How Long to Cook Beef to Perfection

Cooking beef to tender, juicy perfection is all about technique. While exact times vary by cut and desired doneness, following some general guidelines will help you nail it every time. Let’s break down how long you should cook different cuts of beef.

Roast Beef

For roasts like rib, sirloin, or topside, use these time formulas from the provided sources:

  • Rare – Cook for 20 minutes per 450g plus 20 additional minutes
  • Medium – Cook for 25 minutes per 450g plus 25 additional minutes
  • Well Done – Cook for 30 minutes per 450g plus 30 additional minutes

So for a 1kg rib roast, cook times would be:

  • Rare: 20 min x 2 (450g portions) = 40 mins + 20 mins = 60 minutes
  • Medium: 25 min x 2 portions = 50 mins + 25 mins = 75 minutes
  • Well: 30 min x 2 portions = 60 mins + 30 mins = 90 minutes

These times are for beef roasted in a 230°C (450°F) oven.

Always let roasts rest at least 10-15 minutes before carving. The meat will continue cooking a bit more during the rest time.

For smaller roasts under 1kg, reduce cook times slightly. And if you prefer your meat more towards medium or medium rare, split the difference in cook times between the two doneness levels.


Steak thickness largely determines cooking time. Follow these guidelines:

  • 1 inch steaks

    • Rare: 4-5 minutes per side
    • Medium Rare: 5-6 minutes per side
    • Medium: 6-8 minutes per side
  • 1.5 inch steaks

    • Rare: 6-7 minutes per side
    • Medium Rare: 8-9 minutes per side
    • Medium: 9-11 minutes per side
  • 2 inch steaks

    • Rare: 8-10 minutes per side
    • Medium Rare: 10-12 minutes per side
    • Medium: 12-15 minutes per side

These times are for steaks cooked in a hot skillet or grill pan. Always let steaks rest 5-10 minutes after cooking before serving.

If using a grill instead of a pan, add about 1-2 minutes to the times above since grills can be slightly cooler than pans. Use an instant read thermometer to check doneness instead of relying solely on time.

Braising/Stewing Cuts

For long, slow braising or stewing of beef chuck, brisket, shank and other tough cuts, the cooking time is lengthy:

  • Braising in oven: Cook covered for 2-3 hours at 170°C (325°F) until fork tender.

  • Stovetop stewing: Simmer covered for 2-3 hours, until meat is fall-apart tender when pierced.

Both braising and stewing break down the collagen in tougher cuts, making them succulent and tender. The long cook times tenderize the meat fully.

Ground Beef

For dishes like meatballs, meatloaf, burgers, and tacos, cook ground beef to a safe minimum internal temperature:

  • 160°F (70°C) for medium
  • 170°F (75°C) for well done

Use a meat thermometer to check temps of patties and meatballs. Most recipes call for 8-12 minutes of cooking time per side, but temperature is a more reliable doneness indicator.

Tips for Cooking Beef Perfectly

Follow these tips for flavorful, tender beef cooked to your desired doneness:

  • Bring meat to room temp before cooking so it cooks evenly. Take roast out of fridge at least 30 minutes before roasting.

  • Pat steaks dry and oil grill grates before grilling for best browning.

  • Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness, especially for roasts and ground beef. Remove from heat when 5 ̊F below target temp.

  • Let roasts and steaks rest after cooking for juicier meat. Wait 10-15 minutes before slicing.

  • Sear before braising for deeper flavor. Brown tough cuts in a hot pan before adding liquid.

  • Flip meat infrequently when pan-searing. Let it brown well before turning. Turn only once if possible.

  • Baste roasts during cooking to keep moist. Spoon pan juices over top or brush with oil/sauce.

  • Avoid piercing meat when cooking. Use tongs or spatulas to turn instead of piercing with a fork.

Mastering the ideal cooking times for different beef cuts and doneness levels takes some practice. But use these guidelines and a meat thermometer and you’ll achieve tender, perfectly cooked beef every time.

Now let’s look at some specific beef cooking times for popular cuts and dishes:

Roast Beef Cooking Times

For oven roasting, cooking times vary by size of roast and doneness level.

Standing Rib Roast

  • 2-3 ribs (1.3-2kg)

    • Rare: 45-60 minutes
    • Medium: 60-75 minutes
    • Well: 75-90 minutes
  • 4-6 ribs (2.5-4kg)

    • Rare: 80-120 minutes
    • Medium: 100-140 minutes
    • Well: 120-180 minutes

Topside Roast

  • 1-1.5kg

    • Rare: 45-55 minutes
    • Medium: 55-70 minutes
    • Well: 70-85 minutes
  • 2-3kg

    • Rare: 80-110 minutes
    • Medium: 100-130 minutes
    • Well: 120-150 minutes

Beef Tenderloin

  • 1kg

    • Rare: 30-40 minutes
    • Medium Rare: 35-45 minutes
    • Medium: 40-50 minutes
  • 1.5kg

    • Rare: 45-55 minutes
    • Medium Rare: 50-60 minutes
    • Medium: 60-70 minutes

These roast beef times are for meat roasted in a 230°C (450°F) oven. Always let roasts rest 15 minutes before carving.

