Blackened Steak

Try my simple recipe for blackened steak seared to perfection in a hot cast iron pan. The secret is in the homemade black seasoning, which gives the steak a crust and flavor you can’t get with any other cooking method.

What Does “Blackened” Mean?

The term “Blackened” refers to a cooking technique known as blackening. Blackening is a cooking method applied to steak (as well as other meats and fish) where the meat is coated in a mixture of herbs and spices and then cooked in a scorching skillet, preferably cast iron. The high heat causes the outer layer of the meat to develop a dark, flavorful crust, which is why we call it “blackened”.

The blackening technique creates a steak that’s not just for the eyes with its flavorful, crispy crust but also a delight to the taste buds. The blend of dry spices on the exterior adds an extra layer of rich flavor, making each bite a perfect blend of textures and tastes.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

Here’s the list of ingredients required to prepare blackened steak:

  • Steak: Grab a steak that’s about 1.25 to 1.5 inches thick. I went with picanha, but honestly, pick whatever steak you love. Ribeye, new york strip, or filet mignon also work wonders with this recipe.
  • Kosher Salt: For that perfect seasoning.
  • Avocado Oil: It’s got a high smoke point, making it perfect for searing.
  • Butter

Blackened steak seasoning ingredients:

  • One tablespoon of paprika
  • One teaspoon of garlic powder
  • One teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon of thyme
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon of oregano
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

The Tools You’ll Need

  • Cast-Iron Pan
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Tongs
  • Instant-read thermometer

How to Cook a Blackened Steak on a Stove

all ingredients for pan seared blackened steak
Ingredients: Salt, blackening seasoning, butter, avocado oil, and picanha steak

Cooking a blackened steak on the stove is simpler than you might think. First, ensure you have all the necessary ingredients and kitchen tools. Next, follow the detailed step-by-step instructions provided below:

Step 1: Pat Dry and Salt the Steak

Thoroughly pat the steak dry and season it with kosher salt. You have two options for salting: either salt the steak and leave it in the fridge overnight or salt it and let it rest for at least 45 minutes before proceeding to the next step.

Apply salt to both sides of the steak. For the best results, place it on a resting rack, allowing air to circulate around it. Leave the salted steak in the fridge overnight if you’re not pressed for time. I highly recommend this option.

Step 2: Prepare the Blackening Seasoning

To create the blackening seasoning, mix paprika, black pepper, dried thyme, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Then, move to the next step below.

blackening seasoning ingredients: black pepper, dried thyme, dried oregano, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and paprika
Blackening seasoning ingredients: black pepper, dried thyme, dried oregano, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and paprika

Step 3: Apply the Rub to the Steak

Thoroughly apply the rub, covering both sides of the steak and the edges. You can gently press the rub to help them adhere better.

picanha steak seasoned with blackening seasoning
Picanha steak seasoned with blackening seasoning on the sides

Step 4: Preheat the Cast Iron Pan

Start by heating your cast iron pan on medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add a little avocado oil and wait another minute for it to heat through. 

Cast iron skillet heated to 464.1°F

Once the pan reaches about 450°F, carefully place the steak in the pan. To ensure it cooks evenly and you get that ideal gradient inside with minimal gray banding, flip it every 30 seconds until the steak’s internal temperature reaches 100°F.

Pan-seared blackened steak

Step 5: Add the Butter

Once the steak reaches an internal temperature of 100°F, add the butter and let it melt away. While it’s doing its thing, give those edges of your steak a quick sear. Just about 30 seconds should do it. Once the butter’s all melted and happy, focus again on cooking the steak. Keep flipping it every 30 seconds. Remove it from the pan when it reaches 15-20°F below the target doneness temperature and let it rest for a few minutes.

blackened steak seared in a cast iron skillet with butter

Why take it off early? It’s all about carryover cooking. After you take the steak off the pan, its internal temperature will keep climbing a good 15-20°F. Knowing this helps you avoid overcooking your steak, making sure it comes out just right.

Step 5: Let the Blackened Steak Rest

After cooking, let your blackened steak rest for about 5 to 10 minutes. Cutting into it right away isn’t a great idea for several reasons. First, it lets all those yummy juices spread out evenly inside the steak, so you won’t lose many of them when you cut it. And second, while it’s just sitting there, your steak is still cooking from the heat it’s holding onto. This can bump up the inside temp by another 15-20°F.

When it’s finally time to cut into that delicious blackened steak, remember this: if it’s a picanha steak, always slice against the grain to keep it as tender as possible. The same goes for strip steak. Ribeye, though? That’s a different story. The ribeye is so tender you can cut it any way you’d like.

pan-seared blackened steak; medium doneness

FAQs

What to serve with blackened steak?

When it comes to blackened steak, you can’t go wrong by adding some tasty sides. Most folks like to round it out with veggies, potato-y, or a crisp salad. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Oven-Roasted Potatoes
  • Steak Frites
  • Broccoli Salad
  • Baked Potato Wedges (easy and always a hit)
  • Sautéed Asparagus (for a bit of green on your plate)

What are the best steaks for a blackened steak recipe?

The best steaks for a blackened steak recipe are thick and tender, such as ribeye, new york strip, filet mignon, or chuck eye steak. Porterhouse or T-bone steaks are also great, though they require more careful cooking to achieve the right results.

pan-seared blackened steak; medium doneness

Blackened Steak

Adam Wojtow
Easy-to-make Blackened Steak recipe, where a simple combination of homemade spices creates a beautifully crispy crust around a steak.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • steak Grab a steak that’s about 1.25 to 1.5 inches thick. Cuts such as Picanha, Ribeye, New York Strip, or Filet Mignon are ideal choices for this recipe.
  • kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon high-smoke point oil I recommend refined avocado oil
  • Butter unsalted

Blackening seasoning ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper finely ground
  • ½ tablespoon dried thyme
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions
 

  • Pat Dry and Salt the Steak:
    Thoroughly dry the steak and season both sides with kosher salt – salting options:
    Option 1: Refrigerate overnight on a rack.
    Option 2: Let it rest for at least 45 minutes before cooking.
  • Make the Blackening Seasoning:
    Mix paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, thyme, oregano, and cayenne pepper in a bowl.
  • Apply the Rub:
    Coat the steak evenly with the rub on all sides, pressing gently.
  • Preheat the Cast iron pan:
    Preheat a cast-iron pan on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Add avocado oil and heat until it shimmers.
  • Cook the Steak:
    Place the steak in the hot pan. Flip every 30 seconds until the internal temperature reaches 100°F.
    Once at 100°F, add butter then continue cooking the steak, flipping every 30 seconds, until it's 15-20°F below your desired doneness.
  • Rest the Blackened Steak:
    Allow the blackened steak to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. If it's a picanha or strip steak, slice against the grain. Tender cuts such as ribeye can be sliced as preferred.
Photo of author

Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow is a Polish entrepreneur and writer who founded Steak Revolution in 2020 because of his passion for steaks. Adam has been cooking steaks for over 5 years, so he understands well all aspects of steak, from the types of steaks and their cooking times to choosing the best cooking technique for any steak.