How To Cook Delicious Rib Eye Steak In Cast Iron Skillet: 5 Steps

Last Updated on by SteakEat

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This manual shows how to cook rib eye steak in cast iron skillet to perfection.



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Part 1: Required Tools & Ingredients

The ingredients you should ideally have include:

  • 7oz/200g steak (the preferred cut will be matured for 21 days and derived from organic grass-fed cattle; it should be no thicker than 1 inch)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil or ghee
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • Whole fresh black peppercorns

You should also gather all of the tools that you will need for the searing process including:

  • A high quality, sturdy cast iron skillet with optional (but preferred) grill marks
  • Tongs
  • Meat probes – 1 instant and 1 oven probe (if your steak is thicker than 1 inch))
  • Paper towels

Got ’em all? Let’s SteakEat!

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Part 2: Cooking Rib Eye Steak in Cast Iron Skillet – 5 Steps

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Step 1: Bring the Rib Eye to Room Temperature

In general, the best tasting steaks are cooked after they have arrived at room temperature.

That’s why I advise removing the steak from the fridge 40 minutes before searing. If you choose a larger steak, you will need to remove it from the fridge as much as two hours before cooking.


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Step 2: Heating the Skillet

Skillets made from cast iron have the advantage of reaching high temperatures and retaining their heat.

Even though they are great at staying hot cast iron skillets can take ages to reach an adequate cooking temperature.

Cast iron skillets also have the disadvantage of making food stick and burn to your skillet unless they are seasoned properly.

To prevent the sticking and burning of your steak be sure to season the skillet properly before cooking. This is how I do it:

Heat the skillet until medium-high temperature is reached (about 5 mins heating at max power). Then add the coconut oil or ghee. After the oil has been evenly distributed across the pan, remove the skillet from heat. Once the pan has cooled down (takes a bit of time), use paper towels to wipe it down and remove excess fat.

Once your cast iron has been properly seasoned it is ready for cooking. Turn the stove on high heat and place your skillet on it for about 10 minutes, so that it can absorb enough heat.



Side Note:

If you notice your skillet smoking heavily before the 10 minutes run out, wait for another 40 seconds. Your pan is now hot enough.



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Step 3: Pat the Steak Dry and Add Seasoning

The 10 minutes that it takes to heat your skillet do not have to be wasted.

While you pan is heating, prepare your steak.

First, take paper towel and lightly tap it against your steak’s surface until it is well dried.

Then add seasoning. For this basic method you will only use kosher salt to season both sides of the steak. My personal preference is a 7 ounce rib eye seasoned with 2-3 pinches of salt per side.

It is important that you do not add pepper in this step. Freshly ground pepper will burn at high heat, leaving your steak with a charred taste.

To prevent that, we’ll add pepper once the cooking process has been completed.




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Step 4: Searing the Rib Eye

Once your steak has been prepared and your cast iron pan is well-heated, you are ready to go.

Place the steak inside. If the pan is properly seasoned and heated this will cause a quiet sizzling sound.

The next big question is how long your steak should be cooked.

The general rule is that a rib eye steak should be cooked 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare doneness.

The total 6 minutes for this part of the cooking process is divided into 1.5 minute intervals. Cook the steak for 1.5 minutes on top of the grill marks. After this time turn your rib eye steak 90 degrees to result in a final patter that is a #-like mark.

Once the turned steak has been cooking for 1.5 minutes flip it over to cook the other side. Repeat the above process.

Then use your tongs to cook the steak 2 minutes on each lateral side.

The maneuvering of the rib eye that you must do during the searing process is the reason tongs are preferred over spatulas and other utensils.



Side Note:

To keep your cut juicy and tender medium-rare doneness is recommended. My personal opinion is that medium-rare doneness offers a guarantee that the steak retains its tender composition and wonderful juicy flavor.

Temperature is the best way to test the doneness level of a steak. This can be done using an instant meat thermometer.

The thermometer should be inserted into the center of the steak. The internal temperature for medium-rare doneness is 130F or the equivalent of 55C.

As you will see from the ingredients list, this searing method is preferred for rib eyes less than 2.5 cm or 1 inch thick.

If your steak exceeds these thickness requirements you can use this method to sear it but you should finalize cooking using the oven.

The slower oven cooking will ensure your rib eye steak retains its juiciness and flavor. The oven cooking process should, once again, result in an internal temperature of 130F for medium-rare. You can control this using an oven-safe thermometer.

Having said all this, rib eye is very tender and juicy, so medium level of doneness won’t hurt it either – 60C / 140F for your reference.



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Step 5: Resting the Steak

Cooking the steak using the searing method should take a total of 10 minutes – 3 minutes for each side of the rib eye and 2 minutes per lateral side of the steak.

Once it is complete, place your steak on a cutting board or plate. This is when you will grind and add fresh pepper to the rib eye.

The steak should rest on the surface for 3-4 minutes before cutting. This helps to prevent juices running out during the cutting process – rib eye will keep most of its flavor and tenderness.

When you are ready to cut into your steak, do so with a sharp knife. Cut into the steak across the grain, or the muscle fibers, to ensure retention of its juices.

The tender, juicy rib eye can be served alone or paired with a healthy side dish to make a meal.

This concludes the portion of this article on the searing process.

If you are interested in improving your skills using tips and recipes to achieve the perfect rib eye, continue reading.


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Part 3: What to Look at When Buying Quality Rib Eye

Here are the guidelines I use for buying perfect rib eye steak:

Organic Beef from Grass-Fed Cows. For beef to be considered organic it must be raised without the usual antibiotics and growth hormones used in beef raising.

Beef from “grass-fed” cows is derived from cattle that do not consume grain products.

