Tips & Tricks
How to Sear a Steak on Cast Iron
When cast iron gets hot, it stays hot—that’s why we love it for searing steak! The skillet’s temperature won’t drop significantly when food is added, so you’ll get a consistent crust every time. Foods cooked at high temperatures undergo a process called the Maillard reaction. This is a chemical reaction that transforms the texture of the steak and creates the distinct and delicious flavor compounds found in browned foods. Your skillet will do the heavy lifting, so all you’ll need is a good cut of steak, an oil with a high smoke point, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. We think you’ll find that the final product looks and tastes impressive, but the cooking process is almost effortless. Try pairing with a fresh and crunchy grilled salad or a bright and tasty summer squash.
It’s really that easy! But let’s break it down one more time:
Remove the steak from the refrigerator at least 15 minutes before searing. Pat the steak down with paper towels to remove excess moisture. If you’ll be cooking more than one steak, use a skillet with plenty of space. If the steaks are too close, the steam will prevent them from searing properly.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and heat your skillet over medium-high heat for 5-6 minutes.
Splash your pan with a few drops of water—if it sizzles and vanishes when it hits your pan, you’re at the right temperature.
Oil your pan with canola oil and season your steak to taste. Don’t be shy with the salt. A properly seasoned and seared steak is a thing of beauty! Place your steak on the skillet and be careful of the heat! Sear the steak for two minutes, then flip to sear the opposite side for two more minutes.
Move your steak to the oven and bake for 4 minutes for a 1 ½ inch medium-sized steak. This will yield a steak cooked to medium, but you can continue cooking to your desired doneness.
Let your steak rest for 5 minutes. Sit tight—allowing the steak to rest will keep all of those flavorful juices intact when you slice into it at the dinner table.
More tips for a great cast iron steak:
We like to use canola oil because of its high smoke point. If you don’t have it on hand, we recommend trying avocado oil, vegetable oil, or a light olive oil. For more info on choosing the right oil, check out our article, “Oils for Cast Iron Cooking and Seasoning.”
Pair the right cut of meat with our seasoned cast iron skillet and you won’t need to fuss with lots of herbs and seasonings—salt, pepper, and garlic powder will do just fine! Make sure to season the steak just before searing to prevent drawing out too much moisture with the salt. If you want to take a fancier route, add a generous pat of butter, a couple cloves of crushed garlic, and a sprig or two of rosemary or thyme after the first flip. Spoon the melted butter over the steak while it sears on side 2 and spoon a little more over the steaks before resting.
Take the guesswork out of the equation and invest in an instant read thermometer. Here’s a Steak Doneness Chart from Thermoworks:
Medium Rare 130° - 134° F
Medium 135° - 144° F
Medium Well 145° - 154° F
Well Done 155° - 164° F
Not sure what to pair with your steak?
Try a few of our favorite side dishes:
Green Bean Casserole With Crispy Pancetta and Buttermilk Fried Onions
Dress up that traditional green bean casserole this year with pancetta and homemade buttermilk fried onions.
Sweet Potato Casserole With Spicy Bourbon Pecans
Top your sweet potato casserole with Spicy Bourbon Pecans.
Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts
These easy and delicious brussels are perfect for every occasion, and the response is the same: delicious!