How to Cook the Perfect Steak on Your Stovetop – A Step-by-Step Guide!

Do you crave a mouthwatering steak that tastes like it was prepared by a professional chef? You’ll be thrilled to learn that cooking a restaurant-quality steak is easier than you think. With just a few key ingredients and some extra cooking time, you can create a tender and flavorful steak right in your own kitchen.

The Best Steak for Pan-Frying

To achieve the best results when pan-frying a steak, opt for a boneless cut that is between 1 and 1 1/2 inches thick. Thicker cuts, like New York strip steak or boneless ribeye, are ideal because their higher fat content keeps the steak juicy during cooking. Look for steaks with visible marbling, as this indicates a tender and flavorsome cut. Although premium steaks may cost a bit more, they are still a more affordable option than dining at a fancy steakhouse. For the best results, choose high-quality, non-GMO, pasture-raised, and grass-fed beef.

Can I Use Other Cuts?

Pan-searing can also be done with thinner cuts, but keep in mind that the cooking time will be much shorter. To cook thinner cuts effectively, use a digital thermometer to monitor the internal temperature and prevent overcooking. However, avoid using bone-in steaks for pan-searing, as they can cook unevenly. For bone-in cuts, it’s best to use the oven or grill.

Choosing the Perfect Steak Cut

Depending on your preferences and budget, you have several options when it comes to selecting a steak cut. Each cut offers a unique blend of flavor and tenderness:

  • Sirloin: Known for its flavor, sirloin steaks are a great alternative to filet. They are best enjoyed cooked to medium or medium-rare.
  • Filet: Filet steaks are prized for their tenderness. This lean cut is delicious when cooked to medium-rare, but it is the most expensive option.
  • Strip loin (New York): If you’re pan-frying, strip loin steaks are an excellent choice due to their thickness, marbling, and fat content that adds incredible flavor.
  • Ribeye: You can opt for a boneless ribeye or a rib on the bone (côte de boeuf). Medium to medium-rare is the recommended temperature for this cut.
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For the ultimate steak experience, consider exploring our Premium Reserve Collection, which offers a variety of craft cuts.

Ingredients You Need for the Perfect Pan-Fried Steak

Preparing a delicious pan-fried steak requires only a handful of ingredients. You can create a mouthwatering meal using the following basics:

  • 1-2 tbsp. of unsalted butter (preferably 100% grass-fed butter)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Your choice of steak cut (we recommend Delmonico Ribeye)
  • Garlic

For the perfect crispy crust, it is essential to use a cast-iron skillet. Non-stick pans won’t deliver the same flavor or achieve that desired crispiness.

How to Fry Steak in a Pan: Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you have identified the ideal steak cut and gathered your ingredients, let’s walk through the step-by-step process of pan-frying a steak to perfection.

Step 1

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature, which typically takes around an hour. This step ensures that the steak cooks evenly. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels to achieve a crispier exterior.

Step 2

Before you start cooking the steak, prepare any accompanying sides as steaks require your undivided attention during the cooking process.

Step 3

Generously season the steaks with salt and pepper, ensuring that they are evenly coated on both sides.

Step 4

Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat for about 10 minutes until it starts to smoke slightly.

Step 5

Add olive oil to the hot skillet, then carefully place the steaks into the pan. Cook one side until it develops a crust and does not stick to the pan, which typically takes around 1 minute. Flip the steak and continue cooking for an additional 3 minutes. To ensure even coloring, sear the edges of the steak as well.

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Step 6

Add butter, garlic, and your choice of herbs to the pan. Flip the steaks again. Tilt the pan to allow the butter to pool on one side, then use a spoon to baste the steak. Repeat this process as you continue cooking. After approximately 6 minutes of cooking, start checking the temperature of the meat using a digital thermometer to achieve your desired level of doneness.

Step 7

Once the steak reaches your desired temperature, remove it from the skillet and let it rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting. If needed, season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Extra Pan-Frying Tips

To consistently cook the perfect pan-seared steak, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Pat the meat dry before adding it to the pan to develop a nice crust.
  • Don’t be afraid to generously season your steak with salt to enhance the flavor.
  • Test the skillet’s temperature by splashing water onto it. If the droplets move around, the pan is not yet hot enough.
  • Wait until the olive oil in the skillet is shiny and about to smoke before adding the steak.
  • Allow the cooked steak to rest for a few minutes before cutting to retain the juices.
  • Don’t let the steak rest for too long, as it cools down quickly and is best enjoyed hot.
  • Use a cast-iron skillet for even heat distribution and a crispy exterior.
  • Add butter towards the end of cooking to prevent it from burning.
  • For steaks with strips of fat, sear the fat first to render and enhance the flavor.
  • Avoid overcooking the steak, as pan-seared steaks are best enjoyed juicy on the inside with a crispy exterior.

How to Know When Your Steak is Done

To ensure your steak is cooked to perfection, it’s essential to use a meat thermometer, as stoves vary in heat output. With practice, you’ll develop an instinct for gauging the doneness of a steak by pressing your finger into it. If the meat feels firm, it is well-cooked, whereas if it doesn’t push back, it is still rare.

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Sides That Pair Well With Steak

To enhance your steak dinner, consider pairing it with delicious side dishes that complement the flavors. Here are some classic options:

  • Potato gratin: Sliced potatoes baked in cream or milk.
  • Crispy mashed potatoes: Smashed baby potatoes seasoned with butter, garlic, salt, and pepper, then baked until crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
  • Steak fries: Thick-cut french fries that are more substantial and satisfying.
  • Baked potato: A classic choice that never disappoints when paired with steak.
  • Asparagus or Brussels sprouts: Roasted, grilled, or oven-roasted asparagus or Brussels sprouts drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper for a healthier side option.
  • Compound butter: A flavorful butter mixture made with mashed garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper, refrigerated until solid.

The Best Herbs to Season Your Steak

While onion, garlic, salt, and pepper are essential spices for any steak recipe, herbs can elevate the flavors even further. Consider using thyme, rosemary, sage, or oregano for a subtle infusion of aromatic notes. You can also experiment with different cultural seasonings, such as southwestern spices or Asian-inspired blends, to add a unique twist to your steak.

How to Slice Your Steak

To achieve tender and easily chewable slices, it’s crucial to cut the steak against the grain. Look for the streaks running across the length of the steak to identify the grain. Adjust the position of the steak as needed during the cutting process to ensure you are slicing against the grain.

Choosing the Right Knife

When working with meat, a sharp and durable knife is essential. Look for an 8-inch blade with an ergonomic handle for a secure grip.

How Many Steaks Can I Cook at Once?

You can cook as many steaks as your skillet can accommodate. However, keep in mind that adding more steaks lowers the surface temperature of the skillet, which can affect cooking time and the development of a crust. For optimal results, avoid overcrowding the pan.

Final Thoughts

When you finally sink your teeth into a perfectly cooked steak, you’ll understand the pleasure of indulging in a premium cut of meat. We hope you find this guide helpful and easy to follow. Remember to cook your steak in a hot pan, season it liberally for maximum flavor, and let it rest before carving to retain its juices. Pan-frying a steak is much simpler than it seems. Give this recipe a try, and don’t forget to explore our other mouthwatering recommendations!

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