Sous Vide Steaks Recipe

Thanks to precise temperature control, this steak turns out more consistently than traditional steak, every time.

Medium rare steak halved on a cutting board

Serious Eats / J. Kenji López-Alt

Why It Works

  • Slow, precise cooking followed by high heat gives you perfectly even results with a nice dark crust.

Editor’s Note: Portions of this recipe were developed as part of our partnership with Anova Culinary.

Sure, with a little technique, it's not difficult to produce excellent steaks through pan-searing alone. But for flawlessly even edge-to-edge cooking and consistently foolproof results, sous vide is absolutely the better way.

To achieve a nice crust along with that perfectly cooked meat, finish these sous vide steaks in a pan or on the grill. For information on what temperature settings to use and how long to cook steak sous vide, see the note at the bottom of this recipe.

8:23

How to Cook a Steak Sous Vide

Recipe Facts

4.6

(17)

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 65 mins
Active: 20 mins
Total: 85 mins
Serves: 4 steaks

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Ingredients

  • 2 (1 1/2– to 2-inch-thick) ribeye, strip, porterhouse, or T-bone steaks (about 1 pound/450g each), or 4 tenderloin steaks (6 to 8 ounces/170 to 225g each)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 sprigs thyme or rosemary (optional)

  • 2 cloves garlic (optional)

  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) vegetable, canola, or rice bran oil (if pan-searing; optional)

  • 2 tablespoons (30g) butter (if pan-searing; optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat a sous vide cooker to desired final temperature. (See note for temperature and timing charts, or find the same charts here.) Season steaks generously with salt and pepper. Place in sous vide bags along with herbs, garlic, and shallots (if using) and distribute evenly. Seal bags and place in water bath for desired time according to charts.

    Hand placing vacuum sealed steak into sous vide cooke
  2. To Finish in a Pan: Turn on your vents and open your windows. Remove steak from water bath and bag and carefully pat dry with paper towels. Add vegetable, canola, or rice bran oil to a heavy cast iron or stainless steel skillet, then place over the hottest burner you have and preheat skillet until it starts to smoke.

  3. Gently lay steak in skillet, using your fingers or a set of tongs. If desired, add a tablespoon of butter; for a cleaner-tasting sear, omit the butter at this stage.

    Placing seasoned steak into cast iron skillet with tongs
  4. After 15 to 30 seconds, flip steak so that the second side comes into contact with the pan. Repeat, flipping steak every 15 to 30 seconds, until it has developed a nice brown sear, about 1 1/2 minutes total. If you did not add butter earlier, add butter to skillet about 30 seconds before steak is done for added richness. Serve steak immediately.

    Flipping over seared steak in cast iron skillet with tongs
  5. To Finish on the Grill: Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate.

  6. Remove steak from water bath and bag and carefully pat dry with paper towels. Place steak directly over hot side of grill and cook, turning every 15 to 30 seconds, until a deep, rich crust has formed, about 1 1/2 minutes total. If the fire threatens to flare up as the steak drips fat into it, suffocate the fire by closing the grill lid until the flames die out. Alternatively, transfer steak to cooler side of grill, using a set of long tongs, until flames subside. Do not allow steak to become engulfed in flames.

    Porterhouse steak cooking on a grill
    J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
  7. Transfer cooked steak to a cutting board or serving platter and serve immediately.

    Cooked steak and knife on a wooden cutting board

Special Equipment

Sous vide precision cooker; heavy cast iron or stainless steel skillet, or grill

Temperature and Timing Charts for Sous Vide Steak

Strip, Ribeye, Porterhouse/T-Bone, and Butcher's Cuts: Temps and Times

Doneness  Temperature Range  Timing Range 
Very rare to rare  120°F (49°C) to 128°F (53°C)  1 to 2 1/2 hours 
Medium-rare  129°F (54°C) to 134°F (57°C)  1 to 4 hours (2 1/2 hours max if under 130°F/54°C) 
Medium  135°F (57°C) to 144°F (62°C)  1 to 4 hours 
Medium-well  145°F (63°C) to 155°F (68°C)  1 to 3 1/2 hours 
Well-done  156°F (69°C) and up  1 to 3 hours 

Tenderloin: Temps and Times

Doneness  Temperature Range  Timing Range 
Very rare to rare  120°F (49°C) to 128°F (53°C)  45 minutes to 2 1/2 hours 
Medium-rare  129°F (54°C) to 134°F (57°C)  45 minutes to 4 hours (2 1/2 hours max if under 130°F/54°C) 
Medium  135°F (57°C) to 144°F (62°C)  45 minutes to 4 hours 
Medium-well  145°F (63°C) to 155°F (68°C)  45 minutes to 3 1/2 hours 
Well done  156°F (69°C) and up  1 to 3 hours 

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
636 Calories
43g Fat
6g Carbs
57g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 636
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 43g 55%
Saturated Fat 19g 95%
Cholesterol 176mg 59%
Sodium 764mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 57g
Vitamin C 4mg 22%
Calcium 45mg 3%
Iron 6mg 33%
Potassium 745mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)