How Long to Rest Steak: Mastering the Perfect Rest Time

After carefully cooking a steak to the desired level of doneness, it is crucial to allow it to rest before slicing into it. This practice is often overlooked, despite being just as important as the cooking process itself. Resting the steak is a step that determines the final texture and taste of the meat.

The length of time a steak should rest varies, but there is a consensus among chefs and cooking experts that this waiting period is non-negotiable for achieving the best results.

Understanding the science behind resting steak is essential for any home cook or steak enthusiast. During the cooking process, the proteins in the steak heat up and the juices are pushed towards the center. By resting, these juices redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful steak. Enough resting time ensures that when you do cut into your steak, those juices stay within the meat instead of running onto the plate.

Key Takeaways

  • Resting steak allows juices to redistribute, enhancing flavor and tenderness.
  • The resting period varies based on steak size and thickness. (Resting Time Table Below)
  • Proper resting is a critical step in serving the perfect steak.

The Science of Resting Steak

When I cook steak, resting it after cooking is as crucial as the preparation. I understand that this period of rest is essential for ensuring the steak's moisture and flavor are at their best when served.

Importance of Resting Meat

I know that resting meat is a step I should not skip. By allowing the steak to rest after cooking, the juices, which are initially pushed towards the center by the heat, redistribute throughout the muscle fibers. This process results in a steak that's more uniformly juicy and succulent. If I were to cut into the meat immediately, I'd lose these delicious juices - and along with them, moisture and flavor. To maximize the steak's potential, a proper rest is needed.

What Happens During Resting?

Carryover Cooking Steak

During the resting phase, an important phenomenon known as carryover cooking occurs. This is where the steak's internal temperature continues to rise slightly due to hidden heat. It is during this time that the muscle fibers, having constricted while on the heat, begin to relax. As they do so, the fibers re-absorb the juices that have been driven outside. I make sure the steak rests appropriately so the final product reaches an optimal internal temperature, enhancing both taste and texture.

Resting Guidelines and Techniques

When cooking steak, the resting phase is as crucial as the cooking process itself. It ensures a juicy and tender result by allowing the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

Determining Resting Time

To determine the proper resting time, consider the weight and thickness of the steak. As a rule of thumb, rest thinner cuts for approximately five to seven minutes and thicker cuts for ten to twenty minutes. The right amount of time allows the steak to reabsorb the juices that have been pushed towards the center during cooking.

Best Practices for Resting Steak

Rested vs not rested steak

Once the steak is off the heat, transfer it to a cutting board or warm plate to look after continued cooking. I recommend covering the steak with aluminum foil, which helps in retaining heat without making the surface soggy. Make sure it’s loosely covered so that the steak isn't cooking from the trapped heat. This also prevents moisture loss, further ensuring a tender steak that retains its flavorful juices.

Resting Different Cuts

Every cut of meat requires attention to detail when resting. For instance, a large ribeye or porterhouse needs more resting time compared to a thinner cut like a flank steak. Different cuts of steak have different densities and sizes, which affect how the heat distributes and how juices settle. Adjust the resting time accordingly: lighter cuts may need only a short rest, while a thicker steak benefits from the longer resting times mentioned earlier.

Finishing Touches for a Perfect Steak

Proof That Resting Your Steak Actually Matters (Video)

To make a perfect steak, it's crucial to consider both technique and timing, especially once it’s off the heat. I'll guide you through the final steps of cutting and serving, alongside tailoring the rest time to match the desired doneness, to ensure each slice is as flavorful and juicy as possible.

Cutting and Serving

After my steak has had enough time to rest, it's time to transition to the cutting board. I always use a sharp knife to ensure clean cuts that don't squeeze out the precious juices. For a uniform experience with every bite, I slice against the grain, which results in tender pieces that showcase the steak's flavor and texture to their fullest.

Matching Doneness and Resting

The relationship between the doneness of a steak and its resting time can't be emphasized enough. I follow a simple rule: the thicker the steak, the longer it rests. Resting allows the steak to reabsorb the juices, making it more juicy and flavorful. I typically use a probe thermometer to check for my desired doneness. Here's a quick reference table:

Matching Doneness and Resting

The relationship between the doneness of a steak and its resting time can't be overstated. I abide by a simple rule: the thicker the steak, the longer it rests. Resting allows the steak to reabsorb the juices, making it more juicy and flavorful. I typically use a probe thermometer to check for my desired doneness. Here's a quick reference table:

Steak Doneness

Resting Time


5 Minutes


7 Minutes


10 Minutes


10-15 Minutes


At least 15 Minutes

If I'm unsure, I rest my steak for at least 5 minutes to avoid it becoming overcooked. The goal is a perfect steak that lands right at the sweet spot of flavor and texture tailored to my taste.

Why You Should Always Rest Your Steak (Video)

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, I'll answer some common queries regarding the resting time of steak to ensure you achieve a juicy and flavorful outcome.

How long should a steak sit out before being cut?

Ideally, a steak should rest for about 5 to 10 minutes before cutting. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring the meat remains full of moisture and juiciness.

What is the recommended resting time for a ribeye steak?

A ribeye steak should rest for approximately 5 minutes per inch of thickness. Therefore, a 1.5-inch ribeye usually needs at least 7 to 8 minutes of resting time.

Is there an optimal duration to let steak settle after grilling?

Yes, the optimal duration for a steak to settle after grilling typically ranges from 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the steak's thickness and size.

Do you need to cover meat while it’s resting, or should it be left uncovered?

Covering meat with foil while it rests can help retain heat, but it's not essential. If you prefer your steak to stay warmer, lightly tent it with foil.

What are the consequences of not letting meat rest, and is it a myth?

Skipping the rest period can cause a steak to lose more juices when cut, leading to a drier, less flavorful piece of meat. It's not a myth; allowing meat to rest is a critical step.

What techniques can be used to keep steak warm during the resting phase?

To keep steak warm while resting, cover it loosely with aluminum foil or place it in a warm area of the kitchen.

About Kendrick

Kendrick is an outdoor cooking enthusiast, living in Kansas. He loves to share his passion about outdoor cooking with everyone on various Social Media platforms (Read More)

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