How to Cook Steak Perfectly at Home

These steak secrets guarantee a juicy, flavorful meal every time.

Ordering a perfectly cooked steak at a restaurant? Easy. But learning how to cook steak at home is another matter altogether. Fortunately, learning how to cook a homemade steak dinner doesn’t take a culinary genius. You can keep things simple and still make a delicious steak at home, whether you prefer the oven, stovetop, or grill, with these simple tips and pointers.

After you have your cut of choice, you only need a few ingredients to cook steak. While you can always add steak sauces, rubs, and wet or dry brine, this is your guide for a basic steak. (And if you’re ready to take things up a notch, you can always use a cast-iron skillet to make a pan-seared steak at home.)

How to Cook Steak

01 of 07

Start With a Thawed Steak

Here’s how to defrost steak if needed.

Take the steak out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature. It will brown better and cook faster and more evenly. Plus, a rare steak won’t end up cold in the center.

02 of 07

Fully Preheat the Grill, Skillet, or Broiler

This will help you get a better sear, which locks in juices.

03 of 07

Pat the Steak Dry With a Paper Towel Before Cooking

04 of 07

Wait to Season the Steak Until Just Before You Cook It

If you season ahead of time, the salt will draw out some juices. Use generous amounts of kosher salt and cracked (or butcher’s grind) black pepper to get the most flavorful crust.

05 of 07

Cook Your Steak on Both Sides

Flip the steak only once and cook until you reach your desired level of doneness. Rare steaks should be at least 120 F; medium steaks should be around 140 F, and well-done steaks should be close to 160 F. (For more details, check our steak temperature guide.) Note that the USDA recommends cooking whole cuts of beef to a minimum of 145 F for optimal safety.

Figuring out how long to cook steak depends on your cooking temperature, desired level of doneness, and the thickness of the cut. A good rule of thumb: Cook steak for a minimum of five minutes (flipping halfway through) for a rare steak; add cook time to each side for larger steaks or steaks that are more fully cooked through. The safest method is to use an instant-read thermometer, so you don’t have to rely entirely on cook time.

06 of 07

Let the Cooked Steak Rest

Steak that rests before being cut is able to retain its juices better. The USDA has also added a three-minute rest time for all meats as part of its food safety cooking recommendations, so once your steak is removed from the pan, grill, or oven, let it rest for at least three minutes.

07 of 07

Garnish With Fresh Thyme and Flaky Sea Salt

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles