Can You Cook Steak in a Nonstick Pan? (And Which Pan to Use)

steak in pan
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Nonstick pans are a staple in the kitchen. Therefore, it’s only reasonable for people to nurse the idea of cooking steak in this cookware. 

However, when cooking a food item such as steak, the major aim is to sear evenly. That is, cooking the food item until the brown crust forms. You don’t want to miss the aroma and taste of a well-cooked steak. Do you want that? Surely not!

So, if you’re wondering if a nonstick pan can cook steak perfectly, you’re in the right place. In this post, you’ll find the information you seek and be able to make an informed decision.

Are you ready? Let’s get down to business. 

Is Cooking Steak in a Nonstick Pan Ideal?

So, can you cook steak in a nonstick pan? Yes, you can. But that doesn’t mean you should try such. Besides being a time-wasting venture, you won’t get the desired flavor in your cooked steak. 

When you cook steak in a nonstick pan, you won’t achieve a great browning or sear, which is the process’s ultimate aim. 

Why so? Nonstick pans aren’t designed to deliver the high amount of heat or temperature needed for the steak to sear or evenly. Such cookware is only designed to cook food items that require low to medium heat.

Instead of a nonstick pan, consider using the cast iron skillet. It’s what many professional chefs use to deliver restaurant-quality steaks. With cast iron skillet, you can get the desired flavor from your cooked steak. But with a nonstick pan, get ready for an unpleasant taste and uneven sear. 

Can You Cook a Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet?

Yes, you can. Even professional chefs, who have been in the industry for donkey years, use a cast iron skillet for cooking steaks.

However, remember to prepare your steak and the cookware before cooking for the best outcome. 

What makes cast iron skillet superior-quality cookware for cooking steak is because of its heat retention capacity. Once heated, cast iron skillet tends to stay heated for a long while. 

The cast iron skillet’s dense nature also implies that it will not only remain hot for a long period; it will also heat your steak evenly to give you the desired outcome. 

The heat retention and ability to heat up evenly enables cast iron skillet to give streak the desired browning and sear, which you’re after. You can also achieve a deep-brown crust using this kind of cookware.

How to Cook Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet?

You don’t need to be a professional chef or buy a course that teaches how to cook a steak to use a cast iron skillet. The process is simple and straightforward. You may only buy such to upgrade your knowledge base on recipes to use. 

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So, even if it’s your first time making steak with cast iron skillet indoors, you won’t run into trouble. You can even make a nice, tasty steak in your first try, which you and your family would enjoy. 

The two parts you need to know is how to prepare the steak and the cast iron skillet itself. 

Alright, here’s how you should prepare your steak for cooking.

Your first move should be handpicking the best quality steak. Ensure the meat is still in good condition. You can only get the best taste and flavor when you cook fresh steak. 

Whether thicker or thinner cut steak, what matters is to heat both sides of the steak to get an even sear. The oven can handle the internal part of the meat later. 

Furthermore, filet mignon and New York strip happens to be great steak cuts. So, you can give either of them a try. 

Your next step in preparing your steak is to have it marinated in advance. You can leave the marinated steak overnight or a couple of hours before you start cooking. The essence is to enhance the steak’s taste, so you would enjoy eating the meat after cooking it. 

After marinating your steak, place it in a neat container or bag, and move it into your refrigerator. Remember, you can choose to leave it there for 12 – 24 hours.

However, if your marinade contains acid, you can go ahead and use it on your steak. Just ensure it doesn’t stay marinated for more than two hours, though. Please make plans to cook it in two hours or less. The reason is that the acid can change the meat’s color and cause it to look unpleasant even before heating the stovetop. You surely don’t want that, do you? 

If the marinade you’re using contains salt or alcohol, ensure the meat doesn’t stay marinated for more than four hours. Make plans have it cooked within the next four hours or less. 

You can also season the meat with salt if you don’t have or fancy the idea of using a marinade. You to soak the meat in brine (salt + water) overnight to enhance its flavor and make it soft to chew on. 

In addition to salting, don’t forget to add other seasonings. These include curry, thyme, ginger, and garlic, pepper, etc. It’s your steak so that you can play around with the ingredients. 

Most people like salting their meat a few minutes before cooking, which isn’t a bad idea. You can salt for as brief as 40 minutes and still enhance your steak’s flavor, though the outcome won’t be as great as salting it overnight or longer period. 

Note – Ensure you get your meat out of the refrigerator and give it time to come to room temperature before you start cooking. Allow it to stay for 2 hours or more.  

Here’s how to prepare your cast iron skillet to cook steak.

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The next most crucial step is getting your cast iron skillet ready. At this stage, it’s expected that the pan has already been washed and dried. 

Now pour some vegetable oil into the pan. By doing so, you’re greasing the pan to prevent the steak from burning. Then after oiling the pan, heat until it becomes crackling hot. Then move your steak into the pan, ensuring that it sits in the middle. You can do this with your hand, but ensure you don’t touch the hot pan. 

