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.

Steak au poivre in white platter with blue napkin.


One meal comes to mind when I think of “date night” and that’s Steak au Poivre with a side of roasted garlic mashed potatoes and creamed spinach.

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.

Recipe Ingredients

All ingredients for this recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.

Ingredients shown: cognac, heavy cream, shallot, butter, peppercorns, salt, New York strip steaks, and olive oil.
  • 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.

  1. 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)
Steak au poivre recipe process collage group one showing crushing peppercorns and dipping steaks into the cracked pepper.
  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)
  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)
Collage two showing searing of pepper crusted New York strip steaks.
  1. Flip the steaks over and allow them to cook on the other side for 4 minutes. (Photo #4)
  2. 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.
Collage three showing searing steaks on their sides with tongs and sauteing shallots in pan.
  1. 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)
  2. 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)
Collage four showing reducin the Cognac in the pan and simmering the cream sauce.
  1. Add 1 cup of heavy cream to the pan and bring the sauce to a simmer. (Photo #8)
  2. 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)
Collage five showing final consistancy of sauce and pic of the sauce and seared New York strip steaks.
  1. 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)

Top tips

  • 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.
Sliced New York strip steak au poivre in white plate.

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.

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Steak au Poivre

5 from 18 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 2
This restaurant-worthy steak au poivre combines peppercorn-crusted steak that's seared and smothered in a creamy cognac and peppercorn sauce. It's easy to make and always impressive.

Ingredients 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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!

Notes

  • 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

Calories: 1044kcal | Carbohydrates: 1.7g | Protein: 60.7g | Fat: 81.2g | Saturated Fat: 37.2g | Cholesterol: 262mg | Sodium: 1567mg | Potassium: 47mg | Sugar: 0.1g | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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38 Comments

  1. Carroll says:

    Is that an induction burner you’re using to cook the steak? It seems to be very quiet and I was wondering what brand you use. I find most I’ve looked at are rather noisy. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe – looks delicious!

    1. Tara says:

      Hi Carroll, it’s a butane burner and it’s made by Iwatani. Jim only uses it when he’s filming videos and photographing recipes. We hope you enjoy the recipe!

  2. Sarah W says:

    Hi James!
    One of my faves!! I would never omit the green peppercorns. In fact they are quite necessary. I only tell you this after working in steak houses for over 15 years.
    Keep up the deliciousness!!!

  3. Patti Weiss says:

    5 stars
    I worked for years as a sales director and catering manager for a steakhouse chain. This was my favorite menu item but it was eventually removed, I think because it’s an old school favorite.
    This recipe nails it with absolute perfection. It’s always an elegant choice. Thank you! We had this on New Year’s Eve.

    1. Tara says:

      Hi Patti, what a great comment, thank you so much and so happy you enjoyed!

  4. sarah says:

    5 stars
    Brilliant! Well thought out instructions and DEEELISH for our Xmas (day after) dinner. Thank you & Happy 2024!

  5. Maria says:

    5 stars
    Loved it! Thanks for the tip on using medium heat. Much less burning and mess and no smoke alarm going off 😉. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    1. Tara says:

      Hi Maria, we’re so happy you enjoyed the recipe and Merry Christmas to you!

      1. PorterD says:

        5 stars
        Yes this the way!! The first time I had steak au poivre was ‘78 (seventeen!) in a small bistro in Paris .. they used dried green peppercorns rehydrated (cuz they still had a little crunch). It utterly amazed me! Searching many recipes revealed nothing about what I considered the essential ingredient.

        Recently I bought a jar of peppercorns from import foods .com (Boise, ID)for exactly this purpose. Today* looking for ideas I found your recipe which is top notch advice . However, I use a bit of beef stock after deglazing the pan with cognac then reduce… gives a little more flavor imo. I also give those p’corns a bit of a light smashing with a pestle before they hit the pan.

        *it’s mom’s day and my mom who had never had biftek au poivre avec frites was quite taken with the deliciousness and paired with a crème brûlée spiced with a bit smoked black cardamom… well you get the point 😉

        Thanks for keeping traditions 🖖

  6. Anna Tait says:

    I can’t wait to make it. Next week

    1. Tara says:

      Hi Anna, we hope you love it!

    2. Rob Fontaine says:

      5 stars
      Amazing! My wife and I loved this. Pretty easy to make too, surprisingly. If you’re into fasting or keto this is a great meal to keep you satiated for hours. Thanks!

      1. Tara says:

        Hi Rob, we’re so happy you and your wife loved the steak! Thanks for the comment!

  7. Jennifer Parker says:

    5 stars
    Fantastic! Ordered the green peppercorns from Amazon. Used a NY Strip cut to two inches thick on sale at Whole Foods. Reverse Seared: I let it rest while making the sauce. Low effort, high reward. Recently ate at the reopened Le Relais De Venise L’Entrecote (probably the best prix fixe bargain going in Midtown) and loved it. My partner says your recipe outclasses theirs.

    1. Tara says:

      We’re so happy you enjoyed, Jennifer! Thanks for the comment!

  8. Roger Loving says:

    This looks like a delicious way to prepare steak. I cannot wait to try it!

    1. Tara says:

      We hope you love it, Roger!

  9. Tim Detelich says:

    5 stars
    Sounds delicious