How to Cook the Perfect Rib-Eye Steak

Updated on September 29, 2017
The Best Cut of Meat: Rib-Eye Steak
The Best Cut of Meat: Rib-Eye Steak | Source

Cook a Great Rib-Eye Steak Every Time!

The rib-eye is a prime cut of beef. And it also one of the most expensive. Make the most of your investment with this straightforward method to preparing a perfectly cooked rib-eye steak -- indoors.

Grilling is great, but there are times when firing up the grill just isn't convenient. Just because you're not firing up the grill doesn't mean that you can't cook a great tasting steak. You're just a few easy steps from searing a great tasty rib-eye seared in a pan. The steak will have a tasty crust with a pink and juicy center. So pick up a quality cut of meat and head into the kitchen.

There are lots of cookbooks and online articles outlining the basic technique for cooking a great tasting rib-eye steak indoors: heat up a skillet, drop the steak into the pan to sear in the juices before finishing in the oven. What makes this a little different are the finishing steps. You can enjoy your steak straight-up or with a cognac sauce.

How to Pan Fry the Perfect Rib-Eye Steak

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 15 min
Yields: 1


  • 1 1/2 inch thick Rib Eye Steak
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly Cracked Pepper
  • Canola Oil
  • Butter
5 stars from 1 rating of The Ingredients
This prime cut is about 1-1/4" thick and weighs almost a pound
This prime cut is about 1-1/4" thick and weighs almost a pound | Source

Step 1: Preparation

About an hour before you're ready to cook, take the steak out of the frig and let it warm up to room temperature. Leave the meat wrapped in the butcher's paper. A steak at room temperature will cook more evenly than a cold cut of beef taken directly from the refrigerator thrown into the heat.

Rub on a little vegetable oil on both sides of the steak, and then season it with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Use canola oil rather than olive oil; the hot pan can cause the olive oil to smoke. If you use olive oil, add a little butter to the pan to raise the smoke point of the oil.

The Equipment

  • Oven-proof Pan or Cast Iron Skillet
  • Tongs
  • Oven Mitt
  • Aluminum Foil

Use Tongs to Turn the Steak

Never use a fork to turn a steak. The tines of the fork will pierce the meat, allowing all of those tasty juices to run out of the steak and into the pan.

Step 2: The Technique

On the stovetop, preheat a well seasoned cast iron skillet or heavy copper / stainless steel, ovenproof pan. To get that nice sear on the outside of the steak, make sure the pan is hot. Also, pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.

Drop the steak right into the middle of the hot skillet. If your rib-eye is thick (about 1 ") let it sear for two minutes. If your steak is a thinner cut (less than 1"), let the steak sear for only about 90 seconds.

You might need to adjust the sear time based upon your cook top and the pan that you use. The goal is to get a nice golden brown sear on the surface of the steak, but do not let the meat burn. On my glass top electric range turned up to medium-high heat and using a heavy professional grade copper pan, it takes just about two minutes to reach the sear point on a thick cut rib-eye steak.

After dropping the steak into the pan, not move the it around at all. Just let it sit there and sear in the skillet, sealing in the juices and creating a tasty crust on the outside of the meat. After two minutes, use a set of tongs to flip the steak over and sear the other side. A tasty crust will form after searing nicely on each side for a couple of minutes, but a thick cut of meat will not be cooked all of the through yet. The cooking will finish in the oven.


Step 4: From the Frying Pan to the Hot Box

Using an oven mitt to protect your hand from the hot handle, remove the skillet from the stovetop and place it into the center of the pre-heated oven. Let the steak cook for one to two minutes, and then flip the steak over and cook on the other side for another one to two minutes. Again, the exact time depends on your oven and the thickness of the cut of your rib-eye. With my oven, just about 90 seconds on each side delivers a perfectly cooked, medium-rare steak.

When is Your Rib-Eye Steak Cooked Perfectly?

Rare: very red and cool center

Medium Rare: red and warm center

Medium: pink and hot center

Medium Well: hint of pink with hot center

Well Done: no pink and hot center

Step 5A: The Big Finish

Let it Rest

Retrieve the skillet from the oven (don't forget to use the oven mitt), and transfer the steak to a plate. While the pan is still piping hot, add a tablespoon or two of butter to the pan. Stir the butter around in the hot pan, loosening any of the little brown bits from the bottom of the pan. The butter may foam up and will start to brown quickly, so work fast and keep the butter moving.

Pour the buttery sauce over the top of the steak, and cover it with a tent of aluminum foil.

