Pan Seared Ribeye Steak

A pan-seared ribeye steak, basted with butter and fresh herbs, is one of the best ways to prepare ribeye. Our recipe offers more than just basic instructions; it provides a detailed explanation and practical tips on achieving a perfectly cooked ribeye every time.

Learn how to cook a ribeye steak in a cast-iron skillet, mastering the art of creating a crispy crust and juicy interior. The combination of great ribeye flavor, butter, and aromatic herbs makes this recipe outstanding.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

For a tender, juicy, and buttery ribeye steak cooked on your stovetop, these are the ingredients you would need:

  • A 1.5 to 2 inches thick ribeye steak
  • High-smoke point oil (We recommend avocado oil)
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground pepper
  • Unsalted butter
  • Garlic cloves
  • Fresh Thyme or Rosemary

The Tools You’ll Need

  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Tongs
  • Instant Read Thermometer

How to Cook Ribeye Steak on a Stove

Here is our comprehensive, easy-to-follow recipe packed with handy tips on cooking ribeye steak on the stove.

Note: This recipe uses a ribeye steak that is 1.6 inch thick. If you feel this is too large for one person, treat this recipe as a meal for two. A steak thickness between 1.5 and 2 inches allows for an ideal balance between a beautifully seared exterior—with a crispy crust—and an interior cooked to medium-rare or medium doneness.

Ingredients: Black pepper, garlic, salt, butter, avocado oil, rosemary, and ribeye steak
Ingredients: Black pepper, garlic, salt, butter, avocado oil, rosemary, and ribeye steak

Step 1: Prepare the Ribeye Steak

Start by thoroughly drying the steak with a paper towel. Once dry, it’s time to salt the steak. But when is the ideal time for this step? This depends on when you plan to sear the steak.

salt seasoned ribeye steak
Salt-seasoned ribeye steak

For this recipe, the ultimate goal is to achieve the best possible crust on the steak. A dry surface on the steak is critical for this – remember, moisture is the enemy of a crispy crust. Shortly after salting, the salt starts to draw water out of the steak, which it mostly reabsorbs within 40-50 minutes. So, what’s the takeaway? If you plan to cook the steak as soon as possible, it’s best to salt it just before cooking. Once the pan is preheated and ready for searing, salt the steak, add the rest of the seasonings, and start searing immediately.

However, if you value a more flavorful outcome, consider another approach. Remove the steak from the refrigerator, salt it, and wait for at least 40-50 minutes before you start searing. 

We recommend a third option: leaving the already salted steak in the refrigerator overnight to be ready for cooking the following day. This method guarantees a flavor-rich steak with a completely dry surface.

Ribeye steak, 5 minutes after salting
Ribeye steak, 5 minutes after salting
Ribeye steak, 24 hours after salting
Ribeye steak, 24 hours after salting

Step 2: Preheat the Cast-Iron Skillet

Preheat the cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. After approximately 3-4 minutes, add a tablespoon of refined avocado oil and wait 1 minute for the oil to heat properly. The overall heating process should take 4 to 5 minutes, allowing the pan to reach a temperature of around 450-500°F. During this time, season the steak with pepper. If you didn’t season with salt earlier, do so now.

ribeye steak seasoned with ground black pepper
Ribeye steak seasoned with ground black pepper
Cast iron skillet heated to 473 degrees F.
Cast iron skillet heated to 473 degrees F.

Note: Searing a steak in a skillet requires high, evenly distributed heat – ideally at least 450°F. For this, you need a thick, heat-retaining pan such as a cast-iron skillet, which we highly recommend. Also, you’ll need an oil with a high smoke point. We suggest using refined avocado oil with a smoke point of 510°F.

Step 3: Place the Ribeye Steak on the Skillet

Gently place the steak on a preheated, very hot skillet, pressing it down slightly to ensure even contact with the surface. Flip the steak every minute, aiming to achieve a rich brown crust. Monitor the steak’s progress with a thermometer; once it reaches an internal temperature of 110°F, reduce the heat to low. Then, turn the steak on its side and proceed to the next step.

Note: Our steak typically reaches an internal temperature of 110°F in about 5-6 minutes. However, this is merely an estimate. The actual time can vary based on the steak’s thickness, the pan’s type, and the initial temperature. You can flip the steak less frequently, say every two minutes; however, if you’re new to cooking steaks, we suggest flipping every minute for more precise control over the cooking process.

Step 4: Baste the Ribeye Steak with Butter

Add butter, garlic, and either thyme or rosemary to the pan. As the butter melts, take a moment to sear the steak’s sides. Then, tilt the pan just enough to pool the melted butter near the bottom edge. Shift the steak slightly upwards, and using a spoon, consistently baste the steak with the melted butter for 30-60 seconds on each side.

Ribeye steak, seared in a cast iron skillet with butter, rosemary, and garlic.
Ribeye steak, seared in a cast iron skillet with butter, rosemary, and garlic.
Baste the ribeye steak with the melted butter
Baste the ribeye steak with the melted butter

As you baste, monitor the steak’s internal temperature and remove it once it reaches your desired level of doneness. While our recipe suggests aiming for a medium-rare to medium doneness, feel free to adjust the cooking time to match your preference for steak doneness.

Internal Ribeye Steak Temperature 129 F
Internal Ribeye Steak Temperature 129°F

Note: Always reduce the heat to low when basting to prevent the butter from burning. Aim for a golden-brown butter color, not black. Remember that butter has a relatively low smoke point (around 300°F). Exposing it to high heat can cause it to burn rapidly, negatively affecting your steak’s flavor.

Step 5: Let the Ribeye Steak Rest

Allow the pan-seared ribeye steak to rest for 5 to 10 minutes. By doing this, the steak will retain more of its juices when sliced, compared to slicing it immediately after cooking. Many people overlook this crucial step or simply forget about it. Don’t make that mistake.

pan-seared ribeye steak; medium-rare doneness
Pan-seared ribeye steak; medium-rare doneness


How long does it take to cook ribeye steak on the stove?

The cooking time for a ribeye steak on the stove varies based on several factors. These include the steak’s thickness, the type of pan used, the power of the burners or electric stove, the temperature setting, and your desired level of doneness. For the steak we prepared in this recipe, with a thickness of 1.6 inches, it took about 7-8 minutes to reach 120°F internal temperature.

However, these times are just approximations. We strongly recommend using an instant-read thermometer. This tool lets you quickly and accurately check the steak’s internal temperature, ensuring it’s perfectly cooked.

Is ribeye steak better pan-seared or grilled?

The answer varies from person to person, as it largely depends on individual preferences. Both methods offer a delightful taste, but they come with advantages and disadvantages beyond just flavor.

We love pan-seared ribeye for its precision in temperature control, quick cooking time, rich buttery flavor, and beautiful golden-brown crust. Plus, it’s a method you can rely on throughout the year, regardless of weather conditions. In contrast, grilled ribeye wins our hearts with its straightforwardness, smoky flavor, still nice crust, and the added benefits of avoiding indoor smoke and less cleaning.

pan seared ribeye steak

Pan Seared Ribeye Steak

A perfectly pan seared ribeye steak with a crispy crust and juicy interior. Infused with rich butter and aromatic herbs, this recipe guarantees a mouth-watering dish every time.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American


  • 1 boneless ribeye steak 1.5 to 2 inches thick
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • ½ stick butter unsalted
  • 1 tablespoon High-smoke point oil we recommend refined avocado oil
  • 2-4 garlic cloves
  • thyme or rosemary fresh


  • Prepare the Ribeye Steak: Dry steak with a paper towel then choose a salting method:
    a. Salt just before cooking.
    b. Salt and let sit for 40-50 minutes before cooking.
    c. Salt and refrigerate overnight for cooking the next day.
  • Preheat the Cast-Iron Skillet: Heat skillet over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. Add a tablespoon of avocado oil and heat for an additional minute (total 4-5 minutes) until 450-500°F.
  • Place Ribeye Steak on Skillet:
    Season steak with pepper and salt (if not done already). Ensure skillet is very hot, then add steak. Press steak slightly for even contact. Flip every minute or two until internal temperature is 110°F, then reduce heat to low.
  • Baste the Steak:
    Add butter, garlic, and thyme or rosemary to pan. Sear steak sides and tilt pan to pool melted butter. Baste steak with melted butter for 30-60 seconds each side while monitoring its temperature. Cook to desired doneness.
  • Let Steak Rest:
    After cooking, let steak rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.


  • Ensure the steak is dry for a crisp crust. Moisture is its enemy.
  • For searing, maintain an even, high heat of at least 450°F in a cast-iron skillet.
  • Use oil with a high smoke point, like refined avocado oil.
  • Flip the steak frequently for precise control, especially if you’re a beginner.
  • When basting, ensure butter does not burn.
Photo of author

Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow, the founder of Steak Revolution, is a true steak enthusiast. His primary goal is to help others perfect their steak-cooking skills.