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 Become an expert at cooking a Perfect Pan-Seared Steak at home! (It’s easy!)

How to cook the Perfect Pan-Seared Steak! It's easy to make delicious, perfectly cooked steak at home!

A few weekends ago we had some friends over to our house for lunch, and we got around to talking about A Family Feast.  We love hearing suggestions for the types of recipes people would like to see us post here – and our friend Simone was the first to speak up!  She asked for a simple and easy way to prepare steak – and others agreed (including myself!) – so here is our recipe for the Perfect Pan-Seared Steak!

I’ll admit – I usually leave the cooking of steak or other cuts of beef to my husband Jack.  Other types of meat…I have no problems cooking that!  But steak…I’ve never been happy with how it came out when I cooked it.  Until now that is!  Cooking the perfect pan-seared steak is so easy (and it comes out so deliciously good) you’ll become an expert at it too!


How to cook the Perfect Pan-Seared Steak! It's easy to make delicious, perfectly cooked steak at home!

What kind of beef should I buy to make a Perfect Pan-Seared Steak?

For a perfect steak of any kind, you really need to start with a good quality, high-grade cut of beef.  For a Perfect Pan-Seared Steak, a good rib eye or sirloin are our recommended choices – and try to select a thick steak (at least 1½ inches thick).  Look for marbling (little spider veins of fat that are weaved throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender cooked steak) and try to avoid cuts that have large pieces of outside fat or gristle running through it.  Don’t be shy about asking your butcher – even at your local supermarket – for exactly the cut of beef you need!

At most supermarkets, you are most likely going to find a grade of meat that is called “choice”, which is perfectly fine to use!  Just try to avoid the grades called “select” or “standard” as they are lesser cuts of meat and usually lack the marbling you want. It is also possible to get the best grade called “prime” at the supermarket, but unlikely – you typically will need to go to a specialty butcher for that.  If you don’t mind paying top dollar, you can also buy aged beef. The butcher will place the beef in a climate-controlled space for a period of days or weeks. The beef will lose moisture and intensify in flavor. (It is possible to age beef at home yourself…see this article.)

When you get the steak home, remove it from the package and place it in your refrigerator, uncovered, on a plate lined with a few paper towels until you are ready to prepare it.  This will help remove any excess moisture and will also help intensify the flavor of your steak.

Finally, we recommend using a well-seasoned, large black cast iron frying pan for making the Perfect Pan-Seared Steak!


You may like these other Steak recipes:

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Perfect Pan-Seared Steak - A Family Feast

Perfect Pan-Seared Steak

  • Prep Time: 4 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 mins
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


Note: In our photo, you may have noticed that we show some roasted potatoes in the pan. We roasted potato wedges in the oven with oil and seasonings until tender and then added them to the pan during the last two minutes of cooking. They absorb some of the melted butter and steak drippings and really complements the flavor of the steak! This step is optional and is not fully outlined in the recipe.


  • 1 bone-in or boneless rib eye steak or sirloin steak at least 1 ½ pounds, cut to at least 1 ½ inches thick
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves, left whole
  • Few sprigs fresh parsley, including stems
  • Optional: Wine and stock (chicken, beef, veal,etc.) and butter for deglazing the pan and making a delicious pan sauce
  • Optional: Roasted potato wedges (see note above)


  1. Salt and pepper one side of the steak.
  2. Heat your seasoned cast iron skillet to smoking hot. Add oil and swirl around to coat. Add steak seasoned-side down (place it in pan away from you so you don’t get splattered), and then salt and pepper the other side of the steak. At this point do not touch it for two minutes. Using tongs (never pierce the meat with a fork), flip the steak and add butter, garlic and parsley to the pan next to the steak. Allow the steak to cook for 2 more minutes.
  3. Right after you flip the steak for the first time, with a spoon or small ladle, keep basting the melted butter over the steak. Baste continually for the full two minutes (tilt pan a little if you have to, to get the butter onto the spoon).
  4. After two minutes on each side, keep flipping and basting the steak each time leaving the steak for 30 seconds before turning. Test the steak with the poke test (see note below) and remove at medium rare at about the five to six minute mark of total cooking time. Cook a minute or two longer for medium to well. A thicker steak (such as a sirloin) may take longer.
  5. Turn off the heat and baste one more time. Leave the steak in the pan loosely covered with foil for 10 minutes and allow to rest before cutting. Baste one more time, and remove to a cutting board. Either cut the steak in half for each serving or for a nicer presentation, slice on the bias and serve slices.
  6. Discard the pan drippings or if desired, deglaze the pan with a little wine, then and stock and simmer for a few minutes to reduce the drippings. Add a tablespoon or two of butter to thicken for a nice pan sauce .


Note: To test the meat for doneness, we use what is called the ‘poke test’. Make a tight fist and feel the flesh just below your thumb into the palm of your hand. Firm is how well-done steak will feel. Loosen your grip a bit and feel the same spot. That will be medium-rare. Loosen your grip all the way and that is blood-rare. Now poke your finger into the thickest part of the meat and compare it to your palm for the perfect level of doneness that you desire.



Perfect Pan-Seared Steak

Perfect Pan-Seared Steak

Perfect Pan Seared Steak - A Family Feast
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  • Jason wrote:

    I havent had good steak on the stove until this recipe. It was simple and amzing. Definitely going to make it again.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Jason! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Kathy Stanford wrote:

    I made this last night, with a side of roasted baby potatoes with garlic, rosemary and parsley. Delicious! I will definitely make this again!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Kathy! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Karen wrote:

    I have made my steak like this four times and they were great each time. I don’t think I will ever make them any other way!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Karen! So glad you enjoy the recipe!

