Pan Seared Steak with Garlic Butter

September 4, 2018

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.

This Steak Recipe is practically guaranteed to become one of your favorite ways to prepare steak! It’s so easy and the end results are simple yet so incredibly delicious. It doesn’t take much when you start with a good steak, just a bit of butter and garlic (and thyme if you’ve got it) and you’ve got a steak people will remember. 

Skillet Seared Steak with Garlic Butter

Perfect Pan Seared Steak

Out of just about any food steak was always one of the most intimidating things for me to cook. I don’t know what it was maybe the high price tag and how they can easily be overcooked but with a few simple tips (as mentioned below) steak can be a breeze to cook.

It’s one of my husband and kids favorite foods so I’ve been trying to cook it once a month and this method has been my favorite lately. I just can’t get enough of that crispy browned exterior and that rich garlicy butter!

Plus, I love that this method is one you can use year round, including when your grill is covered with snow in the winter.

Best Steak to Buy

How Do I Cook Steak?

  • First start out by letting the steaks rest at room temperature for 30 minutes (this brings them a little closer to room temp to cook more evenly).
  • Heat vegetable oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (you want to let it get hot, preheating should take about 3 minutes if using a gas stove then more for electric.). I like to turn on vent fan above stove.
  • Dab both sides of steak dry with paper towels then season both sides with salt and pepper (some people might recommend to wait until the end on the pepper because it can burn but I’ve never tasted burnt pepper).
  • Place steaks in skillet and using metal tongs press down across top surface of steaks to ensure the entire bottom surface is making direct contact with skillet.
  • Let cook until browned on bottom, about 3 minutes.
  • Flip and continue to cook until steak is about 10 degrees away from desired doneness (see notes below for temps) approximately 3 minutes longer.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, add butter, garlic and thyme. Using an oven mitt grasp pan and tilt pan so butter pools to one side, spoon butter over steaks and continue to cook until steaks registers temperature of desired doneness, about 1 minute longer.
  • Transfer to a plates, let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Steak New York Strip or Rib Eye Recipe

Tips for the Best Steak

  • Start with a good quality steak. Prime or choice cuts, and this recipe works well with Ribeye or New York Strip (and go with boneless NYT says they cook more evenly, besides only a small portion would barely be flavored by the bone anyway).
  • Use a cast iron skillet to cook the steak. This heavy pan will hold heat well, brown nicely and cook evenly.
  • As with just about any recipe be sure to preheat the pan (and use the largest burner on the stove). In this case really let the pan it heat. This gives the steak a great sear. My gas stove takes about 3 minutes to preheat the pan whereas an electric stove may take upwards of 8 – 10 minutes. The oil should be shimmering, near smoking.
  • Dab the steaks dry with paper towels. A drier exterior means a crisper exterior in the end.
  • Don’t be skimpy with the salt and go for Kosher for more even seasoning.
  • Don’t add butter until you close to the end or it will burn because of it’s low smoke point.
  • Use an instant read thermometer to test the center temperature. No one wants an undercooked or overcooked steak. The recipe lists 3 minutes per side just to give you a general idea but you’d hate to spend good money on a steak only to have it overcooked. Plus that way you won’t have to cut into the steak to check the color before serving.
  • Let it rest at room temperature 5 minutes after cooking before slicing into it. This will let the juices redistribute, so that way the juices won’t just end up on our plate.

Skillet Seared Steak with Garlic Butter

Steak Doneness Temperatures:

Here’s a quick breakdown of the temperature to watch for for desired degree of doneness. (Picture-wise this is a great color chart HERE.)

  • Rare (cool red center) – 125 degrees (not recommended)
  • Medium rare (warm red center) – 135 degrees
  • Medium (warm pink center) – 145 degrees
  • Medium well (slightly pink center) – 150 degrees
  • Well (little or no pink) – 160 degrees

What Temperature to Cook Steak Degree of Doneness

What to Serve with Steak?

Skillet Seared Steak with Garlic Butter

5 from 9 votes

An easy, straight forward method that uses basic ingredients to cook an excellent steak! A recipe everyone in the whole family will love. Works great with Ribeye or New York strip steak, use what you prefer or what's on sale. If you don't have the thyme try rosemary or just omit it altogether you'll still have a delicious steak.

