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.

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

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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.

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