Learn to make perfect sous vide steak at home like professionals: tender, juicy, and made with or without a sous vide machine.
Cooking perfect steaks every single time is my specialty. I have a slew of steak recipes here, including unique cuts like picanha steak and tri tip steak, to the more classic ones, like filet mignon and skirt steak. My favorite cooking method, though, is the more unique and hands-off approach- using the sous vide machine to cook steak.
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Why sous vide your steak?
Sous vide is a French word that means “under vacuum” in English. It’s a cooking method used to cook a thick steak at a precise temperature in vacuum-sealed bags or pouches.
We can make this kind of steak using a sous vide cooker or, as you’ll see in today’s post, without one, using a ziplock bag and pot method. Now, don’t be intimidated by the name: it’s one of the most foolproof ways to cook steak. Here are some reasons I love to cook steaks this way:
- Even consistency. Unlike other steaks that depend on the size and weight, this method is consistent every single time.
- Easy to make. You don’t have to check your steak repeatedly as it cooks to a precise temperature. It’s the kind of set-and-forget main dish that leaves me time to make some side dishes to pair with it.
- Super customizable. Similar to reverse sear ribeye, you can use a blend of spices, marinades, or simple salt and pepper.
You can cook sous vide steak two ways. Here are the ingredients you’ll need for both methods:
- Steak. I’ve cooked most cuts of steaks in the sous vide machine and find the best steaks to use are ones that have the bone intact, including strip steak, t-bone steaks, and porterhouse steak. Saying that, you’ll find it difficult to mess up ANY kind of steak for this recipe.
- Rosemary. Fresh rosemary to enhance flavor.
- Thyme. To add flavor.
- Garlic. Fresh garlic cloves.
- Kosher salt and black pepper. To taste.
- Butter. To pan sear the steak at the end.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to sous vide steak
Want to make steak with a sous vide cooker or without it? Here is how you can make perfect steak either way.
Sous vide steak without a machine
Step 1- Season. Start by seasoning the steak with salt and pepper.
Step 2- Vaccum seal. Next, take a zip-lock bag and add rosemary, thyme, and garlic with meat in between these ingredients. Don’t completely close the bag.
Step 3- Add to water bath. Dip the sealed bag in water. Due to water pressure, the air in the bag will release. When there is no air in the bag, close the bag.
Step 4- sous vide the steak. In a pot, take water and warm it to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the sealed plastic bag in the boiling water and cook for medium doneness. Keep stirring continuously to maintain water temperature.
Step 5- Sear. In a skillet, add some butter. Wait until it smokes (high heat), then add steak and sprinkle some herbs. Cook both sides until a crust forms, then transfer to a plate and serve.
Sous vide steak with a machine
For those of you who own a sous vide machine, here is the cooking process.
Start by preheating the sous vide cooker to your desired steak doneness. Check the temperature with a thermometer. Next, season steak with salt and pepper. In the sous vide bags, add shallots, garlic, and herbs. Seal the bag and place it in boiling water for the required time (see below). Once the steak is cooked, sear it in a hot cast iron skillet.
Sous vide steak temperature guide
The time you need to cook a steak in sous vide depends upon the level of doneness you want. Here is the breakdown of cooking time and ideal temperature:
- Rare Steak (125F/51.7C): Cook the steak between 120F and 128F (48.9C to 53.3C) for about 1 to 4 hours.
- Medium-Rare Steak (130F/54.4C): Cook the steak between 126F and 134F (52.2C to 56.7C) for about 1 to 4 hours.
- Medium Steak (140F/60C): Cook the steak between 136F and 144F (57.8C to 62.2C) for about 1 to 4 hours.
- Medium-Well Steak (150F/65.6C): Cook the steak between 146F and 154F (63.3C to 67.8C) for about 1 to 4 hours.
As you see here, the cooking time for each cut of steak is 1-4 hours, and the specific time depends on your desired texture. My family ADORES their steaks to be more meaty, so I cook them around the one-hour mark. If you prefer your steaks to be more tender and soft, you can cook them to four hours. Please avoid cooking longer than that; otherwise, your steak is brittle and almost shredded.
To store: Leftover steak can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to three days.
To freeze: Place the cooked and cooled steak in a ziplock bag and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! If you don’t want to sear the steak at the end stove top, you can use a charcoal grill. Cook both sides until charred on the edge.
Yes, you can cook frozen steak. In fact, frozen steak cooks better and evenly.
I don’t recommend cooking steaks under one inch in thickness. While juicy and tender, there isn’t as much surface area for it to be a well rounded cooked piece of meat.
More sous vide recipes to try
- Sous vide chicken breast
- Sous vide salmon
- Sous vide pork chops
- Sous vide pork tenderloin
- Sous vide chicken thighs
- Sous vide turkey breast
Sous Vide Steak Recipe
- Season steak with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Place steak in a zip lock bag along with rosemary, thyme and the minced garlic. Partially close the sealer, leaving a few inches open.
- Slowly submerge the bag with the steak in a water filled container, deep enough to cover the entire steak, but do not let any water enter it. Pressure will force the air out of the bag, and seal it once the air is all out.
- Fill a large pot with water and place the thermometer in it. Place the pot over medium heat. Once you reach 135F, submerge the bag of steak inside the pot and leave it to cook for 90 minutes, for medium doneness. Be sure to regularly check the temperature, allowing a 50F buffer but no more.
- Once cooked, remove the steak from ther bag. Heat butter in the iron cast skillet until it smokes and place the steak on top. Sear both sides and serve immediately.
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