Coffee-Rubbed Steak Recipe

What do you get when you mix coffee beans with a killer cut of steak? A meal that's fit for royalty. While the thought of steak and coffee may strange to some, it's one of those combinations that makes sense after the first bite. Sometimes, you need to think outside the box, and this recipe does just that.

Recipe developer Michelle McGlinn came up with this steak recipe with a delicious coffee-spice rub. "The reason I like this recipe is that it offers a delicious crust to the steak. We are kind of steak purists in our house, and tend to only use salt and pepper. This steak is not for the steak purist, and offers something a little different and more robust for a classic steak dinner," McGlinn explains. "The best steak I've ever had was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at a supper club, and it had the most delicious crust and [was] perfectly pink-medium on the inside. They achieved that with extremely high-temp cooking far beyond what any home cook can do," she shares. "This is a really easy way to achieve a similar crust because the sugars and coffee grounds caramelize and crisp so beautifully over the heat."

Keep reading to find out how to make this delicious coffee-rubbed steak.

Gather the ingredients for this coffee-rubbed steak recipe

Of course, you will need some New York strip steaks. "You can do this with any cut of steak; we just love New York strip because it's such a perfect and easy cut for medium and medium rare lovers," McGlinn notes. "I highly recommend a 1½-inch thick strip, but if you get a thinner one, adjust the cooking time significantly so that you don't overcook it. Very thin steaks may only need 1 minute or 2 per side."

You will also need finely ground coffee beans, garlic powder, chipotle powder, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. The recipe also calls for one optional ingredient — oil, if you plan to cook your steak on the stovetop.

Make the coffee rub

Whisk the coffee grounds, garlic powder, chipotle powder, salt, pepper, and brown sugar in a bowl until well-combined. Most steaks start with a good rub, and in this case, coffee grounds are the main ingredient. "Coffee works as a tenderizer for steak, making it juicy, pink, [and] perfectly medium with a crispy dark crust that locks it all in," McGlinn explains. "Plus, coffee is acidic, much like wine, which amplifies the flavor. Sorry steak purists, but coffee is the real deal."

Add the rub to the steaks

Pat each New York strip steak dry with a paper towel to remove the excess moisture, which will help the rub stick better.

Use your hands to massage the coffee rub onto both sides of the steaks, and then let them rest at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes. If you have more time, you could always store the steaks in the fridge for up to 8 hours, as this will also help lock in the flavor. If you choose the fridge method, make sure to bring the steaks to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.

Cook the steak on the stovetop

If you want to cook the steaks on a stovetop, it's pretty straightforward. "We don't usually have access to a grill, so I do a lot of pan-searing, which is a very accessible method that anyone can do. I highly recommend using a cast iron skillet, which can handle the high temps required to sear steak," McGlinn notes. Heat a thin layer of oil in a cast iron skillet on medium-high, until the skillet smokes. "You'll want the skillet to be near-smoking — a little smoke is okay, but don't burn your oil. This means the heat will be at medium-high or high. Turn on your vent fan or hood, open all your windows, and get searing. It will produce a lot of smoke — that's normal, and won't last long, but be sure to sear in a well-ventilated area."

Add the coffee-rubbed steaks, and sear for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side. If you want the steaks cooked to medium, cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes on each side. When you remove the steaks from the skillet, transfer them to a plate, and cover them with foil for 10 minutes before serving.

Cook the steak on the grill

Alternatively, you can cook the steaks on the grill. Turn the heat to high, and cook the steaks for on direct heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. As with the other method, be sure to cover the steaks with foil, and let them sit for 10 minutes before serving.

"The hardest part about cooking steak, whether on the grill or stovetop, is mastering doneness. There's a good trick using your closed fist: make a fist and tap on the fleshy lower part of your thumb, near your wrist," McGlinn says. "It should be soft, but snap back quickly. This is how your steak should feel at medium. If you're not sure, take it off a little early and tent it with foil — chances are good that it will reach the temperature you're going for. If not, you can always pop it back on the stove for 1 minute or 2."

Serve and enjoy

Now, all you need is a fork and a sharp knife, and you can dig in. These steaks are great on their own, but a good steak can always be paired with a delicious side. "Green beans, asparagus, peewee potatoes, or mashed potatoes are all great classic options," McGlinn shares. "Roast them, while the steak comes to room temp. You can also serve with salad, and top with a good steakhouse mushroom sauce or horseradish aioli." 

Not sure if you'll have leftovers, but if you do, be sure to save them for another meal. "You can keep leftovers for 1 week in an airtight container in the refrigerator," McGlinn shares. "Steak is a really good meal prep option, and can be reheated in the microwave, and used for burrito bowls, tacos, steak and eggs, or salad."

We hope this steak impresses you and your guests. 

Coffee-Rubbed Steak Recipe
5 from 62 ratings
It's hard to beat a good steak rub, and this recipe for steak coated in a coffee-spice rub is sure to be the superior grilled meat at any cookout.
Prep Time
Cook Time
coffee-rubbed steak in skillet
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 2 New York strip steaks
  • 3 tablespoons finely ground fresh coffee beans
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Optional Ingredients
  • oil for cooking
  1. Whisk the coffee grounds, garlic powder, chipotle powder, salt, pepper, and brown sugar together in a small bowl.
  2. Pat steaks dry with a paper towel, then massage the coffee dry rub onto each side of the steaks. Let rest at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, or store in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours, bringing to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.
  3. To cook on the stovetop, heat a thin layer of oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high, until just smoking. Add the steaks, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat, transfer the steaks to a plate, and cover with foil for 10 minutes before serving.
  4. To cook on the grill, cook steaks over direct high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove from the grill, transfer to a plate, and cover with foil for 10 minutes before serving.
Calories per Serving 754
Total Fat 51.6 g
Saturated Fat 20.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 246.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 9.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.6 g
Total Sugars 4.4 g
Sodium 726.9 mg
Protein 59.0 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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