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How to Pan Fry a Steak Perfectly - A Step-by-Step Recipe!

posted on

April 5, 2020


Most people understand the joy of eating a well-prepared steak. But what many people don't know? It's easy to cook a steak that tastes like a chef at an upscale restaurant prepared it.

Using only a few ingredients and some extra cooking time, you can create an incredible steak on your stovetop.

This straight-forward, easy-to-follow recipe will guide you through the process of making a pan-fried steak step by step. You'll learn how to prepare tender and buttery steak so that you can satisfy your cravings at home.

What's the Best Steak for Pan-Frying?

You'll have the best results using the pan-searing technique if you select a boneless steak between 1 and 1 1/2 inches thick. We’ll get into cuts in just a bit, but we generally recommend using thicker cuts like a New York strip steak or a boneless ribeye. When you use a thicker steak with more fat, it's more likely to stay juicy when you cook it.

Steaks that appear to have a lot of white saturated fat running through the meat at the best for this cooking technique.

Your best bet is to splurge on the best steak that you can get. Although it costs more than other meats, it will still be cheaper to cook steak on your own then it would be eating at an upscale steakhouse.

You can shop our selection of delicious, non-GMO, pasture-raised, and grass-fed beef for the best steak.

Can I Use Other Cuts?

Pan-searing a steak also works on cuts that are less than one inch thick, but just know the cooking time will be much faster.

To cook thinner cuts of steak effectively, have a digital thermometer on hand, so you don't run the risk of overcooking it.

Bone-in steaks aren't ideal for pan-searing. To avoid uneven cooking, use your oven or grill for cooking bone-in steaks.

One thing that doesn't change no matter the cut is that you must let your steak get to room temperature before cooking it.

If the steak has been sitting in the fridge, let rest for at least 20 to 30 minutes. By cooking it at room temperature, you will allow it to cook evenly.


Choose Your Steak Cut

Depending on factors like your tastes and budget, you may want to choose a specific cut of steak. Different cuts produce different amounts of flavor and tenderness.

Sirloin: Sirloins are prime steaks like filets. However, they are more flavorful than filets. Sirloins are best-served medium to medium-rare.

Filet: Filets are beloved by many because of how tender they are. This low-fat cut is delicious when cooked medium to rare. However, it is the most expensive cut.

Strip loin (New York): As mentioned above, these make for a great option for pan frying because of their thickness, marbling and fat strap that adds incredible flavor while cooking.

Ribeye: You can get a boneless ribeye that usually serves one, or a rib on the bone (côte de boeuf). Medium to Medium-rare is often the best temperature for this cut.

If you want a truly EPIC steak eating experience, make sure to check out our craft cuts of steak included in our Premium Reserve Collection.

Ingredients You Need for the Perfect Pan-Fried Steak

To make perfect pan-fried steak, you don't need many ingredients. You can create the perfect meal using only the basics. Here are all of the ingredients that you need to prepare the steak:

  • 1-2 tbsp. of unsalted butter (preferably 100% grass-fed butter)
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1-2 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Your steak cut of choice (we use Delmonico Ribeye here in our recipe)
  • Garlic

Finally, to achieve the perfect, crisp crust, you'll want to cook a steak using cast iron. Non-stick Teflon or copper pans won't hold the flavor from the fat or deliver the same crispy sensation.

How to Fry Steak in a Pan: Step-By-Step

Cooking Time: 25-35 minutes

Total Time (including prep time): 1 hr 40 minutes

Now that you know the best cuts of meat to use for pan-searing and all of the additional ingredients you'll need, let's get into the step-by-step instructions for pan-searing a steak.

Step 1

Take the steaks out of the refrigerator and let rest for about an hour before you plan to cook them. This wait time will allow them to get to room temperature. If you can't wait an hour, 30 minutes should suffice.

Put the meat on a plate lined with paper towels and pat the steaks dry. Drying the surface of the meat leads to a crispier exterior.

