Perfectly Cooked Steak: How Long to Cook Your Steak to Perfection

Nothing screams satisfying like biting into a perfectly cooked steak. While it’s heavily dependent on personal preference, several factors come into play when determining how long to cook your steak to perfection. From the cut of meat to the cooking method, you want to ensure your steak comes out succulent, juicy, and packed with flavor. Here’s our guide to cooking the perfect steak every time.

Perfectly Cooked Steak: How Long to Cook Your Steak to Perfection | Eat Urban Garden
Perfectly Cooked Steak: How Long to Cook Your Steak to Perfection

The Basics of Steak Cooking

Steak is a classic and delicious dish that can be cooked in several ways. To ensure that your steak is cooked to perfection, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of the cooking process. Factors such as cut, thickness, and personal preference can affect how long you should cook your steak. Achieving the desired level of doneness is also crucial since overcooking can make your steak tough and dry. Below are the basics of steak cooking that will help you determine how long to cook your steak and the different levels of doneness.

Cuts of Steak

One of the primary factors that determine how long you should cook your steak is the cut of meat. Each cut has a different texture, fat content, and size, which affects the cooking time. The most common cuts of steak include:

  • Ribeye
  • New York Strip
  • Tenderloin
  • Sirloin
  • Flank

Thickness of Steak

The thickness of your steak will affect the cooking time. A rule of thumb is to cook your steak for 6-7 minutes per inch of thickness for medium-rare doneness. However, if your steak is thicker or thinner, the cooking time will need to be adjusted accordingly. Use a meat thermometer to check if your steak has reached the desired doneness.

Level of Doneness

The level of doneness refers to how well-cooked the steak is. The different levels of doneness are:

  • Blue rare – seared on the outside and cool and red in the center.
  • Rare – seared on the outside and red in the center.
  • Medium-rare – seared on the outside and pink in the center.
  • Medium – seared on the outside and pink with a hint of red in the center.
  • Medium-well – seared on the outside and mostly gray with a small amount of pink in the center.
  • Well-done – cooked through with no pink remaining.

Each level of doneness requires a different cooking time, so understanding the level of doneness you want to achieve is critical. It’s essential to note that cooking your steak to well-done may result in it being tough and dry.

Tip: For the best results, let your steak rest for at least 5 minutes after cooking. This allows the juices to redistribute and makes for a more tender and flavorful steak.

Factors Affecting Cooking Time

When it comes to cooking the perfect steak, there are several factors that can affect how long it takes to cook. These include the cut, thickness, size, and even the temperature of the steak before it hits the grill or pan. Understanding these factors and how they impact your cooking time can help you achieve that perfectly cooked steak every time.

Cut

The cut of steak that you choose can have a major impact on how long it takes to cook. For example, a thinner cut like a filet mignon will cook much faster than a thicker cut like a ribeye. When selecting your steak, keep in mind that thicker cuts will require more time on the grill or in the pan to cook through, but can be better for achieving a perfectly cooked medium-rare or medium steak.

Thickness

The thickness of your steak is another important consideration when it comes to cooking time. As a general rule of thumb, a 1-inch thick steak will take about 12-14 minutes to cook on the grill or in a pan, while a 2-inch thick steak can take up to 20-24 minutes. However, this can vary depending on the type of steak and the level of doneness you are trying to achieve. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that your steak has reached the desired temperature.

Size

In addition to thickness, the overall size of your steak can also impact cooking time. A smaller steak will, of course, cook faster than a larger one. However, make sure to adjust your cooking time accordingly, as even a small steak can quickly go from perfectly cooked to overdone if left on the grill or in the pan for too long.

Temperature

The starting temperature of your steak can also play a role in how long it takes to cook. For example, if your steak is at room temperature before you begin cooking, it will cook faster than if it is still cold from the fridge. Additionally, if you are cooking your steak in a pan, make sure to preheat the pan before adding the steak, as this will help ensure that it cooks evenly and doesn’t stick to the pan.

