How Much Iron is in Beef Steak? A Meat Lover’s Guide to Getting Your Daily Fill

As a diehard carnivore few things make my mouth water like a perfectly seared beef steak lightly seasoned and served up sizzling hot. I can practically feel my iron levels rising with each juicy, beefy bite. But how much iron am I really getting from my steak habit? Is it enough to meet my recommended daily intake?

Iron is a crucial mineral that helps transport oxygen throughout the body and supports healthy cells. Meat especially red meat like beef is one of the richest natural sources of iron. But the amount can vary based on the cut and preparation method.

Let’s slice into the nutrition details and find out exactly how much iron is found in different types of delicious beef steak.

Why Iron Matters

Before we dive into the beef, it’s helpful to understand why iron is so vital for good health. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • Transports oxygen via red blood cells to muscles and organs
  • Supports immune function and resistance to infections
  • Provides energy and prevents fatigue
  • Needed for proper growth and development in children
  • Prevents anemia caused by iron deficiency

The recommended daily intake for iron depends on age, gender and other factors. Adult men need about 8 mg per day, while adult women need 18 mg daily prior to menopause. Women over 50 and men need just 8 mg per day.

Pregnant women have the highest requirement, needing up to 27 mg of iron daily. Vegans may also need as much as 1.8 times the normal recommended iron intake.

Now let’s explore how different cuts of delicious beef steak can help you meet your ideal daily iron goals.

Iron Content in 6 Ounces of Raw Beef Steak

Here are some of the most popular beef steak options, ranked from highest to lowest iron content per 6 ounce raw serving:

  • Chuck shoulder steak – 4.7mg
  • Ribeye steak – 3.6mg
  • Sirloin steak – 3.3mg
  • Round tip steak – 3.2mg
  • Tenderloin steak – 3.1mg
  • T-bone steak – 2.9mg
  • Porterhouse steak – 2.7mg
  • Flank steak – 2.4mg
  • Strip steak – 2.2mg

As you can see, a 6 ounce serving of any cut of beef steak provides a significant amount of iron, ranging from 15-60% of the recommended daily intake for men and women. Noteworthy is the chuck shoulder, which as one of the fattier cuts, supplies the most iron per serving.

Does Cooking Affect Iron Levels in Steak?

Preparation method can influence how much usable iron ends up in your final cooked steak. While most cooking causes some iron loss, certain methods have minimal impact:

  • Pan-frying – Causes up to 15% iron loss. Use a cast iron skillet to add some back.
  • Broiling – Results in only about 5% iron loss. A great high-heat method.
  • Grilling – Leads to a 10% iron decrease. Keep drippings to reclaim some.
  • Roasting – Up to 15% iron can be lost. Pair with iron-rich sides.
  • Stewing – On par with roasting for iron retention. Slow cook with veggies.
  • Braising – Similar iron retention to roasting methods. Add beans or lentils.

In general, quick high-heat methods like grilling, broiling and pan-frying have the least impact on iron levels. Slow, moist cooking methods result in more leaching of minerals into the cooking liquid.

Tips to Maximize Iron Absorption from Steak

To get the most bang for your iron buck from beef steak, keep these tips in mind:

  • Add vitamin C – Pairing steak with vitamin C foods like citrus, peppers, broccoli or tomatoes helps absorption.

  • Avoid iron blockers – Coffee, tea, soy, dairy, antacids and calcium supplements can inhibit iron uptake.

  • Use cast iron – Cooking in cast iron pans adds small amounts of iron to food.

  • Cook to preference – Rare to medium steak retains more iron than well-done. But enjoy your preferred doneness!

  • Include drippings – Using meat juices as a sauce or gravy returns some lost iron from cooking.

  • Time it right – Take iron supplements or eat iron-rich meals apart from exercise, when inflammation is higher.

Heme vs. Non-Heme Iron in Beef

Iron from animal sources like beef is primarily in the form of heme iron. Heme iron comes from hemoglobin and myoglobin in meat and is very efficiently absorbed by the body at a rate of 15-35%.

Plant sources contain non-heme iron, which has a lower bioavailability of 2-20%. However, eating meat and plant sources together can significantly boost absorption of non-heme iron thanks to a “meat factor.”

Beef steak’s high heme iron content coupled with veggies containing vitamin C and non-heme iron make it the perfect pairing for maxing out your recommended daily iron intake.

Other Iron-Rich Foods to Pair with Steak

While steak’s iron content stands out among beef cuts, you can round out your diet with these other high-iron foods:


  • Organ meats like liver are iron superstars, with braised beef liver providing 5.8mg per 3 ounces.
  • Ground beef – 80% lean cooks up to 3.3mg of iron per 3 ounces.
  • Pork contains slightly less iron than beef, but 1.1mg per 3 ounce serving.
  • Poultry, especially dark meat, provides iron too. Chicken thighs have 1.1mg per 3 ounces.


  • Oysters are the gold standard, with up to 7.2mg in 6 large oysters.
  • Canned sardines pack 2.5mg per 3 ounce serving.
  • Shrimp have 1.5mg per 3 ounces.


  • Lentils (6.6mg per cup), peas (1.7mg per cup), beans like soybeans (4.4mg per cup)
  • Tofu (2.2mg per 3 ounces for firm tofu)
  • Spinach is the vegetable iron star with 3.2mg per cooked half cup.


  • Iron-fortified cereal, breads and pastas help non-vegetarians and vegans meet needs.
  • Dried fruits like prunes and raisins, and nuts like cashews and pine nuts.
  • Blackstrap molasses provides 2.2mg iron per tablespoon.

It’s easy to see why meat lovers rejoice in the power of beef steak for boosting iron intake. By understanding how much you need and pairing beef with other iron-rich foods, you can maximize your absorption of this essential mineral. Now fire up that grill – I’m ready for an iron-filled feast!

Beef, the best natural source of iron


Is beef steak rich in iron?

Red meat is rich in heme iron, along with protein, selenium, and zinc. The amount of iron depends on the type of red meat. For every 100 grams of meat, beef has about 2.47 mg of iron, lamb has 1.78 mg, and venison has 4.98mg. Seafood is also a good source of iron, depending on the species.

Does eating a steak help anemia?

In addition to adding iron to the body and preventing anemia, eating beef also offers the following health benefits: Strengthens the immune system: Beef is a good source of nutrients. Rich in zinc, which helps the body heal damaged tissues and supports a healthy immune system.

How much iron is in a steak?

The basic type of steak is Beef, short loin, t-bone steak, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/8″ fat, choice, raw, where the amount of iron in 100g is 1.64 mg. 1.64 mg of iron per 100g, from Beef, short loin, t-bone steak, separable lean and fat, trimmed to 1/8″ fat, choice, raw corresponds to 12% of the iron RDA.

Which steak has the most iron?

Using the list below for the 17 different steak nutrition entries in our database, the highest amount of iron is found in Beef, short loin, t-bone steak, separable lean only, trimmed to 0″ fat, choice, cooked, broiled which contains 3.66 mg of iron per 100g. The associated percentage of RDA is 26 %.

Is beef steak a good source of iron?

While beef steak is a great way to boost your iron intake, there are other options with even more iron than a standard 3-ounce serving of beef.

Which food has the highest iron content?

You should also take into account portion sizes when you are considering the iron nutritional content. The food with the highest iron content per typical serving is Beef, short loin, t-bone steak, separable lean only, trimmed to 0″ fat, select, cooked, broiled which contains 3.11 mg in 3.000 oz (or 85.00 g).

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