Servings: 4 (1/2 steak per person)
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 (12 oz) Ribeye or New York strip steaks (about 1 1/4-inches thick)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

Instructions

  1. Let steaks rest at room temperature 30 minutes.

  2. Heat vegetable oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat (you want to let it get hot oil should be shimmering near smoking, preheating should take about 3 minutes if using a gas stove, longer for electric).

  3. Dab both sides of steak dry with paper towels then season both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Place steaks in skillet and using metal tongs press down over top surface of steaks to ensure the entire bottom surface is making direct contact with skillet.

  5. Let cook until browned on bottom, about 3 minutes.

  6. Flip and continue to cook until steak is about 10 degrees away from desired doneness, approximately 3 minutes longer.

  7. Reduce heat to medium-low, add butter, garlic and thyme.

  8. Using an oven mitt grasp pan and tilt pan so butter pools to one side, spoon butter over steaks and continue to cook until steaks registers desired doneness (see notes below for temps, keep in mind they'll rise about 5 more degrees of heat), about 1 minute longer.

  9. Transfer to plates. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

  10. Recipe source: adapted from My Recipes

Recipe Notes

Steak degree of doneness:

135 degrees medium rare

145 degrees medium

150 degrees medium well

160 degrees well 

For safety the FDA recommends cooking to at least 145 degrees

 

Nutrition Facts
Skillet Seared Steak with Garlic Butter
Amount Per Serving
Calories 437 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 17g106%
Cholesterol 119mg40%
Sodium 670mg29%
Potassium 455mg13%
Protein 34g68%
Vitamin A 225IU5%
Vitamin C 1.2mg1%
Calcium 15mg2%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: steak
Author: Jaclyn

Leave a Comment






This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

20 Comments

  • Abby Lai

    My boyfriend and I loved this recipe. It is super easy and very good. The only thing tho was I had to put my boyfriends steak back in twice because he hates it pink. Is there anyway you can put like how long one should leave the steak on the skillet for medium rare or medium?

  • Adam

    Honestly one of the juiciest steaks I’ve ever had, even with the issues I began with.
    Bone-in ribeye marked down at grocery store because it was old.
    Cast-iron skillet. Fresh thyme. Mixed garlic and butter. Salt and pepper.
    Hot skillet, add steak and press down, cook 3 mins and flip. Used lid for pan.
    Cook another 2, move pan off heat, add thyme, garlic, butter.
    Start spooning over the steak, continued for two minutes.
    Left steak in the pan (roasted veggies weren’t done) to rest and stay warm, almost 10 minutes. The extra pan time in the hot cast iron took the steak to very medium-well (I prefer medium)—just a hint of pink center.

    IT DIDN’T MATTER. Steak was beautiful. Tasted amazing. Moist, juicy, buttery, peppery, and a hint of whatever magic the thyme creates.
    Best steak I have ever made and one of the top three I have ever had.

    Great recipe and advice!

  • Rebecca Simonson

    Followed directions except I was baking something that req a temp of 425°. I put my cast iron pan in cold oven then pulled it out when it reached temp. I put it on the burner on medium high then followed recipe. Came out excellent!

  • Gord

    I have been charcoal or gas fired grilling steaks for forty plus years and and my family and I can’t wait for the “season” for a batch of rib-eyes or fillets. However with the current no gathering rules, I decided to try an indoor recipe for one and probably picked it because I have fresh thyme growing on the deck and had a spare rib-eye to practice on. I am now a convert. In future, when cooking steak for one or two, this will be the method of choice, hands down. The butter/garlic/thyme sauce will now also be an automatic for grilled steaks.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      There’s nothing quite like a pan seared steak! So glad you liked it!

  • Pam Stanley

    Phenomenal method for cooking any steak. I marinade with Montreal steak seasoning and olive oil for several hours. Then, I like to add garlic and onion powder to the steak as I’m cooking it in the cast iron pan inaddition to salt and pepper. Butter is key and scraping all of the drippings repeatedly onto the tops of the steak while constantly flipping makes the steak taste amazing. Thank you for helping me to finally grasp how to cook a good steak, Enjoy!