How to sear steak, other meat and seafood and the top 3 reasons why you should! Step by step instructions for restaurant quality meals at home.

how to sear steak - pan seared, sliced and served with green beans

Have you ever wondered why steak and seafood taste better in a restaurant?

It’s in the sear . . . and the salt but we’ll talk about that later.

Let’s move on to my top 3 reasons why you should sear steak, seafood and other meat and how to do it.

sliced pan seared steak - how to sear steak and why you should

Cooking steak at home is easy and delicious with my step-by-step guide that takes a good steak to the best steak.

Caramelized outside – tender, juicy perfectly cooked steak inside. Let’s go!

WHAT IS SEARING?

Searing is a simple cooking method used for steak, other meats and seafood.

It’s done over high temperatures creating a crisp caramelized exterior that ramps up the flavor of any dish and one of the main reasons why restaurant steak often tastes better than the ones we make at home.

The other reason restaurant steak is better is a generous seasoning of salt — and oftentimes basting the meat in butter.

Searing is crucial to the best scallops you’ll ever eat, along with many other dishes. See below.

WHY YOU SHOULD SEAR STEAK, SEAFOOD AND OTHER MEAT:

  1. The answer is simple: ramped up taste. Meat that hasn’t been seared can taste flat and flavorless.
  2. Searing adds deep flavor to steak, other meats and seafood and is well worth the extra step.
  3. Exposing the surface of the meat to high heat (searing) is the key to mouth-watering steak.

HOT TIPS and recommendations:

  • Use an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the thickest part of the side of the steak (without touching bone).
  • The internal temp of cooked steak will continue to rise as it rests, so remove it from the skillet 5-10 degrees before your desired temp.
  • Let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes so the juices reabsorb into the meat for prime juiciness.
  • Generously season the steak with salt and pepper – salt brings out the beef flavor.
  • Don’t cook your steak to well done. Just don’t. Enough said.

WHAT KIND OF STEAK IS BEST?

I usually look for the cut that’s on sale that week including:

  • Rib eye
  • Delmonico
  • Filet mignon
  • Beef tenderloin
  • New york strip steaks
  • or whatever your favorite cut of meat!

WHAT DO I NEED TO pan SEAR STEAK?

  • large heavy bottom skillet (stainless steel or cast iron pan recommended)
  • 1 1/4″ to 1 1/2″ thick steak
  • olive oil or vegetable oil
  • butter
  • garlic cloves
  • fresh rosemary
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

HOW TO PAN SEAR STEAK:

Perfect pan-seared steak with a delicious rosemary garlic-butter at home is not a fantasy. We’re covering it today step by step.

Bring the steak to room temperature on the counter about 30 minutes before cooking.

Pat steak dry well with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. A dry surface is key to searing.

Season generously with salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl the skillet to make sure the oil covers the bottom.

Add steaks to the hot skillet cooking on the first side 3-4 minutes or to a golden brown crust then turn the steak over and cook another 3-4 minutes (cooking time will vary with thickness of steak) and your preferred doneness (see chart below).

Using tongs, turn the steak on its side to sear the fat/edges for a few seconds then add the rosemary sprig to the top of the steak.

Reduce the heat to low, add butter and garlic.

After the butter melts tilt pan to spoon the garlic butter over the steak for a couple of minutes or until the steak is about 5 degrees from your desired internal temperature (see chart below).

Remove from the heat source transferring the steak to a cutting board (drip side if yours has one). Cover loosely with aluminum foil.

The interior temp of the steak will continue to rise another 5-10 degrees as the steak rests.

If you’re enjoying the steak with caramelized mushrooms and onions, this is a good time to make them in the same skillet!

TEMPERATURE CHART:

Rare 120 degrees – red and very soft inside

Medium Rare 130 degrees  – juicy, soft inside. Inside is mostly pink with red middle.

Medium 135 degrees – firm texture, light pink throughout the middle.

Medium Well 140 degrees – pale pink and firm. No red juices when cut into.

