How to Pan Sear Flat Iron Steak

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Photo by Ryosuke Hosoi licensed under CC BY 2.0

Flat iron steak is long and thin, similar to flank and hangar steak. Therefore, it’s a good choice for pan searing because it cooks quickly without needing extra time in the oven. Flat iron steak is also an excellent option if you’re looking for a quick steak dinner that’s flavorful and simple to make. Continue reading our guide to learn how to pan sear flat iron steak.


Start by removing the steak from the refrigerator and adding salt to both sides. Then, leave it at room temperature for 30-45 minutes. Toward the end of the resting time, preheat a cast-iron skillet with a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Just before cooking, pat the flat iron steak dry on both sides and sprinkle with black pepper.

Cooking Time

Flat iron steak sears for 2-3 minutes on each side to achieve a medium-rare cook. If cooking past medium-rare, you’ll sear flat iron steak for 4 minutes on each side. Then, your steak may need another 3-8 minutes to cook on low after searing. With resting time, set aside about one full hour to pan sear flat iron steak.

Flat Iron Steak Pan Searing Tips

We’ve compiled a few helpful tips to guide you as you pan sear flat iron steak.

How to Use Marinade

Lots of cooks prefer to use marinade with steak, especially with flat iron and other thinner cuts. Marinade seeps deep into the meat, flavoring it and helping it become more tender as it works its magic. If you plan to use a marinade, be sure to let the steak marinate for at least two hours in the refrigerator. However, we typically suggest letting it marinate overnight for the best results.

Then, before searing, pat the steak completely dry to help it crisp in the pan. 

How to Slice Flat Iron Steak

After cooking flat iron steak, let it rest for 5-10 minutes to let the meat reabsorb some of the juices that end up on the surface during the cooking process. Then, slice against the grain, or the opposite direction of the long fibers running through the steak. This breaks up those long fibers that can become chewy when you eat steak, making the steak feel more tender overall and easier to chew. 

Use a Thermometer for Accuracy

We suggest having a digital thermometer on hand when pan searing flat iron steak to determine the internal temperature accurately. The following temperatures are the final temperature ranges for each cook:

  • Medium-rare: 130°F-135°F
  • Medium: 140°F-145°F
  • Medium-well: 150°F-155°F
  • Well-done: 160°F-165°F

Remove the steaks from the pan to rest when they reach about five degrees below these temperature ranges (for example, 125°F-130°F for medium-rare). 

Choosing the Right Cut of Flat Iron Steak

Do you see different labels on flat iron steak cuts you buy at the store or butcher? Some cattle is raised differently than others and meat, once cut from the animal, can be processed in different ways, resulting in varying qualities.

We suggest choosing Premium Angus, USDA Prime, or Wagyu flat iron steak, as these have the highest overall quality ratings, textures, and marbling of all flat iron steaks. Also, look for steaks that have been wet-aged or dry-aged. The aging process enhances the quality of steak through a controlled process lasting several weeks.

Flat Iron Steak Pan Searing Instructions

The following steps break down the process of cooking flat iron steak in a pan: 

Step 1: Preparation

Pat the steak dry. Then, add salt generously to both sides of the flat iron steak. Leave at room temperature for 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat a skillet to medium-high heat, adding a drizzle of high-heat oil to the bottom of the pan.

Step 2: Searing

Pat the steak dry again, and add your other seasonings, like black pepper and garlic salt. Transfer the steak to the pan to sear on one side for 2-3 minutes. Then, flip to the other side for another 2-3 minutes. If you want to cook your steak past medium-rare, sear on each side for 4 minutes. If you still need more time for your steak to reach your desired doneness, turn the heat to low and continue cooking for another 3-8 minutes.

Step 3: Finishing Up

Move the steak to a clean plate tented loosely with foil. Rest for 5-10 minutes. If slicing before serving, cut against the grain.

Flat Iron Steak Pan Searing FAQs

How long does it take to cook a flat iron steak?

If cooking to medium-rare in a stovetop pan, flat iron steak takes about 8-10 minutes to cook. Higher doneness levels may take closer to 10-15 minutes.

How do you cook flat iron steak on top of the stove?

Sear the steaks for 2-3 minutes on each side for medium-rare, or 4 minutes on each side for higher doneness levels. Turn the heat to low, and continue cooking for another 3-8 minutes until your preferred temperature is reached.

How long does flat iron steak take to sear?

Flat iron steaks sear in 4-6 minutes, flipping just once at the midway point. After that, turn the heat to low to continue cooking the inside to your desired temperature. 

What kind of pan should I use to pan sear flat iron steak?

We recommend using a cast iron pan to achieve an even sear, but you can use any pan that repels meats from sticking. 

Summing Up: How to Pan Sear Flat Iron Steak

Are you ready to try pan searing flat iron steak at home? Check out our aged flat iron steaks that you can order from our website to have delivered in individually-wrapped packages that preserve each steak’s freshness and quality. We even offer Kobe-Wagyu flat iron steaks with an A4 beef rating, denoting some of the most well-marbled steaks you can buy.