What's the Difference Between Rare, Medium, and Well-Done Steak?

Updated on August 25, 2017

What Are the Levels of Steak Doneness?

  • Well done: Grayish-brown with no sign of pink. It's usually slightly charred on the outside. Cooking a good steak to this level of doneness is a challenge. It has to be done slowly on low heat, or else you end up with shoe leather.
  • Medium well: Mostly gray-brown throughout, but with a hint of pale pink inside. Good for someone who wants an ever-so-slightly juicy steak, but detests any sign of "blood" in their meat.
  • Medium: A more pronounced band of pink in the middle of the steak. However, there should still be slightly more gray-brown than pink coloration.
  • Medium rare: Warm and has a mostly pink-to-red center. Firm on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside.
  • Rare: Cool or warm red center. It's nearly like raw meat, but obviously cooked on the outside.
  • Very rare or blue: Red, cool, and practically raw. It's barely cooked for the true carnivores amongst us.
  • Raw: I think this one is self-explanatory. Die-hard carnivores can go for this.

Isn't Eating Undercooked Meat Dangerous?

When it comes to things like chicken, pork, and ground beef, yes, definitely! But the risk for steak is different. If a cut of steak is going to have any bacteria, it's just about always going to be on the outside. Steak doesn't contain the parasites that plague chickens and pigs. However, the outside should be cooked and handled with clean instruments.

Ground beef, on the other hand, is going to have bacteria spread throughout. You are more likely to get E. Coli by eating undercooked ground beef. Go for a well-done hamburger.

Our biggest worry with chicken meat is salmonella. It's very common for chickens to carry salmonella, which permeates its flesh. The only way to kill the salmonella is to thoroughly cook the chicken meat.

Undercooked pork is potentially even worse than undercooked chicken. There's a risk of developing trichinosis as a result of eating undercooked pork... if the pig was infected the larvae of a trichina worm.

But I Don't Want My Steak to Bleed!

People who love rare steak usually fend off this objection with, "It's not blood, it's MEAT JUICE!" (Or they just grin carnivorously and say that the "blood" is the best part.)

The squeamish people scoff and throw up a wall of skepticism. "Yeah, right. So what exactly IS meat juice, anyway?"

That "meat juice" is mostly water, fat and myoglobin. Did you know the real reason raw meat looks so red is because of myoglobin protein in the muscles? Contrary to popular belief, it's not because of the hemoglobin found in blood.

A quality steak that's been properly drained and cleaned should contain hardly any blood at all, even when it's served rare.

To Be More Specific...

How would you like your steak?

See results

How Cooked Do You Like Your Steak?

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    • profile image

      Marilyn Willett 13 days ago

      I like my steaks rare and cool inside, cooked quickly on the outside only.

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      I like my steaks between medium and medium rear. It's hard to get it that way, even in a restaurant. Thanks for all the information, great hub.

    • kaseyrivenburgh profile image

      kaseyrivenburgh 4 years ago

      I love steaks of any toppings

    • garagerob profile image

      garagerob 4 years ago

      I love steaks so much and I like mine to be medium rare.. Great lens!

    • profile image

      ConvenientCalendar 4 years ago

      I like blue cheese crust on top of my steak!

    • profile image

      LadyDuck 4 years ago

      I do not like to see blood coming out of my steak, but I do not want a burnt hard steak. Medium to medium rare is the way I love my steak.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love streaks

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love streaks

    • petertraoassi2 profile image

      petertraoassi2 5 years ago

      I like to make mine medium at home and well in a restaurant!

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 5 years ago

      I'mso so hungry now!

    • CynergySoftware profile image

      CynergySoftware 5 years ago

      I say burn the steak. Don't want to see any red!

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Heinz 57, some sliced jalapenos and a well-done slab of beef sounds really good right now.

    • kavalonthatsme profile image

      kavalonthatsme 5 years ago

      Now I am hungry, great lens.

    • victoriahaneveer profile image

      victoriahaneveer 5 years ago

      Nice lens. My steak is always medium-rare. Having it overdone and tough doesn't work for me. Neither does having it cold and looking like a good veterinarian could resurrect it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens!

    • spids1 profile image

      spids1 5 years ago

      Great lens very well written.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      thanks for sharing

    • Carashops profile image

      Cara 5 years ago

      All the family love a medium steak.

    • profile image

      games_rush 5 years ago

      Hmm...I love steak...:)

    • profile image

      games_rush 5 years ago

      Hmm...I love steak...:)

    • profile image

      kgdunst 5 years ago

      I miss Danny Crane after reading this lens.. oh

    • profile image

      clerk1993 5 years ago

      steak is my favorite. well i would say medium is the best the steak.

