How to Cook Thin Beef Eye of Round Steak Perfectly Every Time

Eye of round steak is an inexpensive, lean cut of beef that can make for a quick, delicious weeknight dinner. However, being an extra-lean cut, eye of round steak tends to be tougher than fattier cuts of beef. While often overlooked, with the proper preparation and cooking, thin eye of round steaks can become tender and flavorful.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know to cook thin eye of round steaks to juicy, tender perfection.

What is Eye of Round Steak?

Let’s start with a quick primer on exactly what this cut of beef is:

  • Eye of round steak comes from the rear leg of the cow from a muscle group called the round primal.

  • It sits adjacent to another muscle called the top round, which is where top round steak comes from.

  • Being from the rear leg which gets exercised a lot, it’s an extra-lean, tougher cut of meat.

  • However, it makes up for this with its robust, beefy flavor.

  • It has long muscle fibers which run through the cut, which is why slicing against the grain is important.

  • Other names it may be labeled as round eye steak, eye steak, minute steak.

  • Eye of round roasts and steaks are very affordable, typically ranging from $7-10 per pound.

Purchasing and Prepping Thin Eye of Round Steak

When selecting eye of round steak at the grocery store, here are some tips:

  • Look for steaks that are 1⁄2 to 1 inch thick. Thinner cuts will cook faster and more evenly.

  • Choose steaks with good marbling throughout for added moisture and flavor.

  • Make sure the cut looks relatively even in shape and thickness.

Once you get your steak home:

  • Allow steaks to sit out for 10-20 minutes before cooking to take off the chill.

  • Use a meat mallet or tenderizer to gently pound the steaks. This helps break down tough fibers.

  • Season the steaks well on both sides with salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc.

  • Sprinkle with a beef tenderizer powder which contains enzymes to further break down muscle fibers.

Proper prep is key for transforming the naturally chewy eye of round into a tender, flavorful steak. Now let’s look at cooking methods.

Cooking Thin Eye of Round Steak

With their thin cut, eye of round steaks cook quickly. You’ll want to use high heat methods to get a nice sear while avoiding overcooking.


This is one of the best, easiest methods for cooking thin eye of round steaks.

  • Use a heavy, cast-iron or stainless steel skillet and heat over medium-high heat until very hot.

  • Coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of oil with a high smoke point, like avocado or grapeseed oil.

  • When the oil is shimmering hot, add the steaks and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes to achieve a good sear.

  • Flip and cook the other side for another 2 minutes for medium-rare doneness.

  • Remove steaks to a plate and tent loosely with foil to rest for 5 minutes before serving.


The high, dry heat of the grill is another excellent option.

  • Preheat your grill on high heat.

  • Oil the grates right before putting the steaks on to prevent sticking.

  • Grill the steaks for about 3 minutes per side.

  • Move them to a cooler part of the grill if they seem to be cooking too fast.

  • Let rest 5 minutes before slicing and serving.


Broiling in the oven works similarly to grilling and gives great results.

  • Preheat the broiler on high and position a rack about 6 inches from heat source.

  • Place steaks on a broiler pan or sheet tray and broil for approximately 4 minutes per side.

  • Monitor closely to avoid overcooking.

  • Don’t forget to rest before serving!

Stovetop Smoking

Here’s a unique technique that infuses eye of round steak with smoky flavor:

  • Cook steaks in a grill pan or cast iron skillet as normal.

  • Once cooked, add a tablespoon of butter, a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, and a handful of woodchips to the pan.

  • Cover tightly with foil and let smoke for 5 minutes.

  • The smoky flavor will impart into the rested steaks.

Slow Cooking

While eye of round steak excels at quick cooking methods, you can braise or stew it for ultra-tender results:

  • Cut steak into 1-inch cubes.

  • Dust with flour, salt and pepper. Brown the cubes in batches if needed.

  • Place cubes in slow cooker and add beef broth, tomatoes, onions, carrots, garlic.

  • Cook on low setting for 8-10 hours.

  • Pull apart meat and use for tacos, sandwiches, over rice, etc.

The options are plentiful for cooking thin eye of round steak. Now let’s go over some serving suggestions.

Serving Your Eye of Round Steak

Part of cooking eye of round steak perfectly is pairing it with sides and toppings that complement and enhance it. Here are some excellent serving ideas:

  • Steak salad – Slice steak over a bed of greens, veggies, and blue cheese crumbles.

  • Steak sandwiches – Thinly slice and pile high on toasted French bread with melted provolone.

  • Steak fajitas – Slice steaks and sauté with peppers and onions. Serve with tortillas, guac and salsa.

  • Steak and potatoes – Pair your steaks with roasted garlic mashed potatoes.

  • Steak and mushrooms – Smother steaks in sautéed mushrooms and brown gravy.

  • Steak kebabs – Alternate steak chunks with veggies on skewers.

With so many possibilities, you’re sure to find a favorite way to serve your perfectly cooked eye of round steak.

Common Questions

If you’re new to cooking eye of round steak, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How long should I cook thin eye of round steak?

  • For medium-rare, aim for about 4 minutes total – 2 minutes per side. Use a meat thermometer to check, aiming for 135°F.

Can I marinate eye of round steak?

  • Yes, marinating is highly recommended to tenderize and add flavor. Go for at least 2-3 hours or up to 12-24 hours.

What’s the best way to tell when eye of round steak is done?

  • Use an instant-read thermometer, aiming for 135°F for medium-rare doneness. Check in multiple spots.

Should I slice eye of round steak against or with the grain?

  • Always slice against the grain. This cuts through the long muscle fibers for a more tender bite.

Can I pound eye of round steak with a meat mallet?

  • Yes, gently pounding helps tenderize the meat. Be careful not to overdo it.

Is eye of round steak good for stir fry?

  • Yes, it’s great for stir fry. Slice thinly across the grain and cook over very high heat.

Can I freeze eye of round steak?

  • Absolutely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and foil. It’ll keep for about 3 months in the freezer.

We hope these tips give you confidence to take on cooking thin eye of round steak. With proper preparation and a hot cooking method, you can enjoy budget-friendly steaks that are full of flavor. Let us know your favorite marinades and serving suggestions for this lean, protein-packed cut of beef. Happy grilling!

How To Cook Pan Seared Eye Of Round Steak


What is thin eye of round steak good for?

What is eye of round steak good for? Cooks often use eye of round steak for soups, stews, steak sandwiches, or other dishes that require cut or cubed steak. Some chefs also keep eye of round as a roast, cooking it slowly in the oven or a slow cooker to tenderize it.

What is the best cooking method for eye round steak?

The beef eye of round steak is great for grilling, baking, slow cooking, and broiling. Sous vide is also one of our favorite ways to cook this steak cut.

How do you tenderize thin eye of round steak?

Thin eye of round steak can benefit from tenderizing before cooking. Using a meat mallet, gently pound the steak on both sides. This technique helps to break down the muscle fibers, resulting in a more tender and juicy steak. Consider marinating the steak for extra flavor and tenderness.

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