Pan Seared Strip Steak

5 mins45 mins to 24 h10 mins1 to 24 hours

Preparing the perfect strip steak at home requires careful preparation, but it is not as difficult as it might seem. My recipe for pan-seared strip steak isn’t merely a brief set of instructions; it is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide that explains what to do and why, ensuring you make the perfect strip steak every time. 

Read on to learn how to transform a strip steak into a culinary masterpiece while mastering a few general rules for cooking any steak.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

To prepare a tender, juicy, and butter-infused strip steak on your stovetop, you’ll need:

  • A 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5.1 cm) thick strip steak (new york strip)
  • 1 tablespoon high-smoke point oil (I recommend avocado oil)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter (About 56.7 grams)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 thyme or rosemary springs

The Tools You’ll Need

  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Tongs
  • Instant Read Thermometer

How to Pan Sear Strip Steak

Here is a detailed, step-by-step guide with explanations and photos on how to pan-sear a strip steak on the stove.

Note: This recipe uses a 1.75-inch (4.45 cm) thick strip steak. Feel free to share the strip steak with someone else if you find it too large to consume alone. When it comes to seasoning, I’m keeping it simple with salt, garlic powder, and pepper to highlight the attributes of the new york strip steak. Toward the end of cooking, I add butter, garlic, and herbs to enrich the strip steak’s flavor and achieve a beautiful, crispy, golden-brown crust.

strip steak with thyme, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, butter, two garlic cloves, and avocado oil
All ingredients for pan-seared strip steak

Step 1: Prepare the Strip Steak

Remove the strip steak from the fridge, pat dry, and season generously on both sides with salt. Then, decide what to do next depending on the desired results and available time.

If you don’t have time, season the strip steak with salt and leave it at room temperature for 45-60 minutes. If you have time and want to achieve the best results in terms of flavor and crust, leave the salted strip steak in the fridge overnight on a rack. That’s the method I usually go for and recommend.

Before cooking the next day, remove the strip steak from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Letting the strip steak rest before cooking is crucial because it helps it cook more evenly. To learn more, check out my guide on Resting Steak Before Cooking.

Strip steak rests on a wooden board after spending 24 hours in the refrigerator, following the salting process
The surface of the salted steak, after 24 hours in the refrigerator – is extremely dry.

Your strip steak should be 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5.1 cm) thick to achieve the perfect balance between a medium-rare interior and a crispy crust. This is especially important when cooking at high temperatures.

When salt is used to season meat, shortly after salting, the salt pulls moisture to the surface of the meat. Over time, the meat reabsorbs this moisture, nearly disappearing from the surface after about 40-60 minutes. 

The key takeaway is this: Salt your strip steak at least 45-60 minutes before cooking to achieve better crust and flavor. If you want to boost the flavor, leave it uncovered on a rack in the fridge overnight. I highly recommend this option. A dry strip steak surface is key to getting that perfect crust, which is why these tips are important.

15 minutes after salting the steak
15 minutes after salting the steak, its surface becomes firmly moist – the worst time to sear the steak.
15-20 minutes after salting
As the salt works its magic, the meat starts to release moisture through a process called osmosis.

Step 2: Preheat the Cast-Iron Skillet

Preheat the cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil after 2-3 minutes and wait until it smokes. My pan usually reaches the right temperature in about 3-4 minutes. 

Meanwhile, just before you start searing, season the strip steak with pepper and garlic powder.

Always choose an oil with a high smoke point for high-temperature cooking. The pan must reach at least 400° (204°C)F, so not all oils will work. I recommend refined avocado oil because it has a high smoke point and doesn’t add any extra flavor.

Cast-iron skillet with an infrared thermometer displaying 460°F.
Cast iron skillet heated to 460.9°F (238.2°C).
Strip steak seasoned with garlic powder and black pepper
Strip steak seasoned with garlic powder and black pepper

Step 3: Place the Strip Steak in the Skillet

Place the strip steak in the hot pan and cook it, flipping every 30 seconds, until an instant-read thermometer shows 90°F (32°C). Start by searing the strip steak on the side with the fat. Once the internal temperature reaches 90°F (32°C), move to the next step.

Cooking time can vary depending on several factors, like how thick your strip steak is, how long you let it rest before cooking, and the equipment you’re using, such as your stove, the power of your burners, and the type of pan. Remember that the cooking times in every recipe are just rough estimates, not exact numbers.

I highly recommend investing in an instant-read thermometer. It’s cheap, and to be honest, it’s the only way to always cook the strip steak to the desired doneness. It’s an essential tool you must have if you want to cook strip steak perfectly every time.

strip steak seared on cast iron skillet
Start by searing the steak, starting from the side with a layer of fat.

Step 4: Add the Herbs, Garlic, and Butter

Add garlic, herbs, and butter to the pan, then turn the heat to medium-low. Let the butter melt. Then, grab a spoon and gently tilt the skillet to start basting the strip steak with the melted, aromatic butter. Keep doing this for about 30 seconds on each side, checking the strip steak’s internal temperature regularly. Continue until the strip steak is about 20-25°F (11-14°C) below your target temperature, then take it out of the pan.

