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How to Cook Steak in a Cast-Iron Skillet

Updated on March 21, 2016

Great Steak Can Be Made at Home

With the current economy, not everyone has money to eat out. Occasionally you want to have a good steak. Here is a way to cook a perfect steak time after time, and enjoy good eating at home. If you don't have a cast-iron pan, you can buy a new one at any decent store that sells cookware, but if money is an issue, you can pick up good cast iron at second-hand stores, flea markets, and the like.

What You Will Need

You need a seasoned cast iron skillet (see end of article for how to season a new skillet). You'll need tongs, safflower or peanut oil, and sea salt or kosher salt. Also good thick oven mitts are a must. I will assume you have a range and oven. It does not matter whether the range is electric or gas; good results can be had with either.

Any type of steak will work, but in this example I am using a ribeye that is a bit over an inch thick. Ribeyes have a good flavor so they do not need a lot of added seasoning.

Ribeye steaks
Ribeye steaks

Getting Things Going

Pull the steaks out of the refrigerator and let them warm up a bit. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. While the oven heats up, put the cast iron skillet on a large burner and heat it up to high temperature. Meanwhile, place the steak on a plate and pour a little safflower or peanut oil on it. Rub the oil in, then add salt and pepper and rub that in. This would be a good time to add dry seasonings, if you want any. Sometimes I use a mixture of onion and garlic powder with seasoned salt. Turn the steak over and repeat. Now it is time to cook.

Cooking the Steak

Once your skillet is nice and hot, use the tongs to place the steak in the skillet, and sear each side for 30-40 seconds. Then, using your oven mitt, place the pan and the steak in the 450-degree oven. Luckily, everyone at my house likes their steak medium rare, so all my steaks will have the same cooking time. For a medium rare stake, let the steak cook in the oven, 2 ½ minutes per side, that is, 5 minutes total. At the 2 ½ minute mark, you will pull the pan out of the oven, turn the steak over, put pan and steak back into the oven, and cook for 2 ½ more minutes. If your taste tends towards medium, you will want to go for a bit over three minutes per side, six or seven minutes total. Thicker steaks may take longer.

Once it has cooked on both sides for the allotted time, take the pan out of the oven and let the steak rest for a few minutes. If you have aluminum foil, loosely cover the steak with the foil while it rests.

While you wait, you can plate your other side dishes. Once your few minutes have passed, take the tongs and put the steak on the plate, and enjoy.

Seasoning a New Cast-Iron Pan

If you just acquired your cast-iron pan, you will need to season it properly. Most cast iron pans these days come seasoned, but if yours is not, it is easy. Set the oven to 450. Brush cooking oil on the inside surfaces of the pan. Put it in the oven for one hour. When it comes out of the oven, let it cool, and wipe any excess oil off. Your pan should look black when it is properly seasoned.

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    • jim10 profile image

      jim10 8 years ago from ma

      I have always gone with the grill in the warmer months. But, I always use the broiler the rest of the year. I will have to give this a try. It looks fantastic.

    • christine almaraz profile image

      christine almaraz 8 years ago from colorado springs

      Sounds good. I'm a steak lover so I'll definitely try this. Thanks.

    • linjingjing profile image

      linjingjing 8 years ago

      Cooking Steak in Cast Iron Skillet

      This article is very helpful to me

    • nikki1 profile image

      nikki1 7 years ago

      Try using 0 calorie cooking spray to cook your steak. Cuts a lot of calories in half. Great article.. very detailed.

    • fitman profile image

      fitman 7 years ago from Ankara,Turkey

      I will try this , thank you

    • profile image

      Jim 7 years ago

      I tried this, and it worked great! Smokes up the house a bit though, so if you live in an apartment, might want to turn off the smoke detectors for a bit and run some fans, hahaha.

    • profile image

      Mike 7 years ago

      I tried this last night. Came out great. Thanks for the recipe.

    • profile image

      Pockets 6 years ago

      I just got done using this technique. I didn't have any oil so I substituted red wine instead and it turned out wonderful. Thank you very much to the one who posted. This was my first time ever really cooking. I also made a salad using salsa and red wine for the dressing which also turned out wonderful along with potatoes and of course red wine to drink. Thanks again.

    • Japemwellows profile image

      Japemwellows 6 years ago from 5ifth Dimensi0n

      Ah man, my mouth is watering so much right now.

      Nearly dribbled on the keyboard a bit!

      Definatly gonna be trying this one. Tasty hub!

    • profile image

      Nina 6 years ago

      I'm using it now. I will let you know how it turns out. From the sound of everyones comments, it will turn out fine!

    • profile image

      Nina 6 years ago

      Really delish! Fell off the bone

    • puter_dr profile image
      Author

      puter_dr 6 years ago from Midwest USA

      Thanks for the comments, it usually does come out the same everytime. Did a couple ribeyes tonight and they came out great.

    • profile image

      Paula 6 years ago

      We used thick steaks and did as directed--every 5 min. we checked and it probably took 15-20 min. on each side before done to our liking. It was the juiciest steak we've had in a long time!! Will do very often this way!! Delish flavor and very moist!!

    • profile image

      Tam 6 years ago

      I was just a little confused about...

      You will let the steak cook in the oven, 2 1/2 -3 minutes per side. If your taste tends towards medium, you will want to go for a bit over 3 minutes. At the 2 1/2 minute mark, you will pull the pan out of the oven, then turn the steak over, and then put it back in the oven and cook for 2 1/2 more minutes.

      ...are we putting it back in for a second time on each side?

    • puter_dr profile image
      Author

      puter_dr 6 years ago from Midwest USA

      Sorry for the delayed response. Actually, you would increase the time per side depending on the doneness you prefer. If you like medium rare, 2 1/2 does it, if you want medium, 3 minutes or 3:15 might work best for you.

