How to Know When Your Steak is Done

Don't rely on tricks or gimmicks — all you need is a thermometer to nail steak every time.

532332685

532332685

Sliced medium rare grilled Beef steak Ribeye with salt and pepper on meat cutting board on dark wooden background

Photo by: Lisovskaya/iStock

Lisovskaya/iStock

There are some pretty confident cooks out there when it comes to steak. You've seen them — they're the ones who can magically tell how cooked a piece of meat is with just a gentle poke of a finger. And while that method works, it's also a skill that comes with experience.

For the rest of us, it’s a great idea to invest in a digital instant-read thermometer. You'll know the doneness of your steak in seconds and won’t risk over- or under-cooking expensive meat. Follow our temperature guide below for juicy, just-right filets every time.*

Rest Before Cooking

First things first — let your steak(s) sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before they hit the pan or grill.

Watch the Temp

Use a digital instant-read thermometer to temp your steaks while they cook. Insert the probe sideways towards the thickest part and avoid the bone. Follow this guide to find your perfect doneness:

Rare: 125 degrees F + 3 minute rest off the heat

Medium-Rare: 130 to 135 degrees F

Medium: 135 to 140 degrees F

Medium-Well: 140 to 150 degrees F

Well-Done: 155 degrees F +

Rest after cooking:

Give your meat a break and let it sit loosely covered with foil for about 5 minutes before serving; rare steaks should rest only about 3 minutes.

*These temperatures are considered safe by many chefs and cooking experts. Nonetheless, extra caution must be exercised when cooking for at-risk groups, particularly the elderly, children under 7 and the immuno-compromised. In such cases, we suggest the USDA guidelines of cooking steak to at least 145 degrees F plus a 3 minute rest be strictly followed.

Next Up

What Is Cube Steak?

Think of it like a chicken cutlet: inexpensive and easy to fry. Here's what to make with it.

Can You Make Air Fryer Bacon?

We learned the answer the hard way.

The Best Way to Cook Bacon

... is actually more than one way. The perfect method depends on the circumstance. Here's how to get perfect bacon every time, no matter what.

What Is Pancetta?

You've seen it in carbonara. Nope, it's not the same thing as bacon. Here's everything you need to know.

What to Make With Stew Meat Besides Stew

It’s inexpensive and surprisingly versatile.

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

All you need is a pack of your favorite bacon, a baking sheet, foil and 25 minutes.

How to Cook Ham

All your ham questions, answered — including how long to cook it and how to carve it.

What Is Corned Beef?

Corned beef — what would a Rueben be without it? Or St. Patrick’s Day? Pick one up at the market after you learn exactly what it is and how to cook it.

What Is Carne Asada?

Learn all about the diverse world of Latin American grilled meat.

What Is Barbacoa?

Learn about this favorite Mexican taco filling and how you can make it at home.
More from:

Cooking School

Latest Stories

Related Pages