    • KhairuZiya profile image

      KhairuZiya 5 years ago

      nice share, thank's

    • IncomeFromHomeT profile image

      IncomeFromHomeT 5 years ago

      Something you haven't talked about here is the difference in how the cows are raised. I live in Pennsylvania and often buy from the butcher who just purchased from the farmer. The cows are pasture raised. And the meat is tasty and good! Not that long ago I was in a hurry and picked up a steak at the local supermarket. It was bland and tasteless, and most likely raised in a factory/feedlot farm. I won't do that again! Especially since the local meat is roughly comparable in price!

    • KanesCanines profile image

      KanesCanines 5 years ago

      Great lens!

    • profile image

      clayva 5 years ago

      Love the Tshirts!

    • profile image

      garyhennesrealtors 5 years ago

      good lens.

    • DecoratingEvents profile image

      DecoratingEvents 5 years ago

      Thanks for an easy to understand explanation. More people need to read this so they can order what they really want!

    • profile image

      RuralFloridaLiving 5 years ago

      Love a good steak - Thanks for sharing your expertise!

    • OCDiscusFish profile image

      OCDiscusFish 5 years ago

      i love steak, please check us out new to squidoo. The healthy Energy drink!!

    • profile image

      CristianStan 5 years ago

      I like my steak done medium well. No blood and no charred meat. Just perfect, the way it should be. I think that everyone should have their steak this way.

    • alex89 lm profile image

      alex89 lm 5 years ago

      For steak I like medium-rare, but I do love a good carpaccio or steak tartar, which are both as raw as you get! Depending on the country I order different things to get my medium rare. In France its medium rare, in England its rare, and here in Montreal it's whatever the chef thinks is best for the cut!

    • spids1 profile image

      spids1 5 years ago

      Medium for me thanks.

    • profile image

      MichaelRagan 5 years ago

      great lense. you should check out minehttp://www.squidoo.com/workshop/steaks2?notice=add...

    • profile image

      Edwinrocks 5 years ago


    • CCTVwebmaster profile image

      CCTVwebmaster 5 years ago

      Wow, your lens made me really hungry! Must have steak tonight I think!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hungry now, yeesh.

    • sunny saib profile image

      sunny saib 5 years ago

      tasty lenses make me hungry!!

    • casquid profile image

      casquid 5 years ago

      Another great lens. Many thanks for all the great insight!

    • profile image

      bill-beaman2 5 years ago

      just salt and pepper is all I need.

    • Rumisglass profile image

      Rumisglass 5 years ago

      All spice all the way!

    • MarilynThompson profile image

      Marilyn Thompson 5 years ago from Washington State

      Chicago Blue for me - Grill-seared outside and rare in the middle.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      just salt and pepper will do!

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      I like rare to medium. In France this is pretty red in the centre but in the UK it comes barely pink.

    • queenofduvetcover profile image

      queenofduvetcover 5 years ago

      Awesome lens. I always wondered if eating rare steak was bad for you. Great info! I like mine well done. =)

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      My husband and I were eating in a restaurant once and after he bit into his steak he said, "Now I see why they don't like for people to order anything well done here. It's because they don't know how to cook it well done without burning it."

    • digitaltree profile image

      digitaltree 5 years ago

      Nice Lens, i have try well done steak that is juicy. It all depends on the skillful chef who makes it, a bad one can give you well done steak that's not juicy.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Nice lens. Can't wait to show the significant other that it's really not blood on my plate!

    • tyrosine profile image

      tyrosine 5 years ago

      medium rare is the best for me! :) never fail!

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      Excellent and yummy lens - now I want a steak dinner!

    • Gabriel360 profile image

      Gabriel360 5 years ago

      Hahahaha! Great and FUNNY Lens!

    • Gabriel360 profile image

      Gabriel360 5 years ago

      Hahahaha! Great and FUNNY Lens!

    • profile image

      AnimalHouse 6 years ago

      Wonderful lens! I learned a lot and thanks for the information!

    • GOT LM profile image

      GOT LM 6 years ago

      Nice work.

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 6 years ago

      Nicely informative lens.

    • profile image

      BradKamer 6 years ago

      I am a big fan of Montreal seasoning on my steak.

    • profile image

      phpdeveloperindia 6 years ago

      Cream Sauce

    • profile image

      phpdeveloperindia 6 years ago

      Cream Souce

    • newbizmau profile image

      Maurice Glaude 6 years ago from Mobile, AL

      Normally I like it Medium Rare blackened, but if I want to get fancy and pull out my chef skills I like my steak prepared to a demi-gloss.

