November 21

How Long To Sear Steak After Sous Vide? | Golden Brown Crust and Tons of Flavor


Author: Cornelia Suehr and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Sous vide is a simple yet delicious way to cook steak. The steak is cooked in a vacuum-sealed bag with some salt, garlic, and thyme. The steak comes out perfectly every time.

We've already talked about the importance of searing steaks after they've been sous vide cooked, but we haven't really talked about how long you should cook them for this final step.  We'll talk about how long to sear steak after sous vide cooking in this guide so that you're able to achieve perfect results every time.

Key Takeaways

  • Sous vide is a cooking technique that involves vacuum-sealing food and then cooking it at very precise temperatures for 1 to 4 hours.
  • Sous vide allows you to cook your steak to a perfect medium rare without overcooking it. It also allows the meat to cook evenly in its juices and retain its natural flavor
  • Depending on how thick your steak is and how hot your pan or grill is, searing should only take 2 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Searing is an important step that makes all the difference in the world. It'll give your steak a golden brown crust and tons of flavor. You can sear the steak either in a pan or on a grill.

What Does Sous Vide Cooking Mean?

Sous vide is a cooking technique that was popularized in the late 90s. It involves sealing food in a plastic bag for sous vide and placing it in a temperature-controlled water bath for a predetermined amount of time.

A water bath circulates heat evenly around the food being cooked. This allows for more even cooking with a tender texture than traditional methods such as roasting or grilling, where the heat source comes from only one side of the food being cooked.

The benefits of sous vide are numerous:

  • It requires very little attention from the cook, which means you can focus on other things while the food cooks
  • Sous vide allows you to cook foods at lower temperatures (usually around 130 degrees Fahrenheit), which means less damage to your proteins
  • You can cook everything from fish to steak to eggs using the sous vide method.
  • Because of the precision with which you can cook with sous vide, it is often used in restaurants by chefs to consistently cook food to the same level of doneness and tenderness every time.
  • The only real risk of getting bacteria with sous vide cooking is food poisoning from bacteria on your hands or in your kitchen.

How to Sous Vide Steak-Cooking Steak Sous Vide

Sous Vide Steak Ingredients

Sous Vide Steak Ingredients

  • 2 lbs.  steak (or another cut of beef)
  • Sous vide bag
  • Machine for Sous vide
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (or fresh if you want extra flavor)
  • Salt for seasoning

Step 1: Select a steak

Picking the right cut of meat is an important step in the process. You want to look for a steak that is relatively thick (1.5 inches or more) and has good marbling, which is the white streaks of fat running through it. The marbling will help keep your steak tender and juicy during sous vide.

I like strip steaks or ribeyes, but any cut of steak will work well with sous vide.

Step 2: Season Your Steak

The easiest way to season a sous vide steak is with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. However, if you want to add some flavor to your steak before cooking, you can use spices like garlic powder, onion powder, or paprika.

Step 3: Vacuum Seal the Steak

Put the seasoned steak in a sealable freezer bag and use a vacuum sealer to remove all the air inside the bag.

Step 4: Cook Steak Sous Vide

Set your machine for sous vide to the desired temperature and time according to how you want your meat cooked. For example, medium rare would be around 130 F or 54 C.

Place the sealed bag into your sous vide cookers with about 4 inches of water in it. Make sure you have enough liquid in your machine so that your bag doesn't float on top of the water.

Cook at 130 degrees Fahrenheit for 1-3 hours; until the desired doneness is reached (for rare, 1-2 hours; medium rare, 1 hour 30 minutes; medium, 2 hours 30 minutes - 3 hours; well done, 4-5 hours).

Sear Your Steak with A Cast Iron Skillet After Sous Vide Cooking

Searing a steak after sous viding is the final step in creating a steak that's perfectly cooked and tender. The sear will add flavor, color, and texture to your steak.

I have seen several sous vide recipes where people skip searing their steaks after they are cooked sous vide and instead serve them as they come out of the water bath. This is fine if you like eating soft steaks that have no crust but if you want something tasteful with a bit more texture and flavor then you should definitely sear your steak after cooking it in your water bath.

But how long does it take to sear steak after sous vide?  2 to 4 minutes so that your steak can have that golden crust without overcooking it.

