Pan Seared Steak with Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce

EASY PAN SEARED STEAK WITH A DEEPLY CARAMELIZED SEARED CRUST AND THE MOST AMAZING BALSAMIC HERB CREAM SAUCE – PERFECT FOR VALENTINE’S DAY! 

I’ve included step by step instructions, tips and tricks to achieve melt in your mouth, restaurant quality pan seared steak right in your own home even if you have never made steak before! 

Pan Seared Steak with Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce.

Can you believe Valentine’s Day is next Tuesday already?!  One of the many fun things about being a food blogger is that we are always looking forward to the next event or holiday to plan some foodie fun for – so there is always something to look forward to!  So in anticipation of the big day, I’ve made you the juiciest, rich, savory Pan Seared Steak AND its all topped with the most ridiculously delicious Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce.   If you ever wanted to cook a meal to impress, this Pan Seared Steak is it!

If you are wondering what to serve with this Pan Seared Steak, I am going to be posting a Valentine’s Day Round up complete with appetizers, sides, entrees and desserts on Saturday – you don’t want to miss those AND the Company Mashed Potatoes on Monday –  seriously the best ever.   Now on to this Pan Seared Steak!

Pan Seared Steak with Balsamic Herbs sliced in s skillet.

For this pan seared steak, I’ve chosen Top Sirloin because its delicious and one of the more economical prime cuts of beef, not overly fatty and when cooked properly its melt in our mouth tasty and oh so tender.  It is important that you select thick 1 1/2″ steaks for this recipe, otherwise, just be prepared to adjust the cooking time.  I’ve included detailed instructions, tips and tricks on how to cook the perfect pan seared steak below but don’t be overwhelmed, all you really need for a restaurant quality steak is a quality piece of meat, a hot cast iron skillet, salt and pepper, oil, tongs and a meat thermometer.

Now let’s get into it!

How to PAN SEAR STEAK

CHOOSE PRIME OR CHOICE GRADE BEEF

Top view of Pan Seared Steak with Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce.

Select PRIME or CHOICE cuts of steak.  Steak is graded by its quality in tenderness, juiciness and flavor. Prime beef is the most superior in all three categories and is what I used for this steak.  It can be difficult to locate Prime Cuts at your local grocery store (usually reserved for restaurants and hotels), but I have been successful finding it at Costco.  Ask your butcher if they sell Prime Cuts or if they can get them for you.  Choice beef is also high quality, but boasts less marbling than Prime.  It is still tender, juicy and flavorful especially when not over cooked, and definitely is a great choice as well.

BRING STEAK TO ROOM TEMPERATURE

One one of the biggest mistakes people make when preparing steak is either cooking straight out of the refrigerator or only giving it 20 minutes at room temperature.  To ensure your steak is not cold in the center and cooks more evenly and quickly, remove the steak from the refrigerator 60 minutes before you are ready to cook.  This also lets the meat relax, allowing the meat’s natural moisture to reabsorb into the muscle, instead of staying trapped in its fibers.

DRY STEAKS & SEASON 

Showing how to make Pan Seared Steak with Balsamic salt and pepper rub.

You know I am all about marinating and seasoning but a Prime or Choice cut of Top Sirloin already boasts bold, beefy flavor, so we don’t want to over season it.  We will reserve our marinades for less quality cuts of beef.  Instead, we enhance the natural flavor of the top sirloin steak simply with freshly cracked salt and pepper.  To season properly, first pat the steaks dry with paper towels.  This will allow the steaks to sear properly instead of steaming.

Next, right before you are ready to cook your steak, generously season the steak on both sides with freshly cracked salt and pepper, pushing the salt and pepper into the steak with your fingertips to make sure it sticks.  We will also use butter, garlic and rosemary in the skillet when cooking (more on that later) to infuse the steak with flavor.

HOW TO COOK PAN SEARED STEAK

Showing how to make Pan Seared Steak cooking in a pan with herbs.
USE A CAST IRON SKILLET

You are going to want a 10 or 12 inch cast-iron skillet for this pan seared steak.  The heavy duty iron skillet is nonstick, gets scorching hot, holds in heat and distributes it evenly for a beautiful, evenly cooked steak.

