Perfect Pan-Seared Steak – A Family Feast®

Best pan cooked steak recipe

Become an expert at cooking a perfect steak to the pan at home! (It’s easy!)

Perfect Pan-Seared Steak - A Family Feast


Learn how to cook a restaurant-quality steak at home

Time of confession… In the past, I always let my husband Jack cook steak. I have no problem cooking other types of meat, but steaks… I’ve never been happy with how they came out when I cooked them. Until now…

With today’s recipe, cooking the perfect steak in the pan is so easy, and it comes out so deliciously good, that you’ll become an expert at it too! It cooks completely in a pan, without the need to heat the oven.

In our opinion, rib fillets are the best because they are tender and tasty. Our recipe today works for both bone-in and boneless rib fillets.

Perfect Pan-Seared Steak - A Family FeastSteak-Buying


Any great recipe depends on the great ingredients. Here are some tips and tricks to help you select the perfect steak to cook at the supermarket or your local butcher.

Marbling – This term refers to the small spider veins of fat that run through meat. The more marbled your steak has, the more tender and tasty your steak will be.

In general, you should avoid cuts that have large chunks of fat on the outside, or cartilage that runs through the meat as well. Keep in mind that a rib steak, by the nature of the cut of meat, will have a fat line running through the steak. (That’s perfectly fine.)

Grades: Packages of meat are often labeled with “grades” and the grade reflects the amount of marblin. From lowest to highest, you’ll see beef rankings like Select, Choice, and Prime.

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Choice-grade beef is the most widely available in supermarkets, and it’s a perfectly acceptable option when you want a good steak at a reasonable price.

That said, if your budget allows, choose a hand-cut Prime steak and/or look for certified Angus beef. The taste will be even more delicious!

Cut – The cut of meat you choose will also affect the tenderness and taste of your cooked steak


As you can see, we are big fans of rib steaks. It comes from the primary section of the steer’s upper rib, falling between the shoulder and loin. It is well marbled with tasty fat, plus it comes from one of the most tender parts of the cow. It is ideal for fast cooking methods and high heat, such as our pan-based steak recipe today.

Thickness – We recommend a steak that is at least 1 – 11/2 inches thick. This thickness allows you to get a good seal on the outside, while retaining the ability to cook the inside to your preferred cooking level. (Note that the recipe below is written for this thickness; if you buy a thicker cut, the cooking time will be longer. If you buy a thinner cut, the cooking time will be shorter and you risk overcooking the steak.)


Perfect Pan-Seared Steak - A Family Feast

Get expert advice – Visit your local butcher!

They will be happy to help you choose the perfect cut based on your recipe and budget. If you don’t have a local butcher, try asking the meat counter associate at the grocery store to help you find the perfect cut. If you can’t find help, at least look for “select” grade cuts of meat.

Chef’s tip – When you bring the steak home, take it out of the package and place it in your refrigerator, uncovered, on a plate lined with some paper towels until you’re ready to prepare it. This will help remove any excess moisture and will also help intensify the flavor of your steak.

  • Rib-Eye Steaks – Choice grade or Prime, and/or Certified Angus Beef. One at 1 1/2 inches thick.
  • Condiments – Salt and pepper (keep it simple)
  • Olive oil and butter – Use a combination of the two to avoid burning and add flavor. Salted or unsalted butter is fine.
  • Fresh parsley and fresh garlic: to add extra flavor to the juices in the pan.
  • Optional: Wine and broth (chicken, beef, vegetables) plus butter – To create a simple pan sauce after the steak has been cooked.
  • Optional: Roasted potato pieces – Add to pan before serving, to absorb juices.
  • Optional: Make our popular meat butter recipe to serve on top of your steak.
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Perfect Pan-Seared Steak - A Family Feast


How to make a perfect steak in the pan

  1. Place the steak on a plate lined with a paper towel and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes
  2. .

  3. Season one side of the steak with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat The hot smoking pan. Shake the olive oil around the pan, then place the seasoned steak down into the pan. Season the other side of the steak (now face up) with salt and pepper.
  5. After two minutes, turn the steak with tweezers and add butter, garlic and fresh parsley to the pan.
  6. Turn the rib-eye again after two minutes and spread with melted butter.
  7. Continue to flip and spread the steak until it is cooked to your preferred cooking level. (Use an instant-readout probe thermometer or thrust test to know when it’s done.)
  8. Remove the steak to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil to rest.
  9. Cut the steak into the bias to serve the slices, or simply cut the steak in half to serve. (Or if you’re hungry, serve it whole!)
  10. Make a pan sauce with the drops if desired, or add oven-roasted potato wedges to absorb the juices.

Perfect Pan-Seared Steak - A Family Feast

This post originally appeared on A Family Feast in October 2013.



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Perfect Pan-Seared Steak - A Family Feast

Perfect Pan-Seared Steak - A Family Feast

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