How to Cook a Steak On Your Stove Top

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors  | 

A steak is a slice of meat cut from a fleshy part of a beef carcass [source: Merriam Webster]. When buying steak choose one with fine texture that's firm to the touch. Make sure the steak is well marbleized; you should see the white fat. A substantial amount of evenly distributed fat contributes greatly to the taste of the steak. The best steak is 1 to 1½ inches (2.5 to 3.8 centimeters) thick. Anything thinner will dry out too quickly [source: Sagon]. Here's how to make a pan fried steak on your stove top.

  1. Heat a heavy frying pan with a thick solid base, or a cast iron skillet.
  2. Flatten and tenderize the steak by hitting it with the back of your hand or with a tenderizer.
  3. Season the steak with pepper. Don't add salt, as it will draw out the steak's juices. We don't want that to happen at this stage.
  4. Add a teaspoon of cooking oil when the pan is hot.
  5. Drop the steak onto the pan when the oil is hot. Have all the whole steak hit the pan at the same time. This will sear the steak and hold in the juices.
  6. Press gently on the steak with the back of a tablespoon to keep it in contact with pan as much as possible.
  7. Let your steak cook until it's done. How long this takes depends on how thick the steak is and how well you want it to be done. A one-inch (2.5-centimeter) thick steak will take about four minutes for rare steak and about 10 minutes for a well-done steak. Half way through the cooking time, turn the steak over in the pan [source: Delia Smith].

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Originally Published: Jun 17, 2011

Cook Steak on Stove FAQs

How long do you cook steak on a stove?
A 1-inch (2.5-centimeter) thick steak will take about four minutes for rare steak and about 10 minutes for a well-done steak.
Can you cook steak in a normal pan?
Use a heavy frying pan with a thick solid base, or a cast iron skillet.
How long do you cook a steak after searing?
Let your steak cook until it's done. How long this takes depends on how thick the steak is and how well you want it to be done.
Do you need oil to cook steak in a pan?
Yes. Add a teaspoon of cooking oil when the pan is hot, then drop the steak onto the pan when the oil is hot.
Can you pan sear with butter?
Yes. You can find seared steak recipes that use butter online.

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