Steak Doneness Chart


Rare, medium, well done, we all like our steaks cooked a certain way, but what exactly are the true guidelines for cooking a steak to the perfect doneness and how do you do it? Let’s take a look at this simple chart and learn the best way to achieve the perfectly cooked steak.

For extra rare (blue) beef steak: Red cold center, internal temperature of 120 degrees F
For rare beef steak:
Red cool center, internal temperature of 125 degrees F
For medium rare beef steak: Warm red center, internal temperature of 135 degrees F
For medium beef steak: Warm pink center, internal temperature of 145 degrees F
For Medium well beef steak: Slightly pink center, internal temperature of 150 degrees F
For well done beef steak: little or no pink in center, internal temperature of 160 degrees F

When cooking steak, it always helps to have an instant read thermometer nearby. This allows you to check the internal temperature very quickly, without having to cut into the steak and letting all the juices out. Insert the thermometer directly into the center of the steak and make sure it’s not touching the grill or pan, and avoid fat if possible. The true temp will be right at the center of the steak. And here’s the BIG key… remove the steak from cooking when it’s 5 degrees below the desired doneness. The steak will continue to cook after it’s removed from heat. This resting process is essential to achieving perfection in your steaks. To rest a steak, remove from heat and place on a warm (not hot!) plate and lightly cover with aluminum foil. Do NOT tightly wrap the foil around the steak. Just take a piece of foil and tent it over the steak for 3-5 minutes. 3 minutes for smaller steaks, up to 5 minutes for larger steaks.

steak doneness chart

FAQs about Steak Doneness

How to spot a medium-rare steak

Medium rare steak has a warm center and a nice seared crust. It’s juicier and more flavorful. Cooking the steaks to medium-rare infuses a buttery flavor to it, endearing it to meat lovers.

It’s easy to spot a medium-rare steak. You’ll see 50 percent of the meat red. You can also check the internal temperature of the meat to find out.

How to tell when a steak is done

The appearance of the meat inside can give an indication when a steak is done. However, checking the internal temperature is the best way to check for steak doneness.

Depending on your desired doneness, there is a recommended time and temperature range to ensure the steak is done. Certain factors, such as the weather and the type of your grill or oven you use, may cause slight changes in the cooking time.

Why sous vide your steak

Sous vide allows you to have more control over the level of doneness of your steak. This way, it won’t come out too done or too rare. Since you can do precision cooking with sous vide device, you can get your perfect steak every single time.

Does timing matter for sous vide steak?

Yes, it still does. Cooking the steak in a sous vide device for too long can affect its chewiness. You’ll get a pleasant amount of chew if you sous vide your steak at the recommended time. The timing usually depends on how thick your meat is. The rule of thumb is – 1 inch of steak gets one hour of cooking time.

Now that you know so much about steak doneness, why not try some lip-smacking steak recipes we have for you. Here are some picks for you:

Country Beef Steak with Garlic Butter
Perfect Oven Steak Recipe
Slow Cooker Steak Fajitas Recipe

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About the Author

Jason is a popular recipe teacher. His gift is making delicious recipes very easy to master with simple, step by step instructions. He loves bold, full flavoured cooking inspired by the South.

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