Let the rib-eye rest for at least five minutes before serving. The resting step is critical: cut into the steak too quickly, and the tasty juices will run out of the steak and on to the plate, leaving a dry hunk of meat. Resting before serving allows the steak to re-absorb all of those flavorful juices. Enjoy!

A perfectly cooked rib-eye steak with cognac cream sauce
A perfectly cooked rib-eye steak with cognac cream sauce | Source

Step 5B: The Cognac Cream Sauce

The buttery sauce is delicious, and serves the rib-eye well. But for an exceptionally special dish, those tasty bits in the bottom of the fry pan are the perfect foundation for making a cognac cream sauce. And it only takes a few minutes!

While the steak rests on the plate under foil, move the pan away from stove. When the pan is safely away from the flame, pour in a few ounces of cognac and whisk to loosen all of the little brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the pan to the stovetop, turn up the heat to medium and whisk in about 1/2 cup of heavy cream. The exact amount will vary and can be adjusted to suit your taste. Keep whisking, and the sauce will thicken as it simmers. Grind in some pepper and taste. If needed, add a bit of salt.

The sauce is ready when it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in another splash of cognac (just to liven up the flavor) and pour the finished sauce over the steak. Reserve a little of sauce for dipping.

Just about any liquid can be used to deglaze the pan. Cognac is a personal favorite (along with wine), and adds a lot of flavor to sauce.

BE CAREFUL: Alcohol vapors are flammable, so be sure move the pan away from the stove before pouring in the cognac.

How Do You Like Your Steak Cooked?

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My copper plated sauce pan gets lots of use
My copper plated sauce pan gets lots of use | Source

The Right Pan for the Job

Every cook needs at least one heavy-duty pan that works double-duty from the sear on the stove top into the heat of the oven. This copper pan features a thick copper exterior to heat up quickly and evenly, with a non-reactive stainless steel lining. The oven-proof handle is reinforced with rivets, making this the perfect workhorse for the kitchen -- and for cooking the perfect rib-eye steak.

Grilling a Ribeye Steak on Cast-Iron

How Do You Cook Your Rib-Eye Steak?

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    • iwrite100 profile image

      Maribel Forayo 4 years ago from Philippines


    • Bonfire Designs profile image

      Bonfire Designs 4 years ago

      Oh baby, now this is real food! Never use a fork to turn the steak - time to buy some tongs I'm on it!

    • AstroGremlin profile image

      AstroGremlin 5 years ago

      I deglaze the pan with a little red wine to make a delicious purple sauce. Takes only seconds.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks a great recipe.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      I've never cooked one that way, but I'll have to give it a try once it gets to cold to grill. Thanks.

    • profile image

      kmach1 5 years ago

      I always wondered how to make a steak this way. Last time I tried...yeah haha. great work. Please check out my lenses if you have a moment, I'm pretty new around here. :-)

    • OrganicMom247 profile image

      OrganicMom247 5 years ago

      I am craving for a steak now.

    • alex89 lm profile image

      alex89 lm 5 years ago

      ok, this is the third food lens of yours that I've visited, and now I'm hungry. Also, I love steak. Medium-rare to rare, with pepper sauce and fries.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Its just been too long since I've had a rib eye steak, talk about tender and delicious!

    • gatornic15 profile image

      gatornic15 5 years ago

      I have never cooked rib eyes this way...I will have to give it a try.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      A great recipe. Thanks

    • FantasticVoyages profile image

      Fantastic Voyages 5 years ago from Texas

      Mmmm.... love rib eyes! I normally cook mine on a BBQ grill over charcoal, but this sounds great! I'll have to try it. Thanks!

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image

      WindyWintersHubs 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      Rib eye steak is also our favorite. Will have to try the cast iron method on the BBQ grill. We have our BBQ on the back patio (that has a roof) but haven't had a steak yet this year! Sun's out so maybe this weekend.

    • canoz profile image

      Heather Bradford 6 years ago from Canada

      YUM! Luckily, living in Australia, the BBQ is a staple of many evening meal. Quick and easy clean. I use my cast iron frying pan on gas most days so this is a great way to cook and I look forward to trying your technique using it. Learnt some great pointers.

    • TheLastResort LM profile image

      TheLastResort LM 6 years ago

      I tried making a pot roast yesterday and the result was quite chewy, so I'm going to pay more attention to the details next time - surely I will try this recipe, it sounds simple enough that I won't mess it up :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Sounds simple and delightful! Gonna try one soon!

    • chrisstapper profile image

      chrisstapper 6 years ago

      Sounds good!