Learn how to cook perfectly done steak just like a chef! My pan seared steak uses one simple trick for a deep brown crust and a lovely pink interior right up to the edges. Add a quick horseradish sour cream sauce (a household favorite) and you’ll feel like you’re at a fancy steakhouse. Only without the high prices!
When I make steak, I want it to be the BEST it can be! Pink or red all the way through (depending on your preference!) with a deep brown crust outside and well seasoned throughout.
And it turns out it isn’t difficult. You don’t have to be a chef or a pro in the kitchen. It just comes down to a few simple tricks.
What do you need?
- For the Steak
- Two Steaks ~12 ounces each – These can be ribeye, t-bone, sirloin, filet, strip steak. They just need to be at least 1 1/2 inches thick.
- Kosher salt and black pepper – For seasoning.
- Vegetable Oil – Any high smoke point oil will work.
- For the Horseradish Sauce
- Sour Cream – Either full fat or low fat.
- Scallions (aka green onions) – For a little extra zing!
- Horseradish – Important when making horseradish sauce. 🙂
- Kosher Salt – More seasoning.
How to make this
To make pan seared steaks first season the steaks with salt and pepper and let them rest. Then put them in a hot skillet with a little oil and cook them, flipping frequently until the outside is deep brown and the inside is cooked to your liking.
1. Salt the Steak
Start with thick cut steaks of your choosing (I love boneless ribeyes or strip steaks) and sprinkle on both kosher salt and black pepper. Get both sides and let the steak rest out on the counter for at least 40 minutes.
Tip: Even though we don’t talk about brining beef like we do chicken, this is what we are doing here. A short dry brine will season the meat and improve the flavor. Or, if you prefer, brine it overnight in the fridge bringing it out to warm up about 40 minutes before dinner.
2. Sear the Steak
Once you’re ready to cook heat up your skillet. You can use cast iron (my favorite!) or a heavy stainless pan. Either way, get it hot, add some oil, swirl, and put in the steaks.
Now for the flipping! Set a timer if you want and each time it counts down a minute, flip. You can turn more often if you want but once a minute gives you time to do other small nearby dinner tasks in between.
I find that 8-10 minutes is about right for medium rare and 10-12 for medium.
A couple of things you may want are:
- Instant read thermometer – I recommend Thermoworks, either the Classic Thermopen or the Thermopop
- Cast iron skillet – Lodge Cast Iron is a great pan for a low price
3. Make the Horseradish Sauce
This is a simple sauce I love for all sorts of steaks and have been making for decades!
Take some sour cream (either full fat or low fat), add a couple spoonfuls of horseradish, some chopped green onions, and a sprinkle of salt. Mix it together and that’s it!
You can make it a day ahead if you wish or just before eating.
Tip: You can switch out the green onions for chives. I like to do that in the summer when my chive patch is growing.
What oil is best?
Any vegetable oil with a high smoke point is great for the steaks. Peanut, canola, basic vegetable, sunflower are all great. Stay away from extra virgin olive oil or butter, unless it’s clarified. (Though you can add some regular butter at the end for flavor!)
If you try my recipe for Pan Seared Steak, I would love to hear from you in the comments with your experience and rating! And I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Pan Seared Steak with Horseradish Sauce
- 2 12-oz steaks, 1 1/2 - 2 inches thick
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3-4 medium scallions, sliced and chopped
- 2-3 tbsp horseradish
- 1 tsp kosher salt
Pan Cooked Steak
- Salt the steak: Take the steak out of the refrigerator and pat it dry. Season both sides of the steak with kosher salt and fresh black pepper.
- Let the steak brine for 40 minutes - 1 hour. (You can also put the steak in the refrigerator and let it rest up to 1 day. Just take it out 40 minutes before you are going to cook it.)
- Sear the Steaks: Put your cast iron pan on the burner over medium heat. Once you get a little wisp of smoke from the pan, add the oil and swirl to cover the bottom
- Add the steaks and cook for 1 minute. Then flip and cook on the other side for 1 minute.
- Continue cooking and flipping each minute until you have cooked the steaks for 8 minutes.
- Check the temperature. You are looking for 120F for medium rare or 130F for medium. If they haven't reached your desired temperature yet, continue cooking and flipping, checking every minute or two. This may take another 4-6 minutes.
- Rest the steaks: Once your steaks are done, move them to a plate, tent with foil, and let rest for ~5 minutes.
- Make the horseradish sauce while the steak is being brined.
- Mix together the sour cream, scallions, horseradish, and salt in a bowl. Use the smaller amounts of scallions and horseradish to start. Taste and add more as needed.
- Serve the steak with the horseradish sauce.
- Types of Steak: You can use ribeyes, strip steak, t-bones, filets, or sirloin. The weight in the recipe is without the bone.
- Heat: If you like your steaks rare, increase the heat to medium high when cooking the steaks. They won't be in the pan long and will need to develop a crust more quickly. Medium heat works great for medium rare - medium. For medium well - well done, reduce again to medium low so they don't get too browned on the outside.
- Set a Timer: I set a timer for ~15 minutes and just flip whenever it counts down a minute.
- Sear the sides: If you want to sear the sides of the steaks, pick one or both up with tongs and press them down on their sides in the pan until browned. Do this before they reach temperature so you need not worry about overcooking.
- No cast iron? Use a heavy stainless skillet instead and sprinkle a bit of water into the skillet (a drop or two) to check the temperature. If the water balls up and bounces around before evaporating your skillet is hot and it's time to add the oil.
- Green Onions: You can switch to chives instead. A tablespoon or so of chopped chives will do it.