This Cast Iron Steak recipe is Keto, Paleo, and Whole30 friendly. Plus, with only 6 ingredients, most of which you have in your pantry, it's a cinch to make.
Why I Prefer Cooking Steak In Cast Iron
Cooking steak of any kind on the stovetop, in a cast iron skillet is my absolute favorite way to cook steak. Here are some of the reasons I'll take stovetop steak over grilled steak any day:
- You can't beat the flavor. The smokey flavor of the grill is great, but this herb butter, in my opinion, is way better.
- More control over the heat. If you're an expert with the grill, this may not be true for you. For me, though, I found that it's much easier to control the heat of the stovetop than the precarious nature of a grill, especially a charcoal grill.
- Weather is not a factor. When you're cooking indoors, you don't have to consider the weather or tough it out in the rain or cold. It simplifies things, which is right up my alley.
This recipe is super simple, but there are always pro tips and tricks and ingredient substitutions to talk about. So let's talk about all things cast iron steak: ingredients, temperature, time, storage, and what to serve with it.
🥘 Ingredients and Substitutions
- Sirloin: This is simply the cut of beef that I cook the most because it's lean, but still flavorful and budget-friendly. However, feel free to use any cut of beef you like. I've used ribeye and New York strip in this recipe and it works just as well.
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper: Kosher salt flakes melt into the steak and the flavor is so much better. The same holds true for fresh ground pepper. I use the medium-large setting on my pepper grinder to get a nice crust on the outside of the steak.
- Butter or ghee: Bring on the flavor! This is the vehicle for the herb flavor to permeate the meat. You would think it makes for a greasy steak, but it's amazing. If you need to keep it Paleo or Whole30, stick with the Ghee.
- Fresh herbs: Rosemary and thyme both add amazing flavor to the beef. This is one of those times dry will not do, but you can use one or both of these herbs.
🛒 Where To Find Great Steaks
For steaks - I like to buy grass-fed and finished steaks. I know they're a bit more pricey, but the added health benefits of grass-fed red meat are worth the extra expense. I get all my grass-fed meat through Butcher Box so I can have them delivered right to my door.
If you're on a budget, though, I've found the choice grade steaks at Costco are fantastic and usually much cheaper per pound than buying them individually at a standard grocery store.
⏲ Cooking Temperature and TimeTEMPERATURE: To get that crispy, seared outside crust, you need a higher heat, at first: medium-high. But once I have that sear on the outside, I promptly switch it medium-low to continue cooking the inside without charring the outside. COOK TIME: These cook so fast! Especially top sirloin because they typically come in smaller, thinner steaks. Here's the secret sauce: 2 minutes per side to get the sear, then lower the temp and continue turning every 2 minutes until your desired temperature is reached.
🌡 Temperature Cheat Sheet For When To Pull Steak off The Heat
Keep your trusty instant-read thermometer on standby. Take a look at the chart below to know when you should pull your steaks off the heat - bear in mind this won't be your finished temp. Once you pull them off the heat, they will continue to cook a bit until they cool a bit. Pulling them at 5-10 degrees sooner will give you much better results.
🥣 Storage, Reheating, and Freezing
As I've mentioned, cast iron steak is a great recipe for meal prep. With that in mind, I have a few suggestions for you for keeping it fresh and still delicious for as long as possible.
- Storage: Store your steaks in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. If you go much longer, it gets a little sketchy in flavor and texture.
- Reheating: If I know I'm meal prepping steak or that some will be leftover, I will slightly undercook the portion that will be reheated. This is just an insurance policy that the steak won't turn to rubber in the microwave. I store mine in glass containers to reheat them in the microwave on medium heat for 1 ½-2 minutes per 6-8 ounces of steak. The good thing about glass is that you can throw those in the oven too if you prefer that method of reheat. I reheat mine with a 250-degree oven for no longer than 10-12 minutes (just keep an eye on it, every oven is a little different).
- Freezing: Freezing these steaks, pre-cooked, can be a life saver on nights when dinner goes wrong or you just don't have enough time. You can freeze them whole, or presliced. I like to add a little of the pan juices to the bag I'm freezing them in. I use good quality freezer bags or a food savor and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Other Recipes to Try
- Lemon Thyme Roasted Chicken - another recipe staple you will love
- Garlic Chili Crispy Roasted Chicken Thighs - an amazing Keto and Paleo entree.
- Spaghetti Squash Chicken Carbonara - a low carb twist on an Italian favorite
- California Burger Bowl - a tasty California burger without the bun!
Easy Cast Iron Steak
- 1-2 lb. Top sirloin steaks ((any cut of steak will work))
- Kosher Salt
- Course Ground Pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons cup butter or ghee
- 2-3 sprigs of Fresh Rosemary and/or Thyme
- PREPARE: Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and allow to come up in temperature, about 20 minutes.
- HEAT THE OIL in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- SEASON: While the oil heats, coat the steaks liberally with salt and pepper, about 1-2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of course ground black pepper and pat the seasoning into the skin.
- SEAR THE STEAKS: Once the oil is shimmering, place each steak into the pan. Cook for 2 minutes per side, or until the outside is browned and the seasoning have created a crust.
- MELT THE BUTTER: Reduce the heat to medium-low. Turn the steaks a third time and add the butter or ghee to the pan along with the fresh herbs (place the herbs directly in the butter). Allow the butter to melt with the herbs to create an aromatic butter sauce.
- COAT THE STEAKS: Once the butter or ghee has melted and the herbs are fragrant, turn the steaks a final time. Tilt the pan up (be sure to use an oven mitt) and use a spoon to scoop the butter sauce and pour it over the steaks. Repeat this on all the steaks 3-4 times.
- LET THE STEAKS REST: If the steaks are not cooked to your desired temperature, continue to cook and turn every 2 minutes until it reaches 120˚F for rare, 130˚ for medium-rare, 140˚ for medium, 145˚ for medium-well, and 155˚ for well done.** Transfer the steaks to another plate and allow them to rest for about 5 minutes.
**This blog post contains affiliate links to products that I actually use and that align with my values. See my affiliate disclaimer here.
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