The Sous Vide Steak Is Ready to Sear When It Reaches Your Desired Temperature

After cooking your steak sous vide for the appropriate amount of time (for instance 2 hours 130°F), remove it from the bag or pouch and pat dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.

You want to make sure that there is no water left on the surface of your steak before searing it because this can cause flare-ups in your pan or grill.

As long as you're using a thermometer and you've selected the appropriate temperature for your cut of steak, it's easy to tell when it's done.

meat  with spices and garlic

How to Sear a Sous Vide Steak

Season both sides of your sous vide steak with salt and pepper. I like using kosher salt for sous vide steaks because it's coarse and sticks very well to the meat. Once you've salted and peppered both sides of your sous vide steak, place it in a cast iron skillet or pan over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side.

If you want to add a crust on top of your steak, but not brown it too much, then simply use tongs or a spatula to turn over the steak over high heat for 2 minutes on each side before setting it down onto a plate.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Cooking Sous Vide Steak and Searing

What are the Best Steaks for Sous Vide?

The best steaks for sous vide cooking are thick cuts of beef such as ribeye, strip, tri-tip or flank steak. You can also use T-bones and Porterhouses.

Ribeye is one of the most popular cuts of meat in restaurants because it has a lot of flavors and is tender when cooked properly. 

You can cook this cut by following the standard sous vide method or sous vide in instant pots for faster results. The ribeye is also great for pan-searing after you remove it from its sous vide vacuum-sealed bag.

Tenderloin is the most tender cut of beef, and it's also the most expensive. It's usually sold as a filet mignon or tournedos. Sous vide tenderloin steak is tender, juicy, and flavorful.

Strip loin steaks are tender cuts of beef that are perfect for grilling outside or pan-searing indoors when you don't have access to an outdoor grill. The strip loin comes from the short loin section of the cow.

meat with salad on the plate

A London broil is generally a tough cut of meat, but it has great flavor. If prepared correctly, it becomes a flavorful steak with a nice beefy taste and tender chew.

What Herbs and Spices Should I Use?

There are many herbs and spices that can be used to season the steak. Here's a list of some of the best and most popular:

Salt:  This is pretty much a given. Salt is the base of all seasoning, and it shouldn't be overlooked. It brings out the flavor in meat and helps it retain moisture during cooking.

Pepper - Pepper has been used for centuries for seasoning meat and other foods. It is often used in cooking plus sous vide because it has a strong spicy flavor that works well with meat.

Garlic: Garlic adds not only flavor but also aroma to your food, which makes it perfect for sous vide steak recipes. You can use chopped or minced garlic, or even garlic powder if you're in a hurry.

Onion Powder: Onion powder adds sweetness to foods while also giving them a savory taste; perfect for searing steak recipes.

steaks in bags, herbs, spices and paprika


You can also marinate a steak when you sous vide steaks. Marinating is optional but highly recommended because it adds flavor and tenderness to your sous vide meat. You can use any marinade that you like, but I prefer this simple blend of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce. If you want to add more flavor to your steak, mix a few tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce into the marinade as well.

Why Sous Vide Your Steak?

perfectly cooked steak

No need to Monitor the Steak

Cooking with sous vide takes some of the guesswork out of cooking meat; there's no need to monitor internal temperatures or worry about overcooking your sous vide or undercooking anything.

If you're already comfortable cooking meats on the stovetop or grill, then you still might not see why sous vide is worth all the fuss.

You Get Perfectly Cooked Steak

It's great for cooking meat because it allows you to cook your steak to the exact temperature you want. Plus, the meat will be more evenly cooked throughout compared to when you cook it on a grill or in the oven.

The process also locks in moisture and flavor, so your steak will be tender, tasteful, and juicy every time.

Should I Sear Before or After Sous Vide?

Searing after sous vide cooking is a great way to add flavor and texture to your food. It also allows you to get a nice brown crust on your food and is often preferred by many people for taste purposes so it is advisable by chefs to sear after sous vide.

About the author

Cornelia Suehr

A professional chef and a passionate writer on all topics related to cooking, baking, appliances and kitchenware. Her posts resonate with foodies, home chefs and professionals.


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