Searing Meats: Tips and Tricks Article -
Add a Comment

How to Sear Meats

Follow our step-by-step tutorial for a perfectly seared piece of meat.

To get a rich brown crust on your roasts, steaks, and chops, you need to brown them in a hot pan.

1. Searing meat caramelizes the sugars and browns the proteins present in meat, resulting in more appealing color and flavor. For best results:

a.) Pull the meat from the fridge and set it out at room temperature for a short while before cooking it. This lets the meat relax, allowing the meat's natural moisture to reabsorb into the muscle, rather than staying trapped between the meat's fibers.

b.) Make sure the pan that will be used for searing is hot, hot, hot!

    2. We're using a pork roast, but you can sear all types and cuts of meat. Season it with salt (and pepper, if desired). The seasoning will stick to the moist surface of the meat and as it cooks it will form a flavorful seared crust.

    • If your meat has been brined or marinated, don't add extra salt.
    • Use care if the marinade was sweet or sugary: the added sugars can burn quickly in the hot pan.

      3. Depending on the amount of fat in the meat, you might not need to add fat to the pan.

      • If you're searing a lean cut--pork tenderloin or chops, chicken, lean beef--add about two tablespoons of vegetable or peanut oil to the pan. (Olive oil and butter have too low of a smoke point.)
      • Turn the heat up to high and watch for the oil to ripple. When the oil ripples, add the meat.
      • Place roasts in the pan fattiest-side down; add chicken pieces skin-side down. Take care: the hot oil will sputter and spit.

        4. If the pan is too cool when you add the meat, it can stick and tear when you try to turn it. Let the meat sear for a few minutes (longer for roasts, shorter for cubed meat or steaks) before flipping it over. Seared meats leave flavorful pan drippings known as fond, which can later be used to make gravy by "deglazing" the pan.

          5. Once the meat starts to color, it browns quickly, so pay attention! When one side is seared, turn the meat over.

            6. Round roasts tend to roll over rather than stay put. Try to lean the meat against the edge of the pan to support it while you brown each part.

              7. To sear the ends of a roast, use extra care: if the meat tips over, it can splatter hot grease over the stove and the cook. Use tongs to hold it up, if necessary.

                8. Even though the outside of the meat is beautifully browned, the inside may still be raw. Finish cooking your meat by roasting it in the oven, adding it to your slow cooker, or simmering it on the stove.

                9. Want to make pan gravy? Follow these tips to making a roux out of the drippings.

                  Related Links:

                Aug. 28, 2009 8:33 am
                Thank you for very clear, excellent instructions on this. I have never had great success when searing and now I know why.
                Jan. 8, 2011 1:03 pm
                Jan. 19, 2011 5:58 pm
                Much needed info. Thank you!
                Jan. 23, 2011 8:55 am
                Good suggestion about letting the meat rest until room temperature, to allow the juices to reabsorb. In my reading or watching food networks, they recommend blotting the surface and to avoid crowding the meat in the pan because this will lower the temp of the pan surface and steaming instead of searing.
                Mar. 6, 2011 12:08 pm
                is it necessary to tie a pork tenderloin? My plan is to marinade the 1.7 lb. tenderloin overnight, sear, and then roast the tenderloin. Any additional info or recommendations would be helpful!
                Apr. 20, 2011 12:57 pm
                Good Instructions and QQT made good points. Always pat the meat dry with paper towel or something absorbent and sturdy. That step will drastically lessen the pan spitting and will allow the meat to brown better. Also, don't rush things. Let the meat stay in contact with the pan bottom. You should only need to do each surface once.
                Jul. 1, 2011 10:13 am
                Jul. 19, 2011 5:42 pm
                For something as lean as an Eye of Round, or pork loin, one might want to sear the ends first. You can do this without any tools if you're careful and the meat is dry.
                Nov. 13, 2011 9:36 am
                Patting the meat dry is very important as seasonings stick better. When meat is browned enough it will release from the pan and be easy to turn
                Dec. 18, 2011 7:59 pm
                I do not know anything about cooking,so I want to fool everyone with just one special hunk of meat that I can sear to perfection and finish in the oven.Then add some brandy and scrape that wonderful fond off the base of my oven proof skillet,reduce it and add a swirl of butter just before drizzling it over my lovely pork tenderloin.Thanks to all of the above comments and advise,I have done this several times with nothing less then exceptional results.I am tickled pink that I get asked for my recipe,and I think it is more about knowledge for the technique of preparation to get to the finish line properly.what a beautiful crust I have learned to develop with a smooth velvety sauce.I knew it would all come down to the yin and the yang somehow.Now I am going to learn how to do something that will complement this on the side,like mashed potatoes and saute asparagus.I will be the one meal wonder.
                Dec. 21, 2011 6:04 am
                2 Shy so do you tie a pork tenderloin before searing?
                BIG BOB K 
                Dec. 21, 2011 4:50 pm
                Where are the stars? There should be at least five!
                Dec. 29, 2011 2:58 pm
                This is exactly the info I was looking for! Many thanks....and maximum stars :)
                Dec. 29, 2011 2:59 pm
                This is exactly the advice I was looking for! Many thanks....and stars :)
                May 26, 2012 10:38 am
                Thank you! I've been clueless for years!
                Jun. 2, 2012 12:38 pm
                My husband just bought a new Kenmore grill and it has a place where you can sear you meat . What does that mean? What type of meat do you do it to?
                Jun. 2, 2012 4:09 pm
                Great instructions and comments! How long would you cook a 1.75# pork tenderloin roast at 325 or 350--which temp is prefered? IE: 20 min per # or.... This info is not listed on the roasting instructions either. One comments ranged from 20-30 min/lb. I agree, the roastmeatcalculator idea is great but I didn't want to give my email either. This is my favorite recipe site.
                Feb. 5, 2014 9:43 am
                These instructions are clear and concise! Thank you so much. Happy searing folks!
                Jul. 9, 2014 10:21 pm
                It's been good to see your blog when I always look for such type of blogs. It’s great to discover the post here. maso
                Subscribe Today!

                In Season

                A Day To Remember
                A Day To Remember

                Memorial Day is a time to get together with friends and family for food, fun, and memories.

                Potato Salad
                Potato Salad

                Nothing beats a big bowl of cool, creamy potato salad at your cookout.

                Subscribe Today! Only $7.99
                Subscribe Today! Only $7.99

                Delicious recipes, party ideas, and cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for $7.99!

                Related Videos

                Beef Tips

                See how to make saucy, melt-in-your mouth beef tips.

                Tiffany's Tips for Grilled Salmon

                Get tips for making moist, Asian-infused salmon on the grill.

                Karen's Tips for Grilled Pizza

                Watch a Real Mom make quick-and-easy pizza on the grill.

                Most Popular Blogs

                Read our blog

                Recently Viewed Recipes

                You haven't looked at any recipes lately. Get clicking!
                Quick Links: Recipe Box | Shopping List | More »
                Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

                Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States