How to Pan Fry the Perfect Steak




One of my favorite meals to cook for myself is a pan fried steak. Steak is a tricky food to get right, but I have perfected my method for cooking one. This step-by-step instruction will explain in detail how to pan fry a steak for yourself.

This tutorial is for people with prior cooking experience and should not be attempted by anyone who does not feel comfortable in the kitchen. This is a very precise and time sensitive process that could easily turn into a tough, leathery disaster. But this steak is surprisingly easy to prepare as long as you properly prepare and follow each step.

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Step 1: Tools and Ingredients

Here is a list of supplies you will need to cook your steak.


  • A Stove
  • One frying pan suitable for the size of your steak
  • Tongs
  • a knife
  • a plate
  • A clock or timer


  • One steak
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Fresh Garlic (or Garlic Powder)

Step 2: Shopping for a Steak

The first step is to locate the steak that you wish to cook. I always buy my steak at Tacoma Boys. They have a quality meat selection. It is a bit more expensive, but in my opinion, it is worth it.

The steak I chose was a 8oz Kobe Petite Sirloin steak. It is small enough for one person and a relatively inexpensive cut of meat. Find a steak that looks tasty to you! If you have the money for a nice New York Steak go for it, but for this tutorial we will be working with a petite sirloin steak.

While you are at the store, make sure you have the rest of your ingredients such as olive oil, butter, salt, pepper, and garlic. A grocery store is a perfect opportunity to pick up some fresh garlic if you prefer that to garlic powder.

Step 3: Preparing the Meat

When you get home you must get the meat out and let it warm up. When it is sitting in the grocery store, it is very cold and you do not want to cook a cold steak.

First pull the steak out of the butcher paper and let it rest on a plate. While it is sitting, use the salt and pepper to season it. Cover all sides with a good amount of seasoning.

Usually give the steak about 20 minutes to warm up. It is important to let the meat warm because when you cook it in the pan it will cook more evenly. You do not want a cold center.

While the steak is warming up, this is a good time to get the rest of your tools and ingredients ready. Place the pan on a burner and put it on high heat. Before heating, poor enough olive oil in the pan to coat the entire bottom. You want plenty of oil in the pan for the next step of the process.

Step 4: Seering the Steak

This next step is very crucial and can be dangerous. At this point, the pan should be very hot. You will use the tongs to place the steak into the hot oil. At these high temperatures there will be a lot of oil splatter so be careful when maneuvering the steak around in the pan.

When you place the steak in the pan begin timing the cooking for 1 Minute.
After a Minute has passed, flip it to the other side for 1 Minute.

After that minute has passed, flip the steak on its side and sear the edge until it is colored like the rest of the meat. do this for both sides. Tilt the pan so that the oil and juices run down to one side and use that to cook the edge of the steak. Refer to the photo for an example.

You will continuously be turning the steak for 1 Minute intervals until you feel that it is well done enough. This is all dependent on your wellness preference and the thickness of your steak. This will bring us to our next step.

Step 5: Cooking the Steak

At this point, the steak has been seared on all sides, locking in the juices of the meat. Turn down the heat of your stove to medium.

Now comes the process of cooking through the meat to your preferred wellness. There is no exact science to this because of the variables of thickness and stove heat so you will just have to check the meat often to make sure it is not over or under cooked. For this demonstration, I cooked my steak to a medium wellness with some pink left in the middle.

Now that the heat is backed off, continue cooking the steak on each side for 1 Minute intervals.

Now it is time to add the garlic and butter. Cut off a nice healthy chunk of butter and throw it in the pan along with a generous amount of garlic. I used garlic powder because I didn't have any fresh garlic at the time. Allow the meat to soak in the greasy tasty goodness as you continue turning it. Keep in mind this is how to make the Perfect Steak, not a healthy steak.

I cooked my steak for 8 total minutes, flipping each minute, to get a medium wellness. Again, I have to be clear that variables in steak size and stove heat means that this may not give you the same result. Use the tongs to check the firmness of the meat. If it feels like it is beginning to firm up, then it is probably reaching a medium wellness.

After you have cooked it long enough, it is time to pull it from a pan and place it on a clean plate.

Step 6: Resting the Meat

You have finished cooking the steak and are about to devour it but RESIST!

You must let the meat rest before cutting into it. The process known as resting, allows for all of the juices of the meat to lock inside the steak. This gives your steak better flavor.

Allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes. If you become impatient, find a beer of your choice (if you are of age), and have a drink!

Step 7: Eat and Enjoy

You have been patient. You have waited five minutes. You are now ready to consume your amazing, and surprisingly inexpensive steak!

This steak requires no sauces. Sauce would only ruin the great flavors that you have created today in your pan.

Steamed vegetables and a cold beer also work as great sides to your meat masterpiece. Enjoy!

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205 Discussions


10 months ago

I am WAY older than you and have cooked too many steaks to be counted.

Your instructable is fantastic. Great job for sharing secrets.

Many of the techniques are transferable to the grill.

A few MINOR points.

