How to cook steak

June 6, 2024
by HelloFresh How to cook

    Learning how to properly cook a tender and juicy steak is a valuable addition to your cooking skills and guarantees an impressive meal every time.

    There are a few recommended guidelines to stick to when it comes to cooking steak – for whichever cut or method of cooking you choose. This is where this handy, step-by-step guide and steak cooking chart comes in.


    Common types of steak

    The most common cuts of steak are:

    • Sirloin – as seen in this seared sirloin steak recipe, this cut is from the sirloin section near the rear. 
    • Ribeye – cut from the centre of the rib section
    • Fillet – as seen in this premium fillet steak recipe, this cut is from the lower middle of the back.
    • Rump – cut from the hindquarters

    What are the different levels of steak doneness?

    Whether you prefer your steak rare, well-done, or somewhere in between, all different levels of steak doneness can be achieved by altering the cooking time.

    • Rare steak
      Rare steak has spent the least time cooking. It is red, shiny and very soft to touch.
    • Medium-rare steak
      Medium-rare steak is deep red to pink and soft and bouncy to touch.
    • Medium steak
      Medium steak is pink in the middle and firm to touch.
    • Medium-well done steak
      Medium-well done steak is light pink in the middle and firm to touch.
    • Well-done steak
      Well-done steak has spent the most time cooking. It has no pink and is firm to touch.

    How to prepare a steak for cooking 

    Before you cook steak, season it using extra virgin olive oil (around three tablespoons per steak), ground black pepper and sea salt for added flavour. Before cooking, take the steaks out of the fridge to let them reach room temperature. This will ensure a juicy, flavoursome steak, which would have a very different taste if cooked straight from the fridge.

    How to cook steak

    There are two main ways you can cook steak at home: pan-fry and oven-bake. Your steak cooking times will vary depending on whether you want your steak to be rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well done or well-done. See the steak cooking chart below for steak cooking times. 

    1. How to pan-fry steak

    Place the pan on high heat. When the oil is just about to smoke, add the steak. Cook for the times stated below in the steak cooking chart. Don’t be afraid to add a little more salt at this stage.

    2. How to oven-bake a steak

    Sear the sides of the steak in a very hot pan, just until it’s darkened and the bottom starts to pull away, making it easy to flip. Once you’ve seared the steak, you can finish it in the oven. For thicker cuts of steak, cook in a preheated oven at 225°C for 10 minutes per side, flipping the steak halfway through cooking. Thinner cuts can handle the same heat for about six minutes per side, again flipping halfway through.

    All cooking appliances vary. These are guidelines only. Ensure the food is piping hot before serving. Do not reheat.

    Steak cooking chart

    For the perfect steak, follow the steak cooking chart below, altering timings slightly depending on the thickness of the chosen cut. The optimum internal temperature can be checked simply by using a cooking thermometer and checked against the chart below.

    Steak DonenessInternal TemperatureAppearanceCooking Time (per side)
    Rare120°CRed, shiny, very soft to touch1½ – 2 minutes
    Medium-Rare130°CDeep red/pink, soft and bouncy to touch2 – 3 minutes
    Medium135°CPink in the middle, soft to firm to touch4 – 6 minutes
    Medium-Well Done140°CLight pink in the middle, firm to touch6 – 8 minutes
    Well Done150°CNo pink, firm to touch9 – 10 minutes

    To make the steak cooking process easier, you can check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. If the core temperature (where the steak is thickest) is 60°C for 45 minutes, 65°C for 10 minutes, 70°C for two minutes, 75°C for 30 seconds and 80°C for six seconds, then it has reached its optimum temperature and is ready to eat. The full surface area must be seared, and the colour changed from red to brown.

    All cooking appliances vary. These are guidelines only. Ensure the food is piping hot before serving. Do not reheat.

    Best steak side dishes

    Once you’ve cooked your steak to perfection, you can choose how best to serve it. Here are some recommendations for steak side dishes:

    Best steak recipes

    If all this talk of cooking steak to perfection has got your mouth watering, make sure to check out these beef recipes for some dinner inspiration.

    All food products vary. The instructions printed on the food packaging always supersedes those printed in this article and must always be followed.
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