How Long to Leave Steaks Out Before Cooking

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You want your steaks to be perfectly cooked every time, don’t you? Well, one key step in achieving that is letting them come to room temperature before cooking.

But how long should you leave them out? In this article, we’ll provide you with the optimal time to reach that ideal temperature, along with the factors you should consider and the risks involved.

We’ll also share alternative methods and expert tips to ensure your steaks are prepared at the perfect temperature.

Get ready for mouthwatering results!

Key Takeaways

  • Cooking steaks at room temperature results in more even cooking and better searing.
  • Resting steaks allows the meat to relax and redistribute juices, ensuring even cooking and preventing juices from spilling out.
  • Thin cuts of steak should rest for about 5 minutes, medium cuts for around 10 minutes, and thick cuts for at least 15 minutes.
  • Leaving steaks out for too long can increase the risk of bacterial growth, so it’s important to keep them refrigerated until ready to cook.

Optimal Room Temperature for Steaks

The optimal room temperature for steaks is typically around 30 minutes before cooking. Allowing your steak to come to room temperature before cooking has a significant impact on its overall quality.

When a steak is too cold, the cooking process becomes uneven, resulting in an overcooked exterior and an undercooked interior. By bringing the steak to room temperature, you ensure that it cooks more evenly, resulting in a tender and juicy steak. This is because the heat can penetrate the meat more evenly, allowing it to cook to perfection.

Additionally, room temperature steaks tend to have a better sear, as they can develop a nice crust without overcooking the inside.

Factors to Consider Before Leaving Steaks Out

One important factor to consider is how much time you should allow for your steaks to rest. While it may be tempting to dive right into cooking your steaks, it is crucial to let them rest for a few minutes before doing so. This allows the meat to relax and redistribute its juices, resulting in a more tender and flavorful steak.

When leaving your steaks out, there are a few factors to avoid. Firstly, you should never leave them out for too long, as this can lead to bacterial growth and foodborne illnesses. It is recommended to let them rest at room temperature for no more than 30 minutes.

On the other hand, there are several benefits of letting your steaks rest before cooking. Resting allows the meat to reach an even temperature, ensuring that it cooks more evenly. Additionally, it allows the juices to settle, preventing them from spilling out and resulting in a juicy and succulent steak.

Recommended Time for Steaks to Reach Ideal Temperature

To achieve the ideal temperature for your steaks, make sure you allow them to rest for the recommended amount of time. Resting your steaks is crucial as it allows the meat to redistribute the juices, resulting in a tender and juicy steak.

Here’s the optimal resting time for steaks and the impact it has on meat tenderness:

  1. Thin cuts of steak (1 inch or less): Rest for about 5 minutes. This short resting time allows the juices to settle and ensures a flavorful bite.

  2. Medium cuts of steak (1-2 inches): Rest for around 10 minutes. This extra time allows the meat to relax and become more tender.

  3. Thick cuts of steak (2 inches or more): Rest for at least 15 minutes. This extended resting time allows for a more even distribution of juices, resulting in a moist and tender steak.

Risks and Safety Precautions of Leaving Steaks Out

Leaving steaks at room temperature before cooking can increase the risk of bacterial growth, so it’s important to handle and store them properly. When steaks are left out for an extended period, bacteria can multiply rapidly, potentially leading to foodborne illnesses. Bacteria thrive in the ‘danger zone’ temperature range of 40°F to 140°F (4°C to 60°C).

To minimize the risks, always keep steaks refrigerated until ready to cook. If you need to thaw frozen steaks, do so in the refrigerator, not on the countertop. When handling raw steaks, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly before and after, and use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked meat to avoid cross-contamination.

Alternative Methods to Bring Steaks to Room Temperature

If you’re in a hurry, try using the sous vide method to quickly bring your steaks to room temperature. This technique involves sealing the steaks in a plastic bag and placing them in a water bath set to the desired temperature. The precise control of the water bath ensures that the steaks heat evenly and quickly, without any risk of overcooking.

Here are three alternative methods you can try to bring your steaks to room temperature quickly:

  1. Dry brining: Coat the steaks with salt and let them sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes. The salt helps to draw out moisture from the surface of the steaks, which in turn speeds up the process of bringing them to room temperature.

  2. Marinating techniques: Instead of leaving the steaks out, marinate them in your favorite marinade for about 30 minutes. The acidity in the marinade helps to tenderize the meat and also helps to bring it to room temperature faster.

  3. Partially cooking: If you’re really pressed for time, you can partially cook the steaks in a hot skillet for a few minutes on each side. This will help to bring the internal temperature up faster while still allowing you to finish cooking the steaks to your desired level of doneness later.

Expert Tips for Preparing Steaks at the Perfect Temperature

One expert tip for preparing steaks at the perfect temperature is to let them rest after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. This not only enhances the flavor but also ensures a tender and juicy steak.

When it comes to marinating techniques, it is best to marinate the steak for at least 30 minutes to overnight, depending on the desired flavor intensity. Marinating helps tenderize the meat and infuse it with delicious flavors.

Now, let’s talk about grilling versus pan searing. While grilling gives a smoky flavor and beautiful grill marks, pan searing allows for a crispy crust and a shorter cooking time. Both methods can result in a perfectly cooked steak, so choose the one that suits your preference and cooking equipment.

Remember to let your steak rest before slicing to savor every mouthwatering bite.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Leave My Steaks Out for Longer Than the Recommended Time to Reach Room Temperature?

You can leave your steaks out for longer than the recommended time to reach room temperature. However, keep in mind that marinating techniques and the benefits of room temperature cooking might be affected.

How Does Leaving Steaks Out Affect the Texture and Tenderness of the Meat?

Leaving steaks out affects their texture and tenderness. Although it’s tempting to speed up cooking by leaving them out longer, it can lead to safety concerns. Plus, it won’t significantly impact flavor.

Can I Marinate My Steaks While They Are Reaching Room Temperature?

Yes, you can marinate your steaks while they reach room temperature. This is a great way to infuse them with flavor. Alternatively, you can also marinate them in the refrigerator for a longer period of time.

What Is the Best Way to Store Steaks if I Decide Not to Leave Them Out?

The best way to store steaks if you decide not to leave them out is to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will help maintain their freshness and prevent any bacterial growth.

Are There Any Health Risks Associated With Leaving Steaks Out Before Cooking?

Leaving steaks out before cooking can pose health risks due to the potential growth of bacteria. It’s best to refrigerate them to ensure food safety. However, if you want to speed up the cooking time, you can leave them out for a short period.


In conclusion, to ensure a perfectly cooked steak, it is recommended to leave it out at room temperature for about 30 minutes. However, it is crucial to consider factors such as the steak’s thickness and the temperature of your surroundings.

Keep in mind that leaving steaks out for too long can pose food safety risks. Alternatively, you can use other methods like sous vide or preheating the oven to achieve the desired temperature.

Remember, like a well-oiled machine, a properly prepared steak will sizzle on the grill, tantalizing your taste buds with its juicy tenderness.