Steak Diane is the retro-cool steak you need in your life right now. This was the best steak I’ve had in a long while. I make and eat a lot of steaks, but for some reason I never thought to make Steak Diane. It blew me away with how good it was. It’s going to be in our weekly rotation for a long time.

If you love steak with mushroom sauce or peppercorn sauce, you’ll love Steak Diane. It’s hampered with a stodgy old name but it’s out of this world delicious and always impressive. It’s the perfect steak for a special occasion or a date night when you want to impress someone. There are no subtle flavors here. It’s smoky, mushroom-y, and deeply meaty. It’s just over the top everything, in a good way.

steak diane | www.iamafoodblog.com

The perfect special occasion steak

While many people adhere to the adage that steak only needs salt and pepper, there’s no denying that just salt and pepper can be expensive to pull off, especially for a special occasion. It shows off your cooking talent to cook the steak just right, but it’s also a large part just buying the most expensive steak you can afford.

For me personally, it’s also a little boring: I go to steak houses and bistros to experience what they can do with peppercorn, roquefort, compound butters, or stuff like that mystery sauce they serve at le Relais de L’Entrecôte, and I’d like to do the same when doing special occasion meals at home.

Steak Diane still lets you demonstrate your steak skills – the salting, peppering, deep crusty sear, getting that steak done just right – while also showing off a little with a super fast, super rich, super tasty sauce that’s way more than the sum of its parts, all in the 6-8 minutes it takes to get a steak up to rare.

steak done rare | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is Steak Diane

Steak Diane is a rich cream-based steak sauce made in the pan with mushrooms, cognac, cream, beef stock, and shallots. It was a popular fine dining tableside preparation back in the 1940s to 1960s era, when fine dining meant “French/continental” and captains and lots of snootiness. The waiter would roll out a cart with all the components needed and prepare the dish right in front of you, as a show, with a final flourishing flambé that always got the attention of the room. It was like the OG Chili’s sizzling fajita.

How to make Steak Diane

  1. Temper your steak and prep your aromatics and sauces.
  2. Sear your steak on each side for 2 minutes, then transfer to a pre-heated 425ºF oven.
  3. Make the pan sauce: add mushrooms and shallots, then butter, thyme, and garlic.
  4. Add cognac. Flambé, if you want to (more on that below).
  5. Add cream, Worcestershire, Dijon, and beef stock.
  6. Top the steak with the sauce and enjoy!

steak diane in a cast iron pan | www.iamafoodblog.com

The best cut of steak for Steak Diane

Steak Diane is a pretty rich sauce, so there’s no need to waste money on a high dollar thick-cut steak or perfect A5 wagyu. But you also can’t go bargain basement because the tough chew isn’t going to go well with that sauce. It meshes best with a tender and slightly thicker cut of meat. My best bet is a middle of the road average priced ribeye or NY strip, or a nicer sirloin.

seasoning steak | www.iamafoodblog.com

To flatten or not to flatten

Steak Diane was originally prepared tableside, so the traditional preparation required tenderizing the steak to flatten it. Flattening the steak allowed the waiter or chef to cook the steak to the desired doneness (which was almost always medium or higher back then) quickly and without an oven.

Just for fun, I tried flattening the steak, though with a rolling pin, since we don’t own a meat hammer. The end result was a steak that wasn’t all that much more tender and way less satisfying to eat. I think our modern palate is too used to thicker steaks to appreciate 1/4″ thick cuts of beef these days. I don’t think flattening is a good idea.

tenderizing steak | www.iamafoodblog.com

Do you need to flambé?

Along with the tableside presentation, the pièce de résistance was the flambé. Did it do anything functional? Not really. A flambé doesn’t cook off the alcohol completely. It looks fantastic though, and it’s your choice if you want to add a little bit of flair. Personally, I never do it: the smoke and sizzle of a hot cast iron is more than enough drama for me.

Whatever you choose, you should not throw a lit match in, and never pour alcohol over an open flame.

searing steak | www.iamafoodblog.com

What cognac to buy and substitutions

Cognac is a pretty awesome and these days underrated liquor that’s nice for sipping for those times you don’t feel like the burn or challenging smokiness of trendy whiskies and tequilas. If you aren’t much into cognac and just want it for cooking, go for Courvoisier. If you prefer not to buy cognac at all, you can substitute with brandy, rum, or bourbon as well, but cognac is best for this and you can use it for a bunch of other classic steak sauces.

Steak diane without alcohol

Can you make Steak Diane without alcohol? Yes, but ideally you wouldn’t. Alcohol is a flavor enhancer and the majority of the alcohol cooks off in this dish since it goes in pretty early and gets reduced. If you prefer to have zero alcohol in your food, you can subsitute with peach, pear or apricot juice at 1:1 – though it definitely won’t taste the same.

More sauce than you need

The photos you see here use about half the amount of sauce that the recipe makes, and that’s what the estimated nutrition is for too. I have a little container of the other half of the sauce in my fridge ready for tomorrow’s steak.

