Pan-Seared Steaks Recipe

Pan-searing is a classic method of cooking steak to perfect doneness. This recipe is all about simplicity, focusing on the rich flavor of high-quality steak. It's a straightforward process that involves minimal ingredients but results in a steakhouse-quality meal right at home.

Pan-Seared Steaks Recipe
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The ingredients for this pan-seared steak recipe are commonly found in most kitchens. However, it's important to note the type of steak used. A well-marbled New York strip or rib eye will provide the best flavor and tenderness. Fresh thyme leaves are also key for infusing the steak with a delicate, herbal aroma. Ensure you pick up fresh sprigs at the supermarket.

Ingredients for Pan-Seared Steaks

New York strip or rib eye: This type of steak has fat marbling throughout, which keeps the meat tender during cooking and adds flavor.

Kosher salt: Enhances the flavors of the steak and helps to create a delicious crust.

Black pepper: Adds a slight heat and aromatic quality to the steak.

Vegetable oil: Used for searing the steak, as it has a high smoke point.

Unsalted butter: Adds richness and helps to brown the surface of the steak.

Fresh thyme leaves: Infuse the steak with a lovely herbal flavor.

One reader, Lavinie Ogrady says:

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This pan-seared steak recipe is a game-changer! The steaks turned out perfectly juicy and flavorful. The simple seasoning and cooking method made it so easy to achieve restaurant-quality results at home. The addition of butter and thyme at the end added a delicious finishing touch. I'll be making this again and again!

Lavinie Ogrady

Key Techniques for Mastering Pan-Seared Steaks

How to season the steaks: Evenly coat the steaks with kosher salt and black pepper to enhance their flavor.

How to heat the pan: Heat a heavy pan, preferably cast iron or stainless steel, over medium-high heat until it's very hot to ensure a proper sear on the steaks.

How to sear the steaks: Carefully place the steaks in the hot pan and allow them to cook undisturbed to develop a golden crust, ensuring a flavorful sear.

How to flip the steaks: Flip the steaks when they release easily and the bottom is a deep-brown color, about 3 minutes, to ensure even cooking on both sides.

How to add butter and thyme: During the last minute of cooking, add the butter and thyme sprigs to the pan with the steaks to infuse them with rich, aromatic flavors.

How to rest the steaks: If planning to slice the steaks, let them rest, covered with aluminum foil, for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute, ensuring a juicy and tender result.

How To Make Pan-Seared Steaks

Pan-seared steaks are probably the simplest and the best way to prepare steaks. The meat shines with just butter, thyme, salt, and pepper.d

Preparation: 4 minutes
Cooking: 6 minutes
Total: 10 minutes



  • 12ozNew York strip,or rib eye, (2 steak) or 4 (6 oz) filet mignons, about 1½-inch thick
  • 1tspkosher salt
  • ½tspblack pepper,freshly ground
  • 2tbspvegetable oil
  • 1tbspunsalted butter
  • a few sprigs fresh thyme leaves


  1. To begin, pat the steaks dry with paper towels.

  2. Season the steaks all over with the salt and pepper.

  3. Turn on exhaust fan and heat a heavy pan (preferably cast iron or stainless steel) over medium-high heat until it’s very hot.

  4. Add the oil to the pan and heat until it begins to shimmer and move fluidly around the pan.

  5. Carefully set the steaks in the pan. The oil should sizzle.

  6. Leave the steaks alone! Avoid the temptation to peek or fiddle or flip repeatedly; the steaks need a few minutes undisturbed to develop a golden crust.

  7. Flip the steaks after about 3 minutes, when they release easily and the bottom is a deep-brown color. Continue to cook the steaks for another 3 to 4 minutes on the second side for rare to medium-rare. (For medium, cook 4 to 5 minutes on second side; for well-done, cook 5 to 6 minutes on second side).

