Main DishesRecipesSous VideSteak

Sous Vide Steak

Season, sous vide, sear. Seriously it’s that simple to cook the most delicious perfect steak every time.
By January 10, 2019 17 Comments Jump to Recipe
perfect sous vide ny steak horizontal

There’s really nothing like taking a bite of a perfectly cooked steak. It’s a special feeling. It’s tender, it’s juicy, it’s bursting with flavor. It’s a special taste and often for a special occasion. Sous vide is the technique that guarantees perfection every time. 

It’s uniformly cooked through the entire steak. The outside has a crust on it and it easily slices through with a knife revealing that perfect medium-rare interior. The flavor is perfect and the texture melts in your mouth. It’s unmistakable. You have one of the best mouth-watering bites possible in your mouth at that moment.

More often than not, the steak is going to come out a little over or undercooked, and it if the temperature is nailed in the middle, there is still going to be that dreaded grey ring round the edge. Sure, we all get it right some of the time, but it takes a lot of practice to get a perfect cook every single time. That is, unless you are cooking your steak with the sous vide method.

Why Sous Vide Steak?

Cooking steak with the sous vide method will yield perfect results every time. Whether you prefer your steak rare, medium, well done or anywhere in between; there is just no guessing as to when your steak is exactly the temperature you want it to be when you cook sous vide.  
There’s also significantly less shrinkage when steak is sous vide. When steak cooks on a hot surf for a long period of time, it will lose liquid, and thus weight. The sous vide technique will prevent this from happening. 

Benefits of Sous Vide Steak?

So you went out and bought the best steak you could find. The last thing you want to do is mess it up by overcooking it or even undercooking it. 

  • All the guesswork is eliminated. Set the temp and the time and the rest of the work is done for you. 
  • Cooked to the exact temperature you specify through the entire cut of meat.
  • Can be cooked ahead of time and then seared in a skillet just before you are ready to eat.
  • Great for meal prep
steak in sous vide water bath horizontal

What does Sous Vide Cooking Mean?

Sous vide is a French term that means to cook “under vacuum.” It might sound super sciency, technical and complicated, but I can promise you that it’s really super simple. 

The food (steak in this case) is vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag, then that bag is submerged in a temperature-controlled water bath for a period of time. 

The sous vide technique has been around for a long, long time, but it’s only fairly recently becoming a method that is commonly used at home because of the accessibility of consumer sous vide machines.

Sous Vide for Entertaining and Parties

When you are entertaining, you would probably rather be entertaining your guests rather than hovering over the stove hoping to impress them with your steak cooking skills (or praying they aren’t overcooked).

The amazing thing about sous vide for steaks is they can be cooked to the perfect temperature ahead of time (like way before your guests even arrive), then quickly sear them off right before serving. This makes for stress-free entertaining while executing perfect food.

Make a Steak Sampler Dinner Party

Here’s an idea for a dinner party: Go pick up a New York strip, a ribeye, and filet mignon. Season and vacuum them together or in individual bags, then cook in a sous vide water bath based on the time and temp from the chart. Sear them off after they are cooked and ready for your steak sampler dinner party. No sauce needed. 

Everyone can taste to see how the flavors and textures differ and pick their favorite. 

One of the amazing things about sous vide steaks is that no matter the size or thickness of the steak, it will come out the temperature you specify. That means if you have a 2-pound T-Bone and an 8-ounce filet mignon, they will both come out perfectly medium-rare at the same time. Pretty amazing, right?

new york steak prep for sous vide

The Best Steaks for Sous Vide

While any steak will technically work for the sous vide technique, it is much better to go with a bigger steak. So if you are making steak for two, get one large steak instead of two individual size steaks. 

The reason that bigger is better, in this case, is that the steaks are first cooked in the water bath, then quickly seared off to develop that perfect flavorful crust on the outside. If the steak is really small and thin, it will start to overcook before it is fully browned. 

