Steak doneness. Everyone has their own interpretation and opinion on the correct degree of doneness, from rare to well done and everything in between. But with such small differences in temperature, you really need to pay close attention so that you don’t miss the window between a perfectly cooked and overcooked piece of meat. In this article we’ll tell you how to get the temperature you want.

How steaks come to temperature

Steaks cook fast from the outside in, meaning the outside of the steak will always cook faster than the middle. This is great for achieving a nice crust on the outside, but it means there’s a high chance of overcooking while you’re waiting for the inside to catch up.

What equates to a steak’s doneness is the finishing internal temperature of the steak. This means you have to stop the cooking process prior to your desired doneness.

When steak rests on a plate or cutting board, the heat will rise and continue to cook for a few minutes. By the time it’s rested, it should be pretty close to where you want it to be.

To bring the steaks back up to the desired temperature, you can finish them French style – back in the pan with a bit of butter and herbs. You can also finish them in the oven.

How to tell when your beef is done

An instant-read meat thermometer is the best way to get a true and accurate reading.

To record the temperature, insert the metal prod into the centre of each steak and check the temperature. Do this as often as you need to – steaks won’t lose any juices from being poked with a thermometer.

Steak Temperature Chart

Check out our guide below on what temperature to remove steak and what the final cooked temperature should be.

 Remove from heat at this temperatureFinal cooked temperature
Rare48ºC / 118ºF50ºC / 120ºF
Medium Rare52ºC / 125ºF54ºC / 130ºF
Medium58ºC / 136ºF60ºC / 140ºF
Medium Well62ºC / 143ºF65ºC / 140ºF
Well Done68ºC / 154F70ºC / 160ºF

Download our chart below and save it on your phone so you’ll always have a quick reference handy.

It’s always better to take your steak out earlier than later – you can always bring it back to temperature if underdone, but once it’s overcooked you can’t take that away.

It might seem stressful, but really, it’s all about just “hanging out” with your steak and probing it with a thermometer as often as you need to until you get the temperature you want.

Read next: The Top 3 Meat Thermometers As Recommended By Pitmaster Adam Roberts