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How long do you let steak rest after cooking?

Resting steak after cooking is one of the most important steps to ensure you end up with a tender, juicy result. During cooking, the fibers in the meat tighten and the juices get forced to the center. If you cut into a steak immediately, the juices will run out and the steak will end up dry. Letting it rest allows the fibers to relax and the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the meat. This results in a more tender and flavorful steak.

So how long should you let your steak rest? The answer depends on a few factors.

How Thick Is Your Steak?

The thickness of your steak is the primary factor that determines how long you should let it rest.

For thin steaks:

If you are cooking steaks that are around 1 inch thick or less, such as skirt steak or flank steak, a rest time of 3-5 minutes is sufficient. The juices don’t have very far to travel to redistribute throughout these thinner steaks, so they don’t need an extended rest.

For thick steaks:

For thicker steaks that are 1-2 inches thick, such as ribeye, strip, tenderloin, or porterhouse, let them rest for 5-10 minutes. The juices need more time to redistribute through the larger cut of meat.

As a general rule of thumb, the thicker the steak, the longer the rest time. A good benchmark is to rest your steak for about half the time as you cooked it. So if a 2-inch ribeye took 10 minutes to cook, let it rest for 5 minutes afterwards.

Doneness Level

The doneness level you cooked your steak to also impacts how long you should let it rest.

Rarer steaks have a cooler center and tighter muscle fibers. This means they require a little more time resting to allow the juices to relax back into the meat.

Well done steaks are cooked for longer, so the meat fibers have relaxed more during cooking. This means less resting time is required.

Recommended minimum resting times based on doneness:

– Rare: 5 minutes
– Medium rare: 5 minutes
– Medium: 4 minutes
– Medium well: 4 minutes
– Well done: 3 minutes

So for a rare 2-inch ribeye, resting it for 10 minutes would be ideal. But a well done 1-inch skirt steak only needs 3-5 minutes.

Cooking Method

The cooking method you used can also impact resting time. Dry heat cooking methods like grilling, broiling, pan frying, or roasting cause greater muscle fiber contraction compared to moist cooking methods like poaching or sous vide. More contraction means longer resting times are needed.

Here are general guidelines for resting time based on cooking method:

– Grill/Broil/Pan fry: Add 2-3 minutes more rest
– Roast: Add 2-3 minutes more rest
– Sous vide: No additional rest time needed
– Poach: No additional rest time needed

So that 2-inch ribeye cooked medium rare on the grill should rest for 10-12 minutes instead of just 10. But if you sous vide it and then quickly seared, the 10 minute rest time would suffice.

Cutting Against the Grain

When you slice into a rested steak, always cut against the grain of the meat fibers. This severs the fibers into shorter pieces instead of separating whole long fibers, resulting in a more tender bite.

Look closely at your steak and you should see the grain running in a particular direction. For optimal tenderness, cut perpendicular to the direction of the grain.

Cover Loosely While Resting

It’s important to let your steak rest on a clean plate or cutting board, not sitting in any juices. You want the steak to retain some heat to allow for carryover cooking, but also be exposed to the air so the exterior doesn’t get soggy.

Loosely tenting a piece of foil over the top is a good way to trap in some warmth while still allowing for some airflow. Just don’t wrap the foil tightly or you’ll end up steaming the steak.

Don’t Cut Too Early

It can be tempting to sneak a peek and cut into the steak before the recommended time is up. But be patient! Cutting too early will undo all your hard resting work.

Those juices need sufficient time to redistribute, especially towards the center of thick cuts. Stick to the guidelines and let it rest completely before slicing.

Rest Times for Other Cuts of Meat

While steak is the most popular, these resting principles apply to other cuts of meat as well:

Pork Chops

– Thickness: 1 inch or less – 3-5 minutes
1-2 inches thick – 5-10 minutes

Lamb Chops

– Thickness: 1 inch or less – 3-5 minutes
1-2 inches thick – 5-10 minutes

Chicken Breasts

– Whole breast: 10 minutes
– Individual breasts: 5 minutes


– Whole turkey: 15-20 minutes
– Turkey breast: 10-15 minutes


– Rest for about 15 minutes per pound

So for a 4 pound pork roast or beef roast, rest for about 1 hour before slicing.

Key Things to Remember

To summarize the key factors on how long to let your steak or other meats rest after cooking:

– Thicker cuts need more resting time for juices to redistribute (5-10 minutes for steaks 1 inch or thicker).

– Rarer meats need more time than well done meats.

– Dry cooking methods require slightly longer rest times.

– Rest on a plate or board, not in juices.

– Loosely tent foil over the top to retain some heat.

– Cut against the grain for tenderness.

– Wait the full recommended time before slicing to allow juices to redistribute.

Following these simple guidelines will lead to perfectly rested, tender and juicy meats every time. Now that you know how long to rest your steak and other meats, you can achieve the ideal texture and moisture in your finished dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I put butter on my steak while it rests?

Adding butter right before serving can enhance the flavor. But refrain from putting butter on top as it’s resting. You want the steak exposed to the air so the exterior doesn’t get soggy.

What’s the best way to keep a steak warm while it’s resting?

Loosely tenting foil over the top will retain some warmth. You can also place it near (but not directly in) any hot oven or grill. Wrapping tightly in foil would steam it.

Can I make a pan sauce while my steak rests?

Absolutely! Making a quick pan sauce is a great way to use the fond leftover in the pan for added flavor. Just don’t cut into the steak too soon.

Should I salt my steak before or after cooking?

For the best crust and flavor, you actually want to salt your steak at least 40 minutes before cooking. This allows the salt time to dissolve and penetrate the meat deeper.

Is it bad to cut into steak right after cooking?

Yes, cutting into steak immediately can cause the juices to run out and result in a drier, less tender bite. Always allow sufficient resting time for best results.


Resting your steak after cooking is essential to ensuring it turns out juicy and tender. Follow the guidelines in this article on how long to rest steak based on thickness, doneness, and cooking method. Resist the urge to cut too soon, and your patience will be rewarded with perfectly cooked steak every time. Now that you know how long to let it rest, you can relax and enjoy the full flavors of your carefully prepared steak.