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Pan Fried Beef Steak

Tarini T

Pan Fried Beef Steak

I made steak last night ( and I pan fried it to practice my pan frying skills ). I was not too happy with the result.
This is what I did -
1. I used beef topside steak. I let it thaw for some time because i was frozen, but I don't think the steak was totally thawed when I used it because it was still giving out a little bit of moisture, and I had to keep on patting it dry.
2. I used a non stick pan - heated both the pan and the oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan and a little bit more) on medium-high heat.
3. I would have cooked it for about 3-4mins on each side.

This is how the steak turned out -

1. It was VERY tough!.
2. Outside was browned. The inside was pink but not that nice dry pink that you see in restaurants, it was more a watery pink!

So all in all I didn't enjoy the steak - mainly because it was very very tough.

What did I do wrong? and when cooking steak - approximately how long should you cook it on each side?

Joe G
Rouxbe Staff

Hi Tarini

All you have to do is to take the lessons on premium steaks and you will not experience these problems.

Go to and watch all three premium steak lessons.

I also wanted to mention that you did not select a steak that is generally tender without marinating or moist-heat cooking methods. Try one of the premium cuts next time.

Cheers, Joe

Tony M
Rouxbe Staff

Tale of the tough steak

Hi Tarini. Topside steak can be very lean and turn out dry or chewy no matter what you do with it depending on breed and quality. But if your steak was still slightly frozen and untempered, then this explains everything you experienced with your steak - watery, tough, and not enjoyable.

Patience is key. Thaw properly. Temper properly. Then it doesn't become a question of how long anymore; it becomes a question of when it's done just to your liking. And if you love steaks, go for a better cut.

Hope this helps.

Tarini T


I always thought that topside was a tender cut of beef!..Guess I was wrong!. I shall go for a premium cut next time!!...So topside would be better stewed or braised?

Kimberley S
Rouxbe Staff

Combination Cooking

You are on the right track. Check out the lessons in our Moist Heat Cooking Methods Section. You'll find all the answers for Combination Cooking (Braising, Stewing and Pot Roasting). They are all very similar. Here you'll discover which are the best cuts to use.

Tarini T

Same problem!

I Pan fried a steak last night and this time I used Beef Sirloin. But I got the same result. Although the meat was not as hard as last time( when I used topside), still it was a bit chewy and a little bit tough. What could I be doing wrong?

Joe G
Rouxbe Staff

Buy a Premium Steak

Hi Tarini,

Watch the three lessons on Premium Steaks and you won't have any problems. Sirloin is not a bad cut but you need to make sure it is a premium sirloin cut, aged well, look for nice marbling for higher grade, and make sure you prep, cook and let it rest properly. Note: sirloin is not one of the premium steaks we identified in our lesson. It's not bad, but it's not the best choice if you are looking for that high end restaurant melt-in-your-mouth steak.

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