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I’ve heard of reverse searing a steak before, but it wasn’t until recently that I finally decided to experiment with it, after a friend mentioned it recently at one of our “gymnastics and wine” nights (after our kids’ gymnastics class, they play and we drink wine… and it’s as awesome as it sounds!). And I’m happy to say, after hours upon hours of research on how to reverse sear a steak in the oven, and of course a few tests with the best steak seasoning ever, I’m convinced that this is absolutely the best way to cook a perfect steak, each and every time.
This technique may sound fancy, but it’s not complicated at all. I’m sharing all my best tips for perfectly-cooked steak, answers to FAQs, and of course, a simple recipe for the best reverse sear steak ever. Once you try this method, there’s no turning back! Seriously, no other method will produce a steak quite so juicy and uniformly done on the inside, with a perfectly browned crust on the outside.
I can’t sing the praises of the reverse sear method highly enough, but there is one caveat: it does require some advance planning. So if you don’t have the luxury of time and just want dinner on the table fast, you may prefer my quicker recipes for sirloin steak cooked in the oven, oven baked filet mignon, or flank steak in the oven.
What Is Reverse Sear Steak?
Reverse steak searing is a great way ensure your medium-rare steak turns out perfect each and every time. It’s essentially the opposite of how I cook my sirloin steak in the oven.
Instead of searing the steak and finishing in the oven, we’re doing the opposite when we do a reverse sear in the oven steak.
We slowly cook the steak at a low temperature in the oven, then finish it off (and form an irresistable browned crust) by searing it in a screaming-hot pan.
Why reverse sear a steak?
There are many benefits to reverse pan sear steaks:
- Steaks are cooked evenly throughout, instead of having steaks be overcooked in some areas
- Prevents the dreaded gray edge with an even internal pink color
- More tender, super juicy meat – thanks to the low-temperature, slow cooking method in the oven
- Better browning on the outside
How To Reverse Sear A Steak In The Oven
It may sound complicated to reverse sear a steak, but I promise you it’s not! And I’ll walk you through the process step-by-step.
1. Dry Brine:
- Season the steaks. Season generously with steak seasoning on all sides (top, bottom, and edges) using a total of 1/2 tablespoon per 8-oz. steak. Gently push and rub the seasoning into the steaks so that it sticks well. Roll the edges in any seasoning that falls off.
TIP: I highly recommend Montreal steak seasoning, shown below. The flavor is unbeatable!
- Dry brine the steaks. I highly recommend this optional step! Place an oven-safe wire rack onto a baking sheet. Place steaks on top and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours, to dry out the surface of the steak. (This will help get a great sear, which is why I recommend this step.)
TIP: When you’re ready to cook the steak, set the pan out on the counter to bring it up to room temperature. This will help them cook more evenly.
2. Slow Roast:
- Roast steaks. Place the steaks with baking rack and baking sheet into a preheated 200 degree F oven. Roast until the steak reaches your desired temperature. (Check the reverse sear steak time chart below for times.)
- Check internal temperatures. Use an instant read or probe thermometer to check the internal temperature, until it reaches the desired internal temperature.
FYI: After this step, the steaks will not look very different from before. They will just be less bright red in color. The magic happens in the next step!
3. Sear Steak:
- Heat oil. Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, until it’s screaming hot and just barely starting to smoke.
TIP: Be sure to use oil with a high smoke point, such as avocado oil.
- Sear steaks. Add the steaks to the skillet in a single layer and cook until browned. Right before flipping, add butter and whole, peeled cloves of garlic into the pan. Use a large spoon to baste the butter over the steak.
TIP: If your steaks are large, cook in two batches so they can properly sear and not steam. Make sure to set aside half of the butter and garlic for the second batch and wipe out the pan in between batches.
- Flip steaks. Flip and cook until browned on the other side.
TIP: While the steaks are cooking on the second side, use tongs to hold the edges against the pan to sear the sides one at a time. Use the tongs to lift the steak, then hold each edge against the pan. Place back down and repeat with the other steaks. Work quickly, so that they don’t overcook!
Reverse Sear Steak Time Chart
The reverse sear steak time will vary based on size and thickness of your steak, as well as your oven, so use a probe thermometer and this time chart as a guide:
|Steak Doneness||Reach This Temp In The Oven||Time In The Oven||Final Temp After Searing|
|Rare||110 degrees F||35-45 minutes||120-125 degrees F|
|Medium Rare||120 degrees F||45-55 minutes||130-135 degrees F|
|Medium||130 degrees F||55-65 minutes||140-145 degrees F|
|Medium Well||140 degrees F||65-75 minutes||150-155 degrees F|
|Well Done||150 degrees F||75-85 minutes||160-165 degrees F|
After the initial time in the oven, finish the steak by searing on a screaming hot pan very quickly (see instructions above.). The temperature will rise another 10-15 degrees while searing, bringing the steak to its final temperature. Be sure to remove it right away to avoid overcooking!
Tips For The Best Reverse Sear Steak
I do have some tips that make this the best reverse sear steak recipe!
