How To Cook Steak In Cast Iron

How to Cook Steak in Cast Iron: A Comprehensive Guide

Steak is a delicacy that is synonymous with class, elegance, and indulgence. It is a perfect meal for a romantic dinner, celebratory feast, or simply a night in with friends. Cooking steak to perfection, however, is an art that requires skill, patience, and the right tools. Enter the cast iron skillet, a timeless kitchen essential that has been used to cook steak for generations. In this article, we will guide you through the process of cooking steak in cast iron and equip you with expert tips and tricks to make your steak cooking experience a success.

Preparing Your Steak

The first step to cooking a great steak is preparing it. While it may be tempting to dive right into cooking, taking the time to prepare your steak properly will ensure that the end result is tender, juicy, and full of flavor. Start by choosing a high-quality cut of steak. Good options include rib-eye, filet mignon, and sirloin. Look for cuts that are well-marbled, meaning that the meat is marbled with fat. This is what gives steak its rich, meaty flavor and makes it tender and juicy.

Once you have your steak, season it generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Don’t be afraid to use a heavy hand with the seasoning, as the steak will absorb the flavors during cooking. If you like, you can also add other seasonings, such as garlic powder, onion powder, or cumin, depending on your tastes.

Bringing The Cast Iron Skillet to Heat

The next step is heating your cast iron skillet. Cast iron is an excellent conductor of heat, which means it gets hot quickly and retains heat well. This makes it an ideal choice for cooking steak. First, place your cast iron skillet on the stovetop and turn the heat to medium-high. Allow the skillet to heat up for a few minutes, until it is very hot. You can test the heat of the skillet by holding your hand a few inches above the surface. If you feel heat radiating from the skillet, it is hot enough.

Adding Oil

Once the skillet is hot, add a tablespoon of oil to the skillet. The oil should be one with a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil. This will ensure that the oil does not burn and smoke during cooking. Swirl the oil around the skillet to coat the bottom evenly.

Cooking The Steak

Now, it’s time to cook the steak. Gently place the seasoned steak in the center of the skillet. You should hear a sizzle when you place the steak in the hot skillet. This is a good indication that the skillet is hot enough. Cook the steak for 2-3 minutes per side, flipping it once only. You can use a spatula to gently press down on the steak, which helps to create a good sear on the outside and lock in the juices.

Using A Meat Thermometer

If you want to cook your steak to a specific temperature, it’s a good idea to use a meat thermometer. Simply insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the steak, being careful not to hit bone or fat, and read the temperature. For a medium-rare steak, the temperature should be 130°F (54°C). For medium, it should be 140°F (60°C), and for well-done, it should be 160°F (71°C). Keep in mind that the steak will continue to cook as it rests, so it’s important to remove it from the heat a few degrees below your desired temperature.

Resting the Steak

Once the steak is cooked to your liking, remove it from the skillet and place it on a cutting board or plate. Tent it loosely with foil and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Resting the steak allows the juices to redistribute and settle in the meat, resulting in a more tender and flavorful steak.

Cutting and Serving

After the steak has rested, it’s time to cut and serve. Cut the steak against the grain, which means against the direction of the muscle fibers. This makes the steak more tender and easier to chew. Serve the steak hot with your favorite sides, such as mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or a fresh salad.


Q: Can I use a cast iron skillet to cook other meats besides steak?
A: Absolutely! Cast iron skillets are versatile and can be used to cook a variety of meats, including chicken, pork chops, and fish.

Q: How do I clean my cast iron skillet after cooking?
A: Cast iron skillets require a bit of care to keep them in good condition. After cooking, allow the skillet to cool down and then scrape any excess food or debris with a spatula or brush. You can clean the skillet using hot water and a mild soap or detergent. Be sure to dry the skillet thoroughly to prevent rusting.

Q: Do I need to preheat my cast iron skillet before cooking steak?
A: Yes, preheating your cast iron skillet is essential to achieving a good sear on your steak. It also helps to prevent sticking and ensure that the steak cooks evenly.

Q: Is it safe to use cast iron on a glass cooktop?
A: Yes, you can use a cast iron skillet on a glass cooktop, but be sure to lift and place the skillet gently to avoid scratching the surface.


Cooking steak in cast iron is a classic technique that yields excellent results when done right. With the right tools and techniques, you can achieve a juicy, tender steak that bursts with flavor and sophistication. Remember to prep your steak properly, heat the skillet, and cook the steak to your preferred temperature. With some practice, you’ll be serving up restaurant-quality steak in no time.

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