I wrote this recipe with a double sauce because I love my sauce and it’s an avoidable tragedy to run out of sauce. It’s also much easier and more forgiving when making sauce to double up if you are a less confident cook. If you prefer to have just the right amount, scale the recipe for 1, but make 2 steaks (or leave the recipe as-is and make 4 steaks).

sauce on Steak Diane | www.iamafoodblog.com

Steak Diane is the epitome of fast, easy, and delicious

But it also means that you have to be diligent about prep, because the dish goes so fast that if you stop to cut something or look for Worcestershire in the depths of your pantry, you might find your sauce evaporated into basically nothingness (true story). It’s best to have all of your aromatics pre-cut in advance and all your sauces and mustards at hand. You don’t need to have everything pre-measured like a 1990s TV chef, but you don’t want to be running around like a headless chicken, especially if this is for a date or dinner party, especially if you are trying to exude confidence in the kitchen.

How to dice shallots

If you are already a knife-expert, you can skip this section, but if you are a newer cook: the easiest way to mince shallots that I’ve found that works for cooks of just about any skill level is to use a very small and thin knife, cut it once or twice horizontally, then every 1/8″ vertically, then slice every 1/8″ or so.

This is a home cooking kinda thing though, so without a head chef around to yell at you I don’t think it’s very important to be ultra exact. I certainly feel free to slice the shallots however which way I like, and you should too.

mincing shallots | www.iamafoodblog.com

Cast iron: the best pan for steaks

Make this in a large cast iron skillet if you have one. Not only will the crust on your steak be unbeatable, but the sheer weight and heat retention of the pan make for a better sauce when you’re adding cold cream or beef stock. If you don’t have a cast iron pan (they’re pretty cheap) any pan will do, but try to avoid non-stick if you can. The high heat isn’t good for your non stick coating, and you won’t get much of a sear.

The importance of a meat thermometer

A meat thermometer is essential. That old adage about the feel of your ear or touching your thumbs to fingers? Not for important cuts of meat, in my opinion. I recommend an oven probe for steak; one that beeps when the target temp is hit. They can be really cheap, extremely expensive wireless app driven, or something in between. When given that option, I always go with really cheap. If you have an instant read or thermocouple style, be sure to check often that the steak doesn’t get overcooked.

steak done rare | www.iamafoodblog.com

Steak cooking temp

For a quick and easy reference, steaks are roughly done at:

Rare: 125ºF
Medium-rare: 135ºF
Medium: 145ºF
Medium-well: 155ºF
Well done: 🤷‍♂️

What to serve with Steak Diane

Mostly potatoes:

steak diane | www.iamafoodblog.com

Other retro-cool recipes with Worcestershire sauce

In case you’re now stuck with a bottle of Worcestershire you don’t know what to do with:

Other steak recipes with cognac

Same, but for cognac:

Steak for dinner is never a mis-steak.
–Mike

Steak Diane recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Steak Diane

A retro cool steak you need to try
Serves 2
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 2-4 tbsp oil high heat, such as grapeseed
  • 2 steaks ribeye preferred, 8oz each
  • 1 shallot finely minced
  • 5 oz mushrooms cleaned and sliced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/2 cup cognac
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme plus more for garnish

Special Equipment

  • cast iron skillet

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 425ºF and set aside a baking sheet with a rack. Season steak on both sides and allow it to temper on your countertop while you prep the other ingredients.
    seasoning steak | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Once you have everything prepared, add 2 tbsp oil to a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Once your pan is smoking hot, sear steaks 2 minutes on each side.
    searing steak | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Take the skillet off the heat and transfer the steaks to your prepared baking sheet and warm in oven - about 5 mins for rare, 8 min medium rare - then remove and rest.
    resting steak | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Immediately after the skillet stops smoking, sauté shallots and mushrooms for about 1 minute using the residual heat (see note) of the pan, keeping the shallots moving to prevent burning. Add butter, garlic, and thyme, continuing to keep everything moving until the butter is completely melted, about 1 minute.
    sauteing mushrooms in butter | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Bump the heat up to medium, add cognac and reduce, about 1 minute. Flambé if you like.
    adding cognac to mushrooms | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add Worcestershire, Dijon, beef stock, and cream. Reduce to your preference, roughly 2 minutes.
    Diane steak sauce | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Taste and season, then serve with rested steak, topping with extra thyme. Enjoy!
    sauce on Steak Diane | www.iamafoodblog.com

Notes

The exact amount of oil depends on the size of your skillet and steaks.
You should not need heat for step 4 as the heat of the pan will be more than enough, but if you’re not using cast iron, put it on low heat.
Inspired by Marcus Wareing's version.
Estimated nutrition is for half sauce.

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Steak Diane
Amount Per Serving
Calories 844 Calories from Fat 511
% Daily Value*
Fat 56.8g87%
Saturated Fat 24.8g155%
Cholesterol 188mg63%
Sodium 621mg27%
Potassium 1118mg32%
Carbohydrates 8.9g3%
Fiber 0.7g3%
Sugar 3.7g4%
Protein 57.9g116%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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