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 6 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      Cream sauce:-)

    • profile image

      River_Rose 6 years ago

      I like sea salt and black pepper, that's it!

    • profile image

      duncan73 6 years ago

      very cool lens!

    • profile image

      pattywatty8 6 years ago

      this lens was great

    • profile image

      pattywatty8 6 years ago

      this lens was great

    • profile image

      esperso1136  6 years ago

      I have appreciate with getting lot of good and reliable, legislative information with your post.......

      Thanks for sharing such kind of nice and wonderful collection......

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    • pyngthyngs profile image

      pyngthyngs 6 years ago

      Have you used the trick using the muscle between your thumb and pointer finger to familiarize yourself with the feel of doneness of steak? It works quite well..

    • benny77 profile image

      benny77 6 years ago

      Fun Lens. Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I enjoyed your lens. Happy New Year!

    • totorotube profile image

      totorotube 6 years ago

      Medium rare is the best xD

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 6 years ago

      Return Visitor. I like it here.

    • profile image

      luvhammers 6 years ago

      medium to well done for me!

    • ApplianceRepairsB profile image

      ApplianceRepairsB 6 years ago

      medium rare please!

    • profile image

      cleanyoucar 6 years ago

      I like mine medium rare

    • Ronlove LM profile image

      Ronlove LM 6 years ago

      Good lens, lots of information

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thanks, great steak lens.

    • profile image

      WeekendGriller 6 years ago

      Good information.

      People who eat (suffer through) well-done steak are the same ones who drink lite beer.

    • food monkey profile image

      food monkey 6 years ago

      good information!

    • food monkey profile image

      food monkey 6 years ago

      good information!

    • christopherwell profile image

      christopherwell 6 years ago

      Steak! Especially slathered with Heinz 57 or A1.

    • TheGourmetCoffe profile image

      TheGourmetCoffe 6 years ago

      Interesting lens, lots of great links. Well done (the lens, not the steak...no pun intended, really...).

      Thank you for sharing your insights!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Go vegetarian and so NOOOOO to steak!!!

    • LTPParents profile image

      Tracy Gibb 6 years ago

      I'm so hungry right now! I almost licked my computer screen because these steaks look so good!

    • profile image

      crudeoilsystems 6 years ago

      I prefer well done, is safe for me I suppose, but this is a good lens, thanks!!

    • cheech1981 profile image

      cheech1981 6 years ago

      i did a semester of culinary school and we had to try completely raw beef...it actually wasn't that bad...we put olive oil on top...i think it is served in some italian restaurants that way. anyway it's not much different than eating sushi...i like my steaks rare and medium rare though so perhaps that's why i didn't mind it. :)

    • profile image

      omgursostupid 6 years ago

      mmmmmmmmmmmmm................tasty tasty murder ;)

    • lucy439br profile image

      lucy439br 6 years ago

      Love it!

    • profile image

      fanmail 6 years ago

      This lens is informative and entertaining at the same time.

    • sq1234 profile image

      sq1234 6 years ago

      nice one!

    • AnnsHomeDecor profile image

      AnnsHomeDecor 6 years ago

      Cool Lens. Now I want steak for dinner.

    • CruiseReady profile image

      CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

      Seasonings? A little Lea & Perrins, please.

    • profile image

      RedHotDesign 6 years ago

      Great lens! Very interesting indeed! Thanks for sharing!

    • feliciasfavs profile image

      feliciasfavs 6 years ago

      cool debate lens. I enjoyed it.

    • profile image

      NidhiRajat 6 years ago

      interesting lens ...great job done!!!

    • AvidArchie profile image

      AvidArchie 6 years ago

      I think you wrote this specifically for me! Great lens and Go Medium Rare!

    • LadyCharlie profile image

      LadyCharlie 6 years ago

      Steak is great once in a while. Nice lens!

    • IvoryPearl profile image

      IvoryPearl 6 years ago

      Due to the drought in Texas, cows are dying. Enjoy your steak while you can without having to re-mortgage your house.

    • NightSquid LM profile image

      NightSquid LM 6 years ago

      I love a good steak don't forget a pat of butter and let it rest 10 minutes or so.

    • jasminesphotogr profile image

      jasminesphotogr 6 years ago

      Very fun lens. :)

    • profile image

      Bronnze 6 years ago

      Informative and very helpful, good lens.

    • worldrevivalnet profile image

      worldrevivalnet 6 years ago

      great lens!