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How To Cook Steak In A Pan: A Step-by-Step Guide

Once you learn how to cook steak in a pan, you’ll be able to create mouth-watering, restaurant-quality steaks right in the comfort of your own home.

In this easy guide, you’ll learn how to cook an amazing steak in a pan, from picking the right cut to getting a perfect sear.

So, put on your apron and grab your favourite pan—it’s time to become a steak expert!

Step 1: Choosing the Right Cut of Steak

The first thing to consider is the cut of steak you’ll be cooking. Popular cuts for pan-cooking include ribeye, sirloin, fillet, and T-bone.

3 slices of raw sirloin steak
Sirloin Steak

Each cut has a unique flavour and texture, so trying them to find your favourite is worth it. When selecting your steak, look for good marbling (the white flecks of fat) and a thickness of at least 2-3 centimetres, as this ensures a tender, flavoursome result.

Step 2: Bring Steak To Room Temperature

Before cooking, take your steak out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. This helps the meat cook evenly and prevents it from being overcooked on the outside while still being cold in the middle.

Pat the steak dry with kitchen paper to remove excess moisture, as this will help you achieve a better sear.

Step 3: Season The Steak

raw steak on chopping board being seasoned with salt and pepper
Season the steak

Now, it’s time to season your steak. I recommend a simple seasoning of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper but feel free to add your favourite herbs and spices for an extra kick.

Step 4: Selecting the Perfect Steak Pan

Choosing the right pan is essential for cooking steak. I recommend using a cast iron or stainless steel pan, as these materials provide excellent heat retention and distribution for an even, well-seared crust. Non-stick pans can also work, but make sure they are suitable for high-heat cooking.

Step 5: Preheat The Pan And Add Oil

Place your pan on the hob and preheat it over medium-high heat for a few minutes until it’s hot. Preheating is crucial for even cooking and a perfect sear.

Next, add a small amount of oil with a high smoke point, such as rapeseed or sunflower oil. A thin layer is enough to coat the bottom of the pan and prevent the steak from sticking.

Step 6: Sear The Steak

Carefully place the steak in the hot pan, ensuring it’s not overcrowded. If you’re cooking multiple steaks, cook them in batches to avoid lowering the pan’s temperature.

three raw steaks in a pan frying
Frying steak in a pan

Step 7: Cook The Steak To Desired Doneness

Sear the steak for 2-3 minutes on one side until a beautiful, golden-brown crust forms. Resist the temptation to move the steak around in the pan, as this can prevent proper searing.

Flip the steak and cook it for another 2-3 minutes for rare, 3-4 minutes for medium-rare, or 4-5 minutes for medium.

For well-done steaks, you may need to reduce the heat and cook for a longer time.

Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature if you’re unsure: 50°C for rare, 55°C for medium-rare, 65°C for medium, and 75°C for well-done.

Note: This is based on steaks that are 2 to 3 cm in thickness – for thinner or thicker steaks, reduce or increase the cooking time accordingly.

Step 8: Add Flavour With Butter, Garlic, And Herbs

Optionally add a knob of butter to the pan, crushed garlic cloves, and fresh herbs, such as rosemary or thyme, for extra flavour.

Allow the butter to melt and spoon over the steak, basting it with the aromatic mixture for a truly mouth-watering result.

Step 9: Rest The Steak

Once your steak has reached the desired doneness, remove it from the pan and let it rest on a warm plate for about 5 minutes. Resting is essential for ensuring the juices redistribute within the steak, resulting in a tender, succulent bite.

Step 10: Serve And Enjoy Your Steak

Now that your steak is rested, it’s time to serve and enjoy it.

pan fried steak on a plate with a side of roasted potatoes and salad
Steak served with potatoes and a side salad

You can pair your steak with a variety of sauces, such as peppercorn, béarnaise, mushroom or chimichurri, and classic side dishes like chips, mash, or steamed vegetables.

Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary or a sprinkle of sea salt flakes for a finishing touch.

Remember to slice against the grain for the most tender result when cutting into your steak.

Take your time savouring each bite, appreciating the flavours and textures you’ve expertly created!

More Ways To Cook Steak

There are plenty of different ways to cook a steak. You can also cook steak in an air fryer, under the grill or on the BBQ.

Steak Accessories

When cooking steak in a pan, you’ll need some accessories to help you cook it to perfection.

These include:

  • A high-quality pan: A cast iron or stainless steel pan is ideal for excellent heat retention and even cooking.
  • Oil: Choose an oil with a high smoke point, such as rapeseed or sunflower oil, for optimal searing without burning.
  • Spatula or tongs: A sturdy spatula or tongs will help you easily flip the steak and handle it safely while cooking.
  • Seasonings: Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and your favourite herbs or spices will enhance the steak’s flavour.
  • Apron: Wearing an apron will protect your clothes from splatters and stains while cooking.
  • Steak knife: A sharp steak knife will ensure smooth, effortless slicing through the cooked steak.
  • Meat thermometer: A reliable meat thermometer will help you accurately gauge the steak’s internal temperature for perfect doneness.
  • Heat-resistant gloves: protect your hands from high temperatures when handling the pan or basting the steak.
  • A resting plate: A warm plate to rest the cooked steak on will help retain its heat and allow the juices to redistribute evenly.
  • A cutting board: A sturdy cutting board provides a stable surface for slicing the steak once it has rested.

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