Cyber Week Sale - Up to 30% Off Ends inShop NowGriddle Added to SaleShop NowFree Shipping over $49 | 45 Day Trial | Limited Lifetime Warranty

To Flip or Not To Flip: The Age Old Question of Steak Searing

By Bradford Malt
May 18, 2019
Share This

If you’ve ever manned a grill, you may have noticed that everyone has an opinion on searing a steak. It’s probably the reason someone coined the phrase, “Too many cooks.” But one technique has remained particularly divisive: should you flip your steak every 30-60 seconds or should you flip it exactly once, allowing each side to cook uninterrupted to perfection?

The answer might surprise you. Truth be told, on the outside, you’re not going to notice much of a difference. Achieving that crisp, brown crust on the outside of your steak is really dependent on a few factors that you can control regardless of which flipping team you ultimately choose to join. You want to follow these three golden rules of steak cooking:

  • Steaks should be at least 1” thick—this allows a crust to develop without the risk of overcooking the steak’s interior
  • Steaks should be dry—dry them well with a paper towel and make sure they come to room temperature before you even think about letting them touch your pan (season with salt after they’re dry)
  • Pan should be hot—you want that pan hot and you want to use an oil that can handle that heat (think vegetable instead of olive oil), but don’t just crank the heat as high as you can! A stainless steel pan will retain heat very well and controlling your heat is a vital part of cooking. Set your heat to medium and give the pan enough time to come up to a high heat before adding your steak.

If you follow the above guidelines, your steak’s going to be pretty damn good.

But we have to admit, for the most perfectly cooked steaks, we’re Team Flips-A-Lot.

You read that right. Flipping your steak frequently helps your meat cook more evenly. You’ll end up with that delectably crisp crust and a tender interior minus those pesky gray edges.

Don’t get us wrong! If you only flip your steak once, it’s still going to be delicious. And if you’re cooking for a crowd, by all means, flip only once. If your meat is dry and your pan is hot, it’s going to taste great and everyone will think you’re awesome when their steaks are cooked exactly the way they like them (even that one friend who wants theirs well done).

What flipping does that a single flip won’t do is help the meat remain at a more constant temperature on all sides for the entire time you’re cooking. If you only flip once, one half of your steak will be sitting at a cooler temperature while the other half sizzles. Then once you flip, the top side will still be cooking for a few moments while the bottom half now gets the full heat of the pan. You’ll have the correct interior, but you’ll end up with well done edges instead of a nice even fade from medium-rare to crust. As a bonus, because the heat is remaining so constant, it will reduce your cook time by a couple of minutes as well! Faster and better? Sign us up!

And don’t be shy with your finishing either! In the last couple of minutes, toss in a big pat of butter, a smashed clove of garlic, and a handful of fresh herbs: baste, turn several more times, and serve.

You’re welcome.

Featured in this article - Frying Pans

Also called a skillet, a stainless steel frying pan is ideal for searing meat. We designed our skillets to have sloped walls (not bowled) to allow steam to escape the pan. The result, a premium sear, exactly what a skillet is designed to do. Our stainless steel skillets come in 8", 10" and 12" varieties starting at $59.

Click to shop stainless steel Frying Pans

Shop Cyber Week