Well Done 150 degrees – firm and brown, no pink. I don’t recommend this level of doneness for tender, juicy steak.

SEARED GARLIC BUTTER SCALLOPS:

Here’s what you’ll need for classic, pan seared lemony garlic butter sea scallops:

  • 1 pound sea scallops
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • garlic cloves
  • lemon cut in 4 wedges
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (pino grigio, sauvignon blanc – whatever you’re drinking with the scallops!)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Gather and prep all your ingredients before you start cooking.

Using paper towels pat the scallops dry really well on top, bottom and sides then season well with salt and pepper.

Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat then once it’s hot, add the scallops.

Cook 2 minutes — during this time don’t fuss with the scallops — just let them do their thing. 

If they release easily after 2 minutes, turn them over (if not, let them cook a few more seconds then flip).

Cook 1-2 minutes on this side then reduce the heat to low, add butter and garlic cooking for a few seconds stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn.

Pour in wine, scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the skillet and cook 1-2 minutes letting the the wine reduce.

Squeeze a wedge of lemon into the sauce then spoon the garlic butter sauce over the top of the scallops and eat right away.

close up seared scallops showing how to sear steak and seafood and why you should

HOW TO SEAR GRILLED STEAK:

Remove the steak from its packaging and allow it to come to room temp on the counter for about 30 minutes before grilling.

Generously season the steak with salt and pepper.

Preheat the gas grill to high heat – about 500°.

how to sear steak - grilled steak with side of smashed potatoes

Transfer the steak to the hot grill searing 4-5 minutes then flip to the other side for another 3-4 minutes for medium rare. 

If the steak hasn’t reached the temp you’re looking for (remember the internal temp will rise as the steak rests to remove 5-10 degrees before desired temp), lower the heat and continue grilling to desired level. 

Generally, for a 1 1/2″ steak, you’re looking at 6-8 minutes grill time for rare, 7-10 for medium rare and 10-12 minutes for medium.

WHAT GOES WITH SEARED STEAK?

Smashed Potatoes

Caramelized Mushrooms and Onions

Roasted Broccoli

Baked Potatoes

Brussels Sprouts

Best Air Fryer French Fries

Enjoy!

pinterest pin showing how to sear steak

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how to sear steak - pan seared, sliced and served with green beans

How to Sear Steak

Step by step how to sear steak for restaurant quality meals at home.
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2
Calories

Equipment

  • 1 large heavy bottom pan stainless steel or cast iron work best

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/2" thick steak NY strip, Delmonico, Rib Eye or your favorite cut
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil can sub vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 whole cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Bring the steak to room temperature on the counter about 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Pat steak dry well with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. This is important for a good sear.
  • Season generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl the skillet to make sure the oil covers the bottom.
  • Add steaks to the hot skillet and cook 3-4 minutes on the first side or to a golden brown crust then turn the steak over and cook another 3-4 minutes (cooking time will vary with thickness of steak).
  • Using tongs, turn the steak on its side to sear the fat/edges as well for a few seconds then add the rosemary sprig to the top of the steak.
  • Reduce the heat to low, add butter and garlic.
  • After the butter melts tilt pan to spoon the garlic butter over the steak for a couple of minutes or until the steak is about 5 degrees from your desired internal temperature.
  • Transfer the steak to a cutting board (use the drip side if yours has one). Cover loosely with aluminum foil and let the steak rest for 10 minutes (the interior tem will continue to rise another 5-10 degrees during this time).

TEMPERATURE CHART:

  • RARE 120 degrees – red and very soft inside
    MEDIUM RARE 130 degrees  – juicy, soft inside. Inside is mostly pink with red middle.
    MEDIUM 135 degrees – firm texture, light pink throughout the middle.
    MEDIUM WELL 140 degrees – pale pink and firm. No red juices when cut into.
    WELL DONE 150 degrees – firm and brown, no pink. I don’t recommend this level of doneness for tender, juicy steak.
Keyword steak, best steak recipe, how to sear steak, restaurant quality steak, pan seared steak
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