Pan Seared Rib Eye Steak
These Rib Eye Steaks melt in your mouth with their beautiful marbling and rich flavors. High-temperature cooking in a cast-iron skillet makes them extra tender and juicy. So skip the steakhouse and make this rib eye steak recipe instead!
A rib eye is easy to make in 20 minutes for a special occasion or just for dinner when you want to splurge. The rib eye is one of the finest steaks that makes you feel like royalty eating one!
Ribeyes are easy to find and quick to prepare. While they’re pricey, making your own is a fraction of the cost in a steakhouse. Serve them with potatoes and a green vegetable like broccoli or green beans for a complete dinner.
Tips for Cooking the Most Tender Rib Eye Steak
- Thick cut rib eyes are the juiciest. Try to buy ones that are 1 ¼ – 1 ½ inches (3 – 4 cm) thick, or simply ask your meat counter to cut them for you.
- Steak cooks more evenly at room temperature, so remove the rib eye from the fridge to rest for 30-60 minutes before cooking.
- Pat dry the steaks with paper towel before cooking to remove excess moisture. This step helps to produce the best sear possible.
- Season the steaks generously with salt to help tenderize the meat before cooking. Fresh rosemary and thyme are excellent additions to put in halfway through.
- Let the steaks rest after cooking for 3-5 minutes. This allows the juices to retreat back into the meat for the best texture. Cover with a plate or foil to keep warm.
- Use a large cast-iron pan or skillet over medium-high heat to get a robust sear and caramelization.
How to Cook Rib Eye Steak
This recipe shows you how to cook rib eye steak in a frying pan with a cast iron skillet recommended. However, they are also fabulous broiled or grilled using the same basic preparation.
After resting, drying and seasoning your steak, it’s time to cook your steak. Place the pan on medium-high heat and, once hot, add the olive oil and steak.
Baste the steak from time to time by spooning the juices on top. It’s normal to get some splatter due to the rib eye’s higher fat content, so a splatter screen and apron are a good idea.
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Cooking Time and Doneness
Cooking time depends on the rib eye thickness and your desired doneness:
|Steak Doneness||Steak Internal Temperature||Cooking Time Per Side|
|1 in (2.5 cm)||1 ½ in (3.8 cm)||2 in (5 cm)|
|Rare*||125°F (52°C)||1 min||1 ½ min||2 min|
|Medium Rare||130°F (54°C)||3-4 min||4-5 min||5-6 min|
|Medium||140°F (60°C)||4-5 min||5-6 min||7-8 min|
|Medium Well||150°F (66°C)||6-7 min||7-8 min||10-12 min|
|Well Done||160°F (71°C)||7-8 min||8-10 min||12-14 min|
Note: These times are for boneless rib eyes. For bone-in, add 1-2 more minutes per side depending on the size of the bone. The internal temperatures will rise an additional 5°F (3°C) while resting after cooking.
Insert an instant-read thermometer to check your rib eye steak temperature against the chart above. Avoid cutting into the steak, which will let valuable juices escape!
The preparation and cooking times for grilled rib eye steak are the same. Use the cooking times above.
According to the USDA, the safe internal temperature for beef is 145°F (63°C) or “Medium” even if it’s not always observed.
What cut is a ribeye?
The rib eye steak cut comes from the rib section between ribs six through twelve. It’s exactly the same meat as Prime Rib, but cut into steaks instead. It’s also the original cut used to make a Philly Cheese Steak!
Why is it called a ribeye? The steak comes from the “eye of the rib”, or the best part of the rib section. The traditional rib eye is boneless, sometimes being called a Delmonico in America or a Scotch Fillet in Australia/New Zealand. The bone-in cut is referred to as a Cowboy Ribeye or a Tomahawk Steak when the bone is extra-long.
Rib Eye versus Sirloin Steak
What’s better ribeye or sirloin? Because it’s so well-marbled, rib eye usually wins on tenderness, but also on flavor. Sirloin is a leaner cut that, while very flavorful, is typically less tender.
Which is better ribeye or strip? A New York Strip steak has less marbling than a ribeye and consequently is less tender with a milder flavor.
Watch How to Cook Rib Eye Steak:
Rib Eye Steak Recipe
- 2 rib eye steaks, 1-2 inches thick
- 1 tsp coarse salt, (6 g)
- 1 tsp black pepper, (2 g) or to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil, 15 ml
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter, 14 g
- fresh rosemary or thyme, garnish - optional
- Remove steaks from the refrigerator 30 minutes ahead in order to reach room temperature for even cooking. Prepare the rest of your meal in the meantime.
- When your steak has reached room temperature, pat dry with paper towels. This step will remove excess moisture in order to get the best sear possible.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper onto both sides of the steak, rubbing in with your hands.
- Turn on your ventilation/exhaust fan and place a cast iron skillet over high heat.
- When the pan is hot, add the oil and swirl around to coat the pan.
- Add the steaks and cook for 3-6 minutes according to desired doneness (see details above), spooning the juices on top from time to time to baste the meat.
- Flip the steaks and add the butter on top along with the optional fresh herbs.
- Cook 3-6 minutes more using an instant-read thermometer to check doneness.
- Remove to a plate to rest for 5 minutes, covering with foil or another plate. This important step lets the juices to retreat back into the meat for the best texture.
- Cut crosswise against the grain to serve. Enjoy!
- Thick cut rib eyes are the juiciest. Try to buy ones that are 1 ¼ - 1 ½ inches (3 – 4 cm) thick, or simply ask your meat counter to cut them for you.
- Season the steaks with salt to help tenderize the meat during cooking. Fresh rosemary and thyme are great to add halfway through (so they don't char).
- Use a hot skillet to get a robust sear and caramelization. A large 12-inch cast iron skillet over high heat is ideal.
- Note that the internal temperature will keep rising another 5°F (3°C) while resting.
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Editor note: Originally published Aug 10, 2018 and updated Aug 22, 2019
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