Cooking The Perfect Medium Steak In The Oven: A Comprehensive Guide

A juicy, succulent medium steak cooked to perfection is the epitome of a delightful dining experience. While grilling is the traditional method, cooking steak in the oven can be just as satisfying. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the art and science of preparing a medium steak in the oven. From selecting the right cut to mastering the desired doneness, we’ll cover it all. So, grab your apron and let’s get started!

Understanding the Food Science behind Medium Steak

Before we dive into the culinary details, it’s essential to understand the science behind a perfectly cooked medium steak. The Maillard reaction is a chemical process that occurs when proteins and sugars are heated together, resulting in that coveted brown crust on the surface of a steak. This reaction enhances the flavor, aroma, and overall appeal of the meat.

Medium steak, cooked to an internal temperature of 140-145°F (60-63°C), strikes the perfect balance between tenderness and flavor. The heat cooks the proteins, reducing the moisture content and rendering the meat more palatable.

Now that we’ve laid the groundwork, let’s explore everything you need to know about cooking a medium steak in the oven!

Selecting the Perfect Cut

To achieve a delectable medium steak, selecting the right cut is crucial. Here are some popular cuts to consider:

  1. Ribeye: Known for its marbling and rich flavor, ribeye is a top-choice for steak enthusiasts.

  2. Tenderloin: Also called filet mignon, this cut is exceptionally tender and boasts a delicate flavor.

  3. New York Strip: This well-marbled cut is highly versatile and delivers ample tenderness and juiciness.

  4. Sirloin: Offering a balance between tenderness and affordability, sirloin is a popular choice for steak lovers.

When choosing your cut, ensure it is at least 1.5 inches thick to prevent overcooking in the oven. Opting for high-quality, well-marbled steaks will result in a more delicious and tender end result.

Cleaning and Preparing the Steak

medium steak

Proper cleaning and preparation of the steak are vital to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Follow these steps:

  1. Cleaning: Pat the steak with paper towels to absorb excess moisture. This will aid in achieving a desirable crust during cooking.

  2. Seasoning: Generously season the steak with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. For added depth, consider incorporating herbs and spices such as garlic powder, rosemary, or smoked paprika.

  3. Resting: Allow the seasoned steak to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This step ensures even cooking and helps maintain the meat’s tenderness.

Tips for Oven Cooking

Cooking a medium steak in the oven requires attention to detail. Follow these tips to achieve restaurant-worthy results:

  1. Preheating: Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C) to ensure consistent cooking temperature.

  2. Choosing the Pan: Use a heavy-duty oven-safe skillet or a cast-iron pan for optimal heat distribution.

  3. Oil and Heat: Coat the pan with a high smoke point oil, such as canola or vegetable oil. Place the pan over high heat until it starts smoking slightly. The hot pan will sear the steak, locking in the juices and flavor.

  4. Searing the Steak: Carefully place the steak in the hot pan and let it sear for 2-3 minutes on each side until a beautiful crust forms.

  5. Transferring to the Oven: Once seared, transfer the pan to the preheated oven. The residual heat will continue cooking the steak gently.

  6. Using a Meat Thermometer: To ensure your steak reaches the perfect medium doneness, use a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the steak, away from any bones. For medium, aim for an internal temperature of 140-145°F (60-63°C).

  7. Resting Period: After reaching the desired doneness, remove the steak from the oven and allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes. This resting period allows the meat to reabsorb juices and ensures optimal tenderness.

Doneness Checks and Variations

oven baked medium steak

Determining the doneness of your steak can be easily achieved using the following methods:

  1. Visual Check: Assess the color of the steak’s interior. A medium steak will have a warm pink center with a slightly pinkish-red outer rim.

  2. Finger Test: With your thumb touching your index finger, press the base of your thumb, near the palm. This feels similar to a rare-medium steak. As you progress to touch your middle, ring, and pinky fingers sequentially, you can feel the firmness of well-done, medium, and rare steaks, respectively.

If a medium steak isn’t your preference, here are a few other popular variations:

  • Rare: Cooked to an internal temperature of 125°F (51°C), a rare steak is characterized by a cool, red center.

  • Medium-Rare: Achieved at around 130-135°F (54-57°C), this doneness offers a warm red center with a significant pinkish hue.

  • Medium-Well: For those who prefer less pink, aim for an internal temperature of 150-155°F (66-69°C). The center will have a slight hint of pink, but the majority of the steak will be cooked through.

