The Best Way To Pan Fry Steak

Pan-fried steak is delicious. Oily and tasty (but never greasy), and with a beautiful brown crust, pan frying a steak is quick and easy – if you know what you’re doing! Curious to learn about the best way to pan fry steak? Check out our easy-to-follow guide below!

What You’ll Need – Picking The Right Tools

To pan fry a steak, you’ll only need 2 pieces of kitchen equipment – but they’re both absolutely essential.

The Best Way To Pan Fry Steak

Pan-fried steak is delicious. Oily and tasty (but never greasy), and with a beautiful brown crust, pan frying a steak is quick and easy – if you know what you’re doing! Curious to learn about the best way to pan fry steak? Check out our easy-to-follow guide below!

What You’ll Need – Picking The Right Tools

To pan fry a steak, you’ll only need 2 pieces of kitchen equipment – but they’re both absolutely essential. 

  • A high-quality frying pan or skillet– You’ll want to choose a frying pan that’s at least 10-12 inches in diameter (depending on the size of your steak) and that’s heavy-duty, and built to withstand high heat in excess of 500 degrees Fahrenheit. A cast-iron pan is a fantastic choice if you’ve got one, because cast iron holds in heat very well, and provides an evenly-heated cooking surface.
  • Kitchen tongs – When you’re pan-frying a steak, you won’t want to use a spatula to flip your meat. You’re going to be dealing with seriously hot oil – and spatulas can toss that oil around everywhere, and cause painful burns. Instead, opt for a pair of spring-loaded kitchen tongs. Stainless steel is usually a good choice.

Armed with the right equipment, it’s time to consider steak selection!

Choosing The Right Steak 

Typically, you’ll want to choose a more tender, high-quality cut of meat for pan frying. You’re cooking the steak quickly, so you’ll also want a maximum thickness of 1.5 inches. We recommend:

  • Skirt steak
  • Flank steak
  • New York strip
  • Beef tenderloin
  • Filet mignon (if your wallet is up to it!)

When shopping, look for cuts of meat with even marbling and a consistent thickness. This will guarantee a good result when pan-frying.

The Technique – The Best Way To Pan Fry Steak 

Time to get cooking! Lucky for you, pan frying steak is quite easy. Let’s go over the basics about the best way to pan fry steak now.

  1. Begin by removing your steak from the fridge. Leave it at room temperature for 30 minutes – preferably an hour. Letting your steak warm up like this helps it cook more evenly and quickly.
  2. Turn your largest burner to its highest setting, and place your pan on the stove. Cover it with a generous layer of oil. You want to use enough oil to coat the entire bottom of the pan.
  3. Season your steak with ingredients of your choice. For a simple meal, just salt and pepper is plenty – but if you’re looking to kick things up a notch, consider using spices like garlic and onion powder or red pepper flakes. Rub these seasonings onto your steak evenly.
  4. When your pan is hot enough – the oil inside should be shimmering – add the steak directly to the pan, using your kitchen tongs. Use caution – your steak is going to spit, and oil may leap out of the pan. Set a timer for 1 minute, and DON’T TOUCH YOUR STEAK until it goes off.
  5. After 1 minute, flip your steak using your tongs. Set the timer for 1 more minute, as before.
  6. Now that your steak is seared on both sides, you can turn down the heat. Turn your burner to medium. Now, you’ll want to continue flipping your steak every 1 minute until it’s done – for a medium-rare steak, that should be about 6 more minutes.
  7. Once your steak is cooked through, remove it and put in on a plate to rest for at least 5 minutes. Then, it’s time to eat!

That’s all there is to it. By using a heavy pan and plenty of oil, this pan-frying technique ensures an even, all-over browning, which results in a tender and juicy steak that’s perfectly cooked. So don’t just sit there – head to your grocery store, grab a steak, and start pan frying now!

About the author

A chef and a food writer - Pete Ross (aka Peter Pans) brings you the best of the best. The Best pots and Pans available online - as well as in depth articles looking at gas, induction and a whole lot more.

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