HEAT THE SKILLET UNTIL JUST SMOKING

First, heat your skillet over high heat then add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.  As soon as it starts smoking, swirl the oil around and add your steak then reduce to medium-high heat.  It can take 5-10 minutes on some stoves to achieve this smoking heat, but this is key to a good sear. Sear the steak for four minutes WITHOUT TOUCHING the steak!   This high heat causes the chemical Maillard reaction in which the amino acids and reducing sugar react to create a caramelized, deeply flavorful, rich savory crust.

Showing how to baste Pan Seared Steak with Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce.
FLIP WITH TONGS & BASTE WITH BUTTER

After four minutes, add butter, whole, peeled garlic cloves and rosemary, then flip the steak over WITH TONGS, you never want to pierce the meat with a fork or you will continuously loose juices and tenderness.  Now its time for your Gordon Ramsey/chef steak moves.  If you have ever watched a professional chef pan sear steak, they continuously baste the steak with butter, and we have rosemary garlic infused butter!  You will definitely need an oven mitt on the hand holding the skillet handle and a spoon in your other hand.  To baste, tilt the skillet slightly so that butter collects on one end, then spoon up the butter and pour it over the steak.

USE AN INSTANT-READ THERMOMETER

Continue basting the steak for four minutes then use an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the steak to check the temperature.  You want the temperature to register 5°F lower than the desired doneness temperature because the steaks will continue to cook while resting.  For Medium Rare: 130°-140°, Medium: 140°-145°,  Medium Well: 150°-160°.   NOTE: The USDA recommends steaks and roasts be cooked to 145°F and then rested for at least 3 minutes for safety.

REDUCE HEAT TO MEDIUM

At this point your steak should be medium rare.  To continue cooking if desired, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook steak to desired temperature about 3-5 additional minutes per side, flipping one more time and continuing to baste.

LET STEAKS REST

Transfer steaks to cutting board using tongs, and baste one more time.  Loosely tent with foil.  Let steak rest at least 10 minutes before slicing, this calming stage allows the flavorful juices that have accumulated in the middle of the steak to redistribute throughout the steak.  It results in greater flavor, and optimal juiciness.

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST SAUCE

Sauce in the pan from Pan Seared Steak with Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce.

For a simple sauce you can deglaize the pan over high heat by adding 2 tablespoons of water or chicken broth and scrap the pan loose of any meat drippings with a spatula.  Then add some butter and to the accumulated juices in the skillet and pour it over your steak, buuuuuuut for out of this world sauce and because its Valentine’s Day, you are going to want to make this Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce – and it takes less time then it does for your steak to rest!

Pouring sauce over Pan Seared Steak with Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce.

Simply, remove the the whole garlic and rosemary from your skillet and drain off all but 1 tablespoon fat/juices.  Next, saute your shallot for one minute, then your garlic then add some chicken broth and simmer until reduced, about 3 minutes.  The reducing promotes a concentrated flavor.  Next, stir in your heavy cream, balsamic vinegar and Dijon and simmer for another 2 minutes.  Finally, remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon butter and freshly chopped chives and parsley and you have savory, creamy garlic infused Balsamic Herb Sauce that enhances the flavor of the steak without overpowering it as its creaminess mingles with the steak’s juices. OH MY YUM.

SLICING THE STEAK

After your steak has rested 15 minutes, be sure to cut against the grain, this will also reduce the amount of juices loss.

SERVE WITH EQUALLY DELICIOUS SIDES!

I paired this juicy, tender flavorful Pan Seared Steak with my Company Mashed Potatoes (another reason for fresh chives  :)) and 15 minute Brown Butter Balsamic Roasted Asparagus and if it was really Valentine’s Day, I would have made my obsessive worthy Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese. I have a slew more options coming in the roundup Saturday if these aren’t exactly what you are looking for, or you can always check out holiday recipes HERE.  But no matter how you serve this Pan Seared Steak with Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce, the complex savory, nutty, deeply caramelized steak will have you falling in love with every luscious, melt in your mouth bite.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Close up view of Pan Seared Steak with Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce

WANT TO TRY THIS PAN SEARED STEAK?

