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steak doneness guide

Guide To Cook Steak In Seven Different Forms Of Doneness

Updated On July 21, 2021

The doneness of the steak represents its aroma, texture, and juiciness. Whether you love it extra rare, medium, or well-done, you can count on us with this steak doneness guide for preparing it.

How To Prepare Extra Rare or "Blue" Steak

blue steak
It is better to rub a little oil on both sides of the raw steak to avoid sticking the meat to the pan. Cook the steak on each side for one minute in a hot pan. Keep the edges of the steak on the heated pan for some seconds using a pair of tongs.

Cook the steak till it reaches internal temperatures between 115 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The outer part should be seared now, and the inside of the steak should have the color red. The extra rare or blue steak will have a cold but soft center.

How to Prepare Rare Steak

Steak with rare doneness is not eaten that often. It is perfect for connoisseurs who want to eat almost raw but lightly cooked food. The rare steak must have a cool-to-warm red center. Plus, it will be a little charred on the outside. The sides will become brown but have a bright red shade in the middle.

The rare steak will feel soft when you touch it. Though it looks and feels like raw meat, it has a brown shade over the surface. This kind of steak comes with a tender texture. You can use this method to cook leaner steaks such as filet mignon or top sirloin. It is because there is no heavy fat to melt away.

If you choose a 1-inch steak, keep it on the hot grill for around five minutes. Flip it to the other side and start to grill it again for three more minutes. Make sure to cook the steak to an internal temperature of 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

How To Prepare Medium Rare Steak

medium rare steak
This method is the advised level of doneness to make a good steak. Many would enjoy eating the steak that is prepared with medium-rare doneness.

The medium-rare steak will feel warm throughout the middle. Plus, most of its center part would become pink with a light shade of red. Both sides of the steak should be well-browned.

The steak comes with a caramelized top and bottom and a dark brown shade. You can notice the grill marks on the outer surface. This steak's strong texture will give a bit toward the inside (it flows back shortly).

Take a 1-inch steak and keep it on the heated grill for around five minutes. After that, turn the steak to the other side and cook it for another four minutes. Pull out the steak from the grill if it reaches internal temperatures between 130 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

How To Prepare Medium Steak

Medium steak is often perfect while grilling steak for large groups. This level of doneness satisfies almost everyone.

The medium-cooked steak comes with a thick band of light pink throughout the middle section. But, overall, it will have more browned meat than the pink shade.

Both the sides of the medium-cooked steak will have a rich brown shade. Though the top and bottom of the steak are roasted dark, they should not have a black shade. While touching this steak, you should be able to feel its firm texture.

If you would like to choose a 1-inch steak, keep it on the heated side of the grill and leave it for six minutes. Twist it around and start grilling again for four more minutes. Remove the steak off the grill if it has an internal temperature of 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

How To Prepare Medium Well Steak

medium well steak
If you do not like to have a lot of rawness in the steak, you can choose this sear. The medium-well steak will show only a little tint of pink throughout the middle of the steak.

The medium-well steak will always have a dark brown surface. Plus, both the top and bottom of the steak have a better roasting texture. You can feel that this steak is very stiff, but it still has a bit of give in the center part.

Take a 1-inch steak and grill it for about seven minutes on the hot side. Flip it down and grill the other side for another five minutes. Cook the steak up to the internal temperatures of 155 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. (1)

How To Prepare Steak Well Done

A well-done steak is also not eaten very often. It might look like cooking steak to this level of doneness is easy. But, in reality, it has the toughest cooking procedure. The meat should not have any rawness on the inside, and it is difficult not to dry it out.

You need to cook it on low heat at a slow pace to avoid burning it. Make sure not to burn the outer part of this steak. There will not even be a little shade of pink in the middle. The steak will have a browned tint but not black like burnt food. When you touch it, the steak will feel solid and firm.

Pick a 1-inch steak, keep it on the grill over medium heat. Leave it for around 10 and 12 minutes. Flip it to the other side and repeat. Cook it till the steak has an internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Comparison Chart Of Different Types Of Steak Doneness

Not everyone has the same taste; some would like to eat steak with a spongy texture, while others may like a bit of stiffness in their meat. Hence, keeping in mind all the variations, we have summarized the information below:


Extra Rare or Blue


Medium Rare


Medium Well

Well Done

Steak Doneness

Completely (100%) red interior and seared outside

75% red interior and seared outside

50% red interior and seared outside

25% red interior and seared outside

It will have a bit of pink in center

Completely (100%) brown center

Internal Temperature

115 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit

125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit

130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit

140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit

150 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit

160+ degrees Fahrenheit

Cooking Time

Cook 1 minute on each side

Cook two and half a minute on each side

Cook three to four minutes on each side

Cook four minutes on each side

Cook five minutes on each side

Cook six minutes on each side


It will have a spongy texture with no resistance

It will have a soft and spongy texture with little resistance and a slightly cooler interior

It will have a little soft, slightly spongy, and fairly firm texture

It will have a slightly stiff and springy texture

It will have a firm texture, and it is mostly cooked throughout

It will have a dry, totally firm, and hard texture


Achieving the perfect doneness while cooking steak might seem hard, but with the right guidance and practice, you can make delicious steak.  

Never forget that a generous dollop of butter, some cloves of garlic, rosemary, and an iron skillet go a long way in cooking steak, no matter which doneness you may be aiming for! (2)
(1) Fahrenheit -
(2) rosemary -

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About the author 

Albert Thompson

Albert hails from Kentucky where grilling is a lifestyle. He brings with him his years of experience in the cooking sector and the product sector, but dont let that fool you, he practices what he preaches and enjoys a big rack of ribs every weekend.