Thickness – Go with steaks that are at least 1” thick, but preferably a bit thicker.
Size – 12oz and up (remember this will get sliced and served to multiple people)
Grade – Prime or Choice Grade

new york steak vacuum sealed for sous vide

Sous Vide Steak Temp

Since we’re cooking the steak in the sous vide, there’s no need for a temperature range. It’s an exact science, so you can just set it and forget it (until it’s done). 🙂

The perfect medium-rare temperature for steak is 130° F or 54.4° C. You can go up or down a degree or two depending on your preference.  

How Long to Sous Vide Steak

A 1-inch steak should be cooked in the sous vide between 1 hour and 3 hours for medium-rare. That’s right! You have that giant window of time that you can do other things and your steak will come out perfect whenever you take it out within that window. Cooking the steak past  Cooking the steak longer than the window will start to break down the fibers and cause it to get mushy.

Steak Sous Vide Temperature Guide Chart

Cooking temperatures and times for sous vide

CookTemperatureTime
Rare125° F / 51.6° C1 to 3 hours
Medium Rare130° F / 54.4° C1 to 3 hours
Medium140° F / 60° C1 to 3 hours
Well Done160° F / 71° C1 to 3 hours
sous vide steak pre-seared

How to Finish / Sear a Sous Vide Steak

The searing step isn’t one you want to walk away from. Not only is it the most exciting step, but it happens very quickly and the steaks can easily overcook if left in the pan too long. You will want to make sure your steaks are as dry as possible so they sear instead of steam.

searing sous vide steak in skillet

The Skillet Method

Heat a heavy cast iron skillet until it’s very hot, then drizzle in enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the steaks and sear for 30 seconds to 1 minute on all sides, or until they are golden brown. You don’t want to let them sear for longer than this or they will start to raise the internal temperature. 

Butter Basting FTW

Butter basting is one of those wonders that adds so much flavor. You see chefs doing it, and you should be doing it too. It’s a great technique for sous vide steaks because it helps them brown up quickly while warming through.

When the steak is searing, add a few tablespoons of butter and thyme sprigs to the pan. It will melt quickly, so start using a large spoon to baste the butter on top of the steak.

The thyme flavor will infuse into the hot melted butter and add tons of flavor to the outside of the steak, along with helping to brown it even quicker.

perfect sous vide ny steak vertical

Special Equipment Used

You can see the equipment used (below) or check out the post all about Essential Sous Vide Accessories.

Contains affiliate links where I might receive a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

perfect sous vide ny steak horizontal

Sous Vide Steak

5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 2 minutes
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 17 minutes
Servings: 1 steak

Ingredients

  • 1 Steak (1″ thick)
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs

For searing the Steak

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil or other neutral oil
  • 1 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  • Fill your sous vide container or pot with water and turn the machine on according to manufactures instructions to 130° F or 54.4° C for medium-rare, or to the desired finished temperature.
  • Season the steak liberally on all sides with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Place a thyme sprig on each side of the steak, then place it in a vacuum seal bag or ziplock bag.
  • Vacuum seal the bag if using a vacuum sealer, or if using a ziplock bag; partially seal it removing as much air as possible, then use the water displacement method by placing the bag in the water (always keeping the opening above the water line) to push the rest of the air out before sealing it.
  • Clip the sealed bag to the side of the container to keep it submerged and cook between 1 and 3 hours.
  • Remove the bag from the water bath and let the steak rest in the bag for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Cut the bag open and place the steak on a paper towel-lined plate and pat as dry as possible (keep the juices for a quick pan sauce if you prefer).

To sear the steak in a skillet

  • Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until it just starts to smoke. Drizzle enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan and let that heat up for a few seconds.
  • Place the steak in the skillet and sear for about 30 to 45 seconds on each side until golden brown. Going longer than 1 minute on each side will cause the steak to cook more than desired.
  • As soon as the steak hits the skillet, add a few tablespoons of butter along with the thyme sprigs. Once the butter melts, begin basting it over the steak with the thyme until it’s finished the sear is finished.
  • Slice and serve immediately. No need to rest it.

