Why is “Resting” Your Steaks so Important?

You should rest your steaks… here’s why (and how)

Brandon | @high.steaks

May 23, 2024



Why is “resting” your steaks so important? When should you do it? For how long? And won’t it get cold?

First, the objective of cooking a “perfect” steak, is to get the internal temperature of the steak to FINISH at around 130 degrees for medium rare. That’s why I say, “always cook to temperature, never to time.” After a lot of practice, you can learn to “feel” how cooked the steak is, but that’s a topic for another day.

You always want to pull the steak out of the pan/grill a few degrees under your final desired temperature. How far under depends on a variety of factors.

In letting the steak rest, you accomplish a few things. First, you allow the steak to finish cooking. Often times you can pull a steak out of the pan at 113 degrees, only for it to come up to 133 degrees (+20 degrees!!) while resting.

Secondly, you give the juices from the steak a chance to redistribute. This way, they do not run all over the cutting board when you slice into your steak.

How long should you let your steak rest? This is dependent on which steak you cooked, and HOW you cooked it. General rule of thumb for a pan seared or grilled steak (hot and fast method of cooking), you should let the steak rest about half the cooking time. So if it spent 12 minutes on the pan, you should rest it for about 6-8.

Another general rule of thumb, the hotter and faster you cook your steak, the more extreme the carry over cooking result will be. But again, topic for another day.

If you reverse sear or sous vide a steak (low temp and slow cooking methods) your resting time is not as important. You might have that steak cooking at a low temperature for over an hour. However, because you are cooking the steak extremely gently, you do not need to rest it for more than a couple minutes even if you sear it after.

Won’t my steak get cold? Answer: maybe.
I’m sure you’re used to the sizzling steaks coming from Peter Lugers and other steakhouses, but they use a completely unique method. Even though you might think you want your steak “hot,” you never want the inside to be over 135 degrees, or it will be overcooked.

So how can you get the outside hot again, without over cooking the inside, and not ruining all the progress that your patience has accomplished by letting the steak rest? Easy… just “flash” your steak quickly. Throw it back in the pan for ~20 seconds aside. At this point, you can cut into it right away and enjoy a juicy steak, that is perfectly cooked AND well rested.