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ATK Kids

You Can Cook Steakhouse-Quality Steaks (Even If You're in Grade School)

No scary grease splatters. No noisy smoke alarms. This steak recipe was made with the kid chef in mind.
By Published Sept. 23, 2021

As wonderful as recipes such as chicken tenders and brownies are for budding young chefs, sometimes they want to prepare something a bit fancier. Something that will really wow the family. 

Something like . . . a steak dinner. 

But many traditional ways to cook steak aren’t all that safe for beginner chefs: They’re either cooked on a fiery grill or start in a ripping-hot oiled skillet, where smoke and grease can intimidate even experienced home cooks. If only there was a way your kid could cook steak that’s not just easy and safe but also produces steakhouse-worthy meat.

But wait. There is. Enter: Pan-Seared Strip Steaks, a recipe featured in America’s Test Kitchen Kids’ newest cookbook, The Complete Cookbook for Young Scientists.

How did we make pan-seared steaks safe for kid chefs? We placed the steaks in a cold skillet with no oil, and then we cranked up the heat. This technique ensures that the kitchen stays smoke- and splatter-free. The delicious bonus is perfectly cooked meat with a nicely browned crust.

And there’s no need to stress about the whole no-oil thing—this recipe calls for a nonstick skillet, and the steaks render enough fat to prevent any sticking. That also means dish duty (for kids or adults!) is a breeze.

Steak cookery made safe for kid chefs starts with a cold nonstick skillet.

Here's what to do:

  • Use a nonstick skillet.
  • Skip the oil!
  • Put the steaks right in a cold pan (no need to preheat). 
  • Turn the heat to high. Flip the steaks every 2 minutes.
  • After a few flips, turn the heat down to medium. 
  • Cook until the exterior is well browned and the interior registers 120 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit (for medium-rare).
  • Take out the steaks and let them rest for 5 minutes before eating!

This article goes deeper into the mechanics of our no-splatter steak method.

Drizzled with a lemony browned butter sauce or a vibrant herb sauce and served with a couple classic steakhouse sides (may we suggest smashed potatoes and garlicky green beans?), these impressive steaks will make your young chef feel like a steakhouse superstar in their own kitchen.


Hey! Did you know ATK Kids has its very own YouTube channel? Subscribe now and watch great, funny, silly, and delicious cooking videos for the whole family.

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