When it comes to seasoning steak, there are a lot of great options to choose from. The best seasoning for steak depends on your taste preferences and the cut of steak you are cooking. Here’s a quick look at some of the most popular ways to season steak.
Salt and Pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper is a classic steak seasoning. It’s simple, lets the flavor of the beef shine, and is easy to adjust to your taste. Coarse sea salt or kosher salt gives a nice texture and crunch. Cracked black pepper adds a punch of spice. This combo works well with any cut of steak from ribeyes to filet mignon.
Garlic is a popular aromatic seasoning for steak. You can rub minced raw garlic onto the meat, sprinkle on garlic powder, or use garlic salt. Garlic adds lots of savory flavor. It goes especially well with rich cuts like ribeye or New York strip. Make sure not to burn the garlic or it will become bitter.
Onions complement the flavor of beef perfectly. Like garlic, you can use onion powder or fresh onions. Minced white or yellow onion is classic. Caramelized onions are delicious on top of steak. You can also rub steak with onion salt or onion powder for quick flavor.
Spice rubs give a flavor boost to steak. There are many pre-made spice blends to try. Or make your own by combining spices like chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, thyme, parsley, and more. Apply the spice rub evenly over the meat before cooking. Spice mixes add warmth and complexity.
Fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, thyme, and oregano are excellent options for seasoning steak. Chop the herbs and press them onto the meat for direct flavor. Or sprinkle them over the steak just before serving. Herbs add woodsy notes and brighten up the beefy taste.
Sauces and Marinades
Marinating steak adds lots of flavor. Common marinades include soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, wine, and Worcestershire sauce. You can also coat steak with chimichurri sauce, BBQ sauce, steak sauce, or teriyaki sauce. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors penetrate into the meat before cooking.
Spreading butter on top of a cooked steak helps it become juicy and tender. The butter basts the meat while cooking. Compound butters made with herbs, garlic, shallots, etc. add extra flavor. Finish off a steak with a pat of regular butter or sprinkle with compound butter before serving.
For a pop of peppery spice, coat steak with crushed black peppercorns. The whole peppercorns crackle and sizzle when cooking while adding lots of robust flavor. The peppery crust pairs well with a tender filet mignon in particular. Cracked green or rainbow peppercorns also add interest.
Bright citrus complements rich beef. You can sprinkle lemon juice over steak before cooking. Or rub the cut of meat with a sliced lemon. Thin lemon slices can also be added on top of cooked steak for a fresh flavor and aroma right before eating. Try squeezing more lemon juice over the steak when serving.
This savory sauce adds instant flavor to steak. The classic ingredients in Worcestershire include vinegar, molasses, anchovies, garlic, onions, tamarind and other seasonings. Use it to marinate steak for 1-2 hours before cooking. Or brush it on cooked steak at the end to enhance the flavor.
Montreal Steak Seasoning
This blend was created specifically to season steak. It typically contains salt, peppers, coriander, garlic, onion, dill seed, and other spices. The ingredients bring out the rich umami taste of beef. Sprinkle Montreal seasoning on before, during, and after cooking steak.
Mustard coats steak with tangy flavor. Yellow mustard works well. Other options include spicy brown or Dijon mustard. Use it to make a quick marinade or apply it on top of cooked steak. The mustard flavor pairs especially nicely with fattier cuts like ribeye.
As a classic Asian marinade ingredient, soy sauce gives steak a savory umami taste. The salty soy sauce tenderizes steak while adding lots of flavor. For bolder flavor, marinate steak for a few hours in soy sauce, oil, and spices. Or just drizzle steak with soy sauce at the end.
Anchovies lend a hit of umami flavor to steak. Fish sauce is made from fermented anchovies and adds a similar taste. Use it alone or combined with other sauces in marinades. A small amount of fish sauce balances the rich beefiness. Drizzle extra on after cooking if desired.
Sautéed mushrooms are a popular topping for steak. Their earthy, meaty flavor complements the beef wonderfully. Cook mushrooms in butter or oil to enhance their natural taste. Try cremini, portobello, morel, oyster, chanterelle, and other varieties.
When it comes to the best way to season steak, the options are endless based on your preferences. Simple salt and pepper lets the natural beefy flavor shine. Spice rubs kick things up a notch. Marinades like soy sauce infuse extra flavor. Toppings such as garlic butter and sautéed mushrooms enhance the steak’s taste. Use one seasoning method or experiment with combining a few. The key is seasoning your steak just the way you like it.