Again, 25 – 30 minutes should be enough for the meat to be ready. But if you cover it while cooking, you would be able to cook much faster. 

Once you have successfully seared the steak on the two sides, move the skillet, together with the steak, into the preheated microwave oven to continue the cooking process. 

Your meat should be ready in about five minutes or so. Sometimes, it can take more than 20 minutes, though. It practically depends on how thick the steak is, including the level of doneness you desire. 

Note – There’s always going to be that burning desire to prepare more steak at the same time, so there would be enough to go round. But overcrowding your cast iron skillet isn’t a good idea. Why so? You won’t get that gorgeous sear you so desire. 

Keep in mind that when you heat steaks at high temperatures, they release steam. Therefore, if they’re overcrowded in the pan and don’t have enough room to breathe, they’ll start steaming themselves. 

The bottom line is choosing your cast iron skillet based on the number of steaks you plan on cooking at the same time. If you want to cook more, get a bigger-sized pan. It’s as simple as that.

What is the Best Pan Should I Use to Cook Steak?

The best pan to cook steak with is the cast iron skillet and carbon steel fry pan. Others include the tri-ply or 5-play stainless steel pan. 

There are numerous reasons these pans can cook a steak well. Firstly, they can reach extremely high temperatures when heated. But that’s not all; these pans can also retain heat much longer and spreads the heat throughout the pan for an even seared steak. The high temperature is also essential for the searing of steaks. 

Besides getting very hot and even heat distribution, cast iron is a long-lasting and strong cookware material. And this means you won’t be budgeting for a pan for a long time when you have on in your kitchen. 

The only drawback is that cast iron takes longer to heat up and can be a bit heavy. 

Cast iron also ages gracefully, a feature most cookware lacks. Another amazing thing about cast iron is the more you utilize it, the better it cooks. You’ll An aged cast iron is better seasoned. 

Note – Keep in mind that most cast iron comes pre-seasoned. But that shouldn’t mean you shouldn’t season your pan before you start cooking. 

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Seasoning the pan would help to make the surface nonstick. And this prevents the steak from burning. You want the meat to sear, not burn. These are two different things entirely. 

There’re other reasons cast iron is a wise choice. When used to cook steak, some iron naturally leaks out from the cookware into the steak, enhancing your iron levels. 

Can You Cook Steak in a Frying Pan?

The straight answer is yes, you can. But your steak shouldn’t be too thick to achieve even searing. 

Your steak should be boneless. That’s the best for frying pans. A thinner cut of meat would also make sense. It would allow the meat to cook properly and brown on both sides. 

It’s also important that you season the meat before cooking. Marinate and add some kosher salt (14g) on both sides of the meat. The salt will not only help to bring out the meat’s natural flavor. It will also help to speed up the browning process. 

You need to use vegetable oil to dress the inside of your frying pan before placing your steak on it. Finally, never put too many steaks in the pan at a time. Cook what the pan can carry at a time. 

But if the frying pan is quite big enough to accommodate two or more meat, then go for it. Just have in mind that overcrowding the frying pan will make it difficult to achieve an even sear. You surely don’t want that. 

There’s also nothing wrong with using a cooking thermometer when cooking meat. This device’s function is nothing but to help keep you informed about the temperature the meat is cooking at. 

However, if you don’t have a cooking thermometer and have no plans of buying one, you can use the finger test. 

Is it Better to Cook a Steak in the Oven or Stove?

You can’t do without either of them. Even steakhouses and professional chefs know that. The stove and oven are vital when it comes to steak cooking. The process practically starts with the stove and ends in the oven. 

So steak cooking begins on the stovetop. But after the meat has seared, it must be transferred to the microwave oven to achieve that restaurant-quality and tenderness. 

Moving the steak after cooking on the stovetop to the oven helps to halt the searing at the ideal point. The exterior burning stops while the interior is being cooked up properly. 

Conclusion

You can achieve that restaurant-quality steak at home, in your kitchen. Just find that killer recipe. And above all, use the ideal cookware to make everything easy. 

Cast iron skillet makes cooking steaks indoors possible. Your steak would sear evenly, and the taste would be electrifying, just as you want it. 

Hopefully, finding the best pans and making tasty steaks would no longer be a challenge for you. Thank you for stopping by. 

References:

https://www.thespruceeats.com/cook-the-perfect-restaurant-steak-336360

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/steak-how-cook-grill-oven-sear-thick-cut-oven-a9250961.html

https://www.recipes.co.nz/COOKING+METHODS/makingthemost/perfectsteak.html

About Sylvette Brown

Sylvette is a homemaker and is passionate about cooking and other kitchen-related stuff. She also loves to do home improvement related tasks and keeps on writing about food and cookware on her blog. When she is not writing, she keeps herself busy with her 2 little kids. :)