Sous Vide Ribeye Steak

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I consider Ribeye the king of steaks! The tenderness is unrivaled relative to cost; sure you could splurge on an A5 for the ultimate buttery steak. But if you’re looking for something delectably full of rich flavor that you can consume with some regularity, there’s no steak better than a ribeye.

Sous vide is the only way to achieve an ideal edge-to-edge cook without fail. Keep reading for the foolproof step-by-step recipe.

sous vide ribeye recipe

Steak Trimming Notes

There’s going to be a good amount of intramuscular fat in the ribeye to keep it moist, tender, and flavorful. If you find a strip of fat running along the side of the steak, we’d trim it to 1/4 inch thick or less before you sous vide; There’s no need to fret over getting the thickness of the fat even. Try not to cut into the meat when trimming.

raw ribeye steak with knife

Immersion Prep

The basic premise of sous vide cooking utilizes an airtight bag submerged in water to cook at low temperatures for longer periods of time. This type of water immersion technique cooking method requires that sous vide foods are put into watertight tight sealed bags, devoid of as much air as possible.

There are two common practices to bag foods appropriately to cook sous vide: using a vacuum sealer or the displacement method.

A vacuum sealer is the optimal method to ensure all air is removed from the bag with a tight seal. You can find the right vacuum sealer for you here.

The displacement method is an effective and convenient method that can be used with Ziploc or silicone bags. After filling the bag with the appropriate food contents, you lower the bag into the water to displace the air out of the bag and seal on the follow.

Either method can be used for this recipe sous vide.

Sous Vide Cooking Time and Temperature

Our preferred time and temperature for sous vide ribeye is 130°F (54°C) for 2 hours. This leads to a perfectly even rosy medium-rare finish. If you’re in a pinch, reducing the time to an hour will still produce great results. You can extend the sous vide time up to 4 hours to further soften the mouth feel while maintaining a steak consistency. See reference guide below to adjust the time and temperature to your liking.

finished ribeye steak on tray

Ribeye Steak Sous Vide Quick Reference Guide

Keep in mind the sear will raise the internal temperature ~3°F.

Target DonenessTemp RangeCook Time
Very rare to rare +120°F (49°C) to 129°F (54°C)1 – 2.5 hours
Medium-rare130°F (54°C) to 135°F (57°C)1 – 4 hours
Medium136°F (57°C) to 142°F (61°C)1 – 4 hours
Medium-well143°F (61°C) to 155°F (68°C)1 – 4 hours
Well done156°F (69°C) +1 – 3 hours

Sear to Finish Steak

Searing is critical to having your steak be plate ready. Not only does the searing process add color to the dish, but also adds depth of flavor, texture and locks in juices.

The critical steps to get a great crust are:

  1. Dry the meat thoroughly by patting with a paper towel
  2. Season the meat generously with seasoning such as salt and pepper
  3. Use extremely high heat
ribeye steak on black pan

The first step is easy to forget but crucial. Failure to pat the meat dry inhibits the Maillard reaction needed to create a crust. Seasoning the meat adds flavor and induces the crust. Lastly, using extremely high heat creates the crust.

The three methods we would suggest for the high temperature sear are:

You’ll want to sear for 1 to 2 minutes per side. The less time taken to reach your desired crust, the better. If pan searing, we prefer ghee (clarified butter) or a high smoke point oil such as avocado oil, but regular butter will do. Limiting to the sear to 2 minutes per side should prevent the steak from overcooking.

It requires marginally more work, but searing the steak for 30 seconds to a minute per side, 2 (or more) times each can add more color and texture and further prevent overcooking.

In the searing stage we’re doing our best to preserve the perfectly even doneness of the sous vide meat, while adding color, texture and taste to further its appeal.

Carving

Carving a ribeye isn’t all that complicated, just make sure to cut against the grain to create a tender bite. Cutting with the grain will create extra chew. I prefer half inch thick slices on a ribeye steak. If the ribeye is bone-in, use a small pairing knife to cut the meat away from the bone.

cut ribeye steak

With carving we’re just aiming to maximize the tenderness by minimizing the chew.

Where to Find Quality Ribeye

Ribeye is a common cut that can be found at your local butcher or grocery shop.

If you haven’t tried ordering online at Crowd Cow, I’d encourage you to do so. They have a large selection of high-quality meats and operate under the core tenents of taste, transparency and convenience.

Crowd Cow connects you to 100+ small farms across 23 states. The selection ranges from competitively priced grocery store staples to restaurant quality craft and heritage meats.

Kitchen Equipment Needed

If you’re new to sous vide, we have a great post on sous vide starter kits to get you going equipment wise. Below we summarize the essentials.

Sous Vide Machine

A sous vide cooker is the one piece of equipment that is critical to purchase to cook sous vide. It’s a portable machine that clamps onto a container to circulate, heat and regulate the water bath to the desired temperature.

Immersion circulators include the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker series and the Breville Joule Sous Vide Cooker. For a more complete comparison of sous vide cookers see our review of the 10 best sous vide machines.