How to Determine Steak Doneness

When cooking steak, it’s important to determine the doneness to achieve the perfect taste and texture. A common way to measure steak doneness is by using a meat thermometer. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Insert the meat thermometer into the steak

Insert the meat thermometer probe into the thickest part of the steak. Make sure the probe doesn’t touch any bone or gristle, as this can give you an inaccurate reading.

Step 2: Check the temperature

Wait for a few seconds until the thermometer gives you a reading. Here’s a quick guide to help you determine steak doneness based on internal temperature:

  • Rare: 120°F to 129°F
  • Medium Rare: 130°F to 134°F
  • Medium: 135°F to 144°F
  • Medium Well: 145°F to 154°F
  • Well Done: 155°F and up

Step 3: Check the color and texture

Aside from the internal temperature, the color and texture of the steak can also give you a clue on its doneness. Here’s a quick guide:

  1. Rare: The steak is red in color and has a cool center. The texture is soft and spongy.
  2. Medium Rare: The steak is pink in color and has a warm center. The texture is tender and juicy.
  3. Medium: The steak is light pink in color and has a hot center. The texture is firmer and slightly juicy.
  4. Medium Well: The steak is slightly pink in color and has a very hot center. The texture is even firmer and less juicy.
  5. Well Done: The steak is brown in color and has a hot center. The texture is very firm and dry.

Cooking Time for Steak by Doneness

Perfectly cooked steak is a flavorful and satisfying meal that almost everyone loves. One of the most important factors in preparing a delicious steak is determining the cooking time. Cooking times vary depending on the desired level of doneness, such as rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, or well-done.

Rare

A rare steak is cooked for a short amount of time and is still red on the inside. It’s cooked until the steak reaches an internal temperature of 125°F. For a 1-inch thick steak, cook for about 2-3 minutes per side.

Medium-Rare

A medium-rare steak is pink in the middle and has a warm red center. It’s cooked until the steak reaches an internal temperature of 130-135°F. For a 1-inch thick steak, cook for about 3-4 minutes per side.

Medium

A medium steak is cooked to an internal temperature of 135-145°F. The center of the steak is light pink and has a hot pink interior. For a 1-inch thick steak, cook for about 4-5 minutes per side.

Medium-Well

A medium-well steak is cooked to an internal temperature of 145-155°F. The center of the steak is pale pink and has only a small amount of pink in the middle. For a 1-inch thick steak, cook for about 5-6 minutes per side.

Well-Done

A well-done steak is cooked to an internal temperature of 155°F and above. The center of the steak is brown with no pink, and it can take 10-12 minutes for a 1-inch thick steak to cook through.

Method of Cooking Steak

There’s nothing quite like a perfectly cooked steak. Whether you prefer ribeye, sirloin, or filet mignon, there are different cooking methods to achieve that juicy, tender, and flavorful steak. The key to cooking steak to perfection lies in the timing and temperature. Here are some methods of cooking steak and their recommended cooking times.

Grilling

Grilling is a popular method of cooking steak that imparts a smoky flavor and charred crust. You can either use a gas or charcoal grill, but make sure the grill grates are hot and clean before cooking. Here are the recommended grilling times for different levels of doneness:

  • Rare: 2-3 minutes per side
  • Medium-rare: 3-4 minutes per side
  • Medium: 4-5 minutes per side
  • Medium-well: 5-6 minutes per side
  • Well-done: 6-7 minutes per side

Broiling

Broiling is a quick and easy method of cooking steak that requires only an oven with a top heating element (broiler). Preheat the broiler and place the steak on a broiler pan (or a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet). Broil the steak according to the following cooking times:

  • Rare: 2-3 minutes per side
  • Medium-rare: 3-4 minutes per side
  • Medium: 4-5 minutes per side
  • Medium-well: 5-6 minutes per side
  • Well-done: 6-7 minutes per side

Pan-frying

Pan-frying or sautéing is a versatile method of cooking steak that can be done on the stove. Use a heavy skillet (such as cast iron) and heat a small amount of oil or butter over medium-high heat. Add the steak and cook according to the following times:

