The weather isn’t cooperating, or you don’t have a grill. But you’re craving that perfectly seared steak dinner. What’s the best way to cook your steak on the stove? Use one of the pans on my list to make a pan-seared steak.
Spoiler alert! My favorite is the Lodge Cast Iron Grill Pan.
You can also create perfectly caramelized veggies or other side dishes as well, making the perfect steak dinner!
Before you start
Before getting into the different types of pans to use to produce the best results on your stove, it is good to know how you want to season your steak before pan-searing it. The pan will really lock in any flavors you throw in it. You should also avoid Teflon and other artificial non-stick coatings. The high heat needed for cooking the steak may actually break down the coating and contaminate your meat, as well as ruining your skillet.
With that in mind, read on to see some of the best types of pans to use for cooking steak on your stove, as well as some product recommendations and tips for maintaining your pan based on the material.
Stainless Steel or Tri-Ply Cookware
Stainless steel is a great, even heat conductor, ensuring an even cook through your steak. Tri-ply cookware is stainless steel layered with a different material (usually copper or aluminum). It’s great because the added materials conduct heat faster, creating a perfect searing atmosphere in the pan for your steak. These pans are also easy to wash and safe to use at the high temperatures required for cooking a steak thoroughly.
Cast Iron Frying Pans
Cast iron pans are another great option. They retain the most heat out of all of these materials, ensuring an evenly caramelized, thoroughly and beautifully browned steak. Another plus is the seasoning process for maintaining cast iron ends up building great aromas and flavors over time.
The added step of adding a layer after cleaning to rebuild the polymerized oil coating, is perfect for steak because it helps with the browning and flavoring process for next time! Cast iron is also compatible with all types of stoves and cooktops, which is an important consideration for your kitchen.
Carbon Steel Skillets
Carbon steel is basically a lighter version of cast iron, offering many of the same cooking benefits. They’re perfect for searing and they’re available in several different levels of thickness. The thicker the better for steaks, since those will hold the most heat for the longest amount of time.
While these need to be regularly seasoned like cast iron, they actually retain less heat than cast iron. They’ll need to be preheated longer than a cast iron skillet.
Finally, one more great pan material for cooking steak is a copper pan. Make sure these are lined with stainless steel though, not tin. Tin will heat up too fast and isn’t great for cooking at the high temperatures required for searing steak.
- Stainless Steel: The All-Clad Weeknight Pan is a great steak pan because it’s a frying pan with deep sides. This makes it extremely versatile and a great investment (albeit, expensive) for all types of cooking endeavors. Most importantly, it performs perfectly for steak.
- Cast Iron: The Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Square Grill is a great choice if you want the look of grill marks without the actual grill! This is your value choice.
- Carbon Steel: DeBuyer’s 12″ Mineral B Element Iron Frypan has a large cooking surface area and the great heat conduction benefits of carbon steel.
- Copper: The Mauviel M’Heritage Copper 11.8-Inch Round Frying Pan has copper and stainless steel materials layered, creating the perfect environment for cooking your steak on the stove.
Personally, I recommend the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Square Grill. I love cast iron. The heat holding-abilities of cast iron are perfect for steak. And this one gives your steak the grill marks without the grill.