out there are both tender and full of that great beefy flavor.

Listed below are the 10 leanest cuts of steak:

  1. Top Round Steak,
  2. Eye of Round Steak,
  3. Sirloin Tip Side Steak,
  4. Hanger Steak,
  5. Strip Steak,
  6. Bottom Round Steak,
  7. Sirloin Tip Center Steak,
  8. Tenderloin Steak,
  9. Flank Steak,
  10. Tri-Tip Steak.

1. Top Round Steak

Top Round Steak
raw top round steak

The top round steak is a super lean cut of beef, according to the USDA nutrition data. It’s got a decent beefy flavor, but it’s very tough. Because it’s so low in fat, you can’t cook it like a regular steak. Fast and high heat will just make it very tough. The trick is to go low and slow. Consider braising it or tossing it into a beef stew or soup. Got some extra time? Try cooking it sous vide style. You can also slice it very thin and use it for stir-fries or as taco meat. It’s also pretty good for chicken fried steak. And if you like making jerky, the top round is perfect for that.

Top Round Steak Nutrition facts per 100g (About 3,5 oz)

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories127
Total Fat3.66 g
Saturated Fat1.42 g
Cholesterol62 mg
Protein23.5 g
Boneless separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0″ fat, choice, raw Source.

2. Eye of Round Steak

two raw eye of round steaks
two raw eye of round steaks

The eye of round steak is another super lean cut from the round part of the cow. It looks like filet mignon, but don’t be fooled – it’s a tough piece of beef. It’s so tough that cooking it like a steak is a bad idea. Instead, you can slice it up thin, like what you’d do with top round steak, and use it for stir-fries or taco meat. Another way is to use a meat tenderizer, which can help you get those thin slices perfect for chicken fried steak. It’s also great in beef stew or soup, or you could try it sous vide style. Even homemade jerky is an option. Just remember, cooking it like a regular steak is a no-go. It’ll end up too tough and chewy.

Eye of Round Steak Nutrition facts per 100g (About 3,5 oz)

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories127
Total Fat3.83 g
Saturated Fat1.34 g
Cholesterol58 mg
Protein23.2 g
Boneless separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0″ fat, choice, raw Source.

3. Sirloin Tip Side Steak

Despite its name, the sirloin tip side steak comes from the round primal, not the sirloin primal. It’s a bit confusing, I know. This is the same area where cuts like the eye of round and top round come from. Since the sirloin tip side steak is tough, cooking it needs the same approach you’d use for any round primal cut. And remember, don’t just cook it like your regular steak.

Sirloin Tip Side Steak Nutrition facts per 100g (About 3,5 oz)

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories123
Total Fat3.24 g
Saturated Fat1.22 g
Cholesterol61 mg
Protein22 g
Separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0″ fat, choice, raw Source.

4. Hanger Steak

raw hanger steak untrimmed
raw hanger steak untrimmed

Hanger steak is a real gem among the lean cuts. It’s one of those lean cuts of beef that’s surprisingly full of flavor and tenderness. Hanger steak comes from the plate area of the cow, right at the front of the belly. That’s the spot where it hangs near the cow’s diaphragm. What’s cool about the hanger steak is its size and texture. It’s a big cut with a grainy texture and strong beefy flavor. Honestly, it’s one of my all-time favorite steaks, especially when you’re looking at lean cuts.

Hanger steak is easy to cook, whether you’re throwing it on a grill or in a pan. Plus, it’s not too expensive. But here’s the big secret about hanger steak: it’s all in how you cut it. You’ve got to slice it thinly against the grain. That’s what makes it tender. Just cook it up to a nice medium-rare, don’t go over or under that, and then slice it against the grain. This shortens up those long, tough muscle fibers. Trust me, the results will blow your mind.

Hanger Steak Nutrition facts per 100g (About 3,5 oz) Source.

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories152
Total Fat6.25 g
Saturated Fat2.68 g
Cholesterol67 mg
Protein23.2 g

Read More on Hanger Steak »

5. Strip Steak

raw new york strip steak
raw strip steak

The strip steak, known also as the new york strip and kansas city strip, is a fantastic lean cut with a great beefy flavor and decent tenderness. Now, I know what you might be thinking – isn’t strip steak known for its rich marbling? Well, yes and no. It’s true for the higher-grade strips, but if we look at some choice-grade or even select-grade, they’re pretty lean, according to USDA nutrition data.

The strip steak is awesome, and it’s as easy to cook as a hanger steak, whether you’re throwing it in a skillet or grilling it. It’s also great for sous-vide cooking. Out of all the lean cuts I’ve tried, this strip steak is my go-to for a regular meal.

Strip Steak Nutrition facts per 100g (About 3,5 oz)

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories155
Total Fat6.43 g
Saturated Fat2.38 g
Cholesterol66 mg
Protein22.8 g
Separable lean only, trimmed to 1/8″ fat, choice, raw Source.

