How to Reverse Sear a Steak

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The reverse sear method might change the way you cook a thick steak forever. The process involves baking in the oven followed by searing on a pan. I’m a fan of this technique as it provides more control of the internal temperature, a stunning browned crust, and a more tender piece of beef.

Medium-rare steak

Most home cooks have prepared a thick cut of filet mignon or ribeye by pan searing, a conventional method to get a golden crust and pink center. However let’s be honest, sometimes you nail just the right temperature, and other times the beef is too rare or just slightly overdone. This process can be especially frustrating when you’ve paid big bucks for the better cut of meat.

The good news, using the reverse sear steak method will allow for more controllable odds of making the perfect steak while maximizing its flavor. With just a few simple changes like gently cooking the beef at a low temperature in the oven first, and then searing it at the very end will undoubtedly result in delight and high fives! Follow this step-by-step guide on how to reverse sear a steak.

steaks searing in a cast iron skillet

Benefits of the reverse sear method

Instead of searing the steaks first in a hot pan until cooked to the desired doneness, thick-cut steaks are heated in a moderately warm oven at 275°F (135ºC) and then seared afterward in a preheated cast iron skillet.

  1. The warm oven dries the surface which removes the moisture for more efficient and effective pan-searing later on.
  2. Slow and even heat in the oven provides more control and prevents overcooking.
  3. More consistent pink internal color, while limiting cooked grey edges.
  4. A thick cut of beef can be gently cooked to nearly the right level of doneness.
  5. Pan-searing at the end of cooking in a preheated cast iron skillet creates a beautiful crust by the Maillard Reaction.
  6. Finishing the cooking in a pan allows for a flavorful sauce to be made using the fond and pan drippings.
  7. More affordable than using a Sous Vide, but a similar cooking process.

How to Reverse Sear Steak

Cooking a steak using this method is best for thicker cuts, minimum 1 1/2-inch to 2-inch thick pieces. Anything below will cook too quickly. Chose quick-cooking, high-quality steak (USDA prime or choice) with some marbling, like ribeye, top sirloin, new york strip, porterhouse, or filet mignon.

1) Prepare the oven and steak

Two slabs of ribeye steaks on butcher paper

  • Place the oven rack in the center position and another below in the lower third.
  • Preheat the oven to 275°F (135ºC).
  • Place a large cast iron skillet or heatproof pan in the oven to preheat. This process will kickstart the cooking process and speed up the time it takes to sear the surface.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and then place a wire rack on top.
  • Dry the surface of the steaks with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
  • Place the steaks on the wire rack and season both sides with salt and pepper.

2) Cook the Steak in the Oven

Checking internal temperature of steak on a cooling rack

When cooking the steak in the oven, use an instant-read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the steak. Once 15 minutes passes, check the temperature and continue checking every 5 minutes until you hit:

  • 90 to 95ºF (32 to 35ºC) for medium-rare
  • 100 to 105ºF (38 to 41ºC) for medium

The steaks will finish cooking in the skillet and continue to increase in temperature, so you don’t want to cook the steak in the oven completely.

3) Pan Sear the Steak

Metal tongs being used to hold up a piece of steak to sear the edges

  • Remove preheated cast iron skillet from the oven and transfer it to the stovetop.
  • Turn the heat to high, once the pan is hot add oil that has a high smoke point temperature. I use vegetable oil or clarified butter like ghee.
  • Sear the steaks on each side in the hot oil or fat for about 2 minutes, or until the desired doneness internal temperature is reached.
  • Aim for an internal temperature of 120 to 125ºF (49 to 52ºC) for medium-rare or 130 ºF (50ºC) for medium.
  • An option is to add 1 tablespoon of butter at the end of cooking. The hot melted butter is spooned on top to baste the steaks for enhanced browning and flavor.
  • Sear the sides of the steaks to render the fat, about 30 to 60 seconds per side.

4) Rest the Steak

Meat thermometer taking the internal temperature of a piece of steak

Remove the seared steak from the pan to a clean plate or wire rack set on a baking sheet. Allowing to rest gives the carryover cooking a chance to finish heating the steaks. Typically the internal temperature will rise about 5 degrees in 10 minutes. Keeping in mind that continued cooking will occur helps to determine the perfect medium-rare or medium serving temperature.

Reverse sear steak cooked to the perfect temperature

I was introduced to the reverse sear method in an America’s Test Kitchen cookbook. After learning about the advantages, its become my go-to way to cook thick-cut steaks. I would love to hear your thoughts and if you’ve found success with this method, let me know in the comments section below.