Pin it to your STEAK, VALENTINE’A DAY, HOLIDAY, or SPECIAL OCCASIONS Board to SAVE for later!

Find me on Pinterest for more great recipes!  I am always pinning :)!

©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Easy Pan Seared Steak with a deeply caramelized seared crust and the most amazing Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce! This recipe includes step by step instructions, tips and tricks to achieve melt in your mouth, restaurant quality top sirloin steak even if you have never made steak before! Perfect for Valentine's Day!

Pan Seared Steak with Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce

Easy Pan Seared Steak with a deeply caramelized seared crust and the most amazing Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce – perfect for Valentine’s Day!  I’ve included step by step instructions, tips and tricks to achieve melt in your mouth, restaurant quality pan seared steak right in your own home even if you have never made steak before! 
Servings: 2 -4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes

Ingredients

Steak

  • 2 10 -12 oz. each top sirloin steaks 1 1/2“ thick, room temperature*
  • Coarsely ground salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 sprig of rosemary (optional)
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled, left whole

Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

STEAK

  • Remove steaks from refrigerator 60 minutes before cooking to bring to room temperature.
  • Pat steaks dry with paper towels. GENEROUSLY season steaks on all sides with freshly cracked salt and pepper, pressing salt and pepper into steaks so it sticks.
  • Heat CAST IRON SKILLET over high heat. Add vegetable oil. When it starts to smoke, reduce heat to medium-high and add steaks. Cook for 4 minutes without moving (SET TIMER). Add butter, garlic and rosemary. Flip steaks with tongs (NOT a fork, you don’t want to pierce your steak), and continue to cook for 4 more minutes. MEANWHILE…
  • Right after you flip the steaks, spoon melted butter over the steaks. Continue to baste steaks for the remaining cooking time, tilting the pan as needed to spoon the butter.
  • Check the internal temperature of the steaks after they have cooked a total of 8 minutes (they should be medium rare at this point). You want the temperature to register 5°F lower than the desired doneness (steaks will continue to cook after removing from skillet): For Medium Rare: 130°-140°, Medium: 140°-145°, Medium Well: 150°-160°.
  • If you wish to continue to cook your steaks, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook steaks to desired temperature, about 3-7 more minutes, flipping one more time and continuing to baste.
  • Transfer steaks to cutting board, and baste one more time. Loosely tent with foil. Let rest at least 10 minutes before slicing against the grain.

SAUCE

  • Remove rosemary and garlic from skillet. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon fat/juices. Heat over medium high heat. Add shallot and sauté one minute. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and simmer, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes to reduce to about ¼ cup.
  • Stir in heavy cream, balsamic vinegar and Dijon. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon butter until melted followed by fresh chives and fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste if desired. Pour over steak or serve along side.

Notes

*It is important to note the thickness of your steak and alter cooking time if needed.  Use PRIME cut steak for the juiciest, most flavorful steak (I find mine at Costco).  Choice is also acceptable but avoid Select or Standard cuts.  If you need to use a less expensive cut of steak, consider marinating beforehand.
*You can also use 4 6-8 oz. steaks but be sure to use a 12 inch skillet in order to not crowd the steaks.  Cooking time should be about the same if they are 1 1/2″ thick.
**The USDA recommends steaks and roasts be cooked to 145°F (medium) and then rested for at least 3 minutes for safety.
***The balsamic is light so if you prefer a stronger tang, feel free to add more to taste after your sauce is complete.

Did You Make This Recipe?

Tag @CarlsbadCravings and Use #CarlsbadCravngs

Leave a Review, I Always Love Hearing From You!

