Pan Seared Rib Eye Steaks

Pan searing rib-eye steaks is one of the best ways to cook them, offering up a wonderfully caramelized exterior, and protecting the tender, flavorful pink meat inside.  Cooking rib-eye steak over direct high heat for a short amount of time is the best way to cook rib-eyes; it will allow you to get a great sear without overcooking the meat.

How to Cook Rib-Eye Steaks on the Stove

What is a Rib-Eye Steak?

Rib-eye steaks come from the eye of the rib, the section between the chuck and the loin.  They might also be called Delmonico, Spencer, beauty steak, sarket steak, or Scotch filet.  

The rib-eye cut has a lot of flavor and texture, and takes well to sauces as its ample level of beefy flavor can hold its own against other flavors.  In this recipe it is made with a simple herb butter pan sauce, and the taste of the beef comes shining through.  

Bone-in Rib Eye vs. Boneless Rib Eye

This is a matter of preference.  The rib-eye steaks I‘ve been cooking lately have a small amount of bone still on the meat, but you can make any rib-eye recipe with either bone-in or boneless rib-eye steaks.  

Cooking a bone-in steak in a pan sometimes results in slightly uneven cooking, as the meat might not lay equally flat in the pan.  This may actually work out well, especially if you are making a rib-eye steak for more than one person, with different desired doneness.  Some of the meat, usually the part closest to the bone, will end up rarer than the meat toward the outside of the steak.  So, when you slice it, you’ll have a little range of doneness.

How to Cook Rib-Eye Steaks on the Stove

How to Buy Rib-Eye Steaks

As with all meat, the best place to shop is a good butcher.  Other places, like Costco or other price clubs, have high quality meat and high turnover, so you will get a consistent, reliable product there.  There are now a lot of online meat companies that sell sustainable and humanely raised meat, sometimes direct from the farm to the consumer.  

If you are shopping at a supermarket, if budget allows, try to find and purchase prime rib-eye steaks.  Choice is the next best option.  And if they have a butcher on premise, ask if you can get steaks cut fresh.  

How to Choose Rib Eye Steak

Look for a nice amount of marbling, flecks and streaks of fat throughout the meat.  The marbling allows the fat to melt into the steak as it cooks, giving it a tender, buttery texture, and a whole lot of flavor.

How to Cook Rib-Eye Steaks on the Stove

Cooking Rib-Eye Steak in a Pan

This recipe is for one twenty ounce or so steak, but if you have a bigger steak you can gauge the timing and add 1 to 3 more minutes on each side.  The thickness of the steak vs. the overall weight is the biggest factor in how long to cook it.

You can also cook multiple steaks this way in a pan, as long as your pan is large enough.  You want to make sure there is room between each steak for optimal browning and even cooking.

How to Cook Rib-Eye Steaks on the Stove

Letting the Rib-Eye Steak Rest Before Carving

Even a 1-inch thick steak needs to rest before you slice into it.  This allows the beef to reclaim the juices that would otherwise pour out onto the cutting board.  It might look like your steak is super juicy for a minute…then you realize the juices are on the cutting board, and not in your steak.  Not good.  

Letting the meat rest for 5 minutes means that the fibers can relax and reabsorb the juices.  A very thick rib-eye should rest for 5 to 10 minutes.  Keep in mind that as the steak rests, the internal temperature will rise a bit, so take it from the heat just before it is cooked to your liking.  It will continue to cook as it rests, and don’t worry that it will cool too fast; with the right timing it will be perfectly cooked and warm throughout.

Slicing Steaks Across the Grain

When you slice a piece of meat, you almost always want to cut across the grain to get the most tender and juicy eating experience.  In his book “Steak Lovers’ Cookbook” William Rice says “muscle fibers run along a piece of meat, not across it, creating what is called the grain.  What we want to do is chew with – in the direction of – the grain”, which makes it easier for us to chew.

Rice says that all you need to carve the meat properly across the grain (and a carving a steak presents nowhere near the challenge of carving a bone-in roast such as a leg of lamb) is a sharp knife, a fork, and a cutting board that will contain the juice that escape from the steak.  

