Seasoning a steak might seem like a daunting task, but it's actually much easier than people think. Oftentimes, many people wonder how to season a steak properly, but the answer isn't all that complicated and you don't need an arsenal of different ingredients either.

Putting together a great steak dinner is just a few ingredients away and we're here to show you how to season a steak to your personal brand of perfection.


thick cut steaks

A lot of people might say that you should let your steaks reach room temperature before you cook them. The common belief has been that doing this will allow your meat to cook evenly because the raw cut of beef will warm in room temperatures. Many cooks think their meat should be left at room temperature before you begin grilling, but in reality, you should really be leaving them for 40-50 minutes seasoned before you cook them.

It's best to season your steaks first before you leave them to sit. The reason why is that the meat soaks in your seasoning and you're left with a more flavorful end product.

You've probably also heard that people will leave their steaks out, season them, and then cook them. The problem with this is that leaving your unseasoned meat out doesn't really accomplish too much. Though, there is an advantage to leaving your unseasoned meat out. Having your steak thaw out a little bit before you make it is best practice so you can have an easier time cooking and don't wind up with a tough steak. But, when you leave seasoned meat out, the steak soaks in all the flavor while simultaneously thawing out and you're left with a better, more tender meal.

Easy Steak Seasoning

kosher salt

If you're looking for a basic way to season your steak then you don't need to go any further than your own pantry. In fact, all you need are three ingredients. Remember that a great cut of beef doesn't need to be seasoned to death to enhance flavor. You can add whichever ingredients you'd like to make it your own, but this basic recipe is one that many chefs turn to.

What You'll Need

  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons of oil


  • The first thing you'll want to do is pat your steaks dry with paper towels before applying any seasoning.
  • Grab your beef and apply a generous coating of kosher salt to the top, bottom, and sides of your steak. Press the salt into the meat.
  • Add freshly ground pepper to the top, bottom, and sides of your steak. Press the pepper into the meat.
  • Leave your steak to marinate for about 40-50 minutes. The steak can be left at room temperature or placed on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap, uncovered, in the refrigerator.
  • After the allotted time, retrieve your meat and baste it with a coating of oil before cooking.

Pro Tips

  • Avoid using just regular ol' table salt. Kosher salt has thicker grains and the outer layer of your steak will soak it in more.
  • You should aim to be using freshly ground black pepper as it tends to pair well with kosher salt. Black pepper is considered by many chefs and steak experts to be one of the staples for a tasty cut of beef.

When To Season

steak dinner with vegetables

One of the most confusing things about properly seasoning a steak is when you should be doing it exactly. Everyone seems to say different things and even when you search for answers online, you have professional chefs contradicting one another back and forth.

Really, the best thing to do is to season a steak to your preferences. Some people don't like to add pepper before cooking because prep time is longer and pepper could burn on the steak, thereby adding an unpleasant flavor. Other people don't mind adding pepper beforehand because they don't find the taste to be one of burnt seasoning, but rather a more flavorful experience.

Similarly, some people believe that adding salt beforehand will dry out the steak and leave you with an uninspiring meal. These people tend to season their meat right before cooking it in order to avoid any dryness or burnt flavors. Others think that having salt beforehand is a good thing because you need the steak to be a bit dry for proper browning to occur.

The solution to these contradictions? Live life to your tastes and don't worry what other people say. If you want to add salt and pepper beforehand, do so. If you want to add on salt and pepper after the steak has been cooked, you can do that too. This is your dinner and you're free to make whichever choices fit best to your preferences.

Moving Beyond Salt And Pepper

seasoned steak

Sticking with the idea of living life to your tastes, you can do much more than salt and pepper to your steak if you so choose. Many chefs and aspiring cooks will tell you that a quality cut of beef doesn't need to be over-seasoned with a slew of ingredients. Of course, that doesn't mean that adding a little extra flavoring will ruin your meal.

You can add a variety of different herbs and seasonings such as garlic, chili powder, a citrus zest, oregano, cilantro, and ginger. In fact, Food Beast put together a piece talking about ten different ways you can season your steak. They ranged from Tex Mex, Kung Pao, Montreal, and North Africa. These are just a few recipes to get you started, but once you take a look at the suggestions, further inspiration is bound to come to you.

If you're looking for something a little different like a steak marinade, there are plenty of available recipes and storage techniques for you to try that are sure to get your guests talking.

Storing Your Steak

Remember that you don't need to keep your steak in the fridge or at room temperature any longer than 40 minutes to about two hours maximum. Once you've seasoned it, you can leave it to thaw and marinate at room temperature or you can place it on a baking sheet in the fridge for the recommended amount of time. If you're planning to season it after you cook it then you can move them straight to the grill or pan for cooking. It might take a little longer, but you don't need to thaw them out. Some people prefer to in order to cut down cooking time, but it isn't necessary.

On the other hand, a good steak marinade doesn't need to be left on for too long lest it gets too overpowering. Placing steaks in the fridge or leaving them out for an hour or two will allow the steak an appropriate amount of time to soak in the flavor without getting too mushy or too flavorful.

raw steak

Even though people have wondered how to season a steak correctly for years, it might shock you to know that it actually doesn't take a lot of time, effort, or ingredients. With just a few simple things in your kitchen, you can serve a delicious steak without any worries.

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