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.
4.90 from 329 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
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. 

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 2 people
Calories 445kcal (22%)Protein 49g (98%)Fat 26g (40%)Saturated Fat 14g (70%)Cholesterol 159mg (53%)Sodium 125mg (5%)Potassium 800mg (23%)Vitamin A 175IU (4%)Calcium 50mg (5%)Iron 3.6mg (20%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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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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167 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Annette says

    Can I cook the steak in the oven straight from the fridge or should I bring to room temperature first?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      You can cook the steak straight from the fridge. You don’t need to bring the steak to room temperature since you are heating it in the oven before searing.

      • Ella says

        You can, but the process goes faster if you let them come to room temp first since they are in such a low heat in the oven. Personal preference I guess, but I bring my steaks out of the fridge about a half hour before placing in oven. I always get great results so I don’t fix what isn’t broken. 🙂

      • Allison says

        Tried this tonight and it went extremely well. Sometimes straight searing leaves my home smokey and this was a great solution for that!–Allison

  2. Wolfgang says

    Followed the recipe to a T and was way over cooked. Steak was still juicy and tasted fine though.

    • Ella says

      The thickness of your steak will make a huge difference. The thinner the steak, the more likely you are to overcook it. I use minimum 3/4 inch steaks and they always come out tender and perfect using this method.

  3. Susan says

    My friend and I cooked rib-eyes (medium). They turned our perfectly. In fact, they were the best steaks I’ve ever had. Of course, it helped to get a good, well-marbled piece of meat. I will never cook steak any other way indoors.

  4. Dan says

    Just wanted to drop a thank you for my go to indoor steak recipe. Used it probably a dozen times by now and it never fails me.

  5. Stephen O'Brien says

    Fifteen min. @ 275° is a bit high for my liking, but I generally use smaller cuts of meat closer to 1″ thick, heated for 9-10min @225°…larger cuts would require the higher heat and more time, and a thermometer used as Jessica describes is probably essential.. but I get away with just eyeballing the process, and somehow get good results…I can consistently produce a better steak on my cheapo indoor electric range using the reverse-sear method than I ever could on an outdoor grill!

  6. Tawni says

    Can you not just pre heat the cast iron in the oven and add steak to that pan for the oven? Then remove steak, add oil and heat and add steak back on the stove top? What’s the point of the wire rack?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I like to elevate the steak on a wire rack to evenly circulate the heat on both sides for even cooking. You could try the method you suggested in the pan, maybe turning over halfway through, then searing on the stovetop. I would love to hear how it turns out!

  7. Becky says

    This worked out great for me with boneless ribeyes last night. I used my Breville oven airfryer insert for the slow and low cooking, and my pan wouldn’t fit in small oven so I just had it heating on the gas range a bit before it was time to sear. Love this method!

  8. Nick says

    I don’t have a cast iron skillet..after it reaches 90 degrees in oven can I finish it off on the grill? Will it come out the same ?

    • Jeremy says

      I have used reverse sear for thick filets for many years finishing on the grill. I’ve actually never tried stove top searing. I generously coat my steaks with Montreal seasoning, let sit at room temp about 30 min, then bake in toaster oven on fairly low heat (approx 200 F) until center of the cut hits about 113 F (I prefer toaster oven because it preheats faster, uses less electricity, doesn’t heat up the kitchen, and frees up the oven proper for roasted veggies etc).

      I use a fairly cheap Kenmore thermometer that you just leave inside the meat and a wire runs out to the device. It has presets and alarms. All I have to do is wait for the beep when the center of the cut hits about 113 F, then I transfer straight to my preheated grill, which maxes out at 550 F on full blast (all burners on high, lid closed). I hit lightly with cooking spray, and sear each side 2-2.5 min depending on thickness. Then let it rest about 5 min, and cut through the middle. 9 times out of 10, it is perfectly between rare and medium rare all the way through.

      I get grill marks, juicy flavor, tender texture, and ideal temp. I still want to try the cast iron method, but low oven heat then high heat grill sear has been working perfectly for me for years. Key is strict temp control and timing. PS better to slightly undercook and throw back on grill for half a minute than to overcook. We prefer our steaks redder than some people. Long story short, grilling works great if you don’t want to finish pan seared. Best of luck !

  9. Michael Nichols says

    I have been using the reverse sear for quite sometime now. I started using the reverse sear method about 8 years ago on my Prime Rib Roast. It is the perfect method for regulating the cooking times and always comes out perfect. A slow cook in the oven or a smoker.
    After it reaches an inner temp 120 to 130F. I remove it from the smoker and turn the oven up to 450 to 500 degrees. I place the roast in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the roast to sear a beautiful crust on it. Resting time about 15 minutes.

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