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How to Cook Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet: Mastering the Art of Cooking Steak

How to Cook Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet: Mastering the Art of Cooking Steak - Maria's Condo

Enjoying a restaurant-quality steak at home is a desire many of us hold. The secret to achieving this lies in the use of a cast-iron skillet. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how to cook a perfect steak in a cast-iron skillet. You'll discover the science behind this cooking method, learn how to choose the right steak, get tips on seasoning and cooking, and much more.


Understanding the Cast-Iron Skillet Steak Method

The cast-iron skillet steak method is a distinctive approach to cooking steak that combines the benefits of both pan-searing and oven roasting. It's all about achieving a beautiful caramelized crust while maintaining a tender, juicy interior. This method works particularly well with steaks that are 1-inch to 1-1/2-inches thick.

The cast-iron skillet is the real star of this show. Renowned for its heat absorption and retention qualities, a pre-heated cast-iron skillet provides the intense heat required to sear the steak's exterior to a crispy, flavorful golden-brown while cooking the interior to perfection.

Choosing the Perfect Steak

When it comes to selecting the perfect steak for your cast-iron skillet, there are a few factors to consider. The cut, thickness, and marbling of the steak can significantly impact the final dish's flavor and texture.

Steak Cut: Ribeye or New York Strip steaks are ideal for this cooking method due to their flavor profile and fat distribution. However, a chuck eye or filet mignon can also work well.

Thickness: Opt for steaks that are at least 1-inch thick. Thinner steaks might overcook before a desirable crust can form on the exterior.

Marbling: Look for a steak with good marbling (the white flecks of fat within the meat). The marbling melts during cooking, adding flavor and juiciness to the steak.

Essential Steak Seasoning

Seasoning is fundamental in enhancing the natural flavors of the steak. For a classic cast-iron skillet steak, all you really need is kosher salt and black pepper. However, feel free to experiment with other seasonings and herbs to suit your personal taste.

The Importance of Steak Temperature

Before you start cooking, it's crucial to bring your steak to room temperature. This step ensures even cooking and helps to achieve the desired level of doneness. Remove the steak from the refrigerator and let it sit for about 30-60 minutes.

Cooking the Steak: Step-by-Step

Now that we've covered the basics let's dive into the step-by-step process of cooking the perfect steak in a cast-iron skillet.

Preparing the Steak

Start by patting the steaks dry with paper towels. This helps to achieve a beautiful sear. Next, rub the steak with olive oil. This not only helps the seasoning stick to the steak but also promotes a perfect sear. Generously season the steak with kosher salt and black pepper.

Searing the Steak

Place your cast-iron skillet on the stovetop and set it to medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add the steak. Let it sizzle for about 1 minute, then flip it over. Continue to cook the steak, flipping it every 30 seconds. This constant flipping helps the steak to cook evenly and develop a beautiful crust.

Finishing in the Oven

After the steak has been seared on both sides, transfer the cast-iron skillet to a preheated oven. This method ensures that the steak is cooked evenly without overcooking the exterior. The exact oven temperature and cooking time will depend on the thickness of the steak and your preferred level of doneness.

Resting the Steak

Once the steak is cooked to your liking, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute within the steak, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful steak.

Checking Steak Doneness

Determining the doneness of a steak can be tricky. The best way to ensure your steak is cooked to your preferred level of doneness is by using an instant-read thermometer. Here are the temperatures to aim for:

  • Rare: 125 degrees F
  • Medium Rare: 135 degrees F
  • Medium: 145 degrees F
  • Medium Well: 150 degrees F
  • Well Done: 160 degrees F

Remember, the steak will continue to cook slightly as it rests, so remove it from the heat when it's a few degrees below your desired temperature.

Making the Most of Your Cast-Iron Skillet Steak

While the steak is undoubtedly the star of the show, you can elevate your meal even further with some simple additions.

Compound Butter: Enhance the flavor of your steak with a dollop of compound butter. Simply mix softened butter with your favorite herbs and spices, then refrigerate until firm. Add a slice to your steak just before serving.

Fresh Herbs: Fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, or sage can add an extra layer of flavor to your steak. Simply add the herbs to the skillet during the last minute of cooking.

Garlic: For a subtle hint of garlic, add a couple of crushed garlic cloves to the skillet along with the herbs.

Pan Sauce: Don't waste those delicious pan drippings. Deglaze the pan with a splash of red wine or beef broth, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Simmer until reduced and serve over your steak.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use a different type of skillet?

While you can cook steak in other types of skillets, a cast-iron skillet is the best choice due to its heat retention properties.

Can I use a different cut of steak?

Yes, you can use other cuts of steak. However, this method works best with thicker cuts like ribeye or New York Strip steaks.

Why is my steak tough?

If your steak is tough, it could be because it was overcooked or not rested properly after cooking.

Can I marinate the steak beforehand?

Yes, marinating the steak beforehand can add extra flavor. However, ensure the steak is thoroughly dried before cooking to achieve a good sear.


Mastering the art of cooking steak in a cast-iron skillet can open up a world of culinary possibilities. By understanding the science behind this method and following the steps outlined in this guide, you'll be well on your way to creating restaurant-quality steak dinners at home. Happy cooking!


  1. Cook the perfect steak every single time in your cast iron skillet
  2. How to Cook Steak in a Cast-Iron Skillet
  3. How to Cook Steak in a Cast-Iron Skillet
  4. How to Cook a Steak in a Cast-Iron Skillet
  5. How to Make a Cast Iron Skillet Steak
  6. How to Cook Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet

Marias Condo
Marias Condo

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