The reason that organic, grass-fed steaks are better is because they come from cattle that are naturally leaner and more flavorful than cattle raised using antibiotics, growth hormones and grain products.

This results in rib eye steak that is not only great tasting, but also so much better for your health.

Going organic grass-fed is especially important for fattier cuts, just like rib eye – growth hormone and antibiotic residue, as well as unhealthy fatty acids, all accumulate in fat tissue (it’s less of a problem in leaner cuts, like round steak).

Dry aging. Natural process of dry aging breaks down animal protein in steak. It allows beef to be tenderer and more concentrated in flavor.

When looking at dry aged steaks you will often find 14-, 21-, and 28-day maturity. You will also notice that their price tag is higher.

Personally, when buying a steak like rib eye, I don’t bother with dry aging – this cut has all I need, including flavor and tenderness. However you could try buying 14- and 21-day matured rib eyes just to give them a try. In my opinion, 28 days is too much and not worth the money you will spend for it.

Weight and Thickness. The ideal serving size for rib eye steak is 7 ounces, or 200 grams of steak for every person that will be served. This is the perfect portion for a filling meal that is not too much.

I recommend that you choose a cut 1 inch/2.5cm or less in thickness. This will be the optimal size for the stovetop searing. However, if you find that your steak is too thick, you can use this guide for the searing process and then complete cooking in the oven, to ensure your rib eye retains its juiciness and flavor.

That’s it for steak. Now let’s make sure you have the right tools to cook it.


Ideal Steak Cooking Utensils


Cast Iron Skillet

Stove top skillets constructed of crude iron are known for their incredible volume-specific heating capacity and their heavy, durable construction. They are ideal for searing steak because after heating they stay hot for the duration of the cooking process.

Another benefit of cast iron skillets is that they have heat proof handles that are perfect for cooking in the oven. You will find that this can work to your advantage because thicker cuts of rib eye will require a longer cooking time and should be finished in the oven.

If you want a steak that looks as good as it tastes, choose a skillet that features built-in grill marks. While grill marks do not play a large role in the flavor of your steak they do make your rib eye look fancier.



The steak cooking process becomes much easier when you use quality tongs for flipping. Tongs are helpful because they allow you to easily handle steak and protect you from getting any burns.



One of the key components of the flavor of a seared rib eye steak is salt. When you add salt to steak at high heat it causes the Maillard reaction, which will cause your steak to brown. I recommend you use coarse kosher salt. It is not as dense as table salt which allows you to add more salt for the Maillard reaction but does not ruin your rib eye’s flavor.



If you are a fan of pepper on your steak you should invest in fresh peppercorns which you will grind yourself. Add the pepper just before the steak is served for a mouth-watering aroma.



Heat-stable oil is required for the high temperatures of the searing process. I personally recommend the use of either ghee or non-virgin coconut oil. These two oils have a high smoking point, are compatible with high temperatures, and add a wonderful flavor to your rib eye meal.


Meat Thermometer

A crucial mistake that you can make during the searing process is overcooking. If you overcook your steak, it will dry out, with some of its aroma and natural flavor disappearing. You should keep two types of meat thermometers handy for steak cooking: instant read and an oven thermometer. Using a meat probe will make a huge difference for you.


Paper Towels

Having paper towels handy is a good practice for any type of meat cooking. Paper towels are used to dry the rib eye’s surface before it is seared, so that surface browning develops much easier.


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Part 4: Cast Iron Skillet Pro Cooking Tips

Once you know the basic searing process and understand how to purchase quality meats and materials, you are ready for handy tips that can benefit your future steak preparation.


Tip # 1: Bringing Steak to Room Temperature

Sometimes you just can’t pull out your steak in the right amount of time for it to reach room temperature before cooking. However, you can easily remedy this problem and get your rib eye ready in time. Place the steak in the microwave using a microwave-approved plate. Using the lowest possible power setting run the microwave for 3-5 seconds at a time. Then, flip the steak. Repeat this until the rib eye is warm but do not start the cooking process.


Tip #2: Heat Your Skillet in the Oven

Your cast iron does not have to be prepared for cooking using the stovetop. Heating it in the oven will promote an evenly heated skillet (unlike the popular myth says, cast iron is not a great heat conductor). Place your pan in a preheated oven at 200C, or 400F for 15-20 minutes. Remember to take caution when removing the pan from the oven because the handle will be hot enough to cause burns.


Tip # 3: Enhancing the Flavor of Your Rib Eye

Two minutes prior to the end of the searing process, add 1 knob of butter from an organic, grass fed dairy cow, 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, and 2 cloves crushed garlic to your pan. Cook the steak for one minute and then flip it over for a minute to let the opposite side soak in this enhancing flavor. These are three key ingredients that can improve the flavor and aroma of your rib eye.


Tip #4: Preheating Your Plate

To keep your rib eye steak warm after the cooking process and before serving, preheat your plates using the oven. Place the plates in a preheated oven set at 90C or 190F for approximately 10 minutes to keep your steak warmer after being cooked.


Tip #5: Keeping Your Rib Eye Steak Warm and Juicy

We all have times where we cannot eat right after we cook. Whether you are hosting a get together and need to serve before eating or are eating alone and wish to clean the kitchen before enjoying your rib eye, you can retain your steak’s warmth without reheating by putting it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 50C or 120F before placing your steak inside. This is the perfect temperature to keep it warm without continuing the cooking process and drying out your rib eye.


Ready To Enjoy That Juicy Tender Steak Every Single Time?

1. Get the Best Steak. Cooking steak to perfection is only 50% of success!
The other 50% come from great quality steak and I recommend you get those from here. Especially their grass-fed beef (they also have poultry, pork and loads of game!)