Steaks make a perfect main course for any weeknight or a special occasion. A nice steak dinner can be as special as a birthday treat or just a quick dinner on a Monday night. Whatever reason might be, pick your favorite steak and learn to make it in the oven. Making steak in the oven is quick and easy, no grill needed.
If you like steaks with sauces and special toppings for steaks, make sure to check out my Rib Eye Steaks with Mushrooms and Onions and Steaks with The Best Cream Sauce. After you perfect making steaks in the oven, learn how to make your best steaks on the grill.
STEAK IN THE OVEN
I you have about 20 minutes, you can make amazing steaks right in the oven. Because of how fast and easy it is to make a gorgeous and the best tasting steaks, you can actually make it any day of the week. No need to go out to a fancy restaurant and it doesn’t have to be a special occasion. What makes the steak special above all, is the meat itself. The rest is up to the preparation.
So the first thing to do when planning a steak dinner is to pick your favorite cut of beef. Everyone in my family prefers a different cuts of steak. Some like ribeye, some like tenderloin steak, and others prefer a strip steak. (Pictures in this article are of the strip steak.)
Another thing to consider when selecting steaks is the size. I usually ask my butcher to cut me thicker cuts because a pre-cut steaks at the grocery store tend to be thin. Feel free to ask the butcher in your grocery store’s meat department and most of them will be happy to cut you a new piece to your specifications. Ask for steaks to be equal is size too.
No matter which cut you are choosing, try to pick out the piece with more fine marbling of fat throughout the piece. More marbling means juicier, more tender steaks.
WHAT STEAK TO CHOOSE
There are many, many cuts of steaks out there but when it comes to a simple cooked steak in the oven or on the grill, go with prime cuts. These steaks are beautiful on their own and don’t require any excessive seasoning or sauces. Simply cook the steak and serve it with your favorite side.
Ribeye steak – juicy and tender steak that is sliced from from the primal rib section. This cut of steak has a great amount of marbling throughout, which makes it tender, juicy, and flavorful. For best tasting steak, you are looking for a lot of fine marbling of fat throughout the slice as opposed to thick fat lines concentrated in certain areas.
Rib steak – is also called bone-in ribeye. It is the same as ribeye but with the rib bone still attached.
Top Sirloin – also known as sirloin, this cut comes from the primal loin section located in the upper middle part of the cow. It’s a flavorful and juicy cut of beef that is as good cooked whole or cut into pieces and cooked as a kebab. This cut of steak is leaner than a ribeye cut and therefore, not quite as tender when cooked. Top sirloin is also much more tender than bottom sirloin so don’t mistake the two.
New York Strip – also knows as strip steak, it’s one of the more tender cuts of beef that comes from the area below the backbone. Same area as other tender cuts like tenderloin, T-Bone, and Porterhouse steaks come from. If you’re familiar with a T-bone steak, strip steak is the larger piece of meat on the side of the T-bone. One side of the T-bone is the strip steak and the other side is the tenderloin.
Filet Mignon – also known as a tenderloin steak. A true Filet Mignon comes from the smaller, narrower end of the tenderloin. This is the leanest and yet, the most tender piece of steak. And for that reason, it’s usually the more expensive one.
WHAT DO STEAK GRADES MEAN?
USDA Prime – this is the highest quality. Comes from young, well-fed cattle and has a lot of intramuscular marbling. It is not as widely available as choice quality so if you see it, I highly recommend you get it.
USDA Choice – high quality and much more widely available. These cut will have less fat content and less marbling than prime but still a good choice.
USDA Select – these are lower quality steaks and therefore much cheaper. There is less marbling so it is leaner, tougher, and less juicy.
When choosing your steaks, try to get prime or choice grade and remember that you will get what you pay for.
HOW TO COOK STEAK IN THE OVEN
To cook steaks at home, without the grill, the best way is to use steakhouse method. This is great for those thick, juicy steaks and will give you the best results in the end. Steakhouse method starts with a sear in a hot skillet on stove-top and then you move the steaks into preheated oven to finish them off.
Cast Iron Skillet – the best pan for cooking the steak is the cast iron skillet. It is easy to go from stove-top to the oven, hold the heat very well, and cooks evenly throughout. (If you don’t have cast iron skillet, use another pan that is oven-safe to be able to go from stove to oven.)
Leave-in Thermometer – if you’re cooking meats in the oven or grill on regular bases, invest in a instant read leave-in thermometer. It’s actually not very expensive but a must-have to cook meats. The meat temperature is measured the whole time it’s cooking and the timer will alert you when the temperature is reached. No need to open the oven and let the air out just to check the temperature.
If you do not have a leave-in thermometer, use a regular instant read digital meat thermometer to take the temperature of the steaks. Just make sure to take the skillet out of the oven to take the temperature and close the oven door to keep the heat in.
Metal Tongs – tongs are best to use for flipping the steaks and holding it in place while inserting the meat thermometer. Use metal tongs to hold the steak in place while cutting it as well.