  • Well-Done: Cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F (71°C) and higher, a well-done steak will be uniformly brown throughout, with minimal moisture and tenderness.

Remember that personal preferences in steak doneness can vary, so adjust cooking times according to your specific taste.

An Irresistible Medium Steak Oven Recipe

Now that we’ve covered the essential details, let’s delve into a mouthwatering recipe for a perfect medium steak cooked in the oven.


  • 2 thick-cut ribeye steaks (about 1.5 inches thick)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons high smoke point oil (canola or vegetable oil)

  • Optional: Garlic powder, rosemary, or smoked paprika for additional flavor


  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).

  2. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season generously with kosher salt, black pepper, and any additional herbs or spices.

  3. Allow the seasoned steaks to rest at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes.

  4. Heat a heavy-duty oven-safe skillet or cast-iron pan over high heat and add the oil. Let it heat until it begins to smoke slightly.

  5. Place the steaks in the hot pan and sear for 2-3 minutes on each side until a beautiful crust forms.

  6. Transfer the pan with the seared steaks to the preheated oven and continue cooking for approximately 8-10 minutes until the desired internal temperature is reached.

  7. Use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steak to check for the desired medium doneness (140-145°F or 60-63°C).

  8. Once done, remove the pan from the oven and let the steaks rest for 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute and the steak to reach optimal tenderness.

  9. Serve your perfectly cooked medium steak and enjoy!

Overcooked or Undercooked Steak: Troubleshooting Tips

Sometimes, things don’t go as planned in the kitchen. In case your steak turns out overcooked or undercooked, here are a few troubleshooting tips:

Overcooked Steak: If you find your steak is cooked beyond the desired medium doneness, here are two rescue options:

  • Resting: Letting the overcooked steak rest for a longer time will help reabsorb some moisture, potentially improving the texture.

  • Sauces and Butters: Serve your overcooked steak with flavorful sauces, such as chimichurri or peppercorn sauce, or accompany it with herb butter to enhance the overall eating experience.

Undercooked Steak: If your steak turns out undercooked, follow these steps to salvage the situation:

  • Finish in the Oven: Return the undercooked steak to the oven at a lower temperature (around 350°F or 180°C) for a few more minutes until the desired doneness is achieved.

  • Slice and Sear: Slice the undercooked steak into thin pieces and briefly sear them in a hot skillet to bring them up to the desired temperature. This method works particularly well for thin cuts.

While it’s best to aim for the perfect medium doneness right from the start, these troubleshooting tips will rescue your meal should the need arise.

The Art of Savoring a Perfect Medium Steak

Now that you have successfully cooked a mouthwatering medium steak in the oven, it’s time to savor and appreciate your culinary masterpiece. Here are a few suggestions for enhancing your dining experience:

  1. Pair your steak with appropriate wine or beverage that complements its rich flavors. Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec are excellent choices to accompany a medium steak.

  2. Serve your steak with delightful sides such as roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus, or a fresh green salad.

  3. Experiment with compound butters, flavored salts, or herb rubs to elevate the taste profile of your steak.

Remember, cooking a perfect medium steak is as much a science as it is an art. With practice, creativity, and attention to detail, you’ll soon become an expert in preparing a steak that will dazzle your taste buds and satisfy your cravings.

So, embrace the art and science behind cooking steaks in the oven, and embark on a flavorful journey that will leave you and your loved ones craving more. Happy cooking!

  • How To Cook A Steak In The Oven To Perfect Medium Rare – ChatterSource
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  • The Only Steak Temperature Chart You’ll Need | Steak School
  • FAQS On Medium Steak Oven Recipe

    What Temperature Should I Preheat The Oven To?

    Preheat the oven to 400°F for a medium steak.

    How Long Should I Cook A Medium Steak In The Oven?

    Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the steak. For a 1-inch thick steak, cook for about 10-12 minutes for medium doneness.

    Do I Need To Season The Steak Before Cooking It In The Oven?

    Yes, it is recommended to season the steak with salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings before cooking it in the oven.

    Should I Use A Cast Iron Skillet Or A Baking Dish For Cooking The Steak In The Oven?

    Either option will work, but a cast iron skillet is preferred for a more even cooking and better sear on the steak.

    How Can I Check If The Steak Is Cooked To Medium Doneness?

    Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steak. For medium doneness, the internal temperature should be around 140-145°F.