How Long To Cook Steaks (And Why)?

How Long To Cook Steaks (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 3¼ Mins Each Side For A Fillet Steak

When it comes to cooking, many variables will affect the outcome of one’s dish. One such variable is how long one cooks the steak. There are several different kinds of meat, and each one requires a different amount of time for them to be cooked properly. 

For instance, beef steaks should only take about 4 minutes per side on medium heat, whereas chicken breasts can take up to 20 minutes or more on low heat, depending on their size. The best way to tell if something is done is by using a meat thermometer so that one does not overcook any part of the meat and ruin it entirely. 

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How Long To Cook Steaks?

Steak CutsDuration 
fillet cut medium rare3¼ minutes on each side
Sirloin steak medium rare2 mins per side

Many variables determine how long to cook steaks. The most common variable is the temperature to cook the steak. There are several different temperatures for steak; the perfect temperature depends on the thickness of the cut and personal preference. 

A fillet cut rare medium needs 3¼ minutes on each side, while sirloin steak medium rare needs 2 mins per side. Also, to cook the perfect steak, one needs to season it properly with salt and pepper 2 hours before cooking.

People who prefer their meat more done will want to cook at a higher temperature than people who like it rarer. 

It should take between 3-4 minutes on a side for medium-rare. However, this can also depend on the thickness of the meat and how well that person likes their steak cooked.

To get a better feel for cooking times, experts recommend taking advantage of temperature probes, which can be inserted into the thicker part of the steak to find out when the desired doneness is reached. That way, one doesn’t have to use guesswork. 

Leaner cuts will dry out quicker than fatty ones, but both will produce a more concentrated beef flavor with a meatier bite. Hence, it depends on how one chooses the thickness of the steak as well.

While adding the steak, make sure to drizzle the pan with oil, a knob of butter, some garlic, and some herbs for amazing flavors.

Why Would Cooking Steaks Take So Long?

Steaks take a long time to cook because the meat is tough, and the collagen needs to be broken down before it’s tender. 

The surface of a steak will form a crust while cooking, which is similar to adding layers or, in cookware terms, seasoning. With this crusting process, the sugar and proteins break down, giving it a more developed taste. 

Hence, one should cook it slower and finish it off with a quick sear for flavor and juiciness. It’s no wonder steaks take this time to cook because when one reaches 2-inch thickness in minutes on one side, they want that other side to catch up.

In reality, all cuts of steak are contained within different levels of three categories: tenderness, flavor, and juiciness. Cooking times will vary according to individual preferences. 

Thin slices of steak, like flank steak, skirt steak, chuck steak, and tri-tip, are best cooked quickly over high heat. Sometimes, one can brown these thinner cuts in a frying pan before adding them to the oven or stovetop.

Best practices to cook Steak:

  1. Trim any visible fat in the steak, cut them in half for faster cooking.
  2. Insulated oven mitts are recommended to be removed from the oven to let it rest before serving, falling into one of two categories: spilling juices or dripping blood. 
  3. The cooking pan should be hot and preheated at all times such that the meat begins frying when put on the pan; this is done by keeping cold cuts nearby and refrigerating until right before they cook to preserve their juiciness and reduce overcooking.


There are a few factors that can affect how cooking steak turns out. The most important one is the cut of meat. Different cuts will vary in cooking times and fat content, which will change their final taste and texture. 

One can also determine if they want to err on the side of well done or rare by following these guidelines for each type of cut: 3.5cm thick fillet steak – blue – 1½ mins each side; Rare: 2¼ mins each side; Medium-rare: 3¼ mins each side Medium: 4½ mins each side. One should select the ideal cut and then decide to cook.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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