Carlsbad Cravings© Original

 

You might also like:

Company Mashed Potatoes

Slow Cooker Beef Tips and Gravy

20 Minute Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Shrimp Pasta

Best Pot Roast with Carrots and Gravy

Pistachio Gruyere Chicken Cordon Bleu

Asian Steak with Cilantro Basil Chimmichurri

Reader Interactions

leave a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

20 Comments

  1. Sara says

    I’ve always been intimidated by making my own steaks but now I feel like I can do it, thanks Jen! and your pictures are beautiful!

    • Jen says

      YAY! That is exactly what I was hoping for with this post! I can’t wait for you to put all the tips and tricks to the test! Let me know how it goes!

  2. Cassie says

    This looks delicious! I’m allergic to dairy so I may try this with a vegan butter and see how it is!

    • Jen says

      Hi Cassie, I have never tried vegan butter, so please let me know how it goes! Should be delicious!

  3. Leigh says

    I just cooked this tonight and it was my first time cooking steak. It turned out AMAZINGGGG!

    • Jen says

      WAHOO! That is awesome Leigh, makes me so happy it was such a success! thanks for taking the time to comment!

  4. Becca Rose says

    I made steak for Valentine’s Day and was so happy to see and use this recipe. So flavorful and tender and easy! Thank you!! I just had T-bone steak but it was so yummy! Tim loved it too 🙂

    • Jen says

      Awesome Becca Rose, I am thrilled you used this recipe for Valentine’s Day with your T-bone steak and that it was a winner! I hope you and Tim had a very Happy Valentine’s Day! xo

  5. Betsy says

    Holy cow – this is the BEST sauce ever. I discovered your site on Sunday (what took me so long???) and made the creamy ranch fiesta chicken on Monday – ancho chili powder and all… then this steak and sauce tonight. I may be a little obsessed. Great flavors! Easy ingredients! Thank you for sharing your gift!

    • Jen says

      Welcome to my site Betsy, I’m so happy you “finally” found it :)! Thank you so much for commenting – I am thrilled you loved the sauce so much – kind of hard not to want to put it on everything. I hope you have fun continuing to explore my site and try LOTS of food!

  6. Nicola says

    JEN! You are by far my FAVORITE food blogger. And to add to the list of reasons why – it’s because I have never cooked a steak before last night and it turned out AMAZING! I could only find Choice and Prime cuts in Ribeye so that’s what I went with – and although somewhat pricey, I cannot believe how good it turned out for never having cooked steak before! Made it with your company mashed potatoes and your browned butter balsamic asparagus as suggested. My man has never eaten better!!

    By the way – did you get a tilt shift lens?? I love those things!

    • Jen says

      Nicola, you are the sweetest, thank you for your flattery 🙂 Hearing I am your favorite food blogger is incredibly humbling and such an honor!!! and I am thrilled your steak turned out amazing especially when you have never made steak before – wahoo! That was the goal of my long winded post, so I especially love hearing you found it helpful! Your entire meal sounds absolutely divine! And no tilt-shift lens – still my macro 🙂

  7. Marlene says

    Yum! Made this tonight and it was Mr. Fussy approved! I didn’t have heavy cream on hand so I used a bit of sour cream, which worked well. The sauce is really tasty. Another winner, Jen!

    • Jen says

      YAY! Thanks Marlene, I’m so pleased it was a winner with Mr.Fussy! Your substitution of sour cream is a great idea!

  8. LL says

    This was my first time cooking steak as well!

    • Jen says

      Great job, I hope it was a huge success!

  9. Brenda says

    I made this tonight and my husband said “That was excellent!” The sauce definitely was the star of this delicious recipe!

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Brenda, I’m so happy it was a hit!

  10. Melinda / Sprinkle and a Dash says

    I made this the other night with New York steaks that I had on hand. It was wonderful, my family enjoyed it :D. Curious why you used chicken broth instead of beef? I substituted beef broth and it worked well.
    I do LOVE your recipes!

    • Jen says

      Thanks Melinda, I’m so happy you loved it! I used chicken broth in the sauce because I wanted it to taste cream based and not beef based; happy it worked with both!