Read More on Strip Steak »

6. Bottom Round Steak

raw bottom round steak
raw bottom round steak

The bottom round steak is a lean cut from the round primal. It tastes similar to the top round and eye of round steaks, but it’s a bit tougher. Remember, just like other cuts from the round primal, you don’t want to cook bottom round steak like your regular steak. Why? Because it’s too tough and chewy. Instead, try slicing it thin for chicken-fried steak, stir-fry, or even as taco meat. It’s also really good for slow-cooked dishes like stews or braising.

Bottom Round Steak Nutrition facts per 100g (About 3,5 oz)

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories150
Total Fat6.59 g
Saturated Fat2.3 g
Cholesterol61 mg
Protein21.2 g
Separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0″ fat, choice, raw Source.

7. Sirloin Tip Center Steak

The Sirloin Tip Center Steak is a lean cut from the round primal. It’s pretty tender for a piece from that area but still not the best for cooking like a regular steak. A good tip is to marinate it before cooking to make it more flavorful and tender. Also, if you slice it thin, it works great in stir-fries and tacos. You could even try it in a chicken-fried steak recipe.

Sirloin Tip Center Steak Nutrition facts per 100g (About 3,5 oz)

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories150
Total Fat6.85 g
Saturated Fat2.3 g
Cholesterol58 mg
Protein20.7 g
Separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0″ fat, choice, raw Source.

8. Filet Mignon

Raw filet mignon on a cutting board
raw filet mignon

The filet mignon, known for its extreme tenderness, has almost no marbling, so it’s a lean cut. It’s a top pick for anyone who loves their steak tender more than anything else. The flip side? Filet mignon has a mild flavor and is usually one of the most expensive beef cuts. I like the tenderloin because it’s so tender, but I lean towards other steaks more – I’m more into steaks with a stronger flavor.

Filet Mignon Nutrition facts per 100g (About 3,5 oz)

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories150
Total Fat7.1 g
Saturated Fat2.55 g
Cholesterol60 mg
Protein21.6 g
Separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0″ fat, choice, raw Source.

Read More on Filet Mignon »

9. Flank Steak

raw flank steak
Raw flank steak

Flank steak is one of the best when it comes to lean cuts. It’s tasty and tender, and yes, it comes right from the cow’s flank. Although it’s a bit fattier than other lean cuts, it still counts as lean. Flank steak is perfect for grilling or pan-searing. I can’t get enough flank steak, especially with some chimichurri sauce on top.

Remember, always cut your flank steak against the grain. It’s like with hanger steak; you want to shorten those muscle fibers. That way, every bite is super tender. Also, it’s a big piece of meat and pretty easy to cook, which makes it perfect when you’re cooking for a crowd.

Flank Steak Nutrition facts per 100g (About 3,5 oz)

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories165
Total Fat8.29 g
Saturated Fat3.44 g
Cholesterol68 mg
Protein21.2 g
Separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0″ fat, choice, raw Source.

Read More on Flank Steak »

10. Tri-Tip Steak

raw tri-tip steaks also known as newport steaks
Raw tri-tip steaks also known as newport steaks

Tri-tip is a big cut of beef from the bottom sirloin, often sliced into steaks popularly known as newport steak. It’s a lean steak cut with a bit more fat than other lean cuts, which is great for flavor. Tri-tip, cooked correctly, is juicy and tender, with a great beefy taste. Just remember, medium-rare is the way to go with cuts like these, and always slice it against the grain.

Tri-Tip Steak Nutrition facts per 100g (About 3,5 oz)

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories174
Total Fat9.51 g
Saturated Fat3.49 g
Cholesterol68 mg
Protein20.6 g
Separable lean and fat, trimmed to 0″ fat, choice, raw Source.

FAQs

What Determines a Lean Cut of Steak?

When determining if a steak is lean or extra lean, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) looks at its cholesterol and fat content. According to the USDA guidelines, a lean steak cut is one where a 3.5-ounce serving contains less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and 10 grams of total fat. On the other hand, for a steak cut to be considered extra lean, it should have less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 5 grams of total fat in the same serving size.

Which lean cut of steak is the most tender?

Tenderloin steak is the most tender of all lean cuts of steak. It has a butter melt-in-the-mouth texture and ranks as the most tender cut of all steak types. The tenderloin is very tender because it comes from the rarely used muscle on the cow.

Which lean cut of steak is the most expensive?

Without a doubt, tenderloin steak, also known as filet mignon, is the most expensive of all lean steak cuts. The new york strip, flank steak, and hanger steak are close behind.

Which lean cuts of steak are best?

You can’t go wrong with Strip Steak, Hanger Steak, Flank Steak, Tri-Tip Steak, and Tenderloin Steak. Known for its flavor, strip steak is incredibly easy to cook, making it a popular choice. Hanger and tri-tip steaks stand out for their robust beefy taste and are ideal for grilling enthusiasts. Flank steak is an excellent cut for those who enjoy a balance of strong beefy flavor and tenderness, especially when cooking for a larger group. Lastly, tenderloin steak is an exceptional choice if tenderness is your top priority.

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Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow is a Polish entrepreneur and writer who founded Steak Revolution in 2020 because of his passion for steaks. Adam has been cooking steaks for over 5 years, so he understands well all aspects of steak, from the types of steaks and their cooking times to choosing the best cooking technique for any steak.