Searing Your Meat (7 Easy Steps & Expert Tips)

Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: October 27, 2023

Whether competent in the kitchen, or experimenting with basic cooking, you may wonder what all the fuss about searing is?

Is it necessary in the cooking process, and how do you sear meat to perfection? Our expert panel of chefs agree it is an essential part of cooking meat, the good news-  once you follow the guidelines, you can master this technique.

Quick Summary

  • Searing meat involves using a thick-based pan or skillet and ensuring the meat is as dry as possible.
  • The pan is heated on high, and when the oil is hot, the meat is placed on the griddle for 2-3 minutes on all sides.
  • Once a brown crust forms, the meat is removed from heat and the cooking process continues.

How To Best Sear Meat

A top view of steak with vegetables

Our professional chefs who gave their advice say that with some guidance, this techniques Is achievable in your own kitchen.

If you are wondering how best to cook a dish of chicken, scallop, fish, steak, or another type of meat- searing is definitely the answer!

Searing is often used as the first step in the cooking of proteins, but can also be used as the only technique used in the cooking of your meal.

If you are wanting to tuck into the most flavourful roast, steak, or chop, this is the essential technique you need to master in order a mouth-watering meat dish.

Here are the steps of how you can best sear meat:

  1. Make sure that your meat is as dry as possible. The drier the better. If food is not dry enough, it will steam rather than sear. Pat dry as much as possible before cooking. One of our experts tips is to put the meat in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, or even overnight, as this assists in drying it out before searing.
  2. Season your meat just before you are about to start cooking.
  3. Make sure to get your pan hot. A hot pan is essential for this technique, and also prevents your food from sticking to the pan. Heat pan to a medium-high / high heat for two minutes.
  4. Add oil to the pan. Swirl it around to cover the bottom of the surface of the pan. This layer of oil assists in evenly distributing the heat across the area of meat you will be searing. Once the oil starts to ripple and you see the first sigh of wisps of smoke, the pan is ready for the meat.
  5. Place food item into the pan. You can gently pat the surface area of the meat you are searing so as the entire surface area is touching your pan. This will assist to get an even browning of the meat.
  6. Do not move the meat around, prod or poke it while it is cooking. For the 2-3 minutes of cooking time on each side, let it sit without interfering. Allow the thick, brown crust to form.
  7. Check the meat with some tongs by lifting it gently. If the food sticks, let it cook a little longer. Do not overcook, remove from the pan after 2-3 minutes depending on your cut and thickness of meat.

Our Top Chefs Expert Tips For Searing

A top view of grilled steak

It may be a little daunting at first, but whilst you are mastering the technique of pan searing, we asked our professionals in the kitchen if they would give us some pointers to follow to make the learning process a little smoother.

Here was a couple of pointers which they thought may assist you as you experiment with searing your favourite cut of meat:

  1. Before cooking, if you meat has been in the refrigerator, let it sit out at room temperature for a short time just before searing it. This assists in any excess moisture to be absorbed into the meat, rather than becoming trapped in the fibres.
  2. If meat is either brined or marinated, you do not need to add additional salt to season. If the marinade is a sweet one, you will need to keep a careful eye on your meat as it cooks, as the sugars can burn easily in the hot pan. You can remove some of the marinade before cooking by patting with a paper towel.
  3. In some cases, if a fatty cut of meat is chosen, you may not need to use oil in the pan. If you are searing a lean cut, add about two tablespoons of vegetable oil to the pan. Olive oil and butter have too low of a smoke point, and are therefore not ideal for searing.
  4. Do not crowd the pan with too many pieces of meat at one time. This will hinder the process. If the pan is overcrowded, the food will steam and not sear. Sear in small batches, to allow to brown properly.
  5. Remember the ends of a roast or cut of meat. Use tongs to carefully get to all of the sides by browning all of the parts evenly.
  6. Once the outside of the meat is beautifully browned, the inside may still be raw due to the very short cooking time. Complete cooking by either roasting it in the oven, adding it to a slow cooker, or simmering on the stove- top according to the recipe’s instruction.
  7. Seared meat leaves behind delicious pan drippings. These are known as fond, and can be used later to make sauce, or gravy by adding abit of liquid and heating up the pan once cooled.

What Kind Of Pan Do You Sear With?

A pan with uncooked steak

Choosing the correct pan to sear with is of utmost importance in the success of your sear. You need to choose the correct pan.

The most recommended type of pan is a stainless steel or cast iron skillet.

These types of pan can be heated to a very high temperature as well as sear meat evenly and speedily.

Non- stick pans are not a good choice as they are designed for low- medium cooking heat.

Also Read: Best Pellet Grills for Searing

Lidia's Seared Steak Recipe

  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 25 min
  • Number of Servings: 4


  • ½ cup hot water
  • 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves peeled and sliced garlic
  • 2 cups sliced white button mushrooms
  • Four 1-inch thick, 8-ounce bone-in shell steaks
  • 1 cored and seeded red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1 cored and seeded yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
  • One 14-ounce can of San Marzano Italian plum tomatoes, crushed by hand


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Add garlic and allow to sizzle for one minute.
  2. Add bell peppers, mushrooms, oregano, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Saute for approximately 5 minutes, or until the peppers and mushrooms are caramelized along their edges.
  3. Add tomatoes. Use the hot water to rinse the can and add that to the skillet.
  4. Simmer and cook uncovered for 12-15 minutes until the peppers break down, and the sauce thickens.
  5. Use the remaining salt to season the steaks, then sear them over high heat in a separate cast-iron skillet. Cook to your preferred level of doneness, then let rest until the sauce is finished.
  6. Plate the steaks and top them with the pizzaiola sauce. Serve hot.

Final Thoughts

You do not need to be one of our highly qualified and professional chefts to produce a high- quality and irresistible dish in the comforts of your own home. Do not be intimidated by the heat in the kitchen.

By making sure your meat is as dry as possible, selecting the correct pan, turing up the heat, adding a little oil, you will be all set to place that delicious rib-eye steak down and hear the famous sizzle!

To get that perfect sear, you will also need the right equipment for it. Head out to our top list of stainless steel grills.

In just a few minutes your sear will produce that yummy brown crust confirming the success of your sear! Remember the tips, and practice your skills.

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About the author

Timothy Woods
CEO / Co-Founder
Timothy is a professional chef and the main man behind Carnivore Style. He’s an advocate of the carnivore diet, an athlete, and a pure health enthusiast. Timothy believes that a good steak is a great conversation starter, and his love for food eventually brought him to start Carnivore Style, a website designed for meat lovers and all things meat-related.
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