Are steaks Better Broiled or Pan Grilled? Cooking steaks can be a tricky business. Whether trying to make it juicy and tender or crisp and char-grilled, there are so many different ways to cook a steak that it can feel overwhelming for experienced cooks.

In this article, I’ll discuss the differences between these two popular methods of cooking steak. I’ll look at the chemistry of cooking, the pros and cons of each method, tips for perfecting your steak preparation techniques, recipes to help you create delicious meals, and answers to common questions about broiling and pan-grilling steaks.

By the end of this article, you’ll understand the differences between these two methods of cooking steak so that you can decide which one is best for your needs.

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What is Broiling, and How Does it Differ from Pan Grilling

Broiling is a method of cooking that uses direct heat to cook food. The heat source is typically an oven or a broiler, similar to an oven, but it can provide more intense heat. Broiling works best with thicker cuts of meat that can withstand the high temperatures typically used in this cooking method.

Pan grilling is a method of cooking that uses hot fat or oil to cook food on a flat cooking surface, such as a cast iron skillet or grill pan. This type of cooking is usually done over an open flame or electric heat source and can be used to quickly cook thin cuts of meat, such as steaks, without drying them out. The fat or oil helps keep the steak moist and can add flavor.

Understanding the Chemistry of Cooking Steaks

Before you decide between broiling and pan grilling, it’s important to understand some basic chemistry behind cooking steak. When heat is applied to a piece of meat, proteins break down and cause the steak to become tender.

This process is called denaturation, and it’s what happens when proteins are exposed to temperatures between 140°F (60°C) and 160°F (71°C). The proteins break down even more quickly at higher temperatures, leading to tougher steaks. It’s important to watch the steak during cooking and ensure it doesn’t get too hot.

The Pros and Cons of Broiling and Pan Grilling Steaks

Now that you understand some basics Are steaks Better Broiled or Pan Grilled? Let’s look at the pros and cons of broiling and pan grilling.



Quick cooking time:

Broiling is generally faster than pan grilling, so it’s good when you need to get dinner on the table quickly.

Easy clean-up:

Since broiling occurs in the oven or a broiler, clean-up is usually minimal.

More intense heat:

Broiling can provide more intense heat than pan grilling, which is helpful when you want to get a nice char on the surface of your steak.


Easy to overcook:

Since the heat source is so close to the food, it’s easy to overcook your steak.

Hard to regulate temperature:

It can be difficult to monitor the broiling temperature, so pay close attention and adjust the heat level if necessary.

Pan Grilling


More control over cooking temperature:

Pan grilling gives you more control over the cooking temperature, so avoiding overcooking your steak is easier.

Adds flavor:

The fat or oil used in pan grilling can add flavor to your steak, and the char that develops on the surface of the meat provides a nice smoky flavor.


Longer cooking time:

Pan grilling can take longer than broiling, so it’s not ideal when you need to get dinner on the table quickly.

More mess:

Since pan grilling occurs on a stovetop or grill, there is more opportunity for splattering and smoke.

Tips for Making the Perfect Steak

No matter which method you choose, there are a few tips to keep in mind that will help you get the perfect steak every time.

Start with the right cut of meat:

Look for steaks that are at least 1 inch thick and have good marbling. It will ensure that your steak will be tender and juicy.

Pat the steak dry before cooking:

Removing excess moisture from the steak's surface helps ensure a good sear.

Use an instant-read thermometer:

To ensure your steak is cooked perfectly, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the steak. For medium rare, the temperature should be between 130°F (54°C) and 135°F (57°C).

Let the steak rest:

After cooking, rest for a few minutes before slicing. It will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

Recipes to Help You Create Delicious Broiled or Pan-Grilled Meals

Once you’ve mastered the basics of broiling or pan-grilling steaks, it’s time to put your newfound skills to use. Here are a few recipes that will help get you started:

Pan-Grilled Steak with Garlic Butter:

This classic recipe uses garlic butter to add flavor and moisten the steak.

Broiled Steak with Herb-Butter Sauce:

This simple recipe uses herbs and butter to create a flavorful sauce for the steak.

Pan-Grilled Balsamic Steak:

The balsamic vinegar in this recipe adds a slightly sweet flavor to the steak and is perfect for a special occasion.

Best Method to Cook a Steak

Are steaks Better Broiled or Pan Grilled? Both can produce delicious results if you prefer to broil or pan-grill your steak. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and how much time and effort you will put into cooking the steak. Broiling is the way to go if you’re short on time and need to quickly get dinner on the table.

However, if you want more control over the cooking temperature and are willing to spend more time on the task, then pan grilling is probably your best bet.  Ultimately, the best method to cook a steak is whichever works best for you!  Good luck, and happy cooking!

Final Words

Are steaks Better Broiled or Pan Grilled? Whether you’re a novice or an experienced chef, learning how to broil or pan-grill a steak properly can be very rewarding. Broiling and pan grilling provides two distinct cooking methods with pros and cons. With the right cut of meat and some helpful tips, you can create a delicious steak dinner no matter your chosen method. So test out both methods to determine which works best for you.

Happy grilling!

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