  8. During the last minute of cooking, add the butter and thyme sprigs to the pan with the steaks.

  9. If serving the steaks unsliced, transfer them to plates and serve hot. If planning to slice the steaks, transfer them to a cutting board and let rest, covered with aluminum foil, for 5 to 10 minutes; then slice thinly against the grain.


  • Calories: 292.84kcal
  • Fat: 24.48g
  • Saturated Fat: 8.18g
  • Trans Fat: 0.17g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 12.09g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.84g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.97g
  • Fiber: 0.51g
  • Sugar: 0.00g
  • Protein: 16.67g
  • Cholesterol: 77.37mg
  • Sodium: 230.13mg
  • Calcium: 19.82mg
  • Potassium: 280.82mg
  • Iron: 1.93mg
  • Vitamin A: 31.52µg
  • Vitamin C: 4.80mg

One Simple Technique for Elevating Your Pan-Seared Steaks

When searing your steak, it's crucial to let it sit undisturbed in the pan to develop a beautiful, flavorful crust. Resist the urge to move it around or flip it too soon. This crust not only adds a great texture contrast, but also locks in the juices, ensuring a moist and tender steak. Also, using a heavy pan like cast iron or stainless steel can help distribute heat evenly, leading to a more consistent sear. Lastly, adding butter and thyme towards the end of cooking infuses the steak with additional flavor and richness.

Time-Saving Tips for Making This Steak Recipe

Prep ahead: Marinate the steaks with salt and pepper the night before to enhance flavor and save time on the day of cooking.

Room temperature: Allow the steaks to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking to ensure even cooking and reduce cooking time.

High heat: Preheat the pan on high heat to quickly sear the steaks and lock in the juices, reducing overall cooking time.

Resting time: Let the steaks rest for 5-10 minutes after cooking to redistribute the juices and ensure a juicy, flavorful result.

Sharp knife: Use a sharp knife to slice the steaks thinly against the grain for easier and quicker slicing.

Substitute Ingredients For Pan-Seared Steaks Recipe

  • new york strip or rib eye - Substitute with filet mignon: Filet mignon is a tender and flavorful cut of beef that is well-suited for pan-searing. It has a similar texture and taste to rib eye or New York strip.

  • kosher salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt has a similar texture and flavor to kosher salt and can be used in the same quantity for seasoning the steak.

  • black pepper - Substitute with crushed red pepper flakes: Crushed red pepper flakes can add a spicy kick to the steak, similar to black pepper.

  • vegetable oil - Substitute with canola oil: Canola oil has a high smoke point and neutral flavor, making it a suitable substitute for vegetable oil in pan-searing steaks.

  • unsalted butter - Substitute with ghee: Ghee is clarified butter with a rich, nutty flavor and high smoke point, making it a great substitute for unsalted butter in pan-searing steaks.

  • fresh thyme leaves - Substitute with rosemary: Rosemary has a similar earthy and aromatic flavor to thyme and can be used as a substitute for adding herbal notes to the steak.

How to Plate and Present Pan-Seared Steaks

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the pan-seared steak slices in a circular pattern, slightly overlapping each other to create an elegant and visually appealing presentation.

  2. Incorporate vibrant colors: Garnish the dish with a sprinkle of finely chopped chives and a drizzle of balsamic glaze to add a pop of color and enhance the overall visual appeal.

  3. Utilize negative space: Ensure that the plate is not overcrowded, allowing the beautifully seared steaks to take center stage and creating a sense of balance and sophistication.

  4. Add a touch of sophistication: Place a small bundle of microgreens on top of the steak slices to add a delicate and refined touch to the presentation.

  5. Emphasize texture: Consider adding a small mound of truffle mashed potatoes alongside the steak to introduce a contrasting texture and elevate the overall dining experience.

  6. Incorporate artistic drizzling: Use a reduction sauce to create an artistic drizzle on the plate, adding a touch of finesse and complementing the flavors of the dish.