More steak recipes

Cook the steak on low heat to make it more tender

The gradual and low heating temperature in the oven below 300 degrees not only gives a gentle and consistent heat treatment but also activates enzymes that tenderize the meat. Cathepsins are natural enzymes that help to break down muscle proteins. Gradual heating increases enzyme activity, working to make the meat more tender over time. At about 122°F (50°C) the activity reduces, but the 15 to 25 minutes of slow heating allows the enzymes to work their magic. (Source: The Food Lab)

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How To Reverse Sear a Steak

The reverse sear method might change the way you cook a thick steak forever. The process involves baking in the oven followed by searing on a pan.
Pin Print Review
4.23 from 194 votes
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Servings 2 people
Course Entree
Cuisine American


  • 2 steaks, 1 ½ to 2-inches thick, (ribeye, new york strip, filet mignon, porterhouse)
  • kosher salt, as needed for seasoning
  • black pepper, as needed for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, optional


  • Line a sheet pan with foil and place a wire rack on top, set aside.
  • Adjust oven rack to the center position and preheat oven to 275ºF (135ºC).
  • Place a large 12-inch cast iron skillet in the oven to warm, on a rack below the center rack.
  • Dry the steaks with a paper towel to remove excess surface moisture and transfer to the wire rack.
  • Generously season the meat with salt and ground black pepper on both sides.
  • Place steaks in the oven and cook about 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness. See notes for target temperatures of the steak.
  • Remove the steaks from the oven and set aside.
  • Remove the cast iron pan from the oven and transfer to the stovetop.
  • Heat pan over high heat and add oil.
  • Once the oil is very hot and just beginning to smoke, carefully add the steaks to the pan.
  • Sear the first side until a deep brown crust is formed, about 2 minutes.
  • Carefully flip the steaks over and sear about 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
  • Use tongs to turn the steaks on their sides to cook and render remaining fat, about 2 minutes total.
  • OPTIONAL: Add one tablespoon of the butter to the pan, melt and use a spoon to briefly baste the tops of the steaks. 
  • Transfer steaks to a clean plate and allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  • Serve steaks warm.


  • When steaks are in the oven, check the temperature of the steaks using an instant-read thermometer at 15 minutes, then every 5 minutes until target doneness is reached, 90 to 95ºF (32 to 35ºC) for medium-rare, or 100 to 105ºF (38 to 41ºC) for medium.
  • When steaks are searing, aim for an internal temperature of 120 to 125ºF (49 to 52ºC) for medium-rare, or 130 (50ºC) for medium.
  • MAKE IT DAIRY FREE: Omit the butter.
  • MAKE IT PALEO: Use ghee instead of vegetable oil and butter. 

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Nutrition Facts
How To Reverse Sear a Steak
Amount Per Serving
Calories 445 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 14g70%
Cholesterol 159mg53%
Sodium 125mg5%
Potassium 800mg23%
Protein 49g98%
Vitamin A 175IU4%
Calcium 50mg5%
Iron 3.6mg20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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135 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Elijah Sugay says

    My wife’s favorite cut is a NY strip – I’ve been preparing them for her since we’ve been married – nearly six years. I attempted your recipe this evening and we both agree, it is literally THE BEST preparation of a NY strip (next time I’ll take photos!). Thank you for sharing your talent and knowledge. I am eagerly looking forward to trying out more of your recipes. Have a great evening!

      • Baz says

        I’ve been afraid to try reverse searing. Tonight I did it for the first time, with a couple of prime NY steaks. It took about half an hour at 275, maybe because they’d been in the freezer, but they were brown on the outside and a perfect medium pink-red all the way through! I will never cook steak any other way.

  2. June says

    Excellent recipe instructions – the steak came out beautifully browned, crusted, tender and flavorful. This method also generated a significantly lesser amount of smoke throughout my small NYC apartment. Because I was also simultaneously roasting root vegetables, there wasn’t enough room in the oven to pre-heat the cast-iron pan, so pre-heated it on a low stovetop flame. Also added a bit of fresh rosemary to the pan butter while searing/basting, and of course, finishing salt at the end. Do believe I’m now a convert from my previous favorite (but uneven stovetop method) of cooking start to finish in a searing hot, salted pan. The leftovers the next day even remained tender, usually, they’ve turned to leather!

  3. NickL says

    I’m going to attempt this on a gas grill this evg. It’s Costco mech tenderized rib steak which I just found out about. Hoping the reverse searing helps as I have to cook it more than I usually like to.

  4. Gerri says

    Awesome, awesome, awesome! I followed the cooking instructions for medium rare. Cooking in the oven for 15 mins at 275 F was perfect, then seared stove top for two minutes each side and then turned on the edges. I coated the tenderloins w/ Kosher salt, black pepper and a special seasoning mix. I also sautéed some shrimp (from a totally different recipe) with crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, brine (from a jar of olives), butter and parsley… We wound up putting that buttery, garlicky, lemony, brine sauce over the steak … OMG… it was to die for! But the reverse seared steak with just salt, pepper and butter prepared per the recipe here was also amazing!

  5. Doug Alder says

    Thanks – another option is, if you have a digital smoker (lets you set the temperature) use it instead of the oven and give your steak say 20 minutes of smoke (just to give it a bit of wood smoke flavour) then pan sear like you point out it when it reaches the desired temperature

  6. Joseph says

    Why would you rest the steaks after pan searing them? I’ve always rested the steaks after coming out of the oven for about 10 minutes (as nearly every other reverse sear method indicates as well) – one of the beauties of the Reverse Sear – pull them off the pan, they’ve already rested. I maybe rest them for 1 minute, slice ’em up and eat em hot!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, you can use a stainless steel frying pan. However, I would not preheat it in the oven. I would just allow the pan to heat up on the stove until very hot, then sear the steak.

  7. Katt says

    I have used this recipe three times now and it is THE best way to cook a steak! Thanks for a great recipe!

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