How Do I Make Steak More Tender?

Nobody wants to eat steak which makes them have to visit the dentist the next day. You may be wondering why the steak you just ate was too hard to even take a bite from compared to the one you had at your favorite steakhouse. Well, we are committed to making your life as easy and simple as possible. Let us know more detail about ‘How Do I Make Steak More Tender?’.

How Do I Make Steak More Tender?

How Do I Make Steak More Tender?

Chefs all over the world have devised simple and homemade means to tenderize meat or steak. From using a mallet or cuber to using your common alcohol, vinegar, or even baking soda, the choice is actually endless. The trick is to know the active ingredient that makes meat tender and where this can be sourced. Keep reading to get more information.

Quick note: whether you are tenderizing your regular meat or steak, the process is the same. So, when you read meat in this article, just take it as steak, and vice versa.

Active ingredients for steak tenderizing and their sources

There are two main active ingredients in meat or steak tenderizers. These active ingredients are basically enzymes that work on the fibers of the meat to make it softer. They can be obtained from natural sources like fruits and leafy vegetables or synthesized and sold in supermarkets. The naturally occurring meat tenderizing 

  1. Bromelain – this is found in the stem and fruit of the pineapple. So, you can either use the stem or the fruit peel, pulp, or squeezed juice to tenderize your steak.
  2. Papain – this is found naturally occurring in pawpaw or papaya. It is found in the leaves, fruits, and roots of the papaya plant. Note that this enzyme is not present in the ripened fruit so you should look for the unripe ones to use on your steak.

Another good meat tenderizer is alcohol. It breaks down the collagen protein in meats which makes them tough. However, you must make sure to cook it out of the meat before you eat it, especially if you don’t eat alcohol in your system.

Tips for steak tenderizing

We have talked about using alcohol, pineapple, or papaya to tenderize your steak, but there are still other methods to use.

  1. Use a mallet or cuber. Beat the steak repeatedly with the mallet to make it softer before cooking. A cuber on the other hand is used on large portions of meat, probably in steakhouses, restaurants, or when you are hosting a party. However, while you want the meat to be soft, you don’t want mushy goo. So, be gentle with that steak!
  2. Use a marinating agent. Apart from alcohol or wine, pineapple, or papaya juice, other household fluids can be used to tenderize your steak effectively. Yogurt, lime, buttermilk, vinegar, or baking soda can be used. Simply apply the marinating agent to the steak, not too generously but enough, and allow it to stand in the marinade for about 30 minutes. If you are not satisfied with the result, you can leave for another 30 minutes. Don’t allow it to stay for too long to prevent your steak from getting too soft.
  3. Don’t overcook. There is a general myth that cooking meat makes it softer. The truth is that protein by nature is expected to get harder when heat is applied. If you want to test this out, apply heat to your mild or eggs. They turn solid! So, you really don’t want to overcook your steak in the name of making it tender. Just cook with the right amount of heat, preferably a slow-burning heat.
  4. Choose the best cut and grade of meat available. Some choice cuts for tender steak are fillet mignon, rib eye, or sirloin. Another option is to ensure to choose the best grade of meat to purchase. Don’t ever go for the Select option unless you are pressed for money, in which case you can marinate. The Choice and Prime options are the best and that is probably the type that was served you the last time you visited your favorite steakhouse.
  5. Grass-fed or dry-aged meat cooks and tastes better. Meats from animals that are grass-fed tend to be tender and tastier than ones fed with other feed forms. Also, when the meat is dry-aged for about 7 to 30 days for longer shelf life, it becomes softer because the water has been drained and enzymes are released to break down certain proteins.

How to make steak tender after it is cooked?

If you have cooked your steak and it is still a tad bit hard, you can simply wrap it up in aluminum foil. Allow it to rest, preferably on a warm plate, for a few minutes, at least 5 to 20 minutes. 


Tenderizing your steak ensures that you are not overworking your teeth. Let’s leave the rest of the food breakdown process to your stomach, shall we!

  1. Can steak be too soft?

Definitely. If you undercook your meat or you tenderize it too hard or too long, you can end up with a soft steak that is unfit to eat.

  1. What kind of heat makes the best steak?

The United States Department of Agriculture recommends 145-degree Fahrenheit heat to cook meat and allow it to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. Otherwise, a heat of 130 to 135 degrees can also give you a good steak.

  1. Does it mean my steak is done when it turns brown?

Just because your steak turns brown does not mean it is done. If you apply too much heat in a short period, the outside of the steak could turn brown even when the inside is still uncooked.

How Do I Make Steak More Tender?

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