Prepare The Steak
Take the steaks out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking. Cold meat will seize if it hits high heat suddenly so for the best results, remember to take out the steaks and let them to warm up.
Simply leave the steaks on the cutting board for about 30 minutes. When ready to start cooking, pat each steak dry with a paper towel all around and season steaks generously with salt and pepper on all the sides.
Preheat the oven to 450°.
So much wonderful flavor is going to come from searing the meat at high heat.
Make sure that your cast iron skillet is seasoned well before every use. Preheat skillet on stove-top over medium-high heat and add a little bit of oil to the bottom.
Add steaks to the hot skillet and sear for 45-60 seconds on each side.
Finish steaks in the oven
Once both sides have been seared, insert the leave-in thermometer through the side of the steak, towards the middle. Move the skillet into the pre-heated oven. (If using bone-in steaks, make sure the probe does not hit the bone. Move it a little bit away from the bone.)
Set the thermometer to the desired temperature. If you are not using a leave in thermometer, you will need to manually take the temperature of the steak. Take the skillet out of the oven and close the oven door. Take the temperature by inserting thermometer through the side of the steak, towards the middle.
Flip the steaks onto the other side when they are getting about 15-20 degrees away from your desired temperature. (About half way through cooking.)
Once steaks reach desired temperature, take them out of the skillet immediately and let the steaks rest for about 5 minutes before cutting it. Add a couple of thin slices of butter on each steak while it’s resting.
NOTE: It is impossible to tell you how long it will take for the steak to reach the temperature because every steak is different size and different thickness. Time can vary for easy and every steak, it could take as fast as 5-6 minutes or as long as 15 minutes. It depends on desired temperature as well as the steak itself.
125°-130° = Rare
135°-140° = Medium-rare
145°-150° = Medium
150°-155° = Medium-well
160°-165° = Well
(*First number is when to take it out of the oven.)
HOW LONG TO COOK STEAKS IN THE OVEN
I get this question so often and it is actually my least favorite one. I can understand the ease of setting a timer and wanting the steak to take that exact time and voila, it’s perfect. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. You have to track the steak’s temperature and not the time because each steak is different in amount of fat, in thickness, in muscle structure, and simply the way it will react to cooking.
To get truly the steak you want at the level of doneness that you want, use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. The times that I will give you below is just the estimates and to be used as a guide and not exact measurement.
For thick steaks that are around 1 1/2 inches thick and cooking at 450°:
Rare (125°) – 2 minutes to sear and 9-11 minutes in the oven
Medium-rare (135°) – 2 minutes to sear and 13-16 minutes in the oven
Medium (145°) – 2 minutes to sear and 16-19 minutes in the oven
Medium-well (150°) – 2 minutes to sear and 18-20 minutes in the oven
Well (160°) – 2 minutes to sear and 20-24 in the oven
For thinner steaks that are around 1 inch thick and cooking at 450°:
Rare (125°) – 2 minutes to sear and in 3-4 minutes the oven
Medium-rare (135°) – 2 minutes to sear and 5-7 minutes in the oven
Medium (145°) – 2 minutes to sear and 8-10 minutes in the oven
Medium-well (150°) – 2 minutes to sear and 10-12 minutes in the oven
Well (160°) – 2 minutes to sear and 12-15 minutes in the oven
NOTE: different steak thickness will take different amount of time! (There is a very helpful chart right here if you want to check according to the thickness of your steak.)
SIDE DISH RECIPES TO SERVE WITH STEAK
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Cooking Steak In The Oven
- Cast Iron Skillet
- Leave-in Meat Thermometer
- Metal tongs
- 2 steaks - ribeye, top sirloin, strip steak, or tenderloin filet
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 1-2 tbsp canola oil for cooking
- 1 tbsp salted butter
Prepare the steak
- Take the steaks out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking. Cold meat will seize in it hits high heat suddenly so for the best results, remember to let it warm up.
- When ready to start cooking, pat each steak dry with a paper towel all around.
- Season steaks generously with salt and pepper on all the sides.
- Preheat the oven to 450°.
Sear the steak
- Make sure that your cast iron skillet is seasoned well before every use. Preheat skillet on stove-top, over medium-high heat and add a little bit of oil to the bottom.
- Add steaks to the hot skillet and sear for 45-60 seconds on each side.
Finish in the oven
- Once both sides have been seared, insert the leave-in thermometer through the side of the steak, towards the middle. Move the skillet into the pre-heated oven.
- Set thermometer to the desired temperature. *If you are not using a leave in thermometer, you will need to manually take the temperature of the steak. Take the skillet out of the oven and close the oven door. Take the temperature by inserting thermometer through the side of the steak, towards the middle.
- Flip the steaks onto the other side when they are getting about 15-20 degrees away from your desired temperature. (About half way through cooking.)
- Once steaks reach desired temperature, take them out of the skillet immediately and let the steaks rest for about 5 minutes before cutting it. You can let steaks rest on the cutting board or on the plate.
- Add slices of butter to the top of each steak while it's resting.
Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles on June 7th, 2019. Updated August 29, 2020.