Peppercorn Steak
Peppercorn Steak

Dinner is instantly special when you cook up a classic steak au poivre or peppercorn steak. This steak recipe is quick and easy, yet mighty impressive.

In this recipe

  • What is peppercorn steak?
  • The secret of the steak au poivre
  • The best steak to use
  • How much pepper to use
  • How to crack peppercorns
  • Best side dishes

A standard on the menu at any reputable steakhouse is peppercorn steak, or “steak au poivre” as the French call it.

What is peppercorn steak?

There’s some debate as to the exact origins of this recipe (which French chef or French king, and what era), but a thick, juicy steak served with a peppercorn sauce has been popular in American homes and restaurants for at least 50 years.

The steak is usually crusted with crushed black or green peppercorns and served with a cognac and cream sauce or demi-glace.

The following recipe uses crushed black peppercorns, brandy, beef broth, and heavy cream.

The secret of this steak au poivre recipe

In many recipes, the peppercorns are pressed into the steak before cooking. In this recipe (adapted from Joy of Cooking, same ingredients, slightly different method), the steak is seared first so you get a good flavorful browning without burning a few peppercorns.

After searing, a peppercorn sauce is then prepared and served over the steak.

The best steak for steak au poivre

By the way, as an experiment, we made this recipe with both boneless ribeye (a rather expensive cut) and beef tenderloin (half price). The ribeye was predictably more tender (fatter marbling) but the top sirloin was also excellent. So I’d say you get away with a cheaper cut of meat with this sauce.

How much pepper to use

This recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of cracked peppercorns. If using whole peppercorns, measure them first and then crack them. If using pre-crushed pepper, use 1 1/2 tablespoons.

Note that some peppercorns are hotter than others. While most peppercorns you’ll find at the grocery store will work great in this recipe, if you’re not sure how hot your peppercorns are, crack open a few and taste them first.

How to crack peppercorns for steak au poivre

A pepper mill will grind peppercorns, but crushed peppercorns should be coarser and larger than ground peppercorns. Use this simple technique to crack peppercorns. Place desired amount of peppercorns in a ziplock bag so they don’t fly around when cracked. Using a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy saucepan, mash the peppercorns in the bag until they are the consistency you want.

What to serve with the peppercorn steak

  • creamed spinach
  • Marsala Glazed Mushrooms
  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Green beans with almonds and thyme
  • Creamy baked mac and cheese

From the editors of Simply Recipes

peppercorn steak

preparation time
8 minutes

cooking time
25 minutes

Salt the steak
30 minutes

total time
63 minutes

up to 6 servings

What steak? Any good quality cut of steak will work, such as B. Top Sirloin, Ribeye, Filet Mignon, Porterhouse, T-Bone or New York Strip. (Avoid chowder that’s best left over for pot roast.)

We used 1 inch thick steaks, but they could go anywhere from 1/2 inch to 2 inches thick.


  • 4 good size (1/2 to 1 pound) steaks (expect 1/2 pound per person)

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil

  • 3 tablespoon black peppercorns, cracked

  • 1/4 Cup finely chopped shallots or onions

  • 1/4 Cup cognac or something else brandy

  • 1 Cup beef broth or warehouse

  • 1/4 Cup heavy cream

  • 1/4 Cup finely chopped Parsely


  1. Salt the steaks and let them rest at room temperature:

    Generously sprinkle salt over both sides of the steaks and allow to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

  2. Sear Steaks:

    Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. (Use a pan that can handle high heat. Cast iron works well, or hard-anodized aluminum.) When the oil begins to smoke, remove the pan from the heat.

    Pat the steaks dry with paper towels (steaks brown better if patted dry first) and place in the hot pan. Place the pan back on the stove and turn the heat down to medium-high.

    Sear without moving the steaks for at least 4 minutes. Try picking up a steak with tongs and when it comes out clean, flip it over and turn the heat up to medium. If it sticks to the pan, let it cook for another minute or two on that side.

    For this recipe, we sear on one side over high heat and cook on low heat on the other side. This way you get great flavor from the seared side and have more control over how done you want your steak to be by cooking the other side more slowly.

  3. Remove steaks, then sprinkle with crushed peppercorns:

    Use a finger test for doneness or a meat thermometer. Remove the meat from the pan when the inside has reached 50°C for Rare, 50 to 60°C for Medium Rare, 75°C for Medium and 75°C for Medium Well.

    Once the steak is to your liking, place the meat on a baking sheet and sprinkle a generous helping of crushed black peppercorns on both sides of each steak. Cover with aluminum foil and let the steak rest while you prepare the sauce.

  4. Make the sauce:

    Add the shallots to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes.

    Add the brandy and deglaze the pan while it cooks, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon (helps to have one with a straight edge) to remove any browned bits.

    Once the brandy is almost gone, add the beef stock and turn the heat up to high. Cook the sauce until you can see a line when you drag a wooden spoon through the center (4 to 5 minutes).

    Pour in the cream and continue cooking. Cook back down until you can pull that telltale trail out of the wooden spoon.

    Turn off the heat and add the parsley and the remaining black pepper (no more than 1 tablespoon, the rest should have already been used to pepper the steaks). Taste for salt and add if necessary.

  5. Surcharge:

    Pour the sauce over the steaks as soon as they are served.

nutritional information (per serving)
848 calories
57g Fat
4g carbohydrates
71g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!