Cinnamon Rubbed Flank Steak

Steak and I have a long, tumultuous history. I hated steak growing up. Despised it. I thought it was disgusting, flavorless, and chewy. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why people enjoyed it so much.

Until I met Jake.

Cinnamon rubbed flank steak |

Jake’s love for steak is on another level. An intense level. His eyes dance, and his face lights up like mine does on farmer’s market days. Doesn’t matter which cut, if its marinated, grilled, or seared and then slid into a hot oven. Basted in butter, on the side of a salad, in a sandwich, on a wrap, in tacos, or with eggs. Jake is ready to devour.

He introduced me to an entire steak-filled world. His parents are to thank for his love of meat. One of his birthdays, his dad and step-mother took the family to Mr. B’s Restaurant in Milwaukee. I was in awe. The paper menu with meticulous calligraphy that scrawled out every enticing dish, the fancy servers pushing large cuts of meat around in cart shimmering with ice. I gazed (more than likely with my mouth agape) at the large glass window that peered into the kitchen. The sparkling stainless steel, chef’s whites working tirelessly, the mouth-watering steam swirling around them. It was steak heaven. Jake’s heaven. It was the first time I truly experienced steak.

I was convinced.

Now while I enjoy steak as much as the next person, we do not eat it very often. We only divulge in any red meat about twice a month. I won’t tell you how Jake feels about that.

To make it special, I always, always try to come up with a new marinade or rub, unless it is filet mignon (my favorite). I like my filet simple, fresh herbs, butter, salt & pepper, basted in its own juices.

One extremely sweltering day, Jake wanted (surprise) steak. I was on the verge of melting like the witch in Wizard of Oz and I was not going to flip on the stove-top. I sat in the kitchen, literally rubbing ice on my neck (which is not actually sexy, especially if you are covered in food residue from recipe testing), and I felt mentally spent. It was hot, I had this hunk of meat on my counter, and nothing seemed right.

I peered into the cabinet, tapping my fingers, scanned through the spices, and it clicked. Spicy cinnamon and cayenne rubbed flank steak!

This is an insanely easy recipe, all you do is mix the spices together (including the salt), and rub it into the steak. By rub, I mean light some candles, put on some mood music, and treat that baby to a nice little massage. Make sure every nook and cranny are drenched in this glorious sweet/spicy powder. I suggest flank steak with this rub, but it should work with any one large pound of meat. We used this on rib eye for steak tacos and GRILL GODS REJOICED, probably by far one of our favorite tacos I have made to date.

Now, here is the twist, I can only recommend grilling this if you are using flank steak. We tried this in the pan using flank steak, and I saved myself a trip to the doctor because my sinuses were cleared in about 10 minutes. The cayenne/cinnamon mixture betrayed me, and the smoke invaded my body causing a sneezing fit that angered everyone (including me) in the house. Strangely, I made the rib eye with the rub in a pan and it worked fine. As my official recommendation, please grill this steak, because if you don’t you miss out on all the crispy goodness. This spice combo creates a baby smoke ring on the steak that is wild. There is no need to let the marinade sit, you can just rub and grill. Pro-tip: leave your steak out for 20 or so minutes before you massage it with the rub. Bringing the temperature up means the meat will cook more evenly.

Cinnamon Rubbed Flank Steak |

The resident steak expert gives this recipe a whopping 10 stars, but again, not sure if we can trust him, because he would eat steak that fell on the floor. Hell, I would eat this if it was on the floor. It is that good.


Best ways to enjoy this spicy steak:

  • Plain & simple with a side of veggies (or refried black beans)

  • On top of a Southwestern style salad

  • Chopped up and folded into a soft roll for a Mexican torta

  • Wrapped in tortillas for tacos

  • Burrito bowl

Cinnamon Rubbed Flank Steak

Recipe by Allie Brendel

Cinnamon is the secret ingredient in this rubbed steak. Perfect for tacos, salad, paired with rice, or just plain with some vegetables, this rub gives some diversity to the plain steak.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 10-14 minutes (depending on cook preference)

Total time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Calories per serving: 192

Fat per serving: 8


  • 1 pound flank steak
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Cooking Directions

  1. Pre-heat your grill.
  2. Mix all of the spices in a bowl, including the salt.
  3. Rub into steak well let sit for about 5 minutes on the counter while the grill heats.
  4. Slap that baby on the grill, and cook on the first side for about 7 minutes (for medium).
  5. When it forms a nice crust, flip and cook for additional 7 minutes (for medium).
  6. If you like your steak on rare side, 10 minutes total time is usually recommended.
  7. This steak is excellent in tacos, served with a burrito bowl, or on top of a simple salad. The options are endless with this versatile and delicious rub!