Step 2

If you are planning to serve any sides, make sure to prepare these ingredients before you cook steak. Steaks require quite a bit of hands-on cooking.

They cook very quickly, so make sure you don't get distracted by any other prep work while they're on the cast iron pan.

Step 3

Season your steaks with salt and pepper generously. Don't forget to coat the sides of the meat as well.

Step 4

For about 10 minutes, heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. You'll know it's ready when the cast iron pan starts producing a bit of smoke.

Step 5

Add olive oil, then carefully add the steaks on the hot cast iron and cook one side of it until it has a crust and doesn't stick to the cast iron pan. This initial searing should take only 1 minute.

Continue to cook and flip the steak for an additional 3 minutes. When you flip the steak, make sure to sear the edges on both sides, so they attain coloring like the rest of the steak.

Step 6

Add butter, garlic, and your choice of herbs to the pan. Flip the steaks again. Tilt the pan so the butter will flow to a single side of the pan. Use a spoon to baste (pour-over) the butter. Flip the steak and repeat these steps.

Once you've been cooking for 6 minutes, you can start to check the temperature of the meat. Depending on the desired doneness, the total time you may need to pan-fry will vary.

Rare steaks are 125° and very red inside. Medium-rare steaks need to reach 130°-135°. Medium steaks need to reach 135°-145°, and medium-well steaks need to reach 145-155°.

Step 7

Remove the steak from the cast iron skillet and let rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting it. You can salt and pepper to taste if needed.

Extra Pan-Frying Tips

Achieving the perfect pan-seared steak takes practice. Here are some tips to help you cook the perfect steak every time:

  • If you want the steak to develop a nice crust, make sure you pat the meat dry before adding it to the pan. You can even season your meat with salt the night before you plan to cook steak and let it sit in your fridge uncovered. The salt will draw out the moisture and add flavor to the meat in the center.
  • Don't skimp on the salt. Steak soaks up flavors nicely, so being generous with the salt will only lead to a more delicious steak.
  • Splash water in the pan to see if it's hot enough. If the water droplets continue to move around the pan, you need to heat it longer or increase the flames to high heat. If it evaporates immediately, the pan is ready to use.
  • Don't add the steak until the cast iron is scorching. Wait until the olive oil is shiny and about to smoke.
  • Give it time to rest. Before you cut your steak, let it rest 5 minutes so that you don't lose any of the juices.
  • But, don't let it rest for too long. There's no joy like eating a hot steak. Many people think that steak needs to rest much longer than it does. Since steak is relatively small compared to other meats like brisket, it cools down quickly, meaning there are only a few degrees of carryover cooking. If you take into account the resting, slicing, and plating of the steak, it'll likely be cool sooner than you think.
  • Use a cast-iron skillet. If you don't have one, you should consider getting one. Cast iron skillets retain heat well, making it easy to achieve an evenly cooked steak.
  • Add your butter at the end. Butter has a low smoke point, so it will burn if you leave it in the pan for too long.
  • For strip and other steaks with strips of fat on the sides, sear the fat first by holding the meat with tongs and cooking it in the rendered fat.
  • Don't cook until it's well-done. Pan-seared steak should be juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. A well-done steak often tastes dry.

How to Know if Your Steak Is Done

Because stoves from different manufacturers vary in heat output, having a thermometer is essential to cook a steak properly and achieve the desired doneness.

Eventually, you'll have the ability to know how cooked a steak is just by pressing your finger into it.

If the meat doesn't push back when you press into it, it's still rare. If it feels firm, it's well-cooked.

