© 2014 The Combustion Institute. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. We investigate the dependence of the recirculation zone (RZ) size and structure on the fuel composition using high-speed particle image velocimetry (PIV) and chemiluminescence measurements for C3H8/H2/air lean premixed flames stabilized in a backward-facing step combustor. Results show an intricate coupling between the flame anchoring and the RZ structure and length. For a fixed fuel composition, at relatively low equivalence ratios, the time-averaged RZ is comprised of two counter rotating eddies: a primary eddy (PE) between the shear layer and the bottom wall; and a secondary eddy (SE) between the vertical step wall and the PE. The flame stabilizes downstream of the saddle point of the dividing streamline between the two eddies. As equivalence ratio is raised, the flame moves upstream, pushing the saddle point with it and reducing the size of the SE. Higher temperature of the products reduces the velocity gradient in the shear layer and thus the reattachment length. As equivalence ratio approaches a critical value, the saddle point reaches the step and the SE collapses while the flame starts to exhibit periodic flapping motions, suggesting a correlation between the RZ structure and flame anchoring. The overall trend in the flow field is the same as we add hydrogen to the fuel at a fixed equivalence ratio, demonstrating the impact of fuel composition on the flow field. We show that the reattachment lengths (LR), which are shown to encapsulate the mean RZ structure, measured over a range of fuel composition and equivalence ratio collapse if plotted against the strained consumption speed (Sc). Results indicate that for the flame to remain anchored, the RZ structure should satisfy lR,isothermal/L R,reacting · S c/U ∞ ∼ 0.1. If this criterion cannot be met, the flame blows off, flashes back or becomes thermoacoustically unstable, suggesting a Damköhler-like criterion for aerodynamic flame stabilization in backward-facing step flows.