He advises when cutting steak into slices for eating straight up (not in sandwiches, that the slices be about at least ½ inch wide, which I think is the perfect thickness for slices of rib-eye.  

How to Cook Rib-Eye Steaks on the Stove: A foolproof method for perfectly cooked pan-seared steak every time.

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How to Cook Rib-Eye Steaks on the Stove

Steak Portions

You should plan on about 6 ounces of rib-eye per person, more of course if you know you have devout steak lovers.  And whenever you make a steak, plan for leftovers!  A salad with sliced steak is a lunchtime treat, or you can use the meat, or of course a sandwich on a crusty baguette with spicy mayo.

A rib-eye steak often weighs about 20-ounces or more, and one steak will feed 2, 3 or more people.  Once the steak is nicely sliced and plated on a serving platter or individual plates people it will feel like a generous portion of meat.  

Cooking Temperatures for Ribeye Steaks

The optimal doneness for rib-eye is medium rare, which allow its juicy flavor to be at its best.  However, you should of course cook your steak to the doneness you like best!

ThicknessDonenessPan Searing Time
½ inch thickRare (125°F)1-2 minutes per side
½ inch thickMedium Rare (130°F)2-3 minutes per side
½ inch thickMedium (135°F)3-4 minutes per side
1 inch thickRare (125°F)3-4 minutes per side
1 inch thickMedium Rare (130°F)4-6 minutes per side
1 inch thickMedium (135°F)6-8 minutes per side
1 ½ inches thickRare (125°F)5-6 minutes per side
1 ½ inches thickMedium Rare (130°F)6-8 minutes per side
1 ½ inches thickMedium (135°F)8-9 minutes per side

How to Cook Rib-Eye Steaks on the Stove

Bring the steak to room temperature, about 20 minutes.  Season the steak with salt and pepper.  

How to Cook Rib-Eye Steaks on the Stove

Heat a large, heavy  skillet over medium high heat.  When the pan is very hot, add the oil then add the steak and sear, without moving the steak, for 5 minutes until nicely browned on the bottom.  

How to Cook Rib-Eye Steaks on the Stove

Use tongs to flip the steak, and then add the butter to the top of the steak. Place the rosemary sprigs next to the steak in the pan.  

How to Cook Rib-Eye Steaks on the Stove

Cook the meat for about another 4 to 5 minutes without moving the steak, allowing the butter to melt, and using a spoon to baste the top of the meat with the seasoned butter.  For medium rare the middle of the steak should be 130°F on a meat thermometer.  

How to Cook Rib-Eye Steaks on the Stove

Remove the steak to a cutting board with a moat to catch the juices.  Let the steak rest for 10 minutes before slicing.  While the meat is resting, return the pan to medium heat and add the garlic.  Sauté for 30 seconds then remove the pan from the heat.  

Slice the steak across the grain.  Arrange the slices on a plate and spoon the pan sauces in the skillet over the slices.  Sprinkle with additional salt and freshly ground pepper.

What to Serve with Rib-Eye Steaks

How to Cook Rib-Eye Steaks on the Stove

Other Steak Recipes:

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How to Cook Rib-Eye Steaks on the Stove

A foolproof method for perfectly cooked steak every time.
Yield: 2 People
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 20-ounce (1 ¼-inch thick) bone-in rib eye steak
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

Directions

  • Bring the steak to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  • Season the steak with salt and pepper. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the oil then add the steak and sear, without moving the steak, for 5 minutes until nicely browned on the bottom. Use tongs to flip the steak, and then add the butter to the top of the steak. Place the herb sprigs next to the steak in the pan. Cook the meat for about another 4 to 5 minutes without moving the steak, allowing the butter to melt, and using a spoon to baste the top of the meat with the seasoned butter. For medium rare the middle of the steak should be 130°F on a meat thermometer.
  • Remove the steak to a cutting board with a moat to catch the juices. Let the steak rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
  • While the meat is resting, return the pan to medium heat and add the garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds then remove the pan from the heat.
  • Slice the steak across the grain. Arrange the slices on a plate and spoon the pan sauces in the skillet over the slices. Sprinkle with additional salt and freshly ground pepper.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 704kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 26g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 188mg | Sodium: 149mg | Potassium: 768mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 221IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 5mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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