  • Rare: 2-3 minutes per side
  • Medium-rare: 3-4 minutes per side
  • Medium: 4-5 minutes per side
  • Medium-well: 5-6 minutes per side
  • Well-done: 6-7 minutes per side

Oven-roasting

Oven-roasting is a slow and steady method of cooking steak that results in a juicy and tender meat. Preheat the oven to 275-300°F and place the steak on a roasting pan (or a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet). Roast the steak according to the following times:

  • Rare: 15-20 minutes
  • Medium-rare: 20-25 minutes
  • Medium: 25-30 minutes
  • Medium-well: 30-35 minutes
  • Well-done: 35-40 minutes

No matter which method you choose, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steak. The ideal temperature ranges from 135°F for medium-rare to 160°F for well-done. Let the steak rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Tips and Tricks for Perfectly Cooked Steak

Steak is a classic dish that can be cooked in so many different ways to your desired level of doneness. Whether you like it rare, medium, or well-done, it is important to cook it perfectly to your taste. Here are some tips and tricks to cook a perfect steak:

1. Use a meat thermometer

Using a meat thermometer is the most accurate way to know when your steak is cooked perfectly to your liking. The temperature varies depending on the desired level of doneness. For rare, the temperature should be about 120°F, for medium-rare 130°F, for medium 140°F, for medium-well 150°F, and for well-done 160°F.

2. Season your steak

Seasoning your steak is critical to getting the perfect flavor. Salt and pepper are the most common seasonings used, but you can also use garlic, paprika, or other spices to enhance the flavor. Make sure to season your steak generously on both sides before cooking it.

3. Let it rest

Resting the steak is important to allow the juices to distribute evenly throughout the meat. This will make the steak juicier and more flavorful. Once the steak is cooked, take it off the pan or grill and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it.

4. Use a meat tenderizer

If you are using a tougher cut of steak, consider using a meat tenderizer to make it more tender. You can use a meat mallet or a tenderizing tool to break down the fibers of the meat and make it more tender. If you don’t have a meat tenderizer, try marinating your steak in acidic liquids like vinegar or lemon juice to help break down the meat fibers.

5. Sear it properly

Searing your steak is important to create a golden-brown crust on the outside while keeping the inside moist and juicy. Preheat your pan or grill on high heat and add a little oil to it. Once the oil is hot, add the steak to the pan or grill and sear it for 2-3 minutes on each side before turning down the heat to cook it through.

6. Cook it for the right amount of time

The length of time you cook your steak depends on the thickness and the desired level of doneness. As a rule of thumb, cook a 1-inch thick steak for about 3-4 minutes on each side for rare, 4-5 minutes for medium-rare, 5-6 minutes for medium, 6-7 minutes for medium-well, and 8-10 minutes for well-done. You can adjust the cooking time according to your preference.

Enjoy Your Perfectly Cooked Steak!

Now that you know how to cook your steak to perfection, you can impress your friends and family with your cooking skills. Remember to let your steak rest before cutting into it to keep the juices inside. Thanks for reading and be sure to come back for more delicious recipes!

Perfectly Cooked Steak: How Long to Cook Your Steak to Perfection

Learn how to cook the perfect steak every time with our easy guide. Find out how long to cook your steak for your desired level of doneness.

  • 4 1-inch thick steaks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking to let them come to room temperature. This ensures even cooking throughout the steak.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and place a cast iron pan over medium-high heat on the stove.
  3. Rub the steaks with olive oil, then season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Make sure to season both sides of the steak.
  4. Once the pan is hot, add the steaks and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side until a crust forms. Then, add butter to the pan and baste the steaks for 1 minute before transferring to the oven.
  5. Bake the steak in the preheated oven for 6-8 minutes for medium-rare, 8-10 minutes for medium, and 10-12 minutes for medium-well. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steak.
  6. Remove the steak from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing. This helps redistribute the juices throughout the steak.
Main Course
American
steak, cooking, meat, food, grilling

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