Why Should You Let Steak Rest? How Long Should You Let A Steak Rest?

Why Should You Let Steak Rest? How Long Should You Let A Steak Rest?

Cooking a perfect steak is an art, involving selecting the right cut, seasoning it well, and cooking it to the perfect temperature. However, an often overlooked yet crucial step in this process is letting the steak rest. Resting steak after cooking ensures that it reaches its peak flavor and tenderness, providing a superior dining experience. This article delves into why resting is important, how to let steak rest properly, and the ideal resting times before and after cooking.

Why You Should Let Meat Rest?

When you cook a steak, the heat causes the juices within the meat to move towards the surface. If you cut into the steak immediately after cooking, these juices will spill out, leaving the steak dry and less flavorful. Resting the steak allows these juices to redistribute evenly throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful steak. Additionally, resting helps the muscle fibers to relax, making the meat more tender.

Why You Should Let Meat Rest?

How to Rest a Steak

Resting a steak is simple but must be done correctly to achieve the best results. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove the Steak from Heat: Take the steak off the grill, pan, or oven and place it on a cutting board or a plate.
  2. Tent with Foil: Loosely cover the steak with aluminum foil. This helps retain the heat without trapping steam, which can make the crust soggy.
  3. Let It Rest: Allow the steak to sit undisturbed for the appropriate amount of time.
How to Rest a Steak

Steak Resting Time: How Long to Let Meat Rest?

The resting time can vary depending on the size and thickness of the steak. A general rule of thumb is to rest the steak for approximately half the time it was cooked. For example:

  • Thin Steaks (less than 1 inch thick): Rest for 5-7 minutes.
  • Medium Steaks (1-2 inches thick): Rest for 10-15 minutes.
  • Thick Steaks (more than 2 inches thick): Rest for 15-20 minutes.

Resting for the right amount of time ensures the juices are properly redistributed and the meat is at the optimal temperature for serving.

Steak Resting Time

Resting Steak Before Cooking

Resting steak before cooking is also important, especially if the steak has been refrigerated. Bringing the steak to room temperature ensures it cooks more evenly. Here’s how to rest steak before cooking:

  1. Remove from Refrigerator: Take the steak out of the refrigerator and leave it in its packaging or place it on a plate.
  2. Allow It to Sit: Let the steak sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before cooking. This helps the steak cook more evenly and prevents the outside from becoming overcooked while the inside remains undercooked.

Resting Steak After Cooking

After cooking, resting the steak is essential to ensure it retains its juices and tenderness. The process involves the same steps mentioned earlier: removing the steak from heat, tenting it with foil, and allowing it to sit for the appropriate amount of time.

Tips for Resting Steak

  1. Use a Warm Plate: Rest the steak on a warm plate to prevent it from cooling down too quickly.
  2. Don’t Skip the Foil: Tenting the steak with foil helps retain heat without trapping steam.
  3. Be Patient: Resist the urge to cut into the steak immediately. Patience pays off with a juicier, more flavorful steak.
  4. Monitor the Time: Use a timer to ensure you rest the steak for the correct amount of time based on its thickness.


How Long Can Cooked Meat Sit Out?

Cooked meat should not be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Beyond this time, the risk of bacterial growth increases, which can lead to foodborne illnesses. If the room temperature is above 90°F (32°C), the time reduces to 1 hour.

What Happens If You Don't Rest Steak After Cooking?

If you don’t rest the steak after cooking, the juices will flow out when you cut into it, leading to a drier and less flavorful steak. The meat will also be less tender since the muscle fibers haven’t had a chance to relax.

What Happens If You Rest Steak For Too Long?

Resting a steak for too long can cause it to cool down, resulting in a less enjoyable eating experience. It may also lead to the steak overcooking slightly due to residual heat, affecting the desired doneness.


Resting steak is a simple yet crucial step in cooking the perfect steak. It ensures the meat is juicy, flavorful, and tender by allowing the juices to redistribute and the muscle fibers to relax. By following the guidelines on how and how long to rest steak, both before and after cooking, you can elevate your steak-cooking game and enjoy restaurant-quality results at home. Patience and attention to detail will reward you with a perfectly rested, delicious steak every time.

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