How to Pan Sear Porterhouse Steak

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Photo by Neeta Lind licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you’ve ever tried a porterhouse steak, you probably already know that this massive cut of beef is one of the tastiest there is. However, its final result largely depends on how it was cooked. Overcooking it, for example, could ruin the tenderness that steak enthusiasts specifically seek out porterhouse for. 

That’s why we’ve created this guide to show you how to pan sear porterhouse steak, from start to finish, using tried-and-true techniques. This cooking method isn’t hard to achieve, but timing and understanding temperatures are important.


Here’s how to get ready to pan sear porterhouse steak:

  1. Remove the steak from the refrigerator. Salt it generously on both sides and leave it on a clean plate or cutting board at room temperature for 45 minutes.
  2. At the 40-minute mark, preheat a cast-iron skillet or nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of oil.
  3. Move an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 
  4. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Cooking Time

The searing portion of pan-searing porterhouse steaks takes about 6-8 minutes total, or 3-4 minutes on each side. Then, depending on your desired doneness level, you’ll need another 5-20 minutes for the steak to finish cooking in the oven. 

Porterhouse Steak Pan Searing Tips

Follow our tips below to get the best sear and cook on your pan-seared porterhouse steak. 

Use a Large Pan

Porterhouse is much larger than your typical cut of steak, so it’s best to use a large skillet that can accommodate the steak comfortably. You should be able to flip it easily using tongs without the sides of the steak resting on the sides of the pan. If you can’t, slice the steak in half along the bone before cooking it and cook both pieces separately. 

Finish it Off in the Oven

Porterhouse likely needs some extra time to cook after searing it. Avoid keeping it in the pan until it reaches its final temperature, or you may end up with more of a burnt outer crust than a seared outside. Instead, move the steaks into the oven preheated to 450 degrees to finish cooking. Remove the steaks when they’re about five degrees below the final temperature range for your desired doneness level, as noted below. 

Use a Digital Thermometer

After porterhouse steak cooks in the oven, use a thermometer to check its internal temperature. The steak should reach about five degrees below the target temperature range for your preferred doneness. Those are:

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

After resting at room temperature for at least five minutes, recheck the temperature. Your steak should fall within this final range.

Choosing the Right Cut of Porterhouse

The results you get with porterhouse steak largely depend on the quality of steak you choose. When shopping, select Premium Angus, USDA Choice, or Wagyu cuts, which are the three top choices for flavor, texture, and overall quality. We also suggest buying dry-aged or wet-aged porterhouse, as the aging process enhances the final results with improved texture and flavor.

Porterhouse Steak Pan Searing Instructions

Get ready to sear porterhouse steak using these easy-to-follow instructions. 

Step 1: Preparation

Before cooking porterhouse steak, salt the steaks generously on both sides and leave them at room temperature for 45 minutes. The brining process removes moisture on the steaks’ surface to help them sear while adding flavor. Preheat a skillet with a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat near the end of the brining period. Then, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. 

Step 2: Searing

If needed to fit in the pan, slice your steak in half along the bone. Sprinkle pepper on both sides of the porterhouse steaks. Add the steaks to the heated pan. Sear for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown, flipping only once. 

Step 3: Oven-Cooking 

Transfer the steaks to the baking sheet and into the oven on a middle rack. Cook for 5-20 minutes until a thermometer reaches about five degrees below the final temperature range for your preferred doneness. 

Step 4: Finishing Up

Move steaks to a clean plate or cutting board tented with foil to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Porterhouse Steak Pan Searing FAQs

How long does a porterhouse steak take to sear?

Pan-sear a porterhouse steak for 3-4 minutes on each side. Then, move it into the oven set to 450 degrees to cook for an additional 5-20 minutes, depending on how well-done you like your steak.

How should porterhouse steak be cooked when pan-seared?

We recommend cooking porterhouse steak to medium-rare. Start by searing the steak for 3 or 4 minutes on each side. Then, transfer it to the oven until it reaches 125-130 degrees. However, you can pan-sear it and transfer it into the oven to cook to your preferred doneness level.

How can I choose a good porterhouse steak for searing?

High-quality porterhouse steaks are labeled as USDA Prime, Premium Angus, or Wagyu. You can also look for dry-aged or wet-aged labels that identify steaks that have gone through the aging process to enhance their flavor and texture.

How should I season porterhouse steak before searing?

Salt both sides of the porterhouse steak generously, allowing the steak to then rest for 45 minutes. Just before searing, pat the steak dry and add freshly ground black pepper and other seasonings of your choice to both sides. 

Summing Up: How to Pan Sear Porterhouse

Now that you know how to pan sear porterhouse steak in your own kitchen, be sure to order steak that gives you the quality results you expect. Try Chicago Steak Company’s porterhouse steak selection. Our steaks are hand-cut and selected, flash-frozen, and individually wrapped to preserve every ounce of freshness in every bite.