Sides That Pair Well With Steak

Many sides that pair well with steak and add a unique flavor profile to your meal. Here are some classics:

  • Potato gratin is a French dish that uses sliced potatoes baked in cream or milk.
  • Crispy mashed potatoes are another perfect pairing. Crispy mashed potatoes are crispy on the outside, but soft and fluffy on the inside. To achieve this, smash as many baby potatoes as you want, lay on a tray and season with butter, garlic, salt and pepper, and then bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Just as the name suggests, steak fries make an excellent side for a steak. They're like an elevated French fry that's more filling.
  • Baked can never go wrong with the classic as a steak accompaniment.
  • Asparagus or Brussel sproutsare side options that are a bit healthier. When you roast Brussel sprouts with a bit of salt and pepper, you get a caramelized finish on the outside with a tender interior. Asparagus are great grilled, steamed or oven-roasted and drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Compound butteris flavorful and easy to prepare. Simply mash together butter, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Tightly package the mixture in plastic wrap and refrigerate it until solid.

The Best Herbs to Season Steak

The four basic spices that you should include in a steak recipe are onion, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Besides those spices, it's common to use herbs to season steaks. Herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage, and oregano, infuse your dishes with unique flavors.

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Using southwestern spices like coriander, cumin, and chili peppers make for a brighter-flavored steak.

Asian dishes use a special seasoning that contains fennel, peppercorns, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon.

What's excellent about steak is that it's so versatile. You can use culture to influence how you prepare your meat. Each approach will result in a delicious and flavorful meal.

How to Slice Your Meat

There are ways to cut a steak that yield better-tasting results. Slice the steak across the grain to allow for shorter meat fibers. This method will result in a tender steak that's easier to chew.

To find the grain of the steak, look at the streaks that run across the length of the steak. To properly cut across the grain, you may need to adjust the position of your steak during the process.

Choosing the Right Knife

Knives may seem like a simple kitchen product. However, there are a lot of different types of knives made for various purposes.

Cutting any type of meat requires a durable and sharp knife. Since preparing meat calls for lots of prepping and trimming, having the right tool will make the process easier.

Look for a blade that is around 8 inches. Make sure it features an ergonomic handle that allows you to maintain a secure grip.

How Many Steaks Can I Cook at Once?

Cook as many steaks as will fit into your skillet. Just remember that the more steaks you add, the lower the surface temperature of the skillet will be.

The quantity can affect the desired doneness as well. Adding too many steaks can result in slower cooking times and an underdeveloped crust.

Final Thoughts

When you finally bite into your perfectly cooked steak, you'll understand the appeal of indulging in a more premium cut of meat.

We hope you enjoyed this recipe and found it easy to follow! Remember that a well-cooked steak needs to cook in a very hot pan.

Make sure you season your meat liberally to ensure you get the maximum flavor. Also, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before carving it, so you don't lose the juices.

Pan-searing a steak is much easier than people think. Give this recipe a try, and feel free to check out some of our other savory recommendations!

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Best Breed of Chicken for Ethical Pastured Meat

When it comes to cooking, few things rival the satisfaction of a perfectly cooked, flavorful chicken dish. However, the secret to culinary success isn’t just in the recipe. It’s in the quality of the chicken itself.  Meat quality and affordability have a lot to do with the chicken breed – and, more crucially – how it was raised.  In this article, I will unpack some of the unknowns about chicken breeds, and how consumer expectations continue to shape the future of poultry.  Our ethical pastured chicken is different than what you’ll find at most supermarkets.  Here’s our approach, starting with selecting the most effective chicken breed for meat. Why Breed Matters for Quality, Flavor & Affordability You’ve probably never thought of chicken breeds in the way you would cattle breeds. 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Preparing Chicken: Tips and Tricks Sure, you may have cooked with chicken breasts or thighs–maybe even a whole chicken–but we sell plenty of other incredibly tasty and nutritious cuts of chicken. From drumsticks to wings, backs to giblets, each cut offers its own unique flavor profile and cooking experience. Our ethically raised Cornish Cross Broilers are nutritious and easy to cook. This generously sized bird is protein-packed and nutrient-dense, making for a delicious meal whether grilled, baked, barbecued, or slow-cooked.  How you prepare your chicken will depend on the cooking method and cut you’ve chosen–and there are plenty to choose from! Order Your Ethical Pasture-Raised Chicken Today!  Ready to taste the difference? Order your ethically pasture-raised chicken now and taste the quality and flavor that comes from ethical breeding and sustainable practices.

