How to cook a steak in a pan?

How to cook a steak in a pan?

Cooking the Perfect Steak in a Pan: A Step-by-Step Guide

Cooking a steak in a pan can result in a delicious and flavorful meal with a golden-brown crust and a juicy interior. Follow this detailed step-by-step guide to achieve a perfectly cooked steak using a stovetop pan.


  • Steak (ribeye, sirloin, filet mignon, or your preferred cut)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil or butter
  • Optional: garlic, rosemary, thyme for added flavor


  • Cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan
  • Tongs
  • Meat thermometer

Step 1: Choosing the Steak: Choose a quality steak with marbling (intramuscular fat) for tenderness and flavor. Allow the steak to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking.

Step 2: Seasoning: Season the steak generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides. You can also add minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, or other desired seasonings.

Step 3: Preheating the Pan: Place the cast iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Let it heat for a few minutes until it’s very hot. You can test the heat by sprinkling a few drops of water on the pan – if they sizzle and evaporate quickly, the pan is ready.

Step 4: Adding Oil or Butter: Add a small amount of olive oil or butter to the hot pan. Swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan evenly. The oil should shimmer, but not smoke.

Step 5: Searing the Steak: Using tongs, carefully place the steak in the hot pan. It should sizzle upon contact. Allow the steak to sear without moving it for about 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness and desired level of doneness.

Step 6: Flipping the Steak: Using tongs, flip the steak to sear the other side. Again, let it sear without moving for another 2-3 minutes.

Step 7: Basting (Optional): For added flavor and juiciness, you can baste the steak with the hot oil/butter using a spoon. You can also add crushed garlic and herbs at this stage.

Step 8: Checking Doneness: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steak. The following temperatures indicate the level of doneness:

  • Rare: 120-125°F (49-52°C)
  • Medium Rare: 130-135°F (54-57°C)
  • Medium: 140-145°F (60-63°C)
  • Medium Well: 150-155°F (65-68°C)
  • Well Done: 160°F (71°C) and above

Step 9: Resting the Steak: Once the steak reaches your desired doneness, remove it from the pan and place it on a clean plate. Allow the steak to rest for about 5-10 minutes. Resting helps the juices redistribute within the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful steak.

Step 10: Slicing and Serving: After resting, slice the steak against the grain for optimal tenderness. Serve with your favorite sides, such as roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or a fresh salad.


  • Pat the steak dry with paper towels before seasoning to ensure a good sear.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan; cook one or two steaks at a time for even cooking.
  • Avoid moving the steak too much while searing to develop a nice crust.
  • Use a timer or meat thermometer to prevent overcooking.
  • Adjust cooking times based on the thickness of the steak.

By following these steps, you can create a mouthwatering pan-seared steak that’s perfectly cooked to your preferred level of doneness and bursting with flavor.

Leave a Comment