    • eatlikenoone profile image

      eatlikenoone 5 years ago from Saline, MI

      Since I don't have an outdoor grill, I use cast iron to get a good sear on my steaks. I love the Lodge products, cheap, American, and effective.

    • profile image

      ss 5 years ago

      a wonderful article

    • profile image

      Mary 5 years ago

      Ever since I read this article I found this the best method for cooking steaks! I do not have a grill where I live. It took me a couple of times to get this method down and now I have it perfect! Thanks!

    • profile image

      Linda 5 years ago

      I just tried this tonight. Thicker steak took 4 mins on each side in the oven. Perfect. Thank you.

    • puter_dr profile image
      Author

      puter_dr 5 years ago from Midwest USA

      Glad it went well for you and thank you for the comment

    • profile image

      bergerbytes 5 years ago

      Gonna try this tonight! It is how it is done in the top end restaurants!! Sounds delish!

    • puter_dr profile image
      Author

      puter_dr 5 years ago from Midwest USA

      Hope it works well for you. I always goes well for me.

    • profile image

      Brody 5 years ago

      I really don't see the need to do them in the oven. Isn't that what a top is for? I warm up the pan over a medium-high heat, sear the first side for 3 mins, do the second side for 2 mins, turn off the heat, put the top on the pan and just let the steak finish off for about 5-7 mins depending on thickness. Cast iron holds heat so well that oven time isn't necessary.

    • puter_dr profile image
      Author

      puter_dr 5 years ago from Midwest USA

      The oven time just finishes the steak to the desired doneness. It is thought that the additional oven heat just helps to make the heat more uniform in the steak.

      If you are happy with your method, there is no reason to change.

      Thanks for the comment

    • profile image

      michael 5 years ago

      what is a skillet

    • puter_dr profile image
      Author

      puter_dr 5 years ago from Midwest USA

      A skillet is a pan that is used for frying or cooking. Usually they have at least one handle to make it easy to handle. In this case, the skillet is made of cast iron.

    • profile image

      Ruthie Sumner 5 years ago

      Cooking steak in an iron skillet was very easy and tasty!

    • puter_dr profile image
      Author

      puter_dr 5 years ago from Midwest USA

      Thank you for the comment.

      Glad you enjoyed this method of cooking. It is an easy way to get professional results.

    • profile image

      Elly 4 years ago

      Steaks are incredible, but for a thick ribeye it takes a LOT longer than 3min per side, I think we ended up at 8-10min per side.

    • puter_dr profile image
      Author

      puter_dr 4 years ago from Midwest USA

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, it depends on how thick the steak is to determine the cooking time.

    • profile image

      Dave 4 years ago

      This turned out amazing. Nice work puter_dr

    • puter_dr profile image
      Author

      puter_dr 4 years ago from Midwest USA

      Glad it worked out for you. Thanks for reading my hub.

    • chefsref profile image

      Lee Raynor 4 years ago from Citra Florida

      Manufacturers have tried repeatedly to reinvent the pans we cook with. I have my Mother's stainless c;ad aluminum cookware yet a simple cast iron pan still does the best job, it spreads and retains heat, is simple to clean and costs less. The only disadvantage is the weight.

    • puter_dr profile image
      Author

      puter_dr 4 years ago from Midwest USA

      Thank you for the comment. When I was younger, I didn't care much about the handles on a cast iron skillet, but now I won't buy one without double handles.

    • profile image

      Csjohnson 4 years ago

      Thanks for the post! Tried it tonight and it was great. Both husband and I was impressed.

    • puter_dr profile image
      Author

      puter_dr 4 years ago from Midwest USA

      Thank you for the kind comment.

    • profile image

      Wldflur 3 years ago

      We have done this recipe three times now! Tonite it was perfect! Reduced time in oven per side to 2 min! Very med rare and wonderful! When skillet started smoking, reduced heat and put steaks in...set timer and did exactly 30 sec per side...set timer again and did exactly 2 min each side....Perfect! Thanks

    • profile image

      paul g 3 years ago

      Perfect recipe...delish...Thank you!!

    • profile image

      Nikki 2 years ago

      Can you keep the steak in the skillet when you put it in the oven?

    • puter_dr profile image
      Author

      puter_dr 2 years ago from Midwest USA

      Yes, you keep the steak in the pan, and place both in the oven.

    • profile image

      Matt 22 months ago

      good stuff. My only error was having a really thick steak but I'll cook it like this again. Thanks for the instructions!

    • profile image

      Meatosaurus 17 months ago

      I believe you may have the methods mixed up.

      The best and fastest way is to boil wTer. Put the steak in a zip lock bag. Add salt, rosemary and olive oil.

      Place the bag in an already boiling pot of water.

      10 min for rare. 20 min for mid rare.

      In the meantime you are preparing the steak, you should have placed an iron skillet on high heat.

      When the steaks are cooked inside in the hot water, place them in the 550* pan ans seare it.

      The best I've head.

    • profile image

      Jonathan 4 months ago

      i hope Michael was kidding with the "what is a skillet" comment...

    • profile image

      Teach1 2 months ago

      Delicious....easy. Be sure to follow directions on getting the skillet ready. I cooked 5 minutes on each side...very thick steak....Perfect!!!

    • profile image

      Regina Brittain 5 days ago

      I made this steak tonight for a 94 year old lady, she has not stopped talking about how tender and delicious it was. In a way I wish I had not made it ( lol) keeps talking about it. Repetition. I know I will make it again.

    • puter_dr profile image
      Author

      puter_dr 4 days ago from Midwest USA

      Glad to hear it was enjoyable for you.

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