Use thick-cut steaks.
You have to use thick-cut steaks for the reverse-sear method to work – at least 1.5 to 2 inches thick! If your steaks are thinner, they will overcook when you sear them. The traditional steak in the oven method words better for thin steaks.
When I photographed this reverse sear steak recipe, I used beef tenderloin, as it’s my absolute favorite. Good cuts of meat to reverse sear include:
- Beef tenderloin (filet mignon)
- Top sirloin (only the thick kind!)
The key is that it has to be 1.5 to 2 inches thick.
Salt and season liberally, ahead of time.
Steaks can be seasoned simply with salt and pepper, or use my Montreal seasoning for amazing flavor.
Julia Child’s rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat. So for steak seasoning, you’d use the amount of seasoning needed to include that much salt.
If you use the seasoning I used, the correct amount is 1/2 tablespoon Montreal steak seasoning per 8-oz steak.
Dry out the steak in the fridge overnight.
While this step is optional, I highly, highly recommend it. It’s the key to a crispy exterior and perfect sear.
For best results, season the steak generously, place on a wire rack over a baking sheet, and store in the fridge – uncovered! – for at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours.
Let steak come to room temperature before cooking.
Letting the steaks come to room temperature will ensure they cook evenly, and don’t end up over-cooked in some spots, and under-cooked in others.
Slow roast on a rack at very low temperature.
Using the wire rack to roast your steaks ensures that the heat can fully surround the steaks. Again, we want our steaks to be evenly cooked to prevent any over- or under-done sections.
The ideal temperature for a reverse sear steak in the oven is 200 degrees F. If your oven doesn’t go that low, set it to the lowest temperature possible and use a thermometer!
Use a good meat thermometer.
Getting the reverse sear steak temperature right is an important step in this recipe.
I recommend using an instant read meat thermometer or even better, a probe thermometer, for best results and to ensure that you’re cooking your steak to the perfect internal temperature. Using one of the thermometers linked here is ideal because they are very accurate and read very quickly. If you use a random one that takes a while to register the temperature, your steak may be overcooked by then.
Use a heavy skillet to sear.
Cast iron skillets work best, because they get really hot and the heat is evenly spread out through the pan.
Baste with garlic butter for extra flavor.
If you’ve ever added butter to steaks, you know how much great flavor this adds! The addition of garlic takes it up a notch and imparts a delicate garlic flavor to the steak. Plus, basting with butter does wonders to both the moisture and the exterior crust.
Reverse Sear Steak FAQs
Is it possible to reverse sear a steak without a thermometer?
If you really want to, you could guess on it and use the reverse sear steak time chart above. But, all ovens and steaks are different, so it’s no guarantee.
If you’ve paid good money for a high-quality steak, why risk over cooking it? Just get this probe thermometer and it will last you for years!
How to reverse sear a steak on the grill?
You can reverse sear a steak on the grill as well, instead of the oven. Here’s how:
- Heat your grill to 200 degrees F. This is the lowest setting on most grills, but on some, even the lowest may be higher than that.
- Use a probe thermometer to cook until it reaches the desired temperature. (Use the same reverse sear time chart above.)
- Turn up the heat as high as it will go and sear both sides. You’d skip the garlic and butter with this method, but can add some garlic butter on the side later if you like.
Cooking reverse sear steaks on the grill won’t give them the same crust that a pan sear does, but they’ll still be perfectly cooked.
Can you reverse sear steak from frozen?
No, sorry. Reverse searing frozen steaks won’t cook them evenly. For best results, I recommend using fresh steaks that have been seasoned overnight and then brought up to room temperature.
If you do have frozen steaks, thaw them completely first, then follow the same instructions as you would with fresh steaks.
Do you need to rest reverse sear steak?
No, you don’t. I always, always recommend resting meat after cooking, but this is a rare exception. Since it cooks so slowly, the juices already stay locked in and resting is not necessary.
Prep & Storage Instructions
Can you reverse sear steak ahead of time?
I would recommend cooking right before serving, but you can season and dry out a day in advance.
Can you freeze steak?
I recommend eating these reverse sear steaks right away (they are SO good!), but you can freeze them for 2-3 months if necessary.
Wrap tightly in foil, then put steaks in a freezer bag and remove as much air as possible.
How to reheat reverse seared steak
Because the reverse sear steak has already reached it’s proper temperature, you’ll want to carefully reheat your steak.
My family actually was unable to finish the 4 gorgeous steaks shown in the post on the day I made them, so I did test reheating, and was very impressed that the reverse sear steak was juicy even up to a week later!
Here is the best method to reheat reverse seared steaks:
- Preheat the oven to a low temperature, such as 250 or 300 degrees F.
- Place the steaks in a baking dish and add a little broth to the bottom (this will create steam to keep moisture in). Seal the top with foil.
- Heat in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until warm.
What else can you do with leftover steak?
If you have leftovers, you can reheat them using the method above for a delicious meal. But if you want to repurpose your reverse seared steak in a different way, here are some ideas:
- Use leftover steak in sandwiches – I like it on my 90-second keto bread when I need something quick, but keto white bread is the most popular.
