Difference Wiki

Flank vs. Loin: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on February 15, 2024
Flank refers to the side section of an animal's body, while loin refers to the area along the back between the ribs and the pelvis.

Key Differences

The flank is a cut of meat taken from the side of an animal, typically a cow, and is known for its rich flavor and tougher texture. On the other hand, the loin is a more tender cut of meat that comes from the area along the back between the ribs and the pelvis.
In culinary terms, flank steak is often used in dishes that require marinating and slow cooking to tenderize the meat, such as fajitas or stir-fries. Loin cuts, such as pork loin or beef tenderloin, are prized for their tenderness and are often roasted or grilled.
The flank is located below the loin and is a long, flat muscle that is well-exercised, which contributes to its tougher texture. The loin, being less exercised, has a softer texture and is often considered a premium cut of meat.
When preparing flank steak, it's important to cut against the grain to ensure the meat is more tender. In contrast, loin cuts can be cooked whole or sliced into individual steaks or chops, making them versatile for various cooking methods.
In terms of nutrition, both flank and loin cuts are good sources of protein, but the flank is typically leaner with less fat content, while loin cuts can be more marbled with fat, which adds to their flavor and tenderness.

Comparison Chart


Side of the animal
Along the back between the ribs and the pelvis


Tougher, more fibrous
Tender, less exercised

Cooking Methods

Best suited for marinating, slow cooking
Suitable for roasting, grilling, quick cooking

Common Uses

Fajitas, stir-fries, slow-cooked dishes
Roasts, steaks, chops

Fat Content

Leaner, less marbled
More marbled, higher fat content

Flank and Loin Definitions


To be situated at the side of something or someone.
The general ordered his troops to flank the enemy's position.


A part of a garment that covers the loins, such as the lower part of an apron.
The chef's apron was designed to protect his loins from splashes and spills.


The side of an animal's body between the ribs and the hip.
The cowboy spurred his horse on its flank to increase its speed.


The part of the body on both sides of the spine between the ribs and the pelvis.
The loin is often considered one of the most tender cuts of meat.


To attack or guard the side of a military formation.
The cavalry flanked the infantry, providing protection from side attacks.


A cut of meat from the loin of an animal, especially pork or beef.
He grilled the pork loin with a honey mustard glaze.


The side of a geographical feature or area.
The hikers ascended the mountain from its eastern flank.


The region of the sexual organs, especially in reference to modesty or chastity.
The ancient warrior wore a loin cloth to cover his loins.


The section of flesh on the body of a person or an animal between the last rib and the hip; the side.


Used figuratively to denote strength or procreative power.
He was described as a man of strong loin, capable of leading the tribe.


A cut of meat from the flank of an animal.


Which is typically more tender, flank or loin?

Loin is typically more tender than flank.

Is flank steak the same as skirt steak?

No, they are different cuts; flank steak is from the lower abdominal area, while skirt steak is from the diaphragm muscle.

What are some popular dishes that use flank steak?

Popular dishes include fajitas, stir-fries, and London broil.

Can you substitute flank steak for loin in a recipe?

You can, but the cooking method and time may need to be adjusted due to the difference in tenderness.

How should you cut flank steak to ensure tenderness?

Always cut flank steak against the grain to ensure tenderness.

Can you cook loin cuts quickly?

Yes, loin cuts like pork chops or beef tenderloin can be cooked quickly due to their tenderness.

What is the main difference between flank and loin cuts?

The main difference is their location on the animal; flank is from the side, while loin is from the back between the ribs and pelvis.

What is the best way to cook beef loin?

The best way is to roast or grill it to your desired level of doneness.

Are flank and loin cuts suitable for the same cooking methods?

No, flank is best suited for slow cooking or marinating, while loin is better for roasting or grilling.

Is flank steak good for barbecuing?

Yes, flank steak can be excellent for barbecuing when marinated properly.

Can you make kebabs with loin meat?

Yes, loin meat can be cut into cubes and used for kebabs.

How should you store leftover cooked flank or loin meat?

Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Is loin a healthy cut of meat?

Yes, loin cuts are generally lean and a good source of protein.

What is a common way to prepare pork loin?

A common way is to roast it with herbs and spices.

Can you grill flank steak?

Yes, you can grill flank steak, but it's best to marinate it first to tenderize.

Can you freeze raw flank or loin cuts?

Yes, you can freeze them, well-wrapped, for up to 6 months.

Are there different types of loin cuts?

Yes, there are different types, such as tenderloin, sirloin, and short loin.

How long should you marinate flank steak?

It's best to marinate flank steak for at least 2 hours or overnight for the best results.

Can loin cuts be used for stews?

It's not recommended, as loin cuts are tender and better suited for quicker cooking methods.

Are flank and loin cuts suitable for a low-fat diet?

Yes, both cuts can be part of a low-fat diet, especially if you choose leaner options and trim any excess fat.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons