How To Cook Eye Of Round Steak

Written by Mike Futia | Updated November 6, 2023

The eye of round steak is a lean and tough steak that's very affordable.

Because it's a tough cut of meat, you need to know how to cook eye of round steak the right way.

If you cook it right, eye of round steak can be a tender, juicy, and flavorful cut of steak. 

What Is Eye Of Round Steak?

blue steak eye round

The eye of round steak is a lean, boneless cut from the rear of a cow—from the round muscle that gets very a lot of movement, which is why its lean and tough. 

Why does more movement result in a tougher cut of meat?

The answer lies in the composition of the muscles. Muscles that are frequently used develop more connective tissue. This tissue is made up of collagen, which is a protein that gives structure and strength to the muscle fibers. The presence of this collagen makes the meat tougher.

On the other hand, muscles that do less work, like those found in the rib or loin area, have less connective tissue, making these cuts more tender.

So when we cook a cut of meat like the eye of round steak, we need to use techniques like marinating and slow cooking which help to break down these tough collagen fibers and result in a more tender and flavorful steak.

The eye of round steak has a nice, beefy flavor that might surprise you. And it's relatively cheap, compared to pricier cuts like filet mignon or porterhouse

The good news?

The eye of round steak is cheap. My local ALDI's has choice-grade eye of round for just $5.59 per pound: 

eye of round price

Compare that to a ribeye which usually sells for around $22 per pound, and you can really see the value that eye of round provides. 

Now, it's a lean cut, which means it has a lot less marbling than a ribeye or New York Strip.

Marbling is the white pieces of intramuscular fat that runs through the steak. When you cook your steak, this fat melts, which gives your steak lots of flavor, and helps to keep it juicy.

Because the eye of round steak doesn't have much marbling, it can get really dry if you overcook it. 

The question is: how can we cook eye of round steak to actually make it taste good?

Preparing Eye Of Round Steak

blue steak eye round

How you prepare your eye of round steak is just as important as how you coo it. Hear me out.

Selecting Your Meat

Begin by selecting a good cut. Look for an eye of round steak that has a bright, cherry-red color. This is a good indication of the meat's freshness.

Marinade and Tenderizing

Next, and this might be the most important part of the preparation, is the marinade.

Marinating the eye of round steak will help tenderize it. The acid in our marinade will help break down the eye of round steak's tough muscle fibers. This helps prevent a tough and chewy steak.

The marinade will also help with flavor of the steak, as it seeps into the meat.

Here's a simple marinade for eye of round steak:

  • Soy sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar (acid to break down the tough tissues)
  • Olive oil (to help the meat lock in moisture)
  • Honey (to counterbalance the vinegar)  
  • Crushed garlic
  • Rosemary
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Marinate the eye of round steak for at least two hours, or overnight if you have enough time.

You can use a meat tenderizer. 

This tool allows you to physically break down the tough muscle fibers in the steak, making it more tender.

You can also score the meat. This involves making shallow cuts on the surface of the steak in a criss-cross pattern. Not only does this help tenderize the meat, but it also allows the marinade to penetrate deeper into the steak, infusing it with more flavor.


steak seasoning

When you're ready to cook, remove the steak from the fridge and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. And pat it dry with a paper towel so you get a nice crust when you're grilling on pan-frying.

Then, add a little seasoning for more flavor and to help form the crust. Check out my homemade steak seasoning recipe to try with your eye round steak.

4 Ways To Cook Eye Of Round Steak

eye round steak

So, what's the best way to cook eye of round steak?

1. Pan Frying

If you want a quick, seared steak, then pan frying your eye of round is a good option. It's also really easy.

To start, add a small amount of oil to a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Use an oil with a high smoke point. Canola oil, avocado oil, or refined olive oil all work. To know when the pan is hot enough, wait until the oil starts to shimmer, which indicates it's ready for the steak.

With the pan heated up, place your steak in and sear it until a brown crust is formed, about 3-4 minutes per side for medium rare. 

This method works well if you want your steak done quickly.

2. Oven-Bake (Reverse Sear)

One of the best ways to cook any steak, including the eye of round, is by reverse-searing it.

This involves cooking the steak in your oven at 275°F, until it hits an internal temperature of 10-15°F below your ideal temperature. Use a flat, oven-safe pan or a wire rack placed on a baking sheet. This will allow heat to circulate around the steak, cooking it evenly.

Be sure to use a meat thermometer to get the most accurate reading of the steak's internal temperature. 

Then, finish the eye of round steak on your grill, or in a hot skillet, on both sides to get that beautiful crust.

3. Grilling

The classic way of making any steak is on the grill, and you can certainly do the same thing with the eye of round steak.

Heat up your grill to medium-high heat, and cook on both sides for about 5-7 minutes each, or until the steak hits your ideal internal temperature.

You just want to be really careful not to overcook the steak on the grill.

4. Smoking

You know I'm a huge fan of smoking steak, and you can certainly smoke a eye of round steak as well. Hickory and mesquite flavored pellets are a great choice.

Toss it on your smoker on 225F and let it cook undisturbed until it hits a juicy medium-rare.

Serving & Enjoying Your Eye Of Round Steak

Resting & Slicing

Be sure to rest your steak for 5-10 minutes after its finished cooking. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the entire steak and helps make sure that every bite is nice and tender.

Next, it's time to slice.

Since eye of round is a tough piece of steak, you need to slice it against the grain, and slice it thin. This means cutting it perpendicular to the long muscle fibers in the meat.

Pairing Options

smoked asparagus

Some sides that pair really nicely with eye of round steak include smoked mac and cheese, smoked baked potatoes, and smoked asparagus

If you like wine, then a full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon goes really nicely with the robust flavors of the steak.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is Eye Of Round Steak A Good Cut Of Meat?

The eye of round steak is a good cut of meat. It has a lean texture and a rich, beefy flavor. While it's not as tender ribeye or filet mignon, it's more affordable and offering great value for money. With the right preparation and cooking techniques, an eye of round steak can taste really good.

What Is The Best Way To Cook Eye Of Round Steak?

The best way to cook an eye of round steak is the reverse-sear method, or low-and-slow. Cooking it in your smoker low-and-slow helps to tenderize the meat. Never cook eye of round steak past medium rare because it will be very tough at higher internal temperatures.

Is Eye Of Round Steak Tough?

Yes. Eye of round steak is leaner and less marbled than other steak cuts, which makes it tougher. The eye of round comes from the hindquarters of the cow, a muscle that gets a lot of exercises, so it's less tender than cuts from less worked muscles. 

Mike Futia

Hello, I'm Mike Futia, a passionate griller and BBQ enthusiast. I'm the creator of Grill