- Put it over salads
- Simply slice and eat with your favorite veggie side dish
- Make steak tacos
What To Serve With Reverse Sear Steak
Now that you know how to reverse sear a steak, serve up this classic meal with classic sides. Here are a few of my favorite healthy side dishes to pair with it:
- Compound Butter – The perfect topping for steak!
- Mashed Cauliflower – It’s hard to believe this is made from cauliflower and not potatoes. Silky smooth and many like it better than potatoes!
- Roasted Veggies – A simple recipe that works for a side dish to just about anything. This recipe is a medley, but if you want just one type of veggie, roasted asparagus or roasted brussels sprouts are popular steak pairings.
- Sauteed Zucchini – Garlic, butter, and ready in 10 minutes. It’s a side dish that delivers!
- Sauteed Mushrooms – Mushrooms and steak are the perfect pair, and these have plenty of umami and garlic flavor.
- Cauliflower Risotto – This risotto is made with cauliflower instead of rice, making it a great veggie-filled side option.
Tools To Make a Perfect Reverse Sear Steak
Tap the links below to see the items used to make this recipe.
- Baking Sheet – The BEST baking sheets and pans out there, and made in the US.
- Wire Rack – I also use this set up for cooking bacon in the oven and bacon wrapped asparagus – each piece is crispy!
- Probe Thermometer – The benefit of the probe is that you can set the desired temperature and an alarm will go off once the meat has reached that temperature. No need to constantly check, meaning you don’t let the heat out of the oven in doing so.
- Classic Meat Thermometer – This thermometer is incredibly fast and accurate, so if you don’t have a probe, this is the next-best option. It will read quickly so that your steak doesn’t overcook while you’re waiting for the reading.
- Cast Iron Skillet – Everyone should have a good cast iron skillet. It’s a must-have for reverse sear steak recipes, of course, but also so many other recipes.
How To Reverse Sear A Steak:
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How To Reverse Sear A Steak
Learn how to reverse sear a steak in the oven! The reverse sear steak method results in a perfectly pink steak and a crispy, seared exterior.
Recipe VideoTap on the image below to watch the video.
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Reverse sear steak:
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Season the steaks generously with steak seasoning on all sides (top, bottom and edges), using a total of 1/2 tablespoon per 8-oz steak. Gently push and rub the seasoning into the steaks so that it sticks well. Roll the edges in any seasoning that falls off.
Optional Drying Step (recommended):
Place an oven-safe wire rack onto a baking sheet. Place steaks on top. Place the rack with the steaks, uncovered, into the refrigerator overnight, or up to 24 hours, to dry out the surface of the steak. (This helps get a great sear later.)
When you are ready to cook the steak, set the pan out on the counter for 30 minutes to bring it to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F (93 degrees C).
Place the steaks (with baking rack and baking sheet) into the oven. Roast until the steak reaches your desired temperature:
* 110 degrees for Rare - about 35-45 minutes
* 120 degrees for Medium Rare - about 45-55 minutes
* 130 degrees for Medium - about 55-65 minutes
* 140 degrees for Medium Well - about 65-75 minutes
* 150 degrees for Well Done - about 75-85 minutes
(Note: These are NOT final temperatures, just the temperature that the steaks need to reach in the oven! The temperature will rise an additional 10-15 degrees when searing later.)
Use an instant read thermometer, or even better a probe thermometer, to check the internal temperature starting at 25 minutes and every 5-10 minutes after that, until the intended temperature is reached. Once steaks reach the temperature you want, remove them from the oven immediately and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon (14.8 ml) of oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, until it’s so screaming hot that it just barely starts to smoke.
Add the steaks to the skillet in a single layer. (If your steaks are large, you can do this in two batches.) Cook for 1-2 minutes, until a browned crust forms on the bottom.
If using the optional butter and garlic, add them right before flipping, placing the garlic cloves directly into the butter as it starts to melt. (If cooking steaks in batches, use half the butter and garlic for each of the two batches.)
Allow the garlic to sizzle in the butter and use a large spoon to baste the butter over the steak occasionally while finishing off the sear on the other side. (You can tilt the pan to help gather the butter for basting, keeping the garlic in the butter.)
Flip once and cook for 1-2 minutes again, until browned on the other side.
While browning the second side, use tongs to hold the steaks’ sides against the pan to sear the edges one at a time (the other steaks will sear on the 2nd side while you sear the sides of one steak).
If working in batches, remove the finished steaks from the pan and cover to keep warm (or serve right away). Wipe down the pan, and reheat with additional oil.
Repeat the searing steps above with the remaining butter and garlic, if using.
Serve immediately (no need to rest!). Slice against the grain.
Last Step: Leave A Rating!
Serving size: 1 8-oz steak
Nutrition info was calculated using a beef tenderloin and does not include the garlic cloves, which are used for flavor and might not be eaten. You can eat them if you like, though!
Video Showing How To Make Reverse Sear Steak:
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