Learn how to make a cast iron skillet steak that’s just as good, if not better, than your favorite restaurant. Made with just five ingredients, you’ll end up with perfectly cooked steak every single time!
I love steak, plain and simple. So I’m always looking for new-and-improved ways of making it. Lately, I’ve been loving air fryer and sous vide steak. And I figured since I’ve had luck with my cast iron recipes, why not use it for making steak?
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
This cast iron skillet steak recipe is foolproof and great if you’re on a time crunch with no grilling needed. Just like chicken breasts or salmon, It takes no more than 15 minutes to make! Whether you’re new to cooking steak or do it all the time, this yields the most perfectly cooked meat.
- It’s fast! There’s no marinating or preheating required. Just pan-fry the steak, let it rest, and serve!
- It’s versatile. You can use any combination of seasonings that you want. There are no rules.
- It pairs well with everything. Seared steak pairs beautifully with everything from mashed potatoes to sautéed asparagus and honeynut squash, making it a great, fuss-free weeknight dinner.
- You get a nice crust. The benefits of using cast iron are that you get a crisp exterior while properly cooking the interior.
The ingredient list for this cast iron steak recipe is simple since it’s the preparation of the steak that shines. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Steak. Ribeye steaks are best as they will retain their juicy flavor after being cooked at high temperatures.
Use chuck eye or New York strip steak if you can’t find rib eye.
- Butter. Preferably unsalted butter for searing the steaks.
- Olive oil. For rubbing on the steaks prior to searing. Don’t swap it for extra virgin olive oil, as this has a lower smoke point.
- Salt and black pepper. For seasoning the steaks.
How to cook steak in a cast iron skillet
Cooking steaks is one of the easiest and quickest cooking methods for steak. Plan on needing 20 minutes to bring the steaks to room temperature.
Step 1- Season the steaks
Bring the steaks to room temperature, then rub the olive oil all over the steaks using either a silicone basting brush or your hands. Then, generously season the steaks with salt and black pepper.
Step 2- Cook the steaks
Place your cast iron skillet on the stovetop, set to medium-high heat, and add the butter. Once the butter has fully melted, add the steaks and cook them for 4-5 minutes per side or until they reach your desired level of doneness.
Step 3- Let the steaks rest, then slice and serve
Let the beef rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Then, serve the steaks with a drizzle of the pan juices.
Steak cooking times
Cast iron skillet-cooked steaks taste best when cooked medium or medium-rare. This allows you to really taste the natural flavor of the steaks.
Depending on your preferred level of doneness, you’ll want to look for an internal temperature, which you can check using an instant-read thermometer. Also, remember thinner steaks cook in less time than thicker cuts.
- Rare– 120ºF
- Medium rare– 130ºF
- Medium– 135ºF
- Medium-well done– 140ºF
- Well done– 150ºF
Remember that the steaks will continue to cook with residual heat as they rest, so remove them from the heat when they are just a couple of degrees below your preferred temperature.
Tips and tricks
- Bring the steaks to room temperature. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This will help trap the juices during the cooking process.
- Don’t skip the resting. Like in bavette steak, this essential step helps to lock in the juices and keep the steak moist and tender.
- Preheat the cast iron. For several minutes before adding the steaks to help make sure they cook quickly and evenly.
- Pat dry the steaks. To help make sure they crisp up nicely.
- Use a high smoke point oil. Oils such as canola or avocado oil have high smoke points, which prevents them from burning the steak.
This recipe is endlessly customizable, so don’t be afraid to experiment with it. Here are some suggestions:
- Add more seasoning. Swap the salt and pepper for this keto taco seasoning, or serve your steak with this chimichurri sauce.
- Cook with garlic. Add minced garlic to the pan as you sear the steak.
- Add fresh herbs. Rosemary, sage, parsley, and thyme are some of the best herbs to pair with steak. Cook the fresh herbs in melted butter in the cast iron for 1-2 minutes after you remove the steaks.
- Make a compound butter. Combine butter with salt, fresh herbs, and garlic. Store in an airtight container and add a spoonful to the cooked steak before serving.
To store: The leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat: The best way to reheat leftover steak is in the oven. Set it to 275ºF and reheat until the internal temperature of the steak is 130ºF degrees.
To freeze: Freeze the cooked and cooled steak in a sealed container or ziplock bag and eat within 6 months.
Cooked and cooled steak makes fabulous leftovers! Add them to a torta, a quesadilla, or topping for a cast iron pizza!
Recommended tools to make this recipe
- Cast iron skillet. My go-to skillet that has never failed me (and it’s so easy to clean!).
- Tongs. Non-stick tongs to prevent scratching the skillet.
- Instant read thermometer. To double check the steak is cooked to your preferred style!
Frequently asked questions
The exact temperature for cooking steak will depend on the thickness of the steak, the heat applied, and your preferred level of doneness. Generally, it’s safe to say 4-5 minutes per side on a skillet set to medium-high heat is best for getting a medium-rare steak.
You’ll know your steak is cooked when it shows an internal temperature of at least 120°F for rare and up to 150°F for a well-done steak.
Your steak might not be getting properly seared if it’s too cold or if it’s moist. To fix this, let the steak come to room temperature and pat it dry before adding the oil and seasoning.
A thick-cut steak such as a ribeye or New York strip is best for cooking in a cast iron skillet because it can withstand the high heat of the skillet and develop a gorgeous crust, while remaining juicy and tender in the middle.
More steak recipes to try
Cast Iron Skillet Steak
- Bring to steak to room temperature. Rub olive oil all over the steaks, followed by salt and pepper.
- Add butter to a non-stick skillet and place over medium-high heat. Once sizzling, add the steaks and cook for 4-5 minutes per side or until the desired doneness.
- Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Drizzle with pan juices.
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