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How do you cook ribeye so it’s not chewy?

Ribeye steak is a delicious and flavorful cut of beef that can easily turn out chewy and tough if not cooked properly. The key to cooking ribeye so that it turns out tender and juicy is to pay attention to certain techniques and tips. Follow the advice below and you’ll be enjoying melt-in-your-mouth, fork-tender ribeye steaks every time.

Choose the Right Thickness

When selecting ribeye steaks, choose a thickness between 1-1.5 inches. Steaks thinner than 1 inch will overcook very quickly and end up chewy. Steaks thicker than 1.5 inches will require longer cooking times, increasing the chance of the exterior drying out before the interior cooks through.

The ideal thickness keeps cooking times short while still allowing you to achieve the perfect medium rare doneness inside without overcooking the outside.

Bring Steak to Room Temperature

It’s important to remove steaks from the refrigerator and allow them to come closer to room temperature before cooking. Cold steak put straight onto a hot grill or pan will seize up, resulting in uneven cooking.

Take thick ribeye steaks out of the fridge about 40 minutes before cooking. Thinner steaks will only need 20-30 minutes to warm up. This takes the chill off and allows the meat to cook much more evenly.

Pat Steaks Dry

Before seasoning or cooking the steaks, pat them dry thoroughly with paper towels. Any excess moisture on the exterior can cause steaming which prevents the sear you need to develop those flavorful brown crusty bits.

Generously Season Both Sides

Seasoning is a must for flavorful steak. Be generous and coat both sides of the meat liberally with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Feel free to use other dried spices and herbs like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, thyme, oregano, etc. The salt will also help draw out moisture for better browning.

Use High Heat to Quickly Sear

The first step to cooking a perfect ribeye is searing it over very high heat. This quickly browns the exterior while locking in juices. Use a heavy skillet or grill preheated to at least 450°F. Place steaks in and don’t move them for at least 3 minutes to allow the sear to develop.

Resist the urge to flip the steaks too soon or you won’t get that flavorful crust. Let it sizzle!

Flip and Sear the Other Side

After searing the first side for 3-4 minutes, flip the steaks over using tongs and sear the other side. You want both exterior sides to develop a dark, caramelized crust.

If flare-ups happen, move the steaks temporarily to a cooler area of the grill or turn the heat down slightly until flames subside.

Check for Doneness and Remove

After searing both sides, the ribeyes should be close to medium rare doneness. Use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature when you think they are nearing readiness.

For medium rare:

  • Rare – 120-125°F
  • Medium rare – 130-135°F

As soon as the steaks reach your desired doneness, remove them from the heat and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. This allows juices to redistribute for a juicier steak.

Avoid Overcooking

Overcooking ribeye steaks, meaning cooking beyond medium doneness, is one of the main reasons they can turn out chewy and tough. Once the internal temperature rises past 150°F, the meat fibers begin to shrink and squeeze out moisture.

Use a thermometer and remove steaks from the heat at 135°F at the highest for flawlessly tender, pink ribeyes.

Let Meat Rest Before Cutting

After cooking, it’s crucial to allow the steaks to rest for 5-10 minutes rather than cutting into them right away. Resting enables the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

Slicing steak immediately will cause the juices to run out onto the cutting board, resulting in a drier ribeye.

Slice Across the Grain

Cut ribeye steak across the grain to shorten the meat fibers for a more tender bite. Look closely at the direction of the grain lines running through the meat and cut perpendicular to them.

Slicing against the grain helps break up those long, chewy fibers. Go nice and thin with your slices too.

Don’t Refrigerate Leftovers Right Away

If you have any leftover steaks, resist putting them straight into the fridge while still warm. This can cause condensation inside and make the meat soggy.

Let them cool to room temperature first before covering tightly and refrigerating. Consume leftovers within 3-4 days.

Common Mistakes

Follow the tips above to avoid these common ribeye cooking mistakes:

  • Not bringing steaks to room temp before cooking
  • Starting with too thin or thick of a cut
  • Not patting steaks dry before seasoning
  • Not searing at a high enough temperature
  • Flipping steaks too frequently
  • Overcooking beyond medium doneness
  • Cutting steak right after cooking without resting

Cooking Methods

While grilling or pan searing are the most common cooking methods to achieve a great crust, you can also successfully cook tender, juicy ribeye steaks using:

  • Broiling – Set oven to high broil. Place steaks on rimmed baking sheet and broil 4-5 minutes per side until browned and medium rare.
  • Roasting – Heat oven to 450°F. Heat an ovenproof skillet over high heat. Sear steaks 2-3 minutes per side then transfer to oven and roast 4-8 minutes until medium rare.
  • Sous vide – Seal seasoned steaks in bags then cook in water bath at 130°F for 1-4 hours depending on thickness. Sear quickly on hot skillet or grill before serving.
  • Reverse sear – Cook in 225-250°F oven until steaks reach 10°F below desired doneness. Rest, then sear.

Marinades and Rubs

Experiment with different marinades and spice rubs to infuse the ribeye steak with extra flavors:

  • Garlic, thyme, rosemary marinade
  • Soy sauce, lemon, garlic marinade
  • Red wine, oregano, pepper marinade
  • Chimichurri sauce
  • Coffee spice rub
  • Chili powder, cumin, brown sugar rub
  • Lemon pepper seasoning

Let steaks marinate for 30-60 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the fridge. Rubs can be applied just before cooking.

Best Side Dishes

What are the best side dishes to serve with juicy, tender grilled ribeye steak? Here are some mouthwatering options:

  • Garlic herb butter – Melted over the top of the steak or served alongside
  • Caesar or steakhouse salad
  • Loaded baked potato
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Creamed spinach or roasted brussels sprouts
  • Mac and cheese
  • Garlic Texas toast


When cooked properly, ribeye steak is one of the most flavorful, juicy and tender cuts of beef. Follow the guidelines above like bringing meat to room temp, generous seasoning, quick hot searing, and not overcooking. Monitor temperature and allow time to rest. Slice across the grain for maximum tenderness.

Avoid common mistakes like insufficient searing, cutting steak right away, and letting it overcook. Cook using your preferred method – on the grill, stove or in the oven. Add flavor with marinades and spice rubs. Pair with hearty side dishes like loaded baked potatoes.

With the right techniques, you’ll be rewarded with perfectly cooked, melt-in-your-mouth ribeye steak every time!