How to Cook a Perfect Steak on Stovetop
Stovetop method is, by far, the easiest and quickest way to cook a steak. And I’m going to show you how to pan-sear any steak to perfection every time!
A good steak doesn’t need much more than just salt and pepper. It’s more about the technique than the recipe! Keep on reading for all the tips for juicy tender steak every time.
- 2 (8-12oz) steaks, at least 1-inch thick (Note 1)
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, or bacon fat (Note 2)
- About 30 minutes before cooking, bring out the steaks and bring to room temperature.
- Heat a large (12-inch) stainless steel, or cast iron skillet, over medium high heat.
- Add oil to now hot skillet and heat until shimmering.
- Right before cooking, dry the steaks with paper towel. (Note: This’s important to get a beautiful sear. Or extra liquid will steam the steaks, instead of searing.)
- Salt and pepper on each side.
- Now carefully add steaks (I use a pair of kitchen tongs) and cook the steaks for a minute or so. Then flip and cook on other side for another minute. (TIP: If the steak are stuck to the skillet, let it cook for 30 seconds longer and try again. Don’t force it.)
- Continue flipping and cooking until desired doneness reached, 8-10 minutes. For medium rare, the internal temperature should be 130-135°F. See notes for more details. (TIP: This handy thermometer changed my steak game forever! No more guessing, I know exactly when my steak is done in less than 5 seconds!)
- Remove the steaks onto a clean plate, cover and rest for at least 5 minutes, before slicing and serving.
Note 1: You can use any kind of boneless steak, about 1-1.5-inch thick. New York strip, ribeye steaks are excellent for this specific method. For more details, read the full article below the recipe.
Note 2: I mostly use reserved bacon fat for cooking steak, because it adds amazing flavor! But you can use any high-smoke point oil, like vegetable or canola oil. I don’t recommend frying the steak in butter, but you can add butter at the end for flavor.
I’ve avoided cooking steaks for a long time. It seemed so intimidating. Plus, my husband is a rancher and he’s pro at it, so I had him do it until recent years!
It turns out it’s not that hard after all. It’s actually quite easy and quick once you get the method down. I’ve been at it for the last 5+ years, and I’m ready to share with you my tips for the perfect steak.
WHAT CUT OF STEAK SHOULD I USE?
So, first thing first, let’s talk about what cut of steak to buy.
You can use practically ANY steak for this recipe, but here’re a few points to consider:
- Ribeye steak – One of the most popular cuts, ribeye steak is an expensive cut, but is also the most flavorful due to high marbling. Worth every penny! And this pan-searing method works perfectly!
- New York strip – Arguably, the most popular steak! And for a good reason: it’s lean, tender and has a good flavor.
- T-bone / Porterhouse – Both of these cuts have a T-shaped bone and includes 2 cuts of beef: New York Strip on one side and tenderloin on other. The size of the each of these cuts determine whether it’s called t-bone steak, or porterhouse steak. Also, keep in mind, bone-in steaks cook slightly longer.
- Top Sirloin steak – This one is slightly tougher cut of beef. And it’s best, marinated and grilled. My red wine marinated grilled steak skewers are an excellent use of this cut!
- Filet mignon – This buttery tender tenderloin steak is not as flavorful, but it’s quite popular due its tenderness. It’s an excellent cut for pan-searing! This bacon-wrapped filet mignon recipe is my favorite.
Whatever steak you choose, make sure they’re at least 1-inch thick, preferably 1.5-inch.
Thick steaks are forgiving, as they cook evenly and are harder to overcook, which means you have higher chance to enjoy juicy and tender steak. Thin steaks dry out quickly!
HOW TO COOK A PERFECT STEAK:
- Step 1. Heat the skillet really well, for 2-3 minutes. And then add oil and heat it as well.
- Step 2. Once the oil is shimmering add the prepared steaks.
- Step 3. Cook for about a minute and flip. Continue flipping and cooking until desired doneness reached, 8-10 minutes. For medium rare, the internal temperature should reach 130-135°F.
- Step 4. Transfer the steaks to a clean plate, cover and rest before serving and serving.
INTERNAL TEMPERATURE GUIDE FOR PERFECT STEAK
Meat thermometer is your best friend when it comes to cooking meat, especially steaks.
With a good thermometer, you don’t have to guess whether it’s cooked perfectly and take chances, or worse, cut into a steak to check.
Here’s a quick guide for recommended internal temperatures for beef steaks:
- Rare: 125°F
- Medium Rare: 135°F
- Medium: 145°F
- Medium Well: 150°F
- Well Done: 160°F
5 TIPS TO COOK A PERFECT STEAK EVERY TIME:
- Bring the steaks to room temperature before cooking. It’ll cook evenly that way.
- Dry the steaks with paper towel to remove excess moisture.
- Salt the steaks either at least 1 hour prior to cooking, OR right before cooking. If you salt it within 1 hour, say 15 minutes prior to cooking, the salt will draw out moisture and it won’t do much good.
- Heat the skillet really well! This’s the KEY to a beautiful sear! And use either stainless steel, or cast iron skillets. (This’s not the time to use non-stick skillet. You won’t get a nice sear with non-stick skillet.)
- Get a meat thermometer to check for doneness! (This thermometer is, by far, my favorite one!) Seriously, this’s a smart investment and you won’t regret getting it. I use mine daily, if not multiple times a day!!!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH STEAK:
Pan-seared steaks pair well with pretty much anything. Here’re some delicious inspiration for you:
- Instant Pot mashed potatoes make an excellent side for these pan-seared steaks. You can set everything in the pot and cook the steaks. Then finish it off, whiles steaks are resting!
- Oven roasted vegetables are also great along with a perfect steak. Especially, if you made them in advance as part of your meal prep, then dinner can literally be ready in 25 minutes!
- Baked steak fries would make this dinner super special! It’ll need a little planning ahead, but it’s totally worth it.
- Air Fryer honey glazed roasted carrots are quick and easy side dish as well.
- And last but not least, you can’t go wrong with Instant Pot baked potatoes!