Every once in a while your body may crave a delicious, juicy, perfectly cooked steak. It may be the comforting aromas, the tenderness, or the high iron levels it contains, but whatever the reason for the cravings, it can feel quite satisfying to give into the hunger for steak when it arises. Some people may head straight to their favorite steakhouse when this happens, while others may choose to prepare a steak at home. If you go the at-home route, you have multiple methods of cooking to choose from, such as grilling, cooking on the stovetop, or even cooking steak in the oven.
For those looking to cook steak in their oven, the list of things you need is fairly short. You’ll want to have your preferred cut of steak, some salt and pepper, a meat thermometer, and either a cast-iron skillet or oven-safe pan. Cooking your steak this way is a simple process once you know what to do, but making sure you have the proper knowledge and tools will save you time, energy, and money.
To ensure you know everything there is to know about this process, we spoke with Dennis Littley, otherwise known as Chef Dennis, who is a classically trained chef with over 40 years of experience in the kitchen. Here are some of his best tips for how to effectively cook a perfect steak in the oven. And for even more help with cooking steak, check out 14 Tips for Tenderizing Steak, According to Chefs.
1. Choose the best cut of steak.
“The best cuts of steak for oven cooking are those that are thick, such as ribeye, sirloin, or filet mignon,” says Chef Dennis. “These cuts will hold up well to the high heat of the oven and develop a nice crust on the outside, while remaining juicy and tender on the inside.”
If you’re someone who is paying attention to the health value of the steak you’re going to cook, you can also choose based on the amount of total fat and saturated fat in a cut of steak. For instance, ribeye, sirloin, and filet mignon are all great cuts for cooking in the oven, but they have different nutritional value. A ribeye is going to be high in saturated fat, at around 10 grams per serving, whereas a top sirloin will be much lower, with only 3 grams per serving. A filet mignon sits right in the middle at around 7 grams of saturated fat.
2. Let your steak sit out while the oven preheats.
Something that many people don’t realize, especially if you’re a steak-cooking beginner, is that it’s best to let your steak sit out before it cooks.
“Before cooking the steak, let it sit out at room temperature for about 30 minutes,” says Chef Dennis. “This will allow the steak to cook more evenly throughout.”
3. Sear your steak for a few minutes before putting it in the oven.
While it’s sitting out, you can preheat your oven and prepare for the rest of the process. When cooking steak in the oven, it’s best to do so at a high temperature. According to Chef Dennis, the best temperature is 450 degrees. Once you preheat your oven to the desired temperature, you can decide if you’re going to use a cast-iron skillet or an oven-safe pan. Chef Dennis adds that whichever you choose to use, you’ll want to place the vessel in the oven to heat up before adding your steak.
Now that the steak has been sitting and your oven, along with your pan or skillet, is preheated, you can season your meat.
“Season the steak generously with salt and pepper on both sides,” says Chef Dennis. “You can also add other seasonings like garlic powder, paprika, or dried herbs for extra flavor.”
Next, you’ll want to sear the steak before placing it in the oven to cook. “Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and place it on the stovetop over high heat,” says Chef Dennis. “Add a tablespoon of oil or butter to the pan and swirl it around to coat the bottom. Add the steak to the pan and sear it for 2–3 minutes on each side, until a brown crust forms.”
According to Chef Dennis, “once the steak is seared, transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 5–10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steak and desired doneness.” This is where it may be helpful to have a meat thermometer, in order to make sure your steak is done exactly how you like it. Chef Dennis adds that your steak should be around “120°F for rare, 130°F for medium-rare, 140°F for medium, 150°F for medium-well, and 160°F degrees for well-done.”