Reverse Sear Steak Recipe

4.90 from 365 votes
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The reverse sear steak method might change the way you cook beef forever. This two-step process involves baking in the oven and searing in a hot pan. It’s a reader favorite, with hundreds of rave reviews!

Perfect medium-rare reverse sear steak.

Recipe Science

  • The gentle and consistent heat in the oven provides more control of the internal temperature and prevents overcooking.
  • Cooking in the oven below 300 degrees activates enzymes that tenderize the meat.
  • Pan-searing at the end of cooking develops a golden brown crust through the Maillard Reaction.

Why It Works

In culinary school, I was taught to sear filet mignon or ribeye in a hot pan to lock in the juices. After numerous tests, I’ve found that browning adds a flavorful crust, but the juiciness varies. A thick steak requires more time, yielding overcooked and dry exteriors with a small amount of pink center.

America’s Test Kitchen introduced me to the reverse sear method, which has become my go-to technique ever since. With reverse sear, you cook the meat gently first in the oven and then sear it on the stovetop.

  • There is no need to bring the steak to room temperature for even cooking; the oven quickly does the job!
  • The warm oven dries the surface moisture for effective pan-searing later on.
  • More consistent pink internal color while limiting cooked grey edges.
  • A thick cut of beef can be gently cooked to nearly the right level of doneness.
  • A quick pan-searing on the stovetop develops a stunning crust and flavor.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients needed to reverse sear a steak.
  • Steak: This reverse sear method is best for thicker cuts, at least 1 ½ to 2 inches thick. Anything below 1 inch will cook too quickly. Choose a quick-cooking, high-quality steak (USDA prime or choice) with some marbling. My top choices are ribeye, top sirloin, New York strip, porterhouse, T-bone, and filet mignon.
  • Oil: Use a high smoke point oil like avocado oil, light olive oil, soybean, or vegetable oil to sear the steaks. Even better, use clarified butter for the richest taste.
  • Butter: When the steak is nearly done cooking, I baste it with butter. The milk solids brown, adding toasted aromas and flavor to the meat.
  • Seasonings: Salt and black pepper enhance the beefy taste. This technique really enhances the surface flavor and tender texture.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Temperature and Timing

DonenessBake Until Sear UntilServe At
Rare85-90ºF
(29-32ºC)
115-120°F
(46-49ºC)
120-125ºF
(49-52ºC)
Medium-Rare90-95ºF
(32-35ºC)
120-25°F
(49-52ºC)
125-130ºF
(52-54ºC)
Medium100-105ºF
(38-41ºC)
130-135°F
(54-57ºC)
135-140ºF
(57-50ºC)
Medium-Well110-115ºF
(43-46ºC)
140-45°F
(60-63ºC)
145-150ºF
(63-66ºC)
Well-Done120-125ºF
(49-52ºC)
155°F
(68ºC)
160ºF
(71ºC)
Approximate steak temperatures baked at 275ºF (135ºC), then seared on the stovetop and rested.

How to Reverse Sear Steak

Step 1: Heat the Oven

Set the oven rack in the center position for even heat distribution. Heat the oven to 275°F (135ºC). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, then place a wire rack on top.

Person using a paper towel to dry the surface of a piece of meat.

Step 2: Prepare the Steaks

Dry the surface of the steaks with paper towels to remove excess moisture.

Two slabs of ribeye steaks on a wire rack.

Place the steaks on the wire rack and season both sides with salt and pepper.

Pro Tip: Refrigerate the meat uncovered for 2 to 24 hours before cooking for a drier surface and more well-seasoned steak.

Checking internal temperature of steak on a cooling rack.

Step 3: Cook the Steak in the Oven

Transfer the steaks to the preheated oven. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on thickness and desired doneness. It should be about 30 degrees below the final serving temperature.

Tips for Perfect Execution: Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the steak.

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

Step 4: Pan Sear the Steak

Heat a large cast iron skillet or stainless steel pan over high heat. Once hot, add the oil and get a good sear on each side, about 1 to 2 minutes. Cook the sides to render the fat, about 30 to 60 seconds per side.

Step 5: Baste with Butter

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the butter. Spoon the melted butter on top to baste the steaks for 2 minutes to enhance the browning and flavor.

Experimentation Encouraged: Add aromatics like sliced garlic cloves, shallots, fresh rosemary, or thyme sprigs. Toss them in at the end when basting with the butter.

Reverse sear steak cooked to the perfect temperature

Step 6: Rest, then Serve

Transfer the seared steak to a clean plate or back to the wire rack set on a baking sheet. Briefly rest for 5 to 10 minutes to allow for carryover cooking to finish heating the steaks. As I’m plating up the sides, I find that the steak is at the perfect serving temperature.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you reverse sear a steak?

It’s simple! Cook the steaks in a moderately warm oven at 275°F (135ºC). Sear in oil in a hot skillet on the stovetop until golden brown on the surface.

What is the best steak to cook using the reverse sear method?

