Coffee rubbed steak is out of this world! An amazing thing happens when you rub a high-quality cut of beef with spices, brown sugar, and ground coffee. The combination of coffee and pan-searing develops an amazing and flavorful crust around your steak that is almost unattainable by other means. I won’t go as far as calling the crust bark, but it does take on some of the similar smokey charred characteristics.
The pan-searing and oven-finishing steak method renders perfectly cooked steak that is juicy and pink on the inside with an amazing crispy exterior. The coffee rub really takes this steak to the next level and works really well with NY strips, ribeyes, filet mignon, and more.
Coffee Rub For Steak
My coffee rub is very simple. Ground coffee, garlic powder, chili powder, and brown sugar. The spices add flavor and the tiniest bit of heat while the brown sugar balances out some of the bitterness. The end result is very mild and by no means sweet.
Always use decent quality non-flavored ground coffee so you aren’t introducing any weird flavors. Grounds should be fresh and not previously used or soaked. There is no need to use expensive coffee—just your middle-of-the-road light or medium roast blend. Avoid any instant coffee or espresso.
To prepare coffee rubbed steak, start off by seasoning the steak liberally with salt and pepper and then massage the coffee rub all over the exterior. This ensures your steak is adequately seasoned before adding coffee and spices. Always let the steak rest for 30 minutes prior to cooking so it can come to room temp and soak up the seasoning.
Temperature For Steak
The timing/temperature chart below corresponds to the pan sear/oven method in this recipe. It’s a great guide assuming you choose a steak of similar size and thickness as listed in the recipe. I recommend a digital thermometer to verify your desired level of doneness.
|Doneness||Temperature Range||Oven Duration|
|Very Rare/rare||120°F to 125°F||4 minutes|
|Medium rare||125°F to 130°F||5-6 minutes|
|Medium||135°F to 140°F||6-7 minutes|
|Medium well||145°F to 150°F||8-9 minutes|
|Well done||160°F and above||10+ minutes|
SMOKE WARNING: Cooking steaks at high temps in a skillet tends to get smokey. Open a kitchen window and turn on your kitchen’s overhead vent fan before you start to help with ventilation.
Always Let Steaks Rest
The final most important step, let the steak rest for 7-10 minutes before cutting into it. Anthony Bourdain once said the most important aspect of cooking any steak is the rest period after you take it off the heat. Letting a steak rest before cutting is critical for two reasons. One, it continues to actually cook the steak. Second, the juices evenly distribute throughout the meat, yielding the perfect bite every time.
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Pan-seared steak with a simple coffee rub delivers a dreamy crust and juicy inside.
- 2 boneless 12-14 ounce NY strips (roughly 1.5–2 inches thick)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 whole thyme sprig
- 1 whole rosemary sprig
- 1 whole garlic clove
- Canola or vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Coffee rub (enough for 2-3 steaks)
- 2 tablespoons ground coffee (non-flavored light or medium roast)
- 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- Preheat the oven to 415°F.
- Combine coffee rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Mix until incorporated.
- Pat steaks dry and season liberally with salt and pepper on all sides. Rub a light layer of coffee rub on all sides. A generous, yet thin and even coating all around is best. Let steaks rest for 30 minutes prior to cooking to come to room temp and soak up the seasoning.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in an oven-safe cast iron skillet on high heat, allowing the skillet to become very hot. Twirl the pan as the oil heats to distribute. When the oil starts to smoke, place the steaks face down and sear undisturbed for 2 minutes. Flip and sear for an additional 2 minutes. This will give your steak a beautiful brown crust.
- Add the thyme, rosemary, garlic, and butter to the skillet and immediately transfer to the oven. [WARNING] skillet may be hot, handle it with oven mitts. For rare, bake for 4 minutes. Medium rare, 5-6 minutes. Medium, 6-7 minutes. Medium well, 8-9 minutes. Remember, depending on the size of the steak, the more or less time it will take. This recipe is ideal for steaks roughly 1.5-2 inches thick.
- Remove steaks from the skillet and set them on a plate, lightly cover with foil, and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. This is important to bring your steak to its final serving temperature.
- Spoon the herb-infused pan drippings all over the steaks and serve.
Cooking steaks at high temps in a skillet tends to get smokey. Open a kitchen window and turn on your kitchen’s overhead vent fan before you start to help with ventilation.
Temperatures for steak
Rare: 120 °F to 125 °F
Medium rare: 125 °F to 130 °F
Medium: 135 °F to 140 °F
Medium well: 145 °F to 150 °F
Well done: 160 °F and above
- Serving Size: 12 ounces
- Calories: 448
- Sugar: 0.7g
- Sodium: 1388mg
- Fat: 15.8g
- Saturated Fat: 7.2g
- Carbohydrates: 0.7g
- Fiber: 0g
- Protein: 78g
- Cholesterol: 203mg
Keywords: cowboy steak, tomahawk steak, coffee rubbed steak