Sous Vide Container

You don’t technically need a separate container and can use any metal pot at home, but I prefer a sous vide container. They’re lightweight, transparent and designed with sous vide cooking in mind.

We’ve reviewed the best sous vide containers to help you find one that best meets your needs.

Vacuum Sealer

If you’re serious about sous vide, a vacuum sealer deserves serious consideration. A vacuum sealer will eliminate the vast majority of sous vide bag issues that can cause your sous vide cook to go wayward.

Bonus, it will benefit you well beyond sous vide and likely pay for itself in short order. Check out our research on the best sous vide vacuum sealers.

Cast Iron Skillet

Not really unconventional, but if a cast iron skillet isn’t a part of your kitchen arsenal, it should be for sous vide. The heat retention of cast iron will go a long way in pan searing, which is the most common and versatile form of searing sous vide cooked food.

Lodge makes a great and affordable cast iron skillet. I’d go with an oversized searing skillet to accommodate larger cuts of meat, but a standard size searing skillet will do just fine in most cases.

cut ribeye steak

Sous Vide Ribeye Recipe

The Ribeye is a beloved cut of meat full of rich flavor. Sous vide will enable you to cook the steak exactly to your liking every time. This recipe calls for a couple hours of cook time at low temperature, followed by a quick sear.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Inactive Sous Vide Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 13 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 1 person

Equipment

  • Sous Vide Cooker
  • Sous Vide Container
  • Vacuum Sealer optional
  • Vacuum Seal Bags or Ziploc like bags
  • Skillet or grill

Ingredients
  

  • 1 rib eye steak 1.5 – 2 inches thick
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs optional
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs optional
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced or smashed) optional
  • 2 tbsp ghee (or butter) for a skillet finish or extra virgin olive oil for a grill finish

Instructions
 

  • Set the sous vide machine to 54°C / 130°F to preheat the water.
  • Season and bag the ribeye generously with salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary and thyme sprigs.
  • Seal the bag and cook in the sous vide container for 2 hours.
  • When the ribeye is ready, take it out of the vacuum sealed bag. Pat dry the ribeye.
  • Put a pan on high heat and sear the ribeye on all sides with ghee, 1 to 2 minutes per side including edges (5-8 minutes total). Alternatively, sear the steak with olive oil over a grill.
  • When ready to eat, finish with salt and be sure to slice the steak against the grain. Enjoy your perfectly cooked ribeye immediately!

Notes

You can of course cook more than one ribeye at a time. Just make sure the ribeyes do not overlap (e.g. stack) in the sous vide bag.
Keyword Beef, Rib Eye, Steak

Beverage Pairing

Like most steak, we’d recommend red wine as a perfect beverage pairing for this meal. Traditional big reds with a good tannin structure pair beautifully with the richness of ribeye; Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Syrah are great choices.

The spiciness of Bourbon also complements ribeye well.

Additional Ribeye Information

Why’s It Called Ribeye?

The name, ribeye, has a disputed origin. The rib portion obviously refers to coming from the rib section and is agreed upon. The eye portion of the name is attributed to either the eye of fat in the middle of the steak or the fact that it’s the centermost portion of the cow (like the eye of the storm). Either way, it’s delicious.

Other Names for Ribeye

A steak as beloved as the ribeye naturally is going to go by more than one name. The boneless ribeye also goes by Delmonico, Spencer, Scotch filet, entrecote, beauty steak, market steak and sarket steak.

Bone in, it is often called a tomahawk ribeye or a cowboy ribeye. With more than one bone in it is referred to as a standing rib roast

Sous vide bone in ribeye is generally thought to have a more robust taste profile than a sous vide boneless ribeye.

Anatomy

The ribeye comes from the primal section called the beef rib and falls between the shoulder (or chuck) and the loin. The full ribeye spans from the sixth to the twelfth rib. The closer to the chuck, the higher the fat content of the cut.

diagram of cuts of beef from a cow highlighting rib section

The meat primarily comes from the Longissimus Dorsi muscle, which runs down the spine, giving it a delicious tender texture. Other muscles included are the complexus and spinalis (aka crown or cap).

Ribeye Sous Vide FAQs

How long do you sous vide a ribeye?

Use an immersion circulator to sous vide ribeye for two hours at 54°C / 130°F degrees, followed by a 5-8 minute sear. You can go as short as one hour and as long as four hours on a sous vide ribeye steak. No need to alter for bone in versus boneless.

What temp do I sous vide ribeye?

Set the temp to 54°C / 130°F degrees for medium-rare

What temperature should you sous vide steak?

To sous vide steak 1.5 to 2 inches: rare to rare+ 120°F (49°C) to 129°F (54°C); medium-rare 130°F (54°C) to 135°F (57°C); medium 135°F (57°C) to 142°F (61°C); medium-well 142°F (61°C) to 155°F (68°C)

How long does it take to sous vide 1.5 inch steak?

1 hour at a minimum, 2 hours ideally and no more than 4 hours for 1.5 – 2 inch sous vide steaks like ribeyes. Allow for 4 hours on firmer meat such as tri-tip.

Other Sous Vide Steak Recipes

Check out other sous vide recipes to help make tasty food for family and friends:

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