Quick Tip: How To Tell When Your Steak is Done

updated May 12, 2022
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Folks can get pretty particular about how they like their steaks. Some of us like it well-done while others say the more red and rare the better! When we’re cooking steaks at home, it can be hard to get it just the way we like it, especially if we have guests with different preferences.

Cutting into the steak to see how things are coming along works well, but this also lets out juices and moisture that we’d rather keep for ourselves. We can also use an instant-read thermometer to take the temperature, but with a thin cut of meat, it’s difficult and awkward to get an accurate temperature read. Here’s a little trick to help you gauge how well-cooked your steak is without a lot of hassle…

Touch your thumb and your index finger together in the “OK” sign, and then press the fleshy part of your palm right below the thumb with your other hand. Feel how soft and malleable that is? That’s the way rare steak feels when you press it!

Now touch your other fingers to your thumb, one at a time. As you move from your index finger to your pinky, the pad of your thumb will get progressively more firm and resistant. This feels similar to steak as it cooks, moving from rare (index finger) to medium-rare (middle finger) to medium (ring finger) to well-done (pinky).

As your steak is cooking, occasionally press its center and then compare it against this finger test, taking the steak off the heat as soon as it feels as done as you like it. Try it for yourself!

• See also our guide to How to Broil a Steak in the Oven

(Photo credit: B&G Foods)