2 Ways to Cook Rib Eye Steak so It's Tender and Juicy, According to a Chef

There are two ways to cook rib eye steak in the oven for a juicy dinner.
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You can wow your guests with a delicious steak dinner by simply cooking rib eye in the oven. With its rich flavor and tender consistency, this juicy cut tastes just as good as it looks.

"There really isn't another cut of meat quite like the rib eye," Yankel Polak, head chef at ButcherBox, tells LIVESTRONG.com. It's both easy and quick to cook, he notes. "The rib eye contains what is, by far, the most flavorful and nearly the most tender bite of beef," Polak says.



There are two main ways to cook rib eye steak in the oven. You can either sear the meat and then transfer it to the oven or bake it before searing.

How to Choose the Best Rib Eye Steak

The rib eye cut lies in the upper rib cage of cattle, so it gets little exercise. For this reason, it's more tender than other pieces of meat. Additionally, its leaner portions are covered by a layer of fat, which further enhances its flavor and tenderness.

A cooked, 4.5-ounce steak (about a serving and a half) packs in 240 calories, about 38 grams of protein and 10 grams of fat, according to the USDA. It also provides a whopping 26 percent of the daily recommended iron intake, 11 percent of the daily recommended amount of potassium, nearly 130 percent of the daily recommended allowance of zinc and over 180 percent of the daily recommended vitamin B12


Read more: 15 of the Best Lean Animal Proteins

"When choosing a rib eye at the butcher counter, fat is your friend," Polak says. Look for the presence of intramuscular fat — thin white lines of fat within the muscle itself — which is commonly referred to as marbling, he recommends. "The appearance of the intramuscular fat is a great indication of the tenderness — more fat equals more tender," says Polak.

Opt for thin cut steaks as a last-minute special occasion dish, thick-cut steaks for a delicious, every-day dinner or hefty rib roasts for a holiday meal, Polak suggests.


How to Cook Rib Eye in the Oven

Choose 1- to 1.5-inch thick steaks so they don't overcook. Reduce the cooking time for thinner steaks. For the best sear, make sure the meat is dry, Polak says. If you have time, he recommends salting the meat lightly a day in advance for additional flavor. Forgot to plan ahead? You can cook rib eye frozen — it'll just require additional time.

When it comes to cooking rib eye steak in the oven, there are several approaches you can take. Here are two of Polak's favorites cooking techniques for this cut of meat.


Sear First, Then Finish in the Oven

Using a cast iron skillet to cook a rib eye is easy and tasty, Polak says.

What You'll Need

  1. Rib eye
  2. Cooking fat
  3. Kosher salt
  4. Cracked pepper
  5. Butter
  6. Herbs
  7. Cast iron skillet
  8. Food thermometer
  9. Paper towels

How to Do It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Pat the steak dry using paper towels to remove any excess moisture.
  3. Place an oven-safe cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stove for one minute. Letting it warm up without any fat on it allows the pores in the iron to expand a bit so that when you add fat, it will create a nice nonstick surface," says Polak.
  4. Add fat to the pan. Opt for fat that can handle high temperatures without burning or smoking, such as vegetable oil, advises Polak.
  5. Season the steak with coarse kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. "The rib eye can handle plenty of salt and you want each bite to be well seasoned," says Polak.
  6. Once the fat starts smoking, place the meat in the pan. "Try not to move it around too much, [since] you really want to let a crust build," says Polak. This adds to the flavor. Sear the steak for two to three minutes until a crust develops, he says.
  7. Flip the steak. Place the skillet in the oven, and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, advises the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
  8. Let the meat rest for five to eight minutes.

If the steak is thicker, turn it a few times in the oven, recommends Polak. For extra flavor, "try adding a spoonful of good butter and a handful of fresh thyme to the pan for the last couple minutes of cooking," he says.

Read more: The Carnivore Diet: Is Going All-Meat Right for You?

How to Reverse-Sear Steak

This method is a good fit for thicker steaks that are an inch thick (or bigger), says Polak. "It's not worth the time with anything smaller," he notes.

What You'll Need

  1. Rib eye
  2. Kosher salt and pepper
  3. Butter
  4. Herbs (optional)
  5. Food thermometer
  6. Paper towels
  7. Oven-safe casserole or baking dish

How to Do It

  1. Pat the rib eye dry with paper towels to remove moisture.
  2. Season the meat with plenty of kosher salt and cracked black pepper, then place in baking dish.
  3. Place the steak in a cold oven. Set the temperature for 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook the steak until it reaches an internal temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit. At this point, it'll be cooked rare. This will take around 35 to 55 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat, says Polak.
  4. Pull out the meat and let it rest for a few minutes. The rest is essentials, says Polak, since "if you go straight into a hot pan for the final sear you risk overcooking it pretty quickly."
  5. Heat your pan until it's "screaming hot," says Polak. Place the steak in the pan and cook for one minute.
  6. Flip the steak and spoon butter and herbs over it while it cooks for an additional minute on the other side.
  7. The steak is done when its internal temperature is 145 degrees Fahrenheit, per the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
  8. Let the meat rest five to eight minutes.

Read more: How to Grill, Sear and Oven-Finish Rib Eye Steak

Tips for Your Best Rib Eye Steak Meal

  • Always let the rib eye rest after its cooked. Polak explains why: "Heat drives moisture in the meat to the surface, where some of it will inevitably evaporate during cooking." This is why meat will shrink down during the cooking process. But a steak's natural juices are retained, and as the meat rests, the juices move away from the surface and get reabsorbed into the protein fibers of the meat, Polak says. The result is "incredibly juicy beef with every bite," he says. Polak recommends letting individual steaks rest five to eight minutes. Larger chops and roasts should rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

  • Cut the rib eye against the grain. This will help it become more tender and easier to chew. Since this cut of meat has a robust flavor, "you can really experiment with sauces and sides without worrying about overwhelming the star of the meal," Polak says.

  • Pair with veggies for a complete meal. Try serving rib eye with healthy side dishes like baked or steamed asparagus, mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts or sweet potato fries.

Don't hesitate to try other delicious recipes, such as pan-seared rib eye, roasted beef with potatoes and broccoli, steak casserole or pan-grilled steak and vegetables. You can also slow-cook rib eye steak in the oven or in a slow cooker, but make sure to first sear it on both sides to enhance its color and flavor.

Read more: 5 Healthy Red Meat Recipes That Satisfy