Leanest Cuts of Steak

A lean steak is a beef cut with low total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. It can be part of a healthy diet and an excellent alternative to cuts with a lot of marbling (fat). Most lean steaks are tough, so they require proper cooking techniques. However, there are lean cuts that are also juicy and tender with a strong beefy flavor.

Listed below are the leanest cuts of steak:

  • Eye of Round Steak,
  • Sirloin Tip Side Steak,
  • Top Round Steak,
  • Top Sirloin Steak,
  • Sirloin Tip Center Steak,
  • Bottom Round Steak,
  • Flank Steak,
  • Tenderloin Steak.

1. Eye of Round Steak

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

The eye of round steak is a very lean cut that comes from the round area on a cow. In shape, it resembles tenderloin steak but is way tougher and less juicy. It is a commonly available cut in supermarkets. Eye of round steak works well with marinades and is great for slow cooking. The best parts of the eye of round steak are its beefy flavor and affordable price.

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories135
Total Fat3.8 g
Saturated Fat1.42 g
Protein25.2 g
Nutrition facts based on cooked 3-oz eye of round steak (all-grades). Source.

2. Sirloin Tip Side Steak

Sirloin tip side steak is an inexpensive and lean boneless cut from round primal. It’s tough, has a beefy flavor, and pairs well with marinades. You can cook sirloin tip side steak in a skillet or on the grill, best cooked to medium rare. Don’t overcook it, or it will be even tougher.

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories140
Total Fat4.1 g
Saturated Fat1.6 g
Protein24 g
Nutrition facts based on cooked 3-oz sirloin tip side steak (all-grades).

3. Top Round Steak

Top Round Steak
raw top round steak

Top round steak is, in terms of fat content, one of the leanest cuts of beef and one of the most tender of the area round on cow. It has a delicious beefy flavor and is best when cooked slowly. Another good news is that it is easily available and reasonably priced.

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories142
Total Fat3.64 g
Saturated Fat1.52 g
Protein25.5 g
Nutrition facts based on cooked 3-oz top round steak (all-grades). Source.

4. Top Sirloin Steak

Top sirloin steak is a thick and extra lean steak with a high protein content. It has good flavor and is slightly juicier than other lean cuts. Like most lean cuts, it is inexpensive and readily available, even in supermarkets. Top sirloin steak is best cooked to medium-rare doneness in a skillet or grilled. Be careful not to overcook it; otherwise, it will be tough, chewy, and dry. 

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories150
Total Fat4.9 g
Saturated Fat1.9 g
Protein26 g
Nutrition facts based on cooked 3-oz top sirloin steak (all-grades).

5. Sirloin Tip Center Steak

Sirloin Tip Center Steak is another lean cut of beef from the round area. It’s one of the most tender cuts from this area. It’s best cooked quickly and hot; by grilling or pan-frying. You can marinate the steak before cooking to improve flavor and tenderness. As with any other lean cut, don’t overcook it.

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories150
Total Fat5.76 g
Saturated Fat2.15 g
Protein23 g
Nutrition facts based on cooked 3-oz sirloin tip center steak (all-grades). Source.

6. Bottom Round Steak

raw bottom round steak
raw bottom round steak

The bottom round steak is another lean beef cut from the round primal. It has a similarly beefy flavor to top round steak but is slightly tougher. For this reason, it is best for stews and braising. Don’t cook bottom round steak like a standard steak. Marinating the steak can significantly improve its chewy texture and flavor.

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories155
Total Fat6.04 g
Saturated Fat2.16 g
Protein23.4 g
Nutrition facts based on cooked 3-oz bottom round steak (all-grades). Source.

7. Flank Steak

raw flank steak
Raw flank steak

Flank steak is one of the best lean cuts in taste and tenderness. As the name suggests, it comes from the cow flank area. It has a slightly higher fat content but still falls into the lean category. Flank steak takes marinades very well and is excellent for grilling. After cooking, cut it against the grain for the best tenderness. 

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories163
Total Fat7 g
Saturated Fat2.89 g
Protein23.5 g
Nutrition facts based on cooked 3-oz flank steak (all-grades). Source.

8. Tenderloin Steak

three raw tenderloin steaks
three raw tenderloin steaks

Tenderloin steak is the best choice in terms of tenderness. It has a mild beefy taste and a slightly higher fat content than typical lean cuts listed in this article. Great for grilling or pan searing. Unfortunately, the biggest downside of tenderloin steak is its high price.

Nutrition factsPortion size: 3 oz = 85 g
Calories179
Total Fat7.57 g
Saturated Fat2.99 g
Protein25.9 g
Nutrition facts based on cooked 3-oz tenderloin steak (all-grades). Source.

Lean Steak Cuts FAQs

What Determines a Lean Cut of Steak?

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) uses a steak’s cholesterol and fat content to determine whether it is lean or extra lean. According to the USDA, a lean cut of steak is one that, in a 3.5-ounce serving, has less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and 10 grams of total fat. An extra-lean cut has less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 2 grams of saturated fat, and 5 grams of total fat.

What are the Leanest Cuts of Steak?

The leanest cuts based on fat content are top round steak, eye round steak, sirloin tip side steak, and top sirloin steak. (Source: USDA)

What is the Leanest, Most Tender Steak?

Tenderloin steak is the most tender of all lean cuts of steak. Tenderloin is very tender because it comes from the rarely used area on the cow. It has a melt-in-the-mouth texture with a buttery, mild flavor.

What are the Best Lean Steak Cuts?

Tenderloin steak is the best lean cut in terms of tenderness. In terms of the intensity of beef flavor, it’s flank steak. Of the cheaper lean cuts, we recommend: Top Round Steak, eye of round steak, sirloin tip side steak, bottom round steak, and top sirloin steak.

What is the Leanest Part of Beef?

Round primal is the leanest part of the cow. Most of the leanest steak cuts come from this area. These include eye round, top round, bottom round, round steak, and sirloin tip side steak.

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Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam is the founder of Steak Revolution. He loves sharing his knowledge of steaks with everyone, ensuring you get the perfect steak every time.