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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

How To Cook a Steak In A Cast Iron Skillet



Cast Iron Steak Recipe

One of the best ways to cook a steak if you can’t make it out to the grill is on a cast iron skillet. (Cast iron is great in general – Read more about the benefits) You can’t beat the sear from the massive surface area that the skillet provides.

Cast Iron Steak – Rib Eye

It is really nice to cook over a live fire, whether is charcoal or a real stick burner, but if you’re limited and must stay indoors this method is the way to go. In fact, this method might be the preferred method if you’re in a pinch for time.

And, I would say this cast iron steak recipe would beat out a gas grill – sorry!

But you may as well broil your steaks if you’re going to use a gas grill (in most cases anyway), and there isn’t anything wrong with that but the point is that a gas grill is not ideal.

OK, now that we have that out of the way…

How To Cook a Steak In A Cast Iron Skillet

Cast Iron Steak – Rib Eye

This recipe was inspired by Alton Brown’s Pan-Seared Rib Eye recipe.

Read more about Wagner Cast Iron


  • 1 Ribeye Steak – 1.25″ to 1.5″ thick
  • Canola Oil to coat
  • Coarse Sea Salt or Kosher Salt and Pepper
  • 0.5 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 0.5 teaspoon finely chopped sweet onion (i.e. a Vidalia onion)
  • 0.5 tablespoons of unsalted butter


* Just a quick point to ponder – this will get smoky. It will be a good idea to open up a window before you put the steak on the skillet and perhaps be ready to fan some fresh air to your smoke detector if there is one close by your kitchen. :) Just plan ahead and don’t be surprised.

Place a 12 inch skillet in the oven and heat to 500F.

Take the steak out of the refrigerator and coat lightly with canola oil. Lightly season the steak with pepper then cover with plastic wrap. Let the steak warm to room temperature. This is a key step in the process which will enable the steak to cook to the desired temperature throughout. As a rule of thumb, let the steak sit out at room temperature for at least 45 minutes.

While you’re waiting for things to warm up, go ahead and prep the garlic and onions. Get a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil that will be used to wrap the steak to rest once it has been removed from the skillet.

Once the oven has reached 500F and at least 45 minutes have passed, take the skillet out of the oven and place on the range on Med-High heat. Let the cast iron skillet sit on the stove for 5-8 minutes. It will obviously be HOT (!!) so use some caution.

Uncover the steak and generous sprinkle the salt on both sides of the steak. Don’t be shy here because you need to add enough salt for the whole steak and this is a thick piece of meat!

I know the best cast iron skillet for making steak.

Put the steak in the middle of the hot, dry skillet. It is going to smoke so turn on the fan on the range and get ready to open the window if it isn’t already done. Sear the ribeye for 30 seconds without moving.

Turn the steak with tongs and cook another 30 seconds, then put the pan into the oven for 2 minutes. Flip the steak and cook for another 2 minutes. If you follow these time guidelines you should get a medium-rare steak.

If you prefer medium, add 45 seconds to both of the oven turns.

Remove the steak from the skillet and place it on the aluminum foil.

Put the garlic, onions, and butter on top of the steak.

Cover with foil and rest for 4 minutes.

Serve whole or slice thin and fan onto plate.


Tips on picking a ribeye steak

Get fresh meat and you can get a pretty good idea by the color. Fresh steak should be bright red. As the red meat gets older and less fresh, it turns tan and later to brown.

Waygu Ribeye (“Kobe”) – Look at the Marbling!

I would highly suggest getting USDA Choice.

The USDA Select maybe okay if you really check out the piece of meat and try to find something with a little marbling but you probably won’t be as happy with the results if you go with Select.

USDA Prime would of course be great and should turn out excellent, however, I would probably not get Prime unless it was on sale.

Certified Angus Beef (CAB) would be a fine choice here since CAB grade is at least Choice grade and may even be Prime.

Like many things in life, you get what you pay for so if you want to have a super tasty steak, you will have to shell out a few bucks for it.

Go ahead and splurge on the high grade steaks and you won’t regret it.

If you have a really good butcher around you can get some Waygu (or “Kobe”) beef. These steaks have some serious marbling and are really excellent.

If you have a special occasion coming up or just want to see what all the fuss is about, check out the Waygu beef.

Let me know what you think of this recipe. How do you cook steak indoors? Do you have any tips? If so, be sure to comment below!

Read this post to keep your cast iron cookware rust free and in tip top shape.

Credit: A. Kennedy, Michael T.