  7. Highlight precision: Pay attention to the placement of each element on the plate, ensuring that every component is meticulously arranged to showcase attention to detail and culinary expertise.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Perfectly Seared Steaks

  • Cast iron pan: A cast iron pan is a heavy-duty, durable pan that retains and distributes heat evenly, making it perfect for achieving a nice sear on steaks.

  • Tongs: Tongs are essential for flipping the steaks and moving them around in the pan without piercing them, which helps retain their juices.

  • Paper towels: Paper towels are used to pat the steaks dry before seasoning, which helps ensure a good sear.

  • Aluminum foil: Aluminum foil is used to cover the steaks while they rest, allowing them to finish cooking gently and retain their juices.

  • Cutting board: A cutting board is used to rest the steaks before slicing, allowing the juices to redistribute and the steaks to remain tender.

  • Knife: A sharp knife is essential for slicing the steaks thinly against the grain, ensuring tenderness and easy eating.

The Best Methods for Reheating Leftover Steak

  • The best way to reheat leftover pan-seared steaks is to use the oven. Preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C) and place the steak on a wire rack over a baking sheet. This allows the heat to circulate evenly around the meat, preventing it from becoming soggy or overcooked on one side.

  • Before placing the steak in the oven, brush it lightly with a bit of olive oil or butter. This will help keep the meat moist and prevent it from drying out during the reheating process.

  • If you prefer a slightly crispy exterior, you can also heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and sear the steak for 30-60 seconds on each side before placing it in the oven. This will help to restore some of the original crust that was achieved during the initial cooking process.

  • Once the steak is in the oven, cook it for about 20-30 minutes, depending on its thickness and your desired level of doneness. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature; for medium-rare, aim for 130-135°F (54-57°C).

  • When the steak has reached your desired temperature, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring a juicy and flavorful result.

  • If you're short on time, you can also reheat your steak in the microwave. Place the meat on a microwave-safe plate and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave on medium power (50%) for 30-second intervals, flipping the steak between each interval, until it reaches your desired temperature. Be careful not to overheat the meat, as this can cause it to become tough and rubbery.

A Surprising Fact About Pan-Seared Steaks

The pan-seared steaks recipe is a classic method for cooking steaks that results in a delicious, flavorful crust. This cooking technique is perfect for achieving a restaurant-quality sear on your steaks at home. It's a simple and effective way to cook steaks to your desired level of doneness, whether you prefer rare, medium-rare, medium, or well-done. The high heat and minimal flipping help to lock in the juices and create a mouthwatering sear on the outside. This method is a go-to for steak lovers looking to enjoy a perfectly cooked, tender, and juicy steak.

Is Making Pan-Seared Steaks at Home Cost-Effective?

This pan-seared steak recipe is moderately cost-effective for a household. The key lies in choosing the right cut of meat and utilizing basic seasonings. A household of 4 can expect to spend approximately $25-$30 for the ingredients. The rich flavors and simplicity of this dish make it a worthwhile investment. I rate this recipe an 8/10 for its balance of cost and quality.

Is This Steak Recipe Healthy or Not So Much?

The pan-seared steak recipe, while delicious, is not particularly healthy due to several factors:

  • High saturated fat content from the butter and fatty cuts of meat like New York strip or ribeye
  • Generous use of salt, which can contribute to high sodium intake
  • Lack of vegetables or fiber-rich ingredients to balance the meal

However, the recipe does have some positive aspects, such as using vegetable oil for cooking, which is a healthier option compared to butter or lard, and the inclusion of fresh thyme, which adds flavor without additional calories or sodium.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Opt for leaner cuts of meat, such as sirloin or tenderloin, to reduce the saturated fat content
  • Use a smaller amount of butter or replace it with a healthier alternative like olive oil or avocado oil
  • Reduce the amount of salt used in the seasoning, and instead, enhance the flavor with more herbs and spices like garlic, rosemary, or paprika
  • Serve the steak with a side of roasted or steamed vegetables to add fiber, vitamins, and minerals to the meal
  • Consider using a marinade or rub that includes acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar, which can help tenderize the meat and reduce the need for added salt

By making these adjustments, you can enjoy a tasty and more nutritious version of the pan-seared steak recipe that still satisfies your cravings for a hearty meal.