Grass-Fed vs Grain-Fed Beef Cooking Times

Cooking times don’t differ substantially between grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Grass-fed roasts may cook 5-10 minutes faster since they tend to be slightly smaller/leaner. Always use a meat thermometer for best accuracy.

Wagyu Beef Cooking Times

Due to the high fat content, Wagyu beef cooks slightly faster than other beef. Reduce oven roasting times by about 5-10 minutes per pound. For pan searing, reduce times by 1-2 minutes per side. Cook to 5 ̊F below target temp.

Skirt Steak Cooking Time

  • Rare: 6-8 minutes
  • Medium Rare: 8-10 minutes
  • Medium: 10-12 minutes

Skirt steaks are best cooked hot and fast over high heat. Let rest 5 minutes after cooking. Slice against the grain before serving.

Flank Steak Cooking Time

  • Rare: 8-10 minutes
  • Medium Rare: 10-12 minutes
  • Medium: 12-15 minutes

Cook similarly to skirt steak, over high heat. Slice against the grain after resting 5-10 minutes.

Brisket Cooking Time

  • Whole untrimmed brisket:

    • 1.3-1.8kg = 3-4 hours
    • 2.2-2.7kg = 4-5 hours
  • Trimmed flat half:

    • 1.3-1.8kg = 2.5-3.5 hours
    • 2.2-2.7kg = 3-4 hours

Low and slow cooking between 175-205°C (350-400°F) makes brisket fork tender. Use a meat thermometer to confirm it reaches 90-95°C (195-205°F).

Corned Beef Cooking Time

  • 1-1.5kg corned beef brisket: Simmer covered for 2.5-3 hours
  • 2-3kg corned beef brisket: Simmer covered for 3-4 hours

Cook just until fork tender. Avoid overcooking or corned beef can become dry.

Short Ribs Cooking Time

  • Braise in oven: Cook covered for 2-3 hours at 170°C (325°F)
  • Stovetop: Simmer covered for 2-3 hours

For fall-off-the-bone tender short ribs, braise or stew until meat shreds easily when poked with a fork.

Meatloaf Cooking Time

  • Small loaf (4×8 inch): 50-60 minutes at 175°C (350°F)
  • Large loaf (5×9 inch): 60-75 minutes at 175°C (350°F)

Use a meat thermometer to confirm meatloaf reaches at least 70°C (160°F) at center. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Meatball Cooking Time

  • Baked: 20-25 minutes at 190°C (375°F)
  • Pan-fried: 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally

Cook meatballs until they register 70°C (160°F) internally and are no longer pink inside.

Burger Cooking Time

  • Grilled patties: 8-12 minutes, flipping once halfway
  • Pan-fried patties: 6-8 minutes per side

Always use a thermometer to confirm burgers reach 70°C (160°F). Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Pot Roast Cooking Time

  • 1-1.5kg: Cook covered for 2.5-3 hours at 170°C (325°F)
  • 2-3kg: Cook covered for 3-4 hours at 170°C (325°F)

Pot roasts are done when meat shreds easily when poked with a fork. The meat should not be tough.

Prime Rib Cooking Chart

Refer to this handy chart for estimated cooking times based on the weight of your prime rib roast and desired doneness level:

Weight Rare Med Rare Medium Med Well Well Done
1 kg 18-22 min 23-27 min 28-32 min 33-37 min 38-42 min
1.5 kg 27-33 min 34-40 min 41-47 min 48-54 min 55-61 min
2 kg 36-44 min 45-53 min 54-62 min 63-71 min 72-80 min
2.5 kg 45-55 min 56-66 min 67-77 min 78-88 min 89-99 min
3 kg 54-66 min 67-79 min 80-92 min 93-104 min 105-117 min

Note: Cooking times are for prime rib roasted in a 230°C (450°F) oven.

Now that you know how long to cook all the major beef cuts, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice! Refer back to this guide whenever you need a refresher on beef cook times. With the right time and temperature, you’ll achieve tender, juicy results every time.

How to Cook Perfect Roast Beef | Jamie Oliver


How long does it take to cook beef?

If you like rare beef cook the joint for 20 minutes per 450g plus 20 minutes, for a medium result cook the meat for 25 minutes per 450g plus 25 minutes and for a well done joint cook it for 30 minutes per 450g plus 30 minutes. Baste the meat regularly during cooking.

How long does it take for beef to be fully cooked?

As a rule of thumb (for a steak 22mm thick) – cook 2 minutes each side for rare, 3-4 mins each side for medium-rare and 4-6 mins each side for medium. For well done, cook for 2-4 minutes each side, then turn the heat down and cook for another 4-6 minutes.

How long should beef be cooked to be tender?

Cook it for long enough There’s no point try to cook a beef joint to perfection without giving yourself enough time. It will take two or more hours depending on the cut you’ve chosen.

How long does it take beef to cook at 350?

If you’re up for some light math, here’s a rule of thumb: For every pound of meat you’re roasting at 350°F, it will take approximately 18 minutes for rare, 20 minutes for medium, and 25 minutes for well-done. But your cook time can vary widely based on the cut used.

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