A Complete Guide to Cuts of Chicken

From aromatic, creamy curries to light summer salads, chicken is a versatile, nutritious meat that works wonderfully as the centerpiece for thousands of dishes across cuisines.  But you’re missing out if you’ve only cooked with chicken breasts or thighs. Plenty of other chicken cuts are packed with flavor–not to mention essential nutrients.  We provide ethically raised pastured chicken cuts of all types because we believe nothing should go to waste. That’s why we’ve curated this list to help you enjoy parts of the chicken you might have overlooked! We’ll discuss these cuts in more detail, explaining the unique flavor profile of each one. For inspiration, we'll also include some of our favorite mouth-watering recipes.  The Importance of Ethical, Pasture-Raised Chicken  Factory-farmed chickens are often raised in crowded conditions that may increase the risk of disease and stress. 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Chicken Liver A less common cut of chicken is the liver, an organ meat. This cost-effective part of the chicken has a tender, smooth texture and a rich, meaty taste. It’s low in calories and nutrient-dense, with high levels of iron, vitamin A, and vitamin B12. Because of its rich flavor, chicken liver is a wonderful centerpiece in warming stews and casseroles. Saute it with caramelized onions, bacon, and tender mushrooms, served alongside creamy mashed potatoes.  Meat type: Brown  Common uses: Casseroles, pate, stews  How to cook: Fried, oven bake, saute 8. Chicken Heart The heart is another part of the chicken that’s often overlooked, rich in iron and zinc. Chicken hearts are dark in color, with a rich flavor similar to chicken thighs.  Like chicken liver, juicy and tender chicken hearts work wonderfully in stews and casseroles or simply stir-fried with your favorite vegetables. Because this cut is so delicate, it’s quick to cook. 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Meat type: Dark Common uses: Casseroles, stir-fries, appetizers, broth How to cook: Saute, boil, braise, deep fry, simmer  Order Your Ethical Pasture-Raised Chicken Today!  Now that you know about these 11 cuts of chicken, you can elevate your meals! We hope this guide has inspired you to experiment with different parts of chicken. Ready to cook? Order your ethical pasture-raised chicken now.

