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Can you rest beef for too long?

Resting beef after cooking is an important step that allows the juices to redistribute through the meat. During cooking, the high heat causes the juices to escape to the surface. If you cut into the meat right away, the juices will run out and the beef will be dry. Resting gives the juices time to be reabsorbed back into the fibers. But can you rest beef for too long?

How long should you rest beef?

The general recommendation is to rest beef for 5-10 minutes after cooking. This gives enough time for the juices to redistribute while still serving the beef at its peak temperature.

Here are some more specific resting times for different cuts and cooking methods:

Type of Beef Cooking Method Recommended Resting Time
Steaks Grilled or pan-seared 5 minutes
Roasts Oven roasted 10-15 minutes
Brisket, pot roast Braised 15-20 minutes

For thick cuts like prime rib or leg of lamb, resting up to 20 minutes allows the juices to fully redistribute. The temperatures will rise another 5-10°F during the resting time as well.

What happens if you rest the beef too long?

Resting beef for too long can start to have some detrimental effects:

  • The meat cools down significantly, losing its hot, just-cooked qualities.
  • The juices have time to spill out onto the plate or cutting board.
  • The texture of the meat can become mushy.

Once the meat drops below 125°F, rested beef is considered held hot. USDA recommends holding hot foods at 140°F or higher to prevent bacterial growth. So resting longer than that allows the temperature to drop into the danger zone.

How long is too long for resting beef?

There isn’t an exact cut-off for when beef becomes over rested. It depends on the thickness of the cut. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Steaks – Don’t rest for more than 10-15 minutes
  • Roasts – Don’t rest for more than 20-30 minutes
  • Brisket, pot roasts – Don’t rest for more than 30-45 minutes

For thinner cuts like steaks, the temperature drops quickly so you don’t want to go over 15 minutes. Thicker roasts can stay hotter longer, but the juices will start spilling out and texture suffers after 30 minutes. Whole briskets hold heat the longest but still shouldn’t be rested longer than 45 minutes.

Tips for a perfect beef rest

To get the most out of resting your beef, follow these tips:

  • Use a meat thermometer to determine doneness and avoid overcooking.
  • Transfer beef to a clean platter or cutting board, not the one used for raw meat.
  • Lightly tent foil over the meat to keep warm, not wrapped tightly.
  • Resist cutting into the meat right away!
  • Rest thick roasts and briskets up to 20-30 minutes.
  • Don’t let steaks or chops rest longer than 10 minutes.
  • Carve across the grain after resting for tenderness.


The ideal rest time for beef allows the juices to redistribute while still serving the meat at its peak hot temperature. Resting too short risks dryness, while resting too long can make the meat mushy and cooled down.

For most cuts of beef, stick within a 10-20 minute resting time. Use a meat thermometer to judge doneness instead of relying on resting time alone. With the right rest, your beef will come out juicy, tender and perfectly cooked every time.