This 3 ingredient easy recipe guarantees the perfect 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 on the back deck or patio.  But with these easy instructions, some salt, pepper and olive oil, you can enjoy top notch, tender, juicy steak whenever you like!


Cast iron skillet steak feature photo

Pan Seared Steak Scripture - Proverbs 18:12



What You Need to Make Perfect Cast Iron Skillet Steak 

  • 1 lb New York Strip Steak- 1 inch thick
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper


Ingredients for the perfect skillet steak



A New York Strip is my favorite cut of steak.  It is a boneless, meaty steak that is always tender, not too fatty and just downright delicious.  It is cut from the beef short loin and if left with the bone and adjoining tenderloin attached, it’s called a Tbone.  But let’s be honest, the strip is where all the meat’s at, so why bother with the extra?  



Skillet Steak with salt & pepper


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 the bare minimum, basic recipe that is hands down the best every time.  No fancy herbs, no marinades, no overnight in the fridge.  Just a room temp steak, enough salt and pepper to create a nice crust and a hot skillet.



A perfect cast iron skillet steak


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.  Let it 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




There’s nothing quite like the sear a cast iron skillet creates with the salt and pepper crust.   The simple seasonings make sure the natural deliciousness and quality of the steak really shine through.   No need to hide under lots of herbs or garlic (though I do generally love all the herbs and garlic).  


This recipe is our go-to recipe when it’s just the two of us.  It’s quick, simple and has us enjoying fine 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 (an hour before or the night before) keeps all the natural moisture in the steak from leaching out, making sure your steak is always juicy!
  • Salt makes steak better.  Period.  It just is what it 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 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 5-7 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!



You’ll want to serve this with


Cast iron skillet steak feature photo

Perfect Skillet Steak Every Time

This 3 ingredient easy recipe guarantees the perfect cast iron skillet steak every time!
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef, Easy Recipe, skillet
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 person


  • cast iron skillet
  • timer
  • 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.



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