3 Easy Recipes to Make with Chicken Broth

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The beauty of bone broth is its versatility. If a savory recipe requires water, swap the same amount of bone broth for a richer, umami-laced flavor that will elevate your dishes.  The fact that bone broth is highly nourishing helps. It’s packed with healthy nutrients like proline, glycine, collagen, calcium, and more. Bone broth has a range of health benefits, including:  Immune system boost: Research shows that the amino acids in chicken broth reduce inflammation and boost immune system function, helping to combat common ailments like asthma, heart disease, and arthritis. Heals the gut: Bone broth is easy for our bodies to digest and soothe the gut. It can even positively change the gut microbiome and ease the symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  Mood-busting: Bone broth is rich in calcium and glycine, both of which are crucial to healthy brain function, mood regulation, and high-quality sleep. Not to mention the aroma and soothing warmth that is so comforting on cold winter days. Healthy weight support: Packed full of protein and low in calories, bone broth helps to regulate the appetite by reducing hunger hormones like ghrelin and increasing satiety hormones.  Recipe Inspirations: Making the Most of Chicken Broth By now, you’re probably ready to put the wonders of bone broth to good use in your kitchen.  Here are some of our go-to recipes for what you can make with chicken broth. Soups and Stews: Heartwarming Classics A sure-to-please dish is chicken and vegetable stew. It’s rich in nutrients, great for a cozy night in, and simple to make! All you need to do is gather the ingredients: 1.5 Pounds chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 1 Large onion, diced 2 Cloves garlic, minced 2 Large carrots, sliced 3 Celery stalks, sliced 6 Cups chicken broth 1 Bay leaf 1 tsp dried thyme Salt and pepper to taste Fresh parsley for garnish (optional) And how to make this recipe: Cut the chicken into one-inch cubes, dice the onion, carrots, and celery, and mince the garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large pot, then saute the chicken and vegetables over medium heat. Add the chicken and stir until it starts to brown (roughly 5 minutes). Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Using the same pot, add in the onions and saute until softened. Add in the garlic and saute for a minute or two, then toss in your vegetables, making sure to stir so they don’t burn. Now it’s time for the chicken broth and spices! Add in the broth, the bay leaf, dried thyme (and any other favorite seasonings you have), and mix it. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat. Grab the chicken you put aside, put it back in the pot, and simmer on low for about half an hour, making sure the chicken is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper, add any garnish of your choice, and serve! Rice and Grains: A Flavorful Foundation Chicken broth infuses rice and other grains with a mouth-watering, savory depth. A great dish is a Mexican chicken quinoa skillet, loaded with veggies and ready in just 25 minutes.  To make this recipe, you’ll need: 1 Pound chicken breast, cut into cubes 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 1 Small onion, diced 1 Bell pepper, diced 2 Cloves garlic, minced 1 Cup quinoa 2 Cups chicken broth 1 Can black beans, rinsed and drained 1 Can diced tomatoes (15 oz) 1 Cup corn, frozen or canned 1 tsp chili powder (or more if you like some kick!) ½ tsp cumin ½ tsp paprika Salt and pepper to taste Fresh cilantro And the steps to making this recipe:  Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, dice the onion and bell pepper, mince the garlic, and rinse the quinoa. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes. Remove it from the pan and set aside. Using the same skillet, saute the onion until soft, then add the garlic and bell pepper, sauteing for about 3 minutes. Now, add the chicken broth, quinoa, black beans, tomatoes, corn, and spices. Mix well and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the quinoa is light and fluffy and the broth has been absorbed - about 25 minutes. Add the chicken to the skillet to warm, mixing all the ingredients. Check that the chicken is cooked through, adding salt and pepper to taste. Garnish and serve! Sauces and Gravies: Elevating Everyday Meals Chicken bone broth elevates many of the best comfort recipes. For example, try this quick and easy chicken broth gravy to turn mashed potatoes into a crowd-pleasing side or ensure there’s no biscuit left after dinner. To make this recipe, all you need is: 2 Cups chicken broth 2 TBSP butter 2 TBSP all-purpose flour ½ tsp garlic powder (optional) Salt and pepper to taste Fresh herbs for garnish For this quick and easy gravy, all you need to do is: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until it forms a roux. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the roux turns golden. Pour in the chicken broth slowly while whisking. Make sure there are no lumps. Continue whisking while bringing the mix to a slow boil. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring every minute or so. Once it reaches your desired thickness, add the salt, pepper, or garlic powder to taste.  Serve hot on your dish of choice. Tip: If the gravy gets too thick while cooking, add more chicken broth to thin it. The Healing Elixir: Sipping on Chicken Broth While bone broth enhances the flavor and health benefits of many meals, you don’t always have to cook with it! One of our favorite ways to consume chicken broth is to warm it up on the stove and drink it–especially if we feel under the weather.  The number of powerful antioxidants in chicken broth, along with its herby, savory flavor, also makes this drink a great post-lunch pick-me-up or pre-dinner snack. However, not all chicken bone broth is created equal. If you’re going to drink it regularly, make sure you either make your own or buy from a company that doesn’t use artificial ingredients or lots of added sodium, which can undermine its health benefits. At Seven Sons, we’re proud to say that our ethical, pasture-raised chicken breeds are 100% free from growth promotants, antibiotics, and GMOs–with no artificial ingredients or MSG. Ready to taste the difference? Order Seven Sons’ chicken broth or make your own using our bone broth kit today! As always, we love to see your recipe creations–so let us know what you’ve made in the comments.