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COOKING STEAK IN A CAST-IRON SKILLET

How to Cook Steak in a Cast-Iron Skillet

You may have heard that cooking steak in a cast-iron skillet is a great alternative to grilling, and it is. But are you wondering how to cook a steak in a cast-iron skillet? Everything you need to know is right here.

Cooking steak in a cast-iron pan is ideal because cast-iron heats very evenly and retains heat extremely well. A pre-heated cast-iron skillet provides the intense heat needed to sear the exterior of a steak to a crispy, flavorful golden-brown, while also cooking the interior to perfection. This method works very well with steaks that are 1-inch to 1-1/2-inches thick.

You also have the option of cooking steak in a cast-iron skillet and oven. This is especially useful when using the reverse sear technique, which is terrific for thick-cut steaks, including filet-mignon steaks over 2 inches thick and thick-cut, bone-in ribeye steaks, also known as "Cowboy" steaks or "Tomahawk" steaks.

Follow the instructions below and soon you'll be a pro at cast-iron seared steak. We've also included a chart that will tell you the cooking temperatures and times required; just be sure to use a meat thermometer for the best results.

The steak of your dreams is a cast-iron skillet away.

How to Cook a Steak in a Cast-Iron Skillet

  • Be sure your steak is completely thawed.
  • Season your steak as desired; we recommend Kansas City Steak Original Steak Seasoning.
  • Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat until hot, for about 5 minutes. A very hot skillet delivers the best sear.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan (enough to coat the bottom) and immediately place your steak in the hot skillet.
  • Cook the steak until internal temperature reaches 5°F lower than the desired final temperature, as listed in the chart below, turning once for 1-inch thick steaks, occasionally for thicker steaks.
  • Remove and rest the steak for 5 minutes before serving, covering lightly with foil. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise about 5°F during this time (this is called "carryover cooking"). The final internal temperature of your steak should match the temperature of your desired level of doneness, as listed in the chart below.
  • Resting your steak is also important because the heat of cooking pulls the juices in the meat toward the surface; if you slice into it immediately after cooking, those flavorful juices will end up on your plate, not in your skirt steak. Allowing the steak to rest will give the juices time to sink back in and throughout the meat, keeping it moist and flavorful.
  • Once the steak has rested, it's time to carve. Make sure your carving knife is sharp (See our Expert Tips for How to Sharpen a Knife and Expert tips for How to Carve a Steak).

How to Reverse-Sear Steak in a Cast-Iron Skillet

  • Preheat oven to 275°F. Place steaks on a wire rack over a baking sheet.
  • Place baking sheet on the center rack of the hot oven. Cook until internal temperature reaches 10°F lower than the desired final temperature, as listed in the chart below.
  • Remove and let steaks rest for 5 minutes, covering lightly with foil.
  • Preheat a heavy cast-iron skillet over high heat until very hot, about 5 minutes. A hot skillet delivers the best sear.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan (enough to coat the bottom). Immediately place your steaks in the hot skillet and sear them for 1 minute on each side. The final internal temperature of your steak should match the temperature of your desired level of doneness, as listed in the chart below.
  • The sear will give your steaks the rich golden-brown color and enhanced flavor that is typically associated with grilled steaks.
  • Serve immediately. Unlike other methods of cooking steak, the low heat of the oven used in reverse searing does not draw the juices of the meat to the surface so additional resting time is not needed.
  • Once the steak has rested, it's time to carve. Make sure your carving knife is sharp (See our Expert Tips for How to Sharpen a Knife and Expert tips for How to Carve a Steak).

Cooking Times

for Boneless or Bone-in Steak

Remember to fully thaw your steaks. Turn them 1 minute before the halfway point of the cooking time. For perfect doneness, we recommend you use a meat thermometer and use the Measuring Doneness chart below.

Boneless Steak
Skillet Broil
Rare1 inch
1 1/2 inches

6-11 mins
12-14 mins

6-11 mins
10-13 mins
Medium-Rare1 inch
1 1/2 inches

8-13 mins
14-16 mins

8-13 mins
12-15 mins
Medium1 inch
1 1/2 inches

9-14 mins
15-17 mins

9-14 mins
13-16 mins
Medium-Well1 inch
1 1/2 inches

11-16 mins
17-19 mins

11-16 mins
15-18 mins
Bone-in Steak
Skillet Broil
Rare1 inch
1 1/2 inches

11-13 mins
13-15 mins

9-13 mins
13-16 mins
Medium-Rare1 inch
1 1/2 inches

13-15 mins
15-17 mins

11-14 mins
14-17 mins
Medium1 inch
1 1/2 inches

14-16 mins
16-18 mins

12-15 mins
15-18 mins
Medium-Well1 inch
1 1/2 inches

15-17 mins
17-19 mins

13-15 mins
16-19 mins

Measuring Doneness

    Remove when your steaks are 5 to 10 degrees less than the temperatures listed. The centers will continue to warm as they rest.

  • 1 Rare

    125°F - Center is bright red; pinkish towards the outside

  • 2 Medium-Rare

    135°F - Center is very pink; slightly brown towards the outside

  • 3 Medium

    145°F - Center is light pink; outer portion is brown

  • 4 Medium-Well

    155°F - Center is slightly pink; outer portion is brown

  • 5 Well

    165°F - Uniformly brown throughout

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
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