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Perfect Pan Fried Steak


They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  If that’s the case, then I think one of the easiest ways to show your man how much you love him is a perfect steak.  That’s why I often make Eric steak for Valentine’s Day!  For most of us, February is far too cold for grilling outside.  But don’t worry,  I’m going to give you some tips on cooking a perfect steak using your stove and oven, along with a Mediterranean steak marinade recipe.

I feel that I’ve done a great job of teaching my husband to appreciate fruits and vegetables.  I love that when I served him my corn and bell pepper soup and told him it was vegan, he said “I don’t even notice anymore, it’s all so good!”

The funny thing is, while he may not notice when I don’t serve him meat, he definitely notices when I do.  Every steak I’ve ever cooked him, he takes his first bite, chews, swallows, then lets out a man grunt saying “Hunh, steak, mmmm.”  I’m just as happy to eat steak as he is, but there’s something even more rewarding in hearing his satisfaction at a perfectly cooked steak.

As soon as the weather gets warm enough, we break out our hibachi grill and start working through the steak from our cow.  But right now there’s nothing but rain, hail and snow in our forecast.  That means our steak dinner has to be cooked indoors.

In some ways, cooking a steak on the stove is almost easier.  I can get a pan so much hotter than I can get our little charcoal grill.  This is a good thing because it means a nice crispy char on the outside of your steak. The secret to that char (or sear) on the steak, is a really hot pan.  I use my Scanpan because it can go in the oven and get as blazing hot as I need it to.  If you don’t have a Scanpan, you can use a cast iron skillet as well.  Don’t use your regular non-stick skillet though, it just can’t get hot enough without damaging the skillet.


In order to get that crispy sear but still have a nice pink or red center (I prefer my steaks medium-rare) you need a steak that’s over an inch thick and at room temperature.  Do NOT try this with a frozen steak!  Whether you put anything in the pan with the steak depends on if it’s marinated or not.  My marinades usually contain olive oil so I don’t need to oil the pan.  If you’re cooking an amazing piece of meat like a tenderloin and don’t want to marinate it (because it’s perfect on its own!), use a little bit of canola or grapeseed oil.  You can put a tsp of it in the pan, or even better just brush it directly onto the meat.

Okay, you ready for the basic steps for perfect pan fried steak?

1.  Bring a steak (1 1/2-2 inches thick) to room temperature and season with salt and pepper (unless it’s in a marinade).
2.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
3.  Heat a Scanpan or cast iron skillet on a stove on high heat for two minutes.
4.  If you did not marinate the steak, brush both sides with a little canola oil.
5.  Place the steak in the hot pan and let cook about three minutes on one side.
6.  Use tongs (never a fork) to check if the under side of the steak is a nice golden brown.  Once it is, flip to cook other side.
7.  Once both sides are golden brown, put pan in oven.
8.  TURN OFF THE OVEN (very important!).
9.  Let steak sit in oven for 7-10 minutes (depending on thickness) until it reaches an internal temperature of 130-135 degrees.
10.  Remove from oven and wait two minutes before slicing.

The recipe below is one I made up a few years ago when Eric and I wanted to have a Mediterranean Night.  I served it with bruschetta and fried eggplant.  This time of year I serve it with a salad of spinach, red onion and feta in a Greek dressing.  I’ve used this marinade for flank steaks and chuck steaks.  We love using the leftovers on a Greek salad.

How do you prefer to cook your steaks?


Mediterranean Steak Marinade Recipe

serves 4


4 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBS dried rosemary
2 TBS dried thyme
2 T chopped garlic (about 4 cloves)
2 TBS balsamic vinegar (here’s my absolute favorite kind, we get it at TJMAXX!)
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground pepper
1 large steak (I used a chuck steak)


Mix olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, balsamic vinegar, kosher salt and pepper in a large zip top plastic bag.

Add the steak and seal the bag, squeezing out as much air as possible.  Mush the bag around to cover steak in the marinade.  Refrigerate overnight.

Remove bag with steak from fridge and place on counter for 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.  Cook on a grill or using the stovetop method above.

Approximate cost/serving: The cost of the marinade alone is under $1 if you get your dried herbs in bulk (many grocery stores have a bulk spice/herb section).  Our chuck steak was 2lbs and our beef is all $3/lb.  Although I’ll be using the bone from the steak for stock, we’ll call it a $6 steak.  Once I cooked it and sliced it there was enough meat for 4 people with a side dish.  That’s just $1.75 per person!

Gluten Free: No adjustments needed.

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9 thoughts on “Perfect Pan Fried Steak”

  1. Yum, this is just the way we like our steaks, but I can’t always get it right. Would you be able to share where you got your share of beef, this is something I have thought about doing,but wasn’t sure where to start. I found your blog through the local newspaper.

  2. Hey i just purchased my own scan pan classic 8cm pan. Do u have any other recipes for chops or fish that i can make with this pan

  3. Thank you SO much! I have NEVER been able to cook a steak, so have learned to live with flavorless tough steak that I spice up with Worcestire Sauce or A1. I made this for Father’s Day today for my hubbie and kids, using a chuck steak that was very thick. I GOT RAVE REVIEWS! I am so excited and will cook this way every time now! (Until we get a new grill) THANK YOU!!!! 🙂

  4. I tried this step for step and my kitchen was a smoky mess. My steak also burnt within a minute on each side. I’m not a great chef by any means but can anyone tell me what I possibly could have done for this to happen??

    • So sorry you had a bad experience with this Whitney! I have a few thoughts on what might have happened.

      1. I always automatically have my hood fan on when I cook so that reduces smoke for me.
      2. My stove is electric, if yours is gas it’s quite a bit hotter so you might need a lower setting.
      3. You may need more oil if you’re using a lean cut of meat, or oil with a higher smoke point. I have started using coconut oil. Rice oil is another great one.
      4. What kind of pan did you use? This is best in a thick, heavy duty pan like cast iron, or a scan pan. A thin one will have all sorts of problems in high heat and definitely cause scorching.

      Hope that helps.

    • If you want your steak well done, leave the oven on for the first few minutes. Be sure to check the internal temperature after you turn the oven off to make sure it’s not already done.


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