This 3 ingredient, 8 minute, easy recipe guarantees the perfect pan seared, cast iron skillet steak every time! Not everyone has an outdoor grill. And even if you do, the weather doesn’t always permit grilling a big juicy steak outside. But with these easy instructions, you can enjoy top notch, tender, juicy beef steak on the stove top whenever you like!
There’s nothing quite like the sear a cast iron skillet creates on a steak with a simple salt and pepper crust. The caramelized outsides and tender, juicy insides create that steakhouse experience we all crave while minimal seasonings make sure the natural deliciousness and quality of the beef really shines through!
The Engineer loves to be the steak master around here. He reads all the articles, tries different methods and is a stickler about resting times. For this recipe, I’ve gathered all his best tips and tricks to share.
And oddly enough, it is his bare minimum, basic recipe that turns out the best every time. Hands down. No fancy herbs, no marinades, no overnight in the fridge. Just a room tempatureer steak, enough salt and pepper to create a nice crust and a smoking hot skillet.
Ingredients for the Perfect Cast Iron Skillet Steak
- 1 lb New York Strip Steak- 1 inch thick
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
What Is the Best Steak to Cook in a Skillet
A New York Strip is my favorite steak, and it’s perfect for cooking on the stove top. It is a boneless, meaty cut of beef that is always tender, with just the right amount of fat to keep it juicy and delicious. A boneless ribeye or filet mignon are also great candidates for a good sear in the skillet.
How to cook a Cast Iron Skillet Steak
Get the skillet nice & hot. Heat oil in cast iron skillet on stove top over medium heat until the oil is hot and shimmery.
Let it sizzle in the skillet. Add 1/2 tsp salt to the skillet. Cover one side of the steak with 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Place the steak seasoned side down in the hot skillet. While the steak is cooking on its 1st side, season the top with the rest of the salt & pepper. You can rub them in if you like. For medium steaks, cook for 4 minutes before flipping.
Flip it Once. After cooking for 4 minutes, flip the steak to cook it on other side. Cook it for another 4 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to double check internal temperature. The steak should be about 140° Fahrenheit.
Give it a Rest. Remove your steak from the skillet and let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting or serving it.
How Do You Know When Steak Is Done?
How long do you cook a steak? Well, that depends on how you like it! We all like a medium steak around here. To get it just right, all that’s really needed is a good timer. 4 minutes on one side, 4 minutes on the other. Only one flip. Nothing else. Keep it simple. And let the steak be amazing!
Of course, you can always double check with a meat thermometer for good measure. And that’s probably a good idea if you like a different level of done-ness.
- rare = 125 degrees Fahrenheit
- medium rare = 135 degrees Fahrenheit
- medium = 145 degrees Fahrenheit
- medium well = 150 degrees Fahrenheit
- well done = 160 degrees Fahrenheit
Tips for Making the Best Pan Seared Steak
This cast iron skillet steak recipe is our go-to recipe when it’s just the two of us. It’s quick, simple and has us enjoying restaurant quality dining in our home with zero fuss. And that leaves plenty of time for unwinding & good conversation.
Steak experts are unwavering about their methods. And that’s ok! This is our method, and this is why it works for us:
- Not salting the steak beforehand (and letting it sit) keeps all the natural moisture in the steak from leaching out, making sure your steak is always juicy!
- A very generous salting during cooking makes steak better. Period. It just is.
- We only flip our steaks once. This ensures that the steak has the opportunity to get a nice sear on both sides. Flipping back and forth to “check on the steak’s progress” minimalizes the continuous time the steak is in contact with the hot skillet.
- Cooking steak when it is at room temperature is must. This makes sure that the steak cooks evenly from edge to center. This also means (coming from the fridge) your steak will have to sit out on the counter for 20-30 minutes to bring it up to room temp before it hops in that hot skillet.
- And lastly, resting time! Your steak should rest, or sit on a plate or platter, for at least 5 minutes before you serve it. (a) The residual heat from cooking will continue to cook the meat. (b) It gives the juices time to redistribute throughout the meat, making sure ALL of the steak is tender and juicy!
What To Serve with Cast Iron Skillet Steak
- Herbed Steak Butter with Goat Cheese & Bacon
- Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
- Tuscan Butter Mushrooms
- Bacon Parmesan Asparagus Twists
- Garlic Parmesan Sweet Potato Wedges or Fluffy Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Broccoli Slaw with Apples and Brussel Sprouts
Other Meaty Recipes You’ll Love
- Perfect Peppered Pork Loin
- Holiday Prime Rib
- Classic Family Pot Roast
- Classic Chicken Fried Steak Fingers
- Sweet & Smoky Coffee Rub
Perfect Skillet Steak Every Time
- cast iron skillet
- meat thermometer
- .75 to 1 lb New York Strip Steak, about 1 inch thick, room temperature
- 1.5 tsp salt, separated in 1/2 tsps
- 1 tsp pepper, separated in 1/2 tsps
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Heat oil in cast iron skillet on stove top over medium heat.
- Add 1/2 tsp salt to skillet. Cover one side of steak with 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Place steak seasoned side down in hot skillet. For medium steaks, cook for 4 minutes before flipping. While steak is cooking on 1st side, season the top with rest of seasonings. You can rub in if you like.
- After cooking for 4 minutes, flip steak to cook other side. Cook for another 4 minutes. Test with meat thermometer to double check internal temperature of 145° Fahrenheit.
- Remove steak from heat and let rest for 5-7 minutes before cutting or serving.
Cast Iron Basics For Your Kitchen
Looking to add some cast iron to your kitchen, but not sure what to get? Or maybe there is a piece or two you’ve been wanting to add to what you already have? Here are few cast iron staples my kitchen would absolutely be incomplete without!
- 10 inch cast iron skillet
- 12 inch dual handle cast iron skillet
- heavy duty scrub brush
- hot handle silicone grippers
- heavy duty tiered skillet & lid organizer
- enamel covered cast iron dutch oven with lid