Your Guide To The Ideal Temperature For Rare, Medium, And Well-Done Steaks

A great steak is cooked to order and customized for your preference of doneness. There are plenty of ways to gauge how done a steak is, but internal temperature is the most reliable, and you can measure it using a meat thermometer. The exact cooking time can vary depending on the thickness of the steak, cut of meat, and cooking temperature, but the instrument should always be used at the steak's thickest point.


Steaks are classified as rare, medium-rare, medium, medium-well, or well-done. As their names suggest, a rare steak is cooked less and a well-done steak is cooked more, with the other options falling at various points in the middle. It's important to note that you should take the steaks off the grill, stovetop pan, or other cooking tool when they're around 5 degrees cooler than their intended temperature. After all, steak continues to cook even when removed from the heat. You should also let your steaks rest for a few minutes before cutting them. This helps them stay moist and delicious while also allowing them to come to temperature.

Rare and medium-rare steaks

Rare steak requires the least amount of cooking time and should be between 120 and 125 degrees Fahrenheit when it reaches your plate. It's characterized by a red, cool center, but it can still have a seared, flavorful crust on the outside. Remove the steak when it reaches 115 degrees Fahrenheit at its thickest point. Rare steaks are particularly succulent, so don't be surprised to see juice running from your steak when you cut into it. Allow the meat to rest for a few minutes to keep the liquid inside.


Medium-rare steak cooks for a bit longer than rare but you still need to pay close attention to the meat thermometer or risk missing the doneness window. It falls between rare and medium and should reach an internal temperature between 130 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit when finished. Remove it from the heat when the thermometer measures around 125 degrees Fahrenheit. The center should still be red but slightly warm with pink edges where it meets the seared exterior of the steak.

Medium, medium-well, and well-done steaks

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends cooking raw beef steaks to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to kill potentially harmful bacteria and viruses. Medium steaks are between 140 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit and strike a good balance between food safety regulations, taste, and texture. They should be removed from cooking when they reach 135 degrees Fahrenheit. The inside is pink rather than red and the steak is warm throughout. They may not be as juicy as steaks that are rare or medium-rare but are still extremely tender. Medium-well steaks are only slightly pink and hot throughout and should be between 150 and 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the meat when it measures 145 degrees Fahrenheit and let it rest.


Well-done steaks are hot with no pink at all, even in their thickest part. Make sure to take the slab off the heat when it reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit on the meat thermometer. This results in a good well-done steak, which should be between 160 and 165 degrees Fahrenheit after it rests for a few minutes. Cooking it longer can result in dry or tough steak. Finish your steak with salt, butter, horseradish, or another flavorful topping.