How to Pan Sear Sirloin Steak

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Photo by Emerson Vieira licensed under Unsplash License

Give a steak a good sear, and its flavor increases ten-fold. That may not be the quote of any famous foodies, but it’s certainly the truth.

Pan-seared sirloin steak is one of the tastiest proteins you can put on your palate, and this guide teaches you how to accomplish it step-by-step. Follow along to learn everything from preparation tips to answers to commonly asked questions so that you can enjoy freshly seared sirloin in your own kitchen.


Take a few minutes to prepare sirloin steak before pan-searing it to improve your chances of success. First, place the steaks on a plate at room temperature. Salt them generously on each side. Then, rest for 45 minutes. When you’re ready to cook, pat the steaks dry, and add your other choice seasonings, like garlic powder or ground black pepper.

Five minutes before cooking, preheat a cast-iron skillet with a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. 

Cooking Time

A medium-rare sirloin steak takes about 10-15 minutes to pan-sear. With resting time before and after cooking, plan on setting aside a little over one hour from start to finish. Higher levels of doneness may need a few more minutes to cook on low heat in the pan or to finish off in the oven.

Sirloin Steak Pan Searing Tips

Below are a few tips to help you pan-sear sirloin steak to perfection.

Use the Right Amount of Oil

Using too much oil in your pan can prevent the steak from searing due to too much moisture. However, having too little can cause sirloin steak to burn. A good rule of thumb is to use one tablespoon per steak (one tablespoon of oil for one steak and two tablespoons for two steaks). 

Flip Only Once

The best way to get an excellent sear on sirloin steak is to give the steak plenty of time to sear. It can be tempting to keep flipping it to get an even sear, but when you do this, moisture comes back to the surface of the steak. In turn, this can interfere with the searing process. Instead, leave the sirloin in place for 2-3 minutes, during which a golden-brown crust should form on the bottom side. Then, flip to the other side to sear for another 2-3 minutes.

Use a Thermometer for Accuracy

Using a thermometer to check the temperature of your sirloin steak is the best way to ensure that you’ve cooked it to your preferred doneness. Insert the thermometer’s probe into the thickest part of the meat. If you choose the right thermometer, you can even keep it in place during the cooking process for consistent monitoring. Here are the final temperature ranges for steak after the resting period:

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

Choosing the Right Cut of Sirloin

When you shop for sirloin steak, look for one of the following: Premium Angus, USDA Prime, or Wagyu. These labels mark sirloin steaks that fall within the top categories for overall quality, so they typically have the best marbling and texture.

Also, consider searching for aged steaks. They’ll be marked with dry-aged or wet-aged labels. The aging process improves the flavor and texture of steaks, resulting in some of the best sirloin steaks your money can buy. Chicago Steak Company specializes in wet-aged sirloin steaks.

Sirloin Steak Pan Searing Instructions

Follow the steps below to learn how to pan sear sirloin steak.

Step 1: Preparation

Salt steaks on both sides. Leave them on a clean plate at room temperature for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat a cast-iron skillet with a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Pat the steaks dry just before cooking and sprinkle with black pepper on each side.

Step 2: Searing

Add the steaks to the preheated pan. Sear on each side for 2-3 minutes until they turn golden brown. Then, turn the heat down to low. Cook for another 5-10 minutes until a digital thermometer reads about five degrees below the temperature range for your preferred doneness. For example, a medium-rare steak should reach about 125 degrees. Once it rests, it’ll come to its final temperature range of 130-135 degrees.

Step 3: Oven-Cooking (Optional)

Thick steaks or steaks cooked to higher doneness levels might need a few more minutes of cooking time in the oven. If so, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Transfer the steaks to an oven-safe pan or baking sheet, and cook for 5-8 minutes. Use a thermometer to check the temperature before resting.

Step 4: Finishing Up

Rest your sirloin steaks on a clean plate for 5-10 minutes before serving. During the resting process, tent a piece of foil over the plate to hold in heat.

Sirloin Steak Pan Searing FAQs

How long should I sear sirloin steak?

Sirloin steaks usually sear for 2-3 minutes on each side, for a total of 5-6 minutes. However, the pan you use can make a difference, so keep an eye on your steak. For instance, cast-iron tends to heat fast and gets very hot, so steaks cooked on a cast-iron pan may sear faster than they would on a traditional nonstick pan.

How do I find the best sirloin steak to sear?

Always choose quality, well-marbled sirloin steak for searing to yield the best results. Look for steaks labeled as Wagyu, USDA Prime, or Premium Angus. Also, choose dry-aged or wet-aged steaks for excellent flavor and texture. 

What kind of skillet should I use for pan-seared sirloin steak?

We recommend using a cast-iron skillet to sear sirloin steak, if possible. However, you can also use any high-quality nonstick pan that tolerates high heat well.

What temperature should pan-seared sirloin be?

A medium-rare pan-seared sirloin steak should reach 130°F-135°F after resting for five minutes. Medium steaks range between 140°F-145°F, medium-well cooks to 150°F-155°F, and well-done sirloin steaks should reach 160°F-165°F.

Summing Up: How to Pan Sear Sirloin Steak

Pan-searing sirloin steak like the pros do starts with high-quality sirloin. Order sirloin steak online from Chicago Steak Company to take the guesswork out of finding top-notch steak. Our wet-aged top sirloin is flash-frozen and individually wrapped to preserve quality and freshness during its delivery to you.