Introduction: Mayo Steak (The Best Steak You'll Ever Make)

About: What you WILL find in my Instructables: food, crafts, crochet, foraging, and much more. What you WON'T find in my Instructables: heavy machinery, tech-related projects (I'm just not very good with computers :(…

Since I've had my sous vide immersion circulator, I've been really into experimenting with all sorts of meats and all sorts of techniques. I've tried everything from salmon to prime rib, creme brulee to cheesecake. But, I saw something the other day that really got my attention: the mayo sear. Essentially we will cook the steak sous vide and sear it using mayonnaise instead of traditional oil. And why not? Mayo is in essence, a spreadable oil.

So yes, you read that title correctly, and yes, I know it sounds a little weird. But there's so much behind it.

Why mayo?

According to the guys at Anova Culinary, the protein and the sugar and the egg in the mayo are helpful for developing that crust we all love on our steak, and the fat emulsion accelerates the Maillard reaction (non-enzymatic browning, flavor compound explosion. You know, the good stuff). This means better sear/crust faster and reducing the chances of overcooking the middle.

You can learn more about mayo searing here and the Maillard reaction here.

*If you don't own a circulator here are some resources:

Sous vide on a budget: Pot on stove method (Chef Steps video)

Chefsteps article

and of course you can always cook a steak traditionally.

Step 1: Ingredients

When cooking steak sous vide, these are the cuts you usually want: Ribeye, New York Strip, Tenderloin, and T-bone.

You will need:

  • Steak- 1-2 inches thick (one of the cuts mentioned above, I'm using a new york strip)
  • Salt & Pepper (and preferred seasoning)
  • Garlic (optional)
  • Mayo (full fat!)

You want full-fat mayo because reduced fat mayos sometimes have added ingredients like water that will disrupt the sear.

Step 2: Trim Your Steak (optional)

Some people prefer to leave all of the fat on, as with sous vide cooking it will usually render nicely. However, sometimes I choose to cut off the tougher parts and unnecessary fat.

Step 3: Season

Be generous with salt and pepper, and whatever other seasonings you like.

One note though, herbs can be overpowering, so be sparing.

Step 4: Pre-sear

Pre-searing can add more flavor and crust to our end product.

Searing is best done on a cast iron pan so as not to damage your other pans that can't withstand high heat. Get the pan screaming hot, drizzle some oil, and sear your steak for 1 min on either side.

Step 5: Bag and Cook!

So you'll hear a lot of people telling you to add oil or butter to the bag before it goes in the bath. Well, I'm going to tell you not to. This is because adding oil to the bag will leach the fat-soluble flavor compounds out of the steak, reducing the "beef" taste that we want. More about that here if you're interested.

Throw that steak in a Ziploc and prepare your water bath. Set up your circulator and make sure to protect your work surface as the water will get very hot.

Here is a temp and time guide:

Very rare: 122°F

Rare: 126°F

Medium rare: 129°F

Medium: 133°F

Medium-well: 140°F

Well: 147°F

The thicker your steak the longer you'll cook

1/2 inch: 30 mins

3/4 inch: 45 mins

1 inch: 1 hr

1.5 inch: 1 hr 30 mins

2 inch: 2hrs

Set your circulator to your desired temp and time. When it hits the right temp, drop in your steak and clip it to the side. If the bag floats then there is either still air inside the bag (in which case push the bag underwater to push the air out) or you may want to put some weight in the bag (heavy cutlery usually works)


Pat your steak dry with a paper towel to allow the mayo to stick. Slather a generous amount of your mayo on the entire surface of your steak. Frankly, at this step, your steak will look disgusting.

Step 7: Sear

Get your cast iron pan hot but don't oil it (that's what the mayo is for!)

Sear your steak for a good minute or so on all sides until you get that golden crust.

Step 8: Final Results!

Enjoy :)

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