How To Pan Fry A Steak

Steak is a classic dish that is loved by millions across the globe. It is one of the most versatile meats that can be cooked in a variety of ways. However, pan-frying a steak is perhaps the easiest and fastest method that yields delicious results. In this article, we will guide you through how to pan fry a steak to perfection.

Choosing The Right Cut of Steak

The first step in pan-frying a steak is choosing the right cut. When it comes to selecting a steak, it’s all about personal preferences and budget. There are different cuts of meat, each with its unique flavor and texture. The most popular steak cuts include ribeye, sirloin, fillet, and porterhouse. Ribeye is a fatty and flavorful cut, sirloin is a bit leaner, fillet is tender and expensive, while porterhouse is a combination of fillet and sirloin. For a more budget-friendly option, you can go for flank or skirt steak.

Prepping The Steak

Once you’ve selected your steak, the next step is to prepare it by seasoning. You can simply season it with salt and pepper or use a marinade to enhance its flavor. If using a marinade, be sure to allow enough time to properly infuse the flavors. Typically, you should allow at least 30 minutes for marination.

Cooking The Steak

Now, for the main act of pan-frying the steak, which can be done in five simple steps.

Step 1: Preheat your pan – The first thing you need to do is to preheat your pan. A cast-iron skillet is the best option as it can withstand high temperatures and distribute heat evenly. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat until it’s hot enough to sizzle when you add the steak.

Step 2: Add oil – Once the skillet is hot, add a tablespoon of oil and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan.

Step 3: Place the steak in the pan – Gently lay the steak in the skillet and let it cook for 3-4 minutes before flipping it. Be sure to avoid overcrowding the skillet, as this can cause the steak to steam rather than sear.

Step 4: Flip once – After 3-4 minutes, use a pair of tongs to flip the steak and cook it for an additional 3-4 minutes on the other side. You can use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steak. The ideal temperature will depend on the cut of the steak and your personal preference. For example, medium-rare is around 130-135F for fillet steak, while it is 135-145F for sirloin or ribeye steak.

Step 5: Rest – Once done, remove the steak from the skillet and let it rest for several minutes to allow the juices to redistribute in the meat. This will ensure that the steak is juicy and tender.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What oil is best for pan-frying steak?

A: The best oil for pan-frying steak is an oil with a high smoke point. This is because cooking steak requires high heat. Options like canola oil, grapeseed oil, or vegetable oil are great, whereas lower smoke point oil like olive oil may not be suitable for pan frying steaks.

Q: How long should I cook the steak for?

A: The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the steak, the cut of meat, and the desired doneness. Generally, you should cook a 1-inch thick steak for around 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-rare and add or subtract a minute as needed depending on the thickness of steak.

Q: What is the best way to season a steak?

A: The simplest way to season a steak is to rub it with olive oil, Salt and pepper blend. Salt and Pepper the steak the night/morning before you cook it or 45 minutes before it is cooked. Marination is also a great option as it helps to enhance the flavor of the meat.

Q: Why should you let the steak rest?

A: Resting the steak allows juices to redistribute evenly throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and juicy steak. If you cut the steak immediately after cooking, the juices will run out, leaving you with a dry and tough steak.


Pan-frying steak is a quick and easy way to cook this classic dish in your kitchen. By choosing the right cut of steak, seasoning it, and following the steps for cooking, you can effortlessly achieve a delicious, juicy, and tender steak every time. By mastering the art of pan frying steak, you can become an expert in creating delicious meals that will delight your family and friends.

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