Steaks Cooked Perfectly from Frozen (the safe way!)

Steaks cooked from frozen – I have cooked more steaks from frozen than I’d like to admit. But this method works. The steaks are always delicious with a good crust and wonderful flavor.

(And unlike other methods you may find on the internet, you won’t be throwing an icy steak into a pan of ripping hot oil!)

Reverse Seared rib eye
Reverse Seared rib eye 2

For some helpful tips before you begin, click here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 frozen steaks at least 1″ thick, (about 1 lb/450g each)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.5g) black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (3g) garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.5g) onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6g) MSG*
  • vegetable oil, for searing

OPTIONAL:

  • 4 to 6 tablespoons (57 to 85 g) butter, melted
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic

*MSG is wonderful for steak, but if you do not like to use MSG, it can be omitted.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven and prepare the baking sheet.

– Preheat the oven to 250°F (121°C) and place the oven rack in the middle position.
– Spray a cooking rack with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.

2. Season and cook the steaks.

– Combine the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and MSG.
– Coat the frozen steaks with olive oil and then season both sides of the steaks with the seasoning mix.
– Place the steaks on the prepared cooking rack and place in the pre-heated oven.
– Cook for 45 minutes or until the steaks reach an internal temperature of 125°F (52°C) for medium-rare. (See TIPS) (The internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees while it is resting.)

3. Rest the steaks.

– Remove the steaks to a rimmed plate, tent with foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour.

4. Sear the steaks.

– Pour enough vegetable oil to completely coat the bottom of a large cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet.
– Heat the skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is glistening hot, but not smoking. (The steaks should sizzle. If they do not sizzle, wait longer.)
– Place the steaks in the center of the pan and let sear for only about 1 minute per side, moving the steak around only once or twice, to get a good even crust.

  • Optional – After flipping the steak, add the melted butter and garlic cloves into the pan. Baste the steaks while searing.

– Sear the sides of the steaks as well. (Use tongs to stand the steaks up on their sides.)
– Remove the steaks to the cutting board or serving plate. Pour any butter or pan juices over the steaks.

5. Serve hot.

– Serve while hot. (Since the steaks were already rested before the sear, no need to rest again.)

*****
Top Cap steak cooked from frozen

About this recipe:

Hm. Cooking a steak from frozen. What can I say? It works.

This method of preparation is the reverse-sear. Unlike pan-seared steaks, which are seared in the pan and then finished in the oven if needed, reverse-seared steaks are cooked in a low oven first and then seared.

By cooking in a low, gentle heat, steaks can be brought up to the desired internal temperature with more control and precision. If cooked to medium-rare, the steak will be medium-rare throughout – from edge to center with no overcooked grey band along the outside.

The steak is then rested before searing. A minute per side in a hot pan or grill is enough to get a good crust. Plus, because resting is done before searing, the steaks can be served hot right off the pan or grill.

  • But for frozen steaks, the slow, gentle cooking also allows the steak to thaw and cook evenly throughout with only a few additional minutes in the oven.

Tips:

Here are 4 helpful tips:

1) To cook steaks to your preferred doneness Pull them 5 degrees early!

Steak temperatures:

Rare: red, cool center 120-130°F/50-55°C
Medium-rare: red, warm center 130-135°F/55-57°C
Medium: pink throughout 140-150°F/60-65°C
Medium-well: barely pink anywhere 155-165°F/68-74°C
Well: brown throughout 170°F/77°

Residual cooking:

– Pull your steaks from the oven around 5 degrees before it reaches your preferred doneness and let it finish cooking while it rests. Residual cooking will bring your steaks’ temperatures up 5 to 10 degrees.

2) Estimated cooking times. (Get an instant-read thermometer!)

instant-read thermometer

– The best and most reliable way to know if your steak is at the perfect temperature is to use an instant-read thermometer.

– If you do not have an instant-read thermometer, below are estimated cooking times that have worked for me.

Cooking times for frozen steaks at 250°F (121°C) for medium-rare (125°F/52°C before resting):

  • 1″ steak – 45 minutes
  • 2″ steak – 60 minutes
  • 3″ steak – 75 minutes
  • Add about 5 minutes per inch for medium (135°F/57°C before resting)
  • Add about 10 minutes per inch for medium-well/well-done (145°F/63°C to 150°F/66°C before resting)

PLEASE NOTE: These cooking times are estimates that have worked for me with my oven. I recommend getting an instant-read thermometer and checking your steaks early and often.

3) Rest reverse-seared steaks before searing.

  • Keep the steaks juicy.. If you cut into a steak that is not rested, all its juices will run out. Letting the steak sit for a few minutes will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the steak and ensure it’s as juicy as it can be.
  • There will be some residual cooking during resting. Internal temperatures may go up between 5 to 10 degrees, so make sure to pull your steak before it reaches your desired temperature.

4) Sear fast and hot.

  • Use a cast-iron pan or other heavy-bottomed skillet. These pans will retain heat better and provide more even cooking and a better crust.
  • If basting your steaks, start with melted butter. A minute per side goes fast and won’t provide enough time to melt and brown the butter for proper basting.
*****
Reverse Seared rib eye
Reverse Seared rib eye - steaks from frozen
This ribeye was cooked from frozen to a perfect medium-rare.

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Searing steaks adds flavor. Learn about the Maillard reaction:

https://www.seriouseats.com/2017/04/what-is-maillard-reaction-cooking-science.html

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