  • Iesha Winfrey wrote:

    All I can say is WOW, I made the perfect pan-seared steak recipe for my family tonight and everyone loved it. Steak was tinder and juice, I would definitely recommend this to everyone or keep it my little secret. My fiancé said that this was the best steak he has ever had, coming from him that is beyond a complement.

    Thank you so much!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Lesha! So glad the recipe was a success!

  • MC James wrote:

    I tried it … it worked. Before this recipe, my steak was coming out too tough. This is the second time I’m using this recipe so for me, that means, “It Works!”

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you hear that you are having success with the recipe!

  • JRiley wrote:

    OMIGOSH! I will never grill again. Absolute perfection. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • Martha wrote:

      You are very welcome! So glad you had great success with the recipe!

  • Sharon wrote:

    Just starting to cook this for supper. Do you turn the stove down after you start the steak?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Sharon – You want to cook this at a very high temp.

  • Julie wrote:

    I’m all confused on the poking going on. A fist to something so hot, or how to place the fingers? Even another gave a tip on the poking. I just cant picture it. 🤔

  • KS wrote:

    I don’t eat beef so I don’t buy it very often…but I know they love a good steak. I bought some sirloin and followed the directions exactly with the exception of allowing the steak to come closer to room temperature and I can’t find my cast iron skillet (I recently moved). So even though my pan got too hot and my butter burned, they were AMAZED!

    One steak was thicker than the other so I cooked the thinner one (about 1″) for 5 minutes and the thicker one (1 1/2) for 6 minutes. They were perfectly medium. PERFECT!!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Yay! So glad your dinner guests enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for taking the time to write to us today.

  • Maya M wrote:

    Just wanted you to know that this delicious recipe was featured here:

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you Maya!

  • Curtis wrote:

    Oil will fry the meat. All you really need is the cast iron skillet and pinch some salt to the skillet. Sear each side of the steak for about 30 seconds turn down your heat and cook the meat.

  • Cyndi wrote:

    Oh my gosh! Made this tonight, absolutely delish!! Followed your directions exactly (minus the cast iron, as I don’t have one…. yet!). Like you, I usually leave the steak for my hubby to cook… not anymore! Thank you so much! Will keep this as my go-to steak recipe! Just wish I had found this sooner!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Cyndi – so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Katie @ Old World Taste wrote:

    I am always afraid of cooking steak too! I’ve found that braising steak is a great option. My German grandma used to make rouladen, rolled steak stuffed with pickles and bacon. All you do is brown it then braise it in some liquid for about an hour. You can’t mess it up!

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds delicious Katie – I’ve made a similar Polish recipe as the one you’ve describe and it is delicious!

  • Devon k wrote:

    Any concern of the butter burning if the pan is so hot? Should the heat be turned down once the steaks are in?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Devon – The butter will brown a bit but it shouldn’t burn. But – every stove is calibrated differently…if you notice the butter burning definitely turn the temp down.

  • Carolyn Vick wrote:

    Boy, I’ve got to say, I just tried the pan-seared steak. It was a bad day at black rock today. I was tired and emotionally drained from critter problems. I needed something quick and hearty and remembered making a copy of this recipe, and had the ingredients (albeit a NY strip steak). While too tired to get out the old cast iron skillet I opted for my little ceramic one. Now I can’t wait to try it in the cast iron because it was the best steak I’ve had in a while. An easy, delicious dinner and I can face the world again. Thanks guys.

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Carolyn – so glad our recipe made a bad day a little bit better! 🙂

  • linda Prin wrote:

    I will have to make sure that the next time I go to a restaurant that I order pan seared if it mentions this is the way it is cooked. I love steak if it is cooked nicely with the right amount of moisture. Your images are really appealing. Thanks for sharing.

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Linda!

  • Alex wrote:

    Great method! Use cast iron and don’t be afraid to get it extremely hot. Follow the flipping/basting as instructed for 5 minutes total and you’ll have a perfect medium rare steak. Thanks for sharing!

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe Alex!

  • Liane wrote:

    Wow!!! I had a small 2.5 lbs sirloin tip roast that I used with this recipie! I also had fresh oregano sprigs which I used alongside the fresh parsley sprigs. I also used several more garlic cloves than the recipie says, for I love garlic. I increased the searing time slightly, as the roast was approximately 2.5 – 3 inches thick. I basted it the whole time. Total cooking time (before resting) was 13 minutes. The center was perfectly pink, the outside crusted to perfection!

    I then wanted to make a sauce, as you suggested, so I poured in about a cup of dry red wine, scraping the crusted bottom of my cast iron (which I would absolutely suggest for this), simmered it a few minutes, then I put in a half of a small can of French onion soup in place of beef broth, then a few dallops of butter! Absolutely stunning restaurant quality meal!

    Wow, thank you for this recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Liane – glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Gail wrote:

    Why am I just now finding this??? My husband always grills our steaks but since he doesn’t get home from work until after 7 PM, all the steak goodness must wait until the weekend. Ha…not anymore. The taste of this is awesome, super easy, no muss no fuss. Nice to have a steak when weather isn’t cooperating to cook on a grill.

    • Martha wrote:

      We’re glad you finally found us Gail! 🙂 And we hope you enjoy the recipe as much as your husband’s grilled steaks!

  • Jem wrote:

    Hi there, just thought I would share a version of the poke test thats a little easier. If you tough your thumb to your pinky on the same hand the way the fleshy part under your thumb feels is well done. Each finger getting progressively more rare. When touching your first finger thats rare. Hope this helps someone!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Jem!

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