Whether you’re looking to impress, or simply making a delicious meal for your family, Steak au Poivre is a go-to! My tried and true recipe combines strip steaks coated in peppercorns and seared until medium-rare, then smothered in a creamy cognac sauce and rivals that of the best steakhouses.
The combination of the peppercorns and creamy cognac shallot sauce with the seared beef is intensely flavorful and and truly impressive.
This classic French steak is easy to make, and hits the spot every single time.
All ingredients for this recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.
- Steak. While steak au poivre is traditionally made with filet mignon, I prefer New York strip steaks because they have a higher fat content and more flavor. You can use any steak you’d like though.
- Coarse black pepper. I use 3 tablespoons of peppercorns that have been crushed to coat the steak. Au poivre translates to “with pepper” and this is a pepper-forward dish. If you’re not a fan of black pepper, you can use less.
- Cognac. For the au poivre sauce. Cognac is a type of brandy and tends to be pricey. You can opt for a less expensive brandy depending on your budget.
- Heavy cream. This gives the au poivre sauce a creamy consistency.
- Green peppercorns (not pictured). While these are optional, they provide wonderful flavor and color. Green peppercorns are usually sold pickled in a brine.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- At least 1 hour before cooking, remove the 2 12-ounce New York strip steaks from the refrigerator. Mince 1 medium shallot and set aside. Using the flat side of a meat mallet or a rolling pin crush 3 tablespoons of black peppercorns until coarsely ground. (Photo #1)
- Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Place the crushed peppercorns onto a plate and gently press the steaks into the peppercorns on both sides to form a crust. You don’t have to use all the pepper, just get a covered layer of pepper on both sides of the steak. (Photo #2)
- Heat a large stainless steel or cast iron pan to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of neutral oil (avocado, vegetable, canola, etc) to the hot pan. Once the oil is shimmering, add the steaks and allow them to cook undisturbed for 4 minutes. (Photo #3)
- Flip the steaks over and allow them to cook on the other side for 4 minutes. (Photo #4)
- If the steaks have a large amount of fat on their sides, stand them up with tongs and sear the sides until browned (Photo #5). Cook the steaks until desired doneness (I prefer 120-125f with carryover heat bringing the steaks to 130-135f for medium-rare) and move them to a cutting board lightly tented with foil. Note: If you have very thick steaks (1 1/2″ plus), finish them in a 350f oven until the desired temperature is reached. Use an instant-read thermometer placed in the center of the steak to ensure proper temperature.
- Pour off the excess fat from the pan and add the minced shallot and a pinch of salt. Cook the shallot for 2-3 minutes until soft. (Photo #6)
- Remove the pan from the heat and add 1/3 cup of cognac, then place the pan back on the heat and cook for 2 minutes or until the cognac is almost evaporated. Make sure to scrape the pan with a wooden spoon to dislodge the brown bits. (Photo #7)
- Add 1 cup of heavy cream to the pan and bring the sauce to a simmer. (Photo #8)
- Cook until the poivre sauce coats the back of a spoon, then add the green peppercorns, if using. Taste test and adjust salt as needed. (Photo #9)
- Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 1 tablespoon of cold unsalted butter. Place 1/4 of the sauce at the bottom of two separate plates (can also use 1 platter as shown), then plate the steaks and pour the remaining sauce on top. Serve immediately and enjoy! (Photo #10)
- Remove the steak from the fridge. Do this at least one hour before cooking to allow them to warm a bit. This helps the steak to cook evenly and also allows the pepper to better adhere to the meat.
- Trim the fat. If the steaks have an abundance of excess fat, trim them accordingly.
- Serve immediately. This isn’t a dish to eat for leftovers and should be served right away. Have any sides you’re serving with your steak au poivre ready to go.
More steak recipes
Here are a few more of my favorite steak recipes. I hope you love them!
If you’ve enjoyed this Steak au Poivre Recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and tell us about it in the comments below.
Steak au Poivre
- 2 12 ounces New York strip steaks trimmed and removed from fridge 1 hour before
- 3 tablespoons black peppercorns coarsely crushed
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil avocado, vegetable, canola, etc.
- 1/3 cup cognac or brandy
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter cold
- 1 medium shallot minced
- 1 tablespoon green peppercorns optional
- Heat a large stainless steel or cast iron pan to medium heat.
- Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season with kosher salt. Place the crushed peppercorns on a plate and press the steaks into the peppercorns on both sides to form a crust.
- Add the vegetable oil to the hot pan and once shimmering add the steaks. Cook the steaks, undisturbed, for 4 minutes per side. If the steaks have a large amount of fat on their sides, stand them up with tongs and sear until browned.
- Cook the steaks until desired doneness (I prefer 120-125f initially which will allow carryover heat to bring steaks to medium-rare of 130-135f) then place the steaks on a cutting board and tent with foil. See notes below for extra thick steaks.
- Pour off the excess fat from the pan and add the shallot and a pinch of salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until soft. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cognac. Place the pan back on the heat and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook until the cognac is almost evaporated (~2 minutes).
- Add the cream to the pan and bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until the sauce coats the back of a spoon (~2-3 minutes).
- Add the green peppercorns (optional) and season the sauce with salt to taste. Turn off the heat and whisk in the butter. Place 1/4 of the sauce at the bottom of two separate plates. Plate the steaks and pour the remaining sauce on top of each steak. Enjoy!
- 4 minutes per side in a medium hot pan is roughly the amount of time a 10 to 12-ounce NY strip steak will take to reach 130-135f after tenting.
- If you have very thick steaks (1 1/2″ plus) finish the steaks in a 350f oven until desired temp has been reached. Use an instant-read thermometer placed into the center of the steak to properly check the internal temp.
- Steak au poivre is best eaten right away instead of for leftovers.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.