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Making surf and turf at home is one of my favorite ways to date night with my husband! It’s the best of both worlds – juicy seafood and tender steak. This surf n turf recipe with garlic herb butter (yum!) makes the perfect dinner for our one-on-one special occasions, but it’s great for holidays with the family, too. And it’s easier than you might think!
Why You’ll Love This Surf And Turf Recipe
- Tender steak and juicy shrimp
- Irresistible garlic butter
- Simple ingredients
- On the table in just 20 minutes
- Perfect for special occasions or date nights
What Is Surf And Turf?
Surf and turf is the term for a special occasion meal that includes “the land and the sea” on one plate. The “surf” portion can be shrimp, prawns, lobster, crab, scallops, or even fish, like halibut or sea bass. The “turf” is typically steak.
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for surf & turf, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Turf – I used sirloin steaks, but you can also make surf and turf using filet mignon, ribeye steak, New York strip, get extra fancy with a tomahawk steak, or make it more casual with garlic butter steak bites. The stovetop-only cooking method in this recipe works ideally with steaks up to 1 inch thick, as these cook quickly enough in a pan without needing the oven. For thicker steaks, it’s better to finish steak in the oven.
- Surf – I used shrimp for the “surf” part of this dish, which is both easy to cook and economical. Choose fresh shrimp, or use frozen and thaw it first. Make sure it’s peeled and deveined. You can remove the tails for easier eating later, or leave the tails on to make the cooked shrimp more flavorful. Other shrimp recipes would also work here, such as garlic butter shrimp or coconut shrimp. If you want an even fancier meal, you could make other seafood instead, such as seared sea scallops, lobster tail, or crab legs.
- Garlic Butter – This is a variation of my compound butter recipe. It includes softened butter, fresh minced garlic (or 1 teaspoon jarred minced garlic for convenience), and fresh herbs. I used parsley, rosemary, and thyme, but you could also use other herbs, such as basil or chives.
- Olive Oil – Used for searing and sauteing. You can also use avocado oil or your preferred oil of choice.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
How To Make Surf And Turf
This section shows how to make surf n turf, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
Make Garlic Butter:
In a small bowl, mash together the butter, garlic, rosemary, thyme and parsley. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
- Season. Take the steaks out of fridge to let them come to room temperature. Brush with olive oil on both sides and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Sear. Add the steaks to a very hot cast iron grill pan or cast iron grill pan, and cook to your desired doneness. (See chart below for cooking temperatures and times.)
- Rest. Let the steaks rest and cover to keep them warm.
- Clean. When the pan has stopped smoking, wipe it out with a paper towel to prepare for cooking shrimp.
- Melt butter. Reduce heat to low. Add some of the garlic butter to the pan and let it melt.
- Cook shrimp. Increase to medium heat, add the shrimp in a single layer, and cook on each side until opaque and golden.
Top the steaks with a pat of garlic butter. Serve the shrimp alongside the steaks, with garlic butter from the pan poured over the shrimp. Squeeze with fresh lemon juice over the surf and turf if desired. Slice the steak against the grain.
Cooking Time Charts
For perfect surf n turf every time, use these handy time charts to get your steak and shrimp cooked just right.
Steak Time Chart:
|Cook To Degrees F
|Time On First Side
|Time On Second Side
|120 degrees F
|130 degrees F
|140 degrees F
|150 degrees F
|160 degrees F
Tips on steak cook time:
- These times are for sirloin steaks, about 1/2 to 1 inch thick. If your steaks are thicker, finish the steaks in the oven.
- For best results, use a meat thermometer and select your ideal internal temperature above based on the doneness you want.
- Let the steaks rest for at least 5 minutes while you cook the shrimp. Internal temperature will rise another 5 degrees during this time.
Shrimp Time Chart:
|Time Per Side
Surf and turf recipes taste best fresh and are super quick, so make yours the day-of if you can! But if you have leftovers, here’s what to do with them:
- Store: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
- Repurpose leftovers: Instead of just reheating the steak and shrimp in the same form, repurpose them over a salad, or in a casserole or soup.
- Reheat: Warm surf and turf in a hot skillet, preferably separately because the shrimp will heat faster than the steaks. You can also heat the steaks in the oven at a low temperature with a little broth — learn more about this method in my reverse sear steak post.
- Freeze: You can freeze cooked steak and shrimp for up to 3 months, but the quality will decrease a bit, so I don’t recommend it unless necessary.
What To Serve With Surf And Turf
Surf and turf shines as the star of the meal, so keep the side dishes simple:
- Roasted Veggies – While you’re cooking surf and turf on the stovetop, use your oven to make roasted asparagus, fancy parmesan green beans, crispy smashed brussels sprouts, or a whole roasted cauliflower for elegant, yet simple sides.
- Classic Steakhouse Sides – You can’t go wrong with the classics like sauteed mushrooms, mashed potatoes (or mashed cauliflower), or a 15-minute creamed spinach.
- Sauces – This dish is flavorful all on its own, thanks to the garlic butter. If you want a little something extra, make some lemon butter sauce or chimichurri to drizzle on top.
- Soup – For a full seafood meal, start your dinner with a creamy lobster bisque.
Surf And Turf
Make your own surf and turf with garlic butter at home! This classic surf n turf recipe is perfect for special occasions or date nights in.
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Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Make garlic butter:
In a small bowl, mash together the butter, garlic rosemary, thyme and parsley. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
If possible, take the steaks out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking, to let them come to room temperature.
Brush steaks on both sides with olive oil. Season both sides generously with salt and pepper, patting to help the seasonings stick.
Heat a cast iron skillet or cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, until very hot.
Add the steaks and cook for 4-5 minutes, until browned on the bottom. Flip and cook for 2-7 minutes, until done to your liking.
* Rare: 120 degrees (49 degrees C), 1-2 minutes
* Medium Rare: 130 degrees (54 degrees C), 2-4 minutes
* Medium: 140 degrees (60 degrees C), 4-6 minutes
* Medium Well: 150 degrees (66 degrees C), 6-8 minutes
* Well Done: 160 degrees (71 degrees C), 8-10 minutes
Remove the steaks from the pan. Cover to let them rest and keep them warm.
Turn off heat. Wait for the pan to stop smoking, then lightly wipe down the pan if it has any pieces left.
With the heat off but while the pan is still hot, add 2 tablespoons of garlic butter in smaller chunks. (Reserve the rest of the garlic butter for the steaks later.) Move the butter pieces around as they melt, so that the melted butter coats the pan evenly.
Once butter melts, turn on heat to medium. Quickly add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook for 1-3 minutes per side, until opaque and golden.
Serve steaks with a pat (1 tablespoon) of garlic butter on top. Serve shrimp alongside the steaks, with garlic butter from the pan poured over them, and a squeeze of lemon, if desired.
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Serving size: 1 6-oz steak + 3 oz shrimp, or 1/4 entire recipe
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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