Steak Resting Time: How Long To Let Steak Sit After Cooking

Don’t overlook the time between grilling your steak and plating it. That steak resting time is more critical than you may think. In fact, letting your steak rest is an essential step to getting the …

Steak Resting Time_How Long To Rest Steaks After Cooking

Don’t overlook the time between grilling your steak and plating it. That steak resting time is more critical than you may think. In fact, letting your steak rest is an essential step to getting the most from its flavor. Why is that? And how long should you let your steak rest for the best taste? Are there other things you need to consider while resting? Let’s cover what you need to know.

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Why do you need to let a steak rest after cooking?

If you’ve ever cooked a steak, you know that the first thing you want to do after cooking it is cut into it and take a bite. But if you do that right away, you’re not going to get the full flavor of the steak. That’s because when you cook a steak, the juices inside the meat start to move around. If you cut into the steak right away, all those juices will come rushing out, and you’ll lose a lot of the flavor.

When you rest the steak before serving, it gives the juices a chance to redistribute themselves evenly throughout the meat. That way, when you finally cut into it, all those delicious juices are still locked inside where they belong. As a result, you get a much more flavorful, juicy steak.

How long should you let your steak rest?

If you’re going to remember any general rule of thumb, this is it: You want to rest your steak for a minimum of five to seven minutes. That’s the minimum time you want to allow the juices to redistribute themselves and for the steak to cool down slightly so you can enjoy all its flavor.

That said, let’s get more specific based on cuts and size.

Do different steak cuts need different amounts of resting time?

Another way to think of this is “does the thickness of the steak matter?” since steak cuts often differ by thickness.

Thicker steaks, such as a ribeye or porterhouse, will need more time to rest than thinner cuts, like a skirt steak or flank steak. This is because thicker steaks have more muscle fibers, so they need more time to relax and reabsorb their juices. So, if you’re cooking a thick steak, give it plenty of time to rest before cutting into it. Thicker cuts need 10 to 15 minutes of resting time before serving. Some chefs allow them to rest even longer, up to 20 minutes.

Thinner steaks don’t need as much resting time because they have fewer muscle fibers. This means they won’t lose as much juice when you cut into them, so you can go ahead and dig in sooner than a thick steak. Giving those thinner steaks the five-minute minimum of resting time is often plenty enough to allow the juices to redistribute.

So, in short:

  • Thinner cut steaks: 5 to 7 minutes resting time is typically sufficient
  • Thicker cut steaks: 10 to 20 minutes resting time is generally sufficient

A thickness rule of thumb: For every inch of thickness, rest the meat for 5 minutes (with 5 minutes being the minimum). It comes out to similar numbers as above, but it may be easier to remember,

If you don’t have much time, even just a minute or two of rest can make a big difference. It may not be the perfect steak in that case, but every minute of resting time matters.

Are steaks still cooking while resting? Does that impact the steak’s doneness?

Resting a steak does cause it to continue cooking (it’s called carryover cooking), but only very slightly. The difference in temperature is so slight that you’re unlikely to notice any difference in the final product.

That said, thinner steaks can be more susceptible to doneness shifts (for instance, from medium-rare to medium) if left resting too long.

If you’re worried about your steak overcooking while it rests, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steak before cutting into it.

As a general guideline, most steaks will increase in temperature by approximately four degrees Fahrenheit during their resting period. So, if you’re looking for a medium-rare steak, aim for an internal temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit before removing it from the heat. Then, let it rest for five to seven minutes. The final internal temperature of the steak should be around 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfect for medium-rare.

Do resting steaks get cold?

Yes, resting steaks do get cold. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, some people prefer their steak to be served slightly cooler than room temperature.

If you’re worried about your steak getting too cold while it rests, there are a few things you can do. First, you can loosely cover the steak with aluminum foil or a kitchen towel to help retain its heat. Second, you can rest the steak on top of a warm plate or in a warm oven (set to “warm” or the lowest temperature setting) to help keep it from cooling down too much.

Finally, remember that you can always reheat a cold steak if necessary. Simply place it back on the grill, in the oven, or in a skillet over medium-high heat until it reaches the desired temperature.

What should you rest a steak on?

Most people will say that you should rest your steak on a plate or a cutting board. It certainly works, but this is actually not the best way to do it. The problem with resting your steak on either is that the heat from the steak will start to cook the bottom of the steak, potentially making it tougher.


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06/28/2022 11:54 am GMT

The best way to rest your steak is actually on a wire cooling rack. This way, the heat can escape from all sides of the steak, and it will stay nice and juicy. Just make sure that you don’t put the wire rack in the oven (or sitting on a baking pan, with space in-between the rack and pan), or you’ll have a mess on your hands!

Should an already overcooked steak be rested?

It depends. If the steak is overcooked and dry, then there’s not much that resting it will do to help. It may actually make things worse by giving the juices a chance to escape. In this case, serve the steak as is. Also, read our post on making the most of an overcooked steak. It’ll give you ideas on how to save that meal.

If the steak is only slightly overcooked, resting it can help to redistribute the juices and make it more tender. Just be sure to check the steak’s internal temperature before serving it to ensure that it’s not overcooked.