Notes

  • Recipe makes 1 steak, but can easily be scaled up for more.
  • New York strip steak was used in this post, but recipe works for any cut.
  • If the steak isn’t staying submerged, you can put bowl or plate on top of it to keep it down.

More Sous Vide Content

Join the discussion 17 Comments

  • Richard says:

    Can the steak (assume 2″ thick filets) be cooked straight from the refrigerator (approx 34 degrees F) or does it need to sit out for a while so that you are starting with meat closer to room temperature?

    • justin says:

      Hi Richard. Yep, you can sous vide right from the refrigerator. There’s no need to temper the steaks when cooking sous vide. You could even cook straight from the freezer, but extra time will have to be added. Cheers!

  • Michael says:

    This is my first time making Sous Vide Steak. The great thing is that I have read your recipe. Everything is very perfect. Thanks you!

    • justin says:

      Thrilled to hear that it came out perfect the first time trying it. That’s the goal! Keep on experimenting with Sous Vide. It’s so fun. Enjoy!

  • Roses says:

    oh. Actually cooking steak is not as difficult as I thought. Following your recipe, I made a great steak. So delicious. Thank you!

  • MiserzbleOldFart says:

    I have made outstanding steaks out of top round london broil on sale.. I usually use 129 and cook from 2 to 3 hours. When cooking at sub-pasteurization temps, the searing is especially important for safety – to kill the germs on the surface of the meat, where they are usually found. If I have my druthers, first choice in searing is on the grill with a 100% mesquite fire. Second choice outside on a gas stove with the stove and a torch. Last is on the kitchen stove, but still very good.

    Rather than butter basted, I like to cook a couple mushrooms with a little garlic and butter, allow to cool. Put 8 ounces or more of heavy cream into the food processor and let it rip until it’s butter. Do NOT salt the butter until after you pour off the buttermilk, which you can then drink or save. Add the cool mushrooms and process to incorporate the shrooms with the butter. This adds great umami flavor to the beef. with a pat put on just before eating. This can be frozen and used whenever, allowing for some warming time, or a very brief nuke if you forget.

    • justin says:

      OMG, that mushroom sauce sounds to die for. I’m definitely going to give it a try.
      How much of the mesquite smoke flavor gets into the steak when it’s just a quick sear?
      Thanks for adding your great tips!

      • MiserableOldFart says:

        If you can get some maitake mushrooms, just an ounce will do, that butter will really sing umami.. Maitake, aka hen-of-the-woods, is a strong flavored fall shroom that does this the best. Only an ounce of it will do 8 ounces or so of butter..

        Maitake can be allergy-causing for some people, but it’s the best for this butter.

    • Isaac says:

      I almost burnt my house down adding the oil (: def should reword the searing step one around… maybe say add oil then heat? Cause I heated on high then added the oil and kaboom literally almost sh** myself lol. But if turned out amazing regardless after I retried the searing! Did burn my hand thou :/

      • justin says:

        Hey Isaac. Oh no! What kind of oil did you use and what type of pan? Any idea what temp the pan was? I almost always put the oil in after pre-heat because the oil can be degraded by the time the pan heats up. I haven’t had an issue, so I’d love to hear more info so we can figure it out.
        Glad to hear the steak turned out amazing, but sorry about the rest.

  • Tami says:

    my son likes rare and I like med/well. Do I sous vide together at rare temp then remove his and turn up temp on mine? or does it take a long time to up the temp?

    • justin says:

      Hi Tami,
      Great question and one that I need to make a separate post about. The way to do it is similar to what you describe, but reversed. First sous vide the med/well steak (around 140 to 145°F) for 1 hour, then lower the temperature of the water to the rare temp. You can put ice in a plastic bag and lower that into the water bath to quickly lower the temperature. Sous vide the rare steak as you would and leave the med/well steak in the water to stay warm. Hope this helps!
      Cheers,
      Justin

  • Igor says:

    No finishing with a blowtorch?

  • Stacy says:

    Cooked to absolute perfection! Melt in your mouth goodness.

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