This method works best for thick-cut steaks, 1 ½ inches or more. It’s great for tender filet mignon, New York strip steak, porterhouse, ribeye, T-bone, or large tomahawk steaks. This method is also great for grilling tri-tip.

Does reverse searing make steak tender?

Cooking the steak in the oven at 275 degrees activates natural cathepsin enzymes that tenderize the meat and help break down muscle proteins. Gradual heating increases enzyme activity, making the meat more tender over time. The activity reduces at about 122°F (50°C), but the 15 to 25 minutes of slow heating allow the enzymes to work their magic.

Can I reverse-sear a steak on the grill?

For a tasty smoked flavor, reverse sear on the grill. Create an indirect heating side of the grill. Once warm, cover and cook the steaks on the cooler side until they reach 100 to 125ºF (38 to 52ºC), depending on the desired doneness (see recipe). Remove the steaks, then cover and increase the grill’s temperature to high, or transfer to the direct heat side if using a charcoal grill. Sear until char marks form, about 30 to 60 seconds per side.

How does a reverse-seared steak compare to sous vide?

Sous vide steak will have the most consistent doneness because it’s tough to overcook. It takes a much longer time and is more difficult to sear without a lot of drying because it’s cooked in its juices. Reverse-seared steaks quickly develop golden, flavorful crusts after the initial oven cooking. It’s a more quick and affordable process without the need for a fancy immersion circulator, bags, and vacuum sellers.

More Steak Recipes

If you tried this Reverse Sear Steak method, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

How To Reverse Sear 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 365 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings 2 people
Course Entree
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 steaks, 1 ½ to 2" thick, like ribeye or filet mignon
  • kosher salt, for seasoning
  • black pepper, for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, optional

Instructions 

  • Heat the Oven – Set the oven rack in the center position. Heat to 275°F (135ºC). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and then place a wire rack on top.
  • Prepare the Steaks – Dry the steaks with a paper towel to remove excess surface moisture. Transfer to the wire rack. Generously season both sides with salt and black pepper.
  • Cook in the Oven – Transfer the steaks to the oven and cook until the internal temperature on a meat thermometer reaches: 85 to 90ºF (29 to 32ºC) for rare, 90 to 95ºF (32 to 35ºC) for medium-rare, 100 to 105ºF (38 to 41ºC) for medium, 110 to 115ºF (43 to 46ºC) for medium-well, and 120 to 125ºF (49 to 52ºC) for well done.
    This will take about 15 to 25 minutes, depending on thickness and desired doneness. Check often after the first 15 minutes. Remove the steaks from the oven and set aside.
  • Pan Sear – Heat a large 12-inch cast iron skillet or stainless steel pan over high heat. Wait a few minutes, then add the oil. Once 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 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and sear the other side for about 1 to 2 minutes. Use tongs to turn the steaks on their sides to cook and render the remaining fat, about 30 to 60 seconds per side.
    Cook until the internal temperature reaches: 115 to 120°F (46 to 49ºC) for rare, 120 to 125°F (49 to 52ºC) for medium-rare, 130 to 135°F (54 to 57ºC) for medium, 145 to 150ºF (63 to 66ºC) for medium-well, and 155°F (68ºC) for well done. Adjust the heat and cook time as needed to reach desired doneness.
  • Baste with Butter – Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the butter to the pan. Once melted, use a spoon to briefly baste the tops of the steaks for one minute.
  • Rest and Serve – Transfer the steaks to a clean plate or cutting board. Rest at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Steak Selection: I recommend ribeye, New York strip, filet mignon, porterhouse, T-bone, or top-sirloin. The reverse sear method works best for thick cuts 1 ½ inches thick or more. 
  • Cooking Thinner Steaks: This method can be used for at least 1-inch thick steaks. Check them after 10 minutes of cooking in the oven and then every few minutes after.
  • Oil Options: Use a high smoke point oil, such as vegetable, avocado, or light olive oil. Clarified butter also works well. 
  • Checking the Steaks in the Oven: Take the steaks’ temperature at 15 minutes, testing about every 5 minutes until the target doneness is reached. Open and close the door quickly to minimize heat loss, as this will extend cook time. A probe thermometer works well for monitoring.  
  • Make it Dairy-Free: Omit the butter or use a plant-based butter substitute like margarine.
  • 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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179 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Kenneth W. says

    I’m going to try this method on 1 1/2 inch ribeyes for a gathering we are doing for 100 guests. Looking to serve all medium I think this will assist in hitting that mark.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Keep the temp the same, but monitor the cooking time based on the meat. You may need more time in the oven since it’s a large bone in ribeye.

  2. Tony T. says

    I tried this for the first time today, seared on my new cast iron pan. I will NEVER cook steak any other way than this way ever again! I did 275°f for 17 minutes on a rack and seared 30 seconds each side and edges… perfect medium, exactly how I love it! Had filet mignon and rice for under $10… ☺️ 👍👍 thanks!

  3. 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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