Our Editor's Honest Opinion on This Pan-Seared Steak Recipe

This pan-seared steak recipe is a classic and foolproof method for achieving a perfectly cooked steak with a beautiful crust. The simple seasoning allows the natural flavor of the steak to shine, while the addition of butter and thyme at the end adds a touch of richness and aroma. The instructions are clear and easy to follow, making it accessible for home cooks of any skill level. Overall, this recipe is a winner for steak lovers looking to create a restaurant-quality dish at home.

Enhance Your Pan-Seared Steaks Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic and parmesan cheese, topped with chives for a burst of freshness.
Grilled Asparagus: Tender asparagus spears grilled to perfection and drizzled with a balsamic glaze for a sweet and tangy flavor.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Crispy roasted Brussels sprouts tossed in a maple balsamic glaze and sprinkled with crispy bacon for a savory and sweet combination.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Love Pan-Seared Steaks

Grilled Lemon Herb Chicken: Marinate the chicken in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and herbs before grilling to perfection.
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes: Roast whole garlic bulbs and mix the soft cloves into creamy mashed potatoes for a flavorful side dish.
Baked Parmesan Zucchini Fries: Coat zucchini sticks in a parmesan and breadcrumb mixture before baking until crispy and golden brown for a healthier alternative to traditional fries.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Pan-Seared Steaks

Stuffed Mushrooms: Savory mushrooms filled with a creamy cheese and herb mixture, baked to perfection.
Bruschetta: Toasted bread topped with a flavorful mixture of tomatoes, garlic, and basil, drizzled with balsamic glaze.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a decadent, velvety smooth chocolate mousse that will satisfy any sweet tooth. This rich and creamy dessert is the perfect way to end a meal, and can be topped with fresh berries or a dollop of whipped cream for an extra touch of elegance.
Apple Crisp: Warm, cinnamon-spiced apples topped with a crunchy oat and brown sugar crumble make for a comforting and delicious apple crisp. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delightful contrast of flavors and textures.

Why trust this Pan-Seared Steaks Recipe:

This recipe guarantees a perfect steak every time, with a simple yet flavorful seasoning of kosher salt and black pepper. The use of a heavy pan ensures a beautiful sear, while the addition of unsalted butter and fresh thyme leaves infuses the steak with rich, aromatic flavors. Trust in the method of allowing the steaks to cook undisturbed for a golden crust, and the result will be a mouthwatering, restaurant-quality dish that you can enjoy at home.

Discuss this Pan-Seared Steaks Recipe and share your own tips and tricks in the Cooking Techniques forum.
How can I tell if the pan is hot enough to start cooking the steaks?
You can tell if the pan is hot enough by sprinkling a few drops of water into the pan. If the water sizzles and evaporates almost immediately, the pan is hot enough to start cooking the steaks.
Can I use a different type of steak for this recipe?
Yes, you can use different types of steak such as filet mignon, sirloin, or T-bone for this recipe. Just adjust the cooking time based on the thickness of the steak.
How do I know when the steaks are done cooking?
You can use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steaks. For rare, the temperature should be 125°F, for medium-rare, it should be 135°F, for medium, it should be 145°F, and for well-done, it should be 160°F.
Can I use dried thyme instead of fresh thyme?
Yes, you can use dried thyme if you don't have fresh thyme available. Just use about half the amount of dried thyme as the recipe calls for fresh.
Should I cover the steaks while they are resting?
Yes, it's a good idea to cover the steaks with aluminum foil while they are resting. This helps to keep them warm and allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier steak.

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