Watch the Food Lab Video Series Perfect Pan Seared Steaks

Note: This recipe will work for ribeye or strip steaks. Try and get steaks at least 1 1/2 inches thick. It's better to cook a bigger steak and portion it after cooking than to try and cook thinner steaks.

Perfect Pan Seared Steaks

About This Recipe

Yield:at least 2
Active time:20 minutes
Total time:1 hour
This recipe appears in: 7 Old Wives' Tales About Cooking Steak That Need To Go Away The Food Lab: More Tips For Perfect Steaks


  • 2 bone-in ribeye steaks, at least 1 1/2-inches thick, about 1 pound each (see note)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • A few thyme sprigs and sliced shallots (optional)


  1. 1

    Pat steaks dry with paper towels. Season liberally with salt. Allow to rest at room temperature for at least 40 minutes and up to 2 hours. Alternatively, place on a plate or on a rack over a baking sheet in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator at least 40 minutes before cooking.

  2. 2

    Heat oil in a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet over high heat until heavily smoking. Season steaks with pepper and add to pan and cook, flipping frequently with tongs or cooking fork until internal temperature has reached 110°F for rare or 130°F for medium (steak will continue to cook for a bit), 6 to 12 minutes depending on thickness. Add butter and optional aromatics to pan and continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from pan and tent loosely with foil. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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