1- most people don't cook enough fine food to justify olive oil before it potentially goes rancid, so vegetable oil is a replacement that works fine.
2- the approach described works best on steaks about 1-2 inches thick.
3- any steak you purchase today and do not store in your refrigerator is better, and those in the fridge will be even better than better than ones that have been frozen. Translated, purchase the meat as close to cooking time as possible, and most importantly never freeze it.
4- if you cook very thin steaks the rules are way different, with the most important cutting thin strips across the grain.
5- Interestingly, many of these techniques work for ground beef too.


10 months ago

This does not work. Definately not for small steaks anyways. Pretty much destroyed my steaks. Including searing, these steaks had only 3.5 mins of cook time, and they were overdone and burnt.


2 years ago

I'm Gona cook my rib eye steak like this don't HV olive oil do HV everything else just need a potato couldn't carry home

1 reply
Ms. RubyJDonnaA81

Reply 1 year ago

Try it with some brown rice, rice pilaf or another rice dish. It's just as good as with a potato -- especially with some steamed broccoli, asparagus (if you like it), creamed or cheesy brussel sprouts on the side.


1 year ago

Such a great steak. Thank you for sharing. And topped with mushrooms and onions it's amazing. No A1 needed with this one.


1 year ago

Wow!! I was really nervous to try and pan fry my steak. I've perfected the grill, butt never tried the pan method. 1st time doing so and i followed this 100%. Turned out awesome! My fiance told me it was the best i ever made! Thank you for this recipe. Found my new favorite


1 year ago

First time I have pan fried a steak. It was delicious. Great recipe! Thank you.


2 years ago

I tried this for dinner tonight! Everybody cleaned their plates it was so flavorable, tender, and juicy! Great recipe!


2 years ago

well my grandma made the best bone steaks in the world. She got the pan hot enough this he oil was just beginning to smoke and then added the steak to sear it at high heat. Didn't flip it until the blood rose to the top, then spent the same amount of time cooking the previous side that was up, and you are done. Perfect medium rare with all the juices inside.

2 replies

Reply 2 years ago

Exactly the correct way to do it! Never season a steak with salt before searing - it'll end up as dry as anything because the salt will suck the juices out.


Reply 2 years ago

A dry steak has been over cooked or had poor marbling. The salt on the outside will draw moisture then brine the meat. You have to give it time. This will help slightly with moisture and flavor retention. If you salt and don't give it time you have a wet surface which doesn't help browning and liquid didn't get distributed into the meat. Salt it, wait, dry it, sear it.

A wet brine will result in more moisture absorption and also more moisture loss when cooking. The end result being more moist product with more lost meat flavor. You may prefer a dry brine on a chicken. Give it a shot.


2 years ago

That steak is burnt in the outside and almost well done in the inside.

Olive oil is best for for salads not for cooking, the virgin and extra virgin varieties are most definitely not fro cooking, there are many other oils for this, coconut butter is surprisingly good as long as it isn't smelly (it depends on the brand and procedure to make it).

One does not add anything to a steak bar salt and pepper, that is why sauces of all kinds exist to accompany the meat.

Great attempt but some of the basics are misunderstood.


2 years ago

I always grill steaks. And I NEVER put any flavorings on steak. Steak comes with its own flavor. If you don't like steak flavor, you are buying poor steaks or are a chicken eater.


2 years ago

You never flip a steak more than once. Also, setting that burner on
high only gives you a burnt, rare steak. Set that burner on medium and
let your pan come up to temperature. A few minutes on each side, to your
liking, and you're done. Follow Gordon Ramsay to properly cook a steak
in a frying pan.


2 years ago

The best cooking instructions I ever heard for steak: "Cripple it, wipe it's butt, and send it on out."


3 years ago

there is so much wrong with can I take it seriously?
First, it's pour not poor
Second, no metal in nonstick
Third, flipping the steak so often is a big no no.

I can't continue reading this.

4 replies

Reply 2 years ago

Nonstick pans are metal with a Teflon coating. So yes, pans are made of metal.

Many of the world's best chefs and food labs recommend flipping once per minute (see Nathan Myrhvold's "Modernist Cuisine" etc)

I don't think you quite know what you are talking about, to be honest.


Reply 2 years ago

They are saying never use metal tools anywhere near a non-stick pan. Yes pans are made of metal, good on you for noticing.

Teflon is fragile and very toxic. You do not want to scrape it up. If one ever see's a non-stick pan with scrapes and an imperfect, coating discard immediately.


Reply 2 years ago

In my humble but most accurate opinion, cast iron or stainless are the way to go. Non-stick coatings other than carbon are a no-no.


Reply 2 years ago

You're basically all wrong. The best way to get a uniform steak is to quickly sear it in a very hot pan (with oil that can withstand that heat without burning, probably not butter). Then wrap in in Tin foil and put it in the oven for varying times and temperatures depending on how well done you want it to be and how thick the cut is. for a medium beef I usually put it in the oven for 30 minutes at 70°C. Basically you want the core of the steak to reach 56°C then take it out. This will give it a super uniform rose color with a nice brown crust on the outside. The quick searing only affects the outside, while the rest was cooked at low temperatures which prevent bursting of cell walls and thus keeps all the juices inside the steak

This is basically similar to those Sous-vide cookers. Which cook at the absolute minimum temperature for a prolonged time to achieve even cooking while retaining the juiciness, then sear the outside afterwards.