Optionally, you can tilt the pan to collect the butter, dip the strip steak right into it, and keep cooking by flipping it every 30 seconds. Basting a strip steak looks great, but honestly, you’ll get the same results using either of these two methods.

steak with butter, thyme, and garlic in skillet
Steak with butter, thyme, and garlic in skillet

Cooking a strip steak over high heat causes its internal temperature to rise by about 20-25°F (11-14°C) after you remove it from the heat. For a perfect medium-rare strip steak, around 130-135°F (54-57°C), you should remove it from the pan when it reaches 110°F (43°C).

After cooking, let the strip steak rest for 5-7 minutes, depending on its thickness. The next step below provides more details about resting.

butter-basted steak
Baste the steak with the melted butter

Step 5: Let the Pan-Seared Strip Steak Rest

Let the pan-seared strip steak rest for 5 to 7 minutes. If your strip steak is less than 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) thick, let it rest for about 5 minutes. For strip steaks between 1.5 and 2 inches (3.8 to 5.1 cm) thick, aim for a 7-minute rest. During this time, the steak’s temperature will usually rise by around 20-25°F (11-14°C), ensuring it reaches perfect doneness. If you cut into the strip steak right after cooking, it’ll stop this temperature increase, so please do not touch it during the rest period I mentioned. Check out my guide on How Long to Rest Steak to learn more.

As for slicing the steak, high-grade and well-marbled strip steaks are tender enough to cut any way you like. But for leaner, less tender cuts, make sure to slice against the grain. To learn more, see my guide on How to Cut the Steak.

Internal Steak Temperature 129.4°F
Internal Steak Temperature 129.4°F (54.1°C)
pan-seared strip steak; medium-rare doneness
Sliced medium-rare strip steak with thyme, garlic, and butter

Pan-Seared Strip Steak FAQs

How long does it take to sear strip steak on the stove?

For me, searing a 1.75-inch (4.45 cm) thick strip steak usually takes about 7-8 minutes to reach a temperature of around 130-135°F (54-57°C). But don’t rely too much on the time. The cooking time can vary depending on factors like the thickness of the strip steak, how long you let it rest before cooking, and the equipment you’re using, such as the stove, burner power, and type of pan. So, think of that 7-8 minutes as more of a rough guideline than a strict rule.

I highly recommend using an instant-read thermometer to check the strip steak’s internal temperature to ensure the perfect doneness. A wireless one is great if you can afford it. It’s the best way to ensure your strip steak turns out perfect every time.

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pane seared strip steak

Pan-Seared Strip Steak Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Adam Wojtow
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Rest Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 24 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 16 oz Steak
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American


An easy-to-make pan-seared strip steak recipe with a rich flavor, enhanced by thyme and butter


  • 1 boneless strip steak (1.5 to 2 inches/3.8 to 5.1 cm thick)
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • ½ stick butter (unsalted) (About 56.7 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon High-smoke point oil (I recommend refined avocado oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • thyme or rosemary (fresh)


  1. Prepare the Strip Steak: Remove the strip steak from the fridge and pat dry. Then, depending on the desired results, choose your method of salting:

    Option 1: Salt the strip steak generously on both sides, then let it sit at room temperature for 45-60 minutes before cooking. 

    Option 2: For best results, salt the strip steak generously on both sides and leave it on a rack in the fridge overnight. The next day, let the strip steak rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.

  2. Preheat the Cast-Iron Skillet: Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it reaches more than 400°F (204°C), which usually takes 2-3 minutes. Then add refined avocado oil and wait another 1 minute.
  3. Sear the Strip Steak: Season the strip steak with pepper and garlic powder, place the seasoned steak in the hot skillet, and cook it, flipping it every 30 seconds. Cook until the strip steak reaches an internal temperature of 90°F (32°C). Once it hits 90°F (32°C), move on to the next step.
  4. Baste with Butter: Add garlic, herbs, and butter to the pan and turn the heat to medium-low. Melt the butter and baste the strip steak for 30 seconds on each side until it’s 20-25°F (11-14°C) below your desired temperature, then remove from the pan. Optionally, dip the strip steak directly in the butter, flipping every 30 seconds. Both methods yield similar results.
  5. Rest the Strip Steak: Let the pan-seared strip steak rest for 5-7 minutes. If the strip steak is less than 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) thick, rest for 5 minutes, and 6-7 minutes if it’s 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5.1 cm) thick. This allows the strip steak to reach perfect doneness.
  6. Serve: Slice high-grade, marbled strip steak any way you prefer. For leaner cut, slice against the grain.

More Pan-Seared Steak Recipes To Try

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 five years and knows a lot about them, including the different types of steak cuts, how long to cook them, and the best ways to cook any steak.


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