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Steak Doneness Temperature Chart: A Comprehensive Guide

There are five different doneness temperatures for steak, ranging from rare to well done. You can use a steak doneness temperature chart to help you cook your steak to the perfect level of doneness every time.
different steak temperatures

Everyone loves to cook steak occasionally. However, for most home cooks, it’s hard to get the desired doneness. To start with, you’re going to need an instant-read thermometer and a good pan for steak. Having a heavy skillet is essential since it will allow the raw meat to cook evenly.

This comprehensive guide will show you steak doneness temperatures and how to achieve them.

Steak Doneness Temperature Chart

steak doneness temperature chart from rare to well done

Make sure to use the temperatures below as a guide for steak’s desired temperature. Here’s a steak temperature chart:

  • Rare steak: 125° F;
  • Medium rare steak: 135° F;
  • Medium steak: 145° F;
  • Medium-well steak: 150° F;
  • Well done, steak: 160° F.

Note: Ground beef should be cooked to 160° F and above to ensure food safety.

Steak Cooking Times

Steak cooking times depend on steaks thickness. Here’re a one and a half-inch steak cooking times on the stovetop:

  • Rare steak: 3-5 minutes
  • Medium-rare steak: 5-7 minutes;
  • Medium steak: 7-9 minutes;
  • Medium-well steak: 9-11 minutes;
  • Well done, steak: 11+ minutes.

Note: The cooking process on the grill and in the oven is slightly different; therefore, cooking times can be somewhat different.

How Steaks Come To Temperature

Steaks come to temperature in three steps. The first step is to bring the steak up to room temperature. The second step involves heating the meat’s exterior by placing it on a hot grill or pan. This searing process makes the outside crispy and caramelized while simultaneously sealing in moisture – it’s called a Maillard’s reaction. The last stage is done once you’ve removed your steak from the heat. This final stage is called carryover cooking, in which internal heat continues to cook the steak for another few more minutes after it has been removed from the heat source.

How To Use a Finger Test Method To Check Steak Doneness

To check steak doneness temperature using the “finger test” method, press your finger against the center of the steak. If the meat feels soft, it is rare or medium-rare. For medium steaks, your finger will leave an indentation that quickly fills back in. If the meat feels hard, it is well done.

Here’s a more detailed video explaining how to use a finger test method:

How To Use a Meat Thermometer

A meat thermometer is a great way to check the doneness of your steak for a less experienced home cook. To use a meat thermometer, first, pierce the steak with the probe into the thickest part of the steak. Make sure that the probe is in the center of the steak. Then, wait until the temperature reading stabilizes. The doneness temperatures are based on a meat thermometer reading.

how to use a meat thermometer

Note: It’s essential to remove the steak from the heat source when the internal temperature is 5° F lower than the preferred doneness. For example, if you wish your steak to be medium-rare, make sure to remove it from the heat source when the internal temp reaches 135° F.

Steak Cooking Guide

Below you’ll find quick guides on how to achieve five different doneness temperatures for steak. Make sure to follow these steps to get the desired degree of doneness. You can use these cooking methods to cook steak in a pan and on a grill.

steak cooking guide

For the cooking methods below, I’m using a one-and-a-half-inch rib-eye steak. However, any cut of beef will work.

How To Cook Rare Steak

A rare steak should be warm through the center, look brown on the outside but be bright red in the center. As a chef, I rarely see people ordering rare steak – only a real stake lover prefers their steak to be cooked to rare.

If you’re looking to cook a steak rare, then follow these simple steps:

  1. Bring the steak up to room temperature by leaving it on the counter for 30-60 minutes. Remember to season it with a generous amount of kosher salt;
  2. Preheat a grill or pan to medium-high heat.;
  3. Grill or pan-sear the steak for 2-3 minutes per side;
  4. Remove from heat and allow the steak to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Note: Turn the heat down once the steak is seared on both sides. Continue cooking on medium heat.

How To Cook Medium-Rare Steak

Medium-rare steak should look pink on the inside with a strip of red in the center. It’s warm through the center but not hot. The temperature of the steak is around 135°F. I prefer medium-rare and so do many customers at the restaurant.

Here’s how to achieve medium-rare steak:

  1. Bring the steak up to room temperature by leaving it on the counter for 30-60 minutes. Season it on both sides with a generous amount of salt and some freshly ground pepper;
  2. Preheat a grill or pan to medium-high heat.;
  3. Pat dry the steak with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. It will help to get a better crust;
  4. Add a tablespoon of oil (or enough to cover the bottom of the pan);
  5. Place steaks in a skillet or on a grill;
  6. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side;
  7. Remove from the heat source and rest for 10 minutes before serving.

How To Cook Medium Steak

A medium steak should look pink and slightly brown on the inside. It’s warm through the center, bordering on hot. The temperature of the steak is around 145°F. Even though I prefer medium-rare – medium steak is almost as good. It’s juicy enough without any hint of red meat in the middle.

Here’s how to achieve medium steak:

  1. Bring the steak up to room temperature by leaving it on the counter for 30-60 minutes. Season it on both sides with a generous amount of salt and some freshly ground pepper;
  2. Preheat a grill or pan to medium-high heat.;
  3. Pat dry the steak with a paper towel. It will help to get a better crust;
  4. Add about three tablespoons of olive oil or any other oil with a high smoking point;
  5. Place steaks in a skillet or on a grill;
  6. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side;
  7. Remove from the heat source and rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

How To Coom Medium-Well Steak

Medium-well steak has a little bit of pink and a lot of brown meat around it. The temperature of the steak is around 150°F. This steak is not so juicy, and it’s cooked all the way through. It feels tough to the touch. Most people find a medium-well chewy and tough; therefore, I suggest sticking with less cooked meat unless red meat is not your thing.

Here’s how to achieve medium-well steak:

  1. Bring steak up to room temperature by leaving it on the counter for 30-60 minutes. Season it on both sides with a generous amount of salt and some freshly ground pepper;
  2. Preheat a grill or pan to medium-high heat.;
  3. Pat dry the steak with a paper towel. It will help to get a better crust;
  4. Add about three tablespoons of olive oil;
  5. Place steak in a skillet or on a grill;
  6. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side;
  7. Remove from the heat source and rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

How To Cook Well Done Steak

Well done, steak is cooked all the way through. It’s brown throughout with no pink spots whatsoever. The temperature of the steak is around 160°F. I honestly do not like well-done steaks, but it seems a common favorite these days, especially in some cultures. If you are looking to cook this kind of steak, then here’s what you need to do:

  1. Bring steak up to room temperature by leaving it on the counter for 30-60 minutes. Season it on both sides with a generous amount of kosher salt. Add freshly ground pepper halfway through cooking;
  2. Preheat grill or pan to medium-high heat.;
  3. Pat dry the steak with a paper towel. It will help to develop a brown crust when searing;
  4. Add about three tablespoons of oil;
  5. Place steak in a skillet or on a grill;
  6. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side;
  7. Remove from the heat source and rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.



FAQ

How to tell when your beef is done?

The best way to tell when your beef is done is to use a food thermometer. Alternatively, you can use a “finger test” to know if your steak is done to your liking.

What is the best doneness of steak?

The best doneness of steak is medium-rare or medium. It means the steak has a lovely pink center and a lot of flavorful juices flowing. The outside will be slightly charred, giving it a nice flavor.

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