Learn how to cook steak tips that are tender and full of flavor. I have advice on which cut of steak to use, how flour can help, and more!
If you’ve never had steak tips, you’re in for a treat with this dish. I’m walking you through which cut of meat to use as well as how to ensure that you have tender beef and great flavor. Other than the meat, you probably already have all the ingredients you need for this recipe already!
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
What Are Steak Tips?
Steak tips are basically cubes of steak that are cut from a larger piece of meat, most often the sirloin but they can actually come from a variety of cuts. They tend to be cooked fairly quickly and end up reasonably tender and juicy. While steak bites can be marinated for grilling or skewered for kabobs, the quickest and easiest way is to sear them on the stovetop.
The main challenge with cooking steak tips is that they will cook through before they get well browned on the outside. That leads to less flavor and possibly some toughness if not prepared correctly. I have some tips to combat that in terms of cuts of beef to use and using flour as a coating that will give you some more well-browned crust.
Want a twist on this recipe? Try my Beef Tips recipe where steak tips are seared and then simmered in a tasty brown gravy served over rice.
What Cut Of Steak Is Best?
My two favorite cuts to use for steak tips are top sirloin and tri-tip steak, though other cuts like ribeye steak or even filet mignon can also be used.
Tri-tip tends to be fairly large, usually around 2 pounds, so I only use that if I want a large batch and need a lot of steak. I also love cooking Pan-Roasted Tri-Tip with this cut of meat. Also, the tri-tip has more trimming needed to remove some of the excess fat. The top sirloin steaks are typically already trimmed and are a bit leaner. Both will taste great when cooked using the method outlined in the recipe though! You can really see the difference in size and marbling in the picture below:
How To Cut Steak Tips
The main challenge with steak tips is that they will cook through to the desired doneness before the get a good, browned sear on the outside. One thing that solves that problem is if you can cut your tips from a thicker piece of meat, and thus get real cubes.
This is honestly one of the reasons that I prefer the tri-tip here. It’s a chunky piece of meat so it’s easy to get some cubes that are a good inch thick in every dimension. However, I do quite often end up with thinner steaks, like the above-mentioned sirloin. If that’s what you have, it’s totally okay. Just cut your steak into 1-inch to 1 and 1/2-inch pieces. They can only be as thick as the original steak, but I have a tip that will make them brown a bit more for you.
Toss Steak Tips In Flour!
One way I’ve found to get a little bit of extra browning and extra juiciness for your steak tips is to toss the pieces of steak with flour before cooking them. I discovered this previously with cooking cube steak, which is also a thin cut that does not need to be on the heat for very long. These smaller cuts do not brown a ton on the outside before they’re cooked to a desired doneness. Adding the flour on the outside of the meat increases the browning a little bit, but also seems to act to seal in the juices and make the meat more tender.
I suspect that the reason why steak tips are often served in a gravy, like traditional New England beef tips, is because of this issue that I’m talking about. It’s difficult to get a really good sear on the outside and have them be medium temperature on the inside. It’s therefore can be better to instead allow them to tenderize through slow cooking in a flavorful gravy.
Having said that, that’s not what we’re doing here! I’ve figured out how to get them browned and once you do that and add on a delicious garlic butter, you’re not going to miss that gravy at all.
How To Cook The Best Steak Tips
You will see that for this recipe we’re cooking the steak tips first just in some oil, and then the garlic butter is added at the end. This is so that the garlic doesn’t scorch and get bitter. I’ve also added a touch of Worcestershire sauce to that butter for a little bit of extra tangy umami flavor.
The cubes of steak get tossed in flour seasoned with salt and pepper before going into the pan. Again, remember that the flour in the recipe is optional. I recommend it in particular if you have smaller or thinner steak tips. It matters less for chunkier pieces, but I think still provides a benefit.
Another thing to do to help get a better crust on the meat is to not crowd the pan when cooking it. This means either using a very large skillet, or cooking the meat in multiple batches. I’ve written the recipe below for cooking in two batches because most people don’t have a skillet large enough to prevent crowding for 1 pound of steak tips. If you do have a very large skillet though, go ahead and cook all the beef at once. I like using my cast iron skillet here.
Serving Steak Tips
These steak tips are great just as they are as an appetizer. Serve a platter of them with some toothpicks! Your guests will be thrilled, trust me. Even better, serve them with a bowl of melted Cowboy Butter for dipping.
We often have them as an entrée for dinner served on garlic toast, either just as is or topped with cheese and lightly broiled. They’re also really good as the steak on a steak salad or served alongside mashed potatoes and sauteed mushrooms. Enjoy!
More Steak Recipes
- How to Broil Steaks
- How to Cook Flank Steak
- Steaks with Gravy
- Air Fryer Steak
- Dry-Brined Steaks
- Perfect Skirt Steak
Podcast Episode About Cooking Steak Tips
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make these steak tips, along with some other great tips, by clicking the play button below:
Steak tips can be tender and delicious if you prepare them correctly. Read the post above for all my advice on perfecting this tasty dish.
- 1 Tbsp. softened butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/8 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- Black pepper
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 lb. top sirloin or tri-tip steak
- 2 Tbsp. cooking oil, divided
- In a small bowl combine the butter with the garlic and Worcestershire. Add a pinch of salt and of pepper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl mix together the flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper.
- Cut beef into 1 inch cubes. Add beef to the flour mixture and toss to coat. Remove beef from bowl, shaking off excess flour. Discard any flour that remains in the bowl.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the flour-coated beef pieces, spreading them out so that each piece has contact with the skillet. Cook undisturbed for 3 minutes.
- Use tongs to flip the pieces over and cook undisturbed until they are browned underneath and cooked to the desired doneness, 2-4 more minutes. Remove pieces to a plate and set aside.
- Add remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and repeat the cooking process with the remaining pieces of beef, but do not remove them from the skillet once cooked. Instead, return the first batch of beef to the skillet along with the garlic butter. Stir until butter is melted and all beef is heated through, about 1 minute.
- Transfer beef to a serving platter so that it stops cooking. Serve.
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