The 9 Best Types of Steak for a Cast Iron Skillet

A good cast iron skillet is a staple in many people’s kitchens, both traditional and modern. This heavily romanticized piece of cooking equipment can be used to make a great number of dishes very well, and steak is no exception. However, some types of steak cook better in a cast iron skillet than others.

This list will detail some of the best steaks for searing some steaks on a cast iron skillet, including some cuts most people haven’t tried before. Read on to find out which ones, as well as some helpful tips on how to cook them.

A cast iron skillet with a bowl of oil nearby

1. New York Strip

New York Strip is a very tender steak that is full of flavor, fat, and good beefy flavor. It comes from a little-used muscle on the steer, which is what makes it so darn tender. It is this quality that lends it well to cast-iron cooking.

How to Cook It

This type of steak should typically be cooked over high heat. Since it is quite flavorful already, it doesn’t require a massive amount of seasoning, and the tenderness of this cut of steak means that it doesn’t need to be marinated at all unless you want to marinate it.

This steak can also be cooked using a reverse-searing method, in which you cook the steak first in the oven and then sear it, although its pretty standard thickness does not make doing so a requirement. This steak is great for both casual and fancy dinners alike!

Related 8 Best Oven Safe Skillets (And How To Tell If One Is Safe).

2. Flat Iron

Flat iron steak is taken from the shoulder or “chuck.” Similar to the new york strip, it is very well-marbled and tender. It is also similarly delicious.

How to Cook It

Flat iron steak should be pan-seared, with one rule: make sure not to cook it past medium-rare if you want the best results. Flat iron steak can taste great cooked in butter, and make sure to season it with your preferred seasoning before you put it on your skillet.

3. Skirt Steak

Unlike the previous two entries on this list, skirt steak is not particularly tender. However, it is very flavorful, and it is best when cooked using a cast iron skillet.

How to Cook It

Skirt steak should be cooked over high heat for a brief amount of time. While not often eaten on its own, skirt steak is delicious, and often paired with things like fajitas and even Philly cheesesteaks.

Do note as well that there are two types of skirt steak, outside and inside, respectively. The outside tends to be more tender and requires less preparation. The inside often requires some marinade and tenderizing to get the best results.

Still, this is one cut you don’t want to overlook.

A cast iron skillet full of cut up cooked steak

4. Filet Mignon

Filet mignon is perhaps the leanest and most tender cut of steak you can get. As such, it is highly coveted and typically pretty expensive. However, when well cooked, it can certainly be very worth its price.

How to Cook It

Filet mignon can be either seared or reverse-seared, but if done right, both methods will yield a delicious steak. For a little extra flavor, use butter mixed with garlic and rosemary to sear your filet.

5. Rib-Eye Steak

Rib eye is a well-marbled, very fatty, and very tender cut of meat from the rib primal. Similar to New York strip steak, it can be either bone-in or bone-out, with the bone-in version usually called “rib steak”. The bone adds flavor while the meat is being cooked, but also makes the cooking process just a little more difficult.

How to Cook It

Rib-eye steak should be cooked over medium or high heat, with care to be taken that it is cooked all the way through. In addition, you may occasionally get flare-ups while you cook this meat due to its high fat content.

6. Top Sirloin Steak

Taken from the top of the rib primal, this cut is very juicy and pairs nicely in any number of dishes.

How to Cook It

Top sirloin is a moderately thick to a thin cut of steak, so it should be cooked on medium-high to high heat for a relatively short amount of time. This steak is incredibly tasty in any number of dishes or just on its own, and is great in kabobs or tacos, or stir-fry.

7. Bottom Sirloin Steak/Tri-Tip Roast

Taken from the bottom of the rib primal, the tri-tip roast is named such for the triangular shape of this cut. It is a boneless cut and is typically pretty tender if cooked right.

How to Prepare and Cook It

Tri-tip steak can be really good when marinated, although it doesn’t always need to be. The most important tip for cooking this cut is to slice it against the grain when you are done searing it after it’s done resting (about 10 minutes or so after it has been cooked).

8. Flank Steak

Flank steak is a relatively lesser-known cut of steak, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable. Cut from, well, the flank or flank primal, it is a leaner and tougher steak compared to most of the others on this list. However, it is very flavorful.

How to Prepare and Cook It

Flank steak needs to be marinated for best results and then cooked quickly over high heat.

There are a million different kinds of marinades out there, all of which can significantly affect the result from you get from cooking this steak, so experiment and find one that you like!

Pro Tip: Braising, or the addition of a butter sauce to the steak when it is nearly done being seared can also work wonders for keeping the steak moist and as tender as possible.

9. Tenderloin Tips

Tenderloin tips, taken from the loin primal, are incredibly tender, as their name implies. They are also super flavorful. This cut lends itself naturally to being pan-seared in any sort of oil you prefer.

Tenderloin tips make great kabobs or plate centers, or stir-fry, similar to the top sirloin cut.

How to Cook It

You will likely want to cook these at medium-high to high heat for just a short period. Try them in garlic butter for an especially delicious dish, or marinate them for a particularly savory one.

For more, don’t miss The Best Cast Iron Skillet Size (Based on Your Needs).

Anne James

Anne James has a wealth of experience in a wide array of interests and is an expert in quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, mixing drinks (bartending), and making jelly. Anne has a professional canning business, has been featured in the local newspaper as well as on the Hershey website, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is. With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass. Amazingly, she doesn’t need to reference many resources due to her vast wealth of experience. She IS the source. Anne wants nothing more than to pass on her extensive knowledge to the next generations, whether that be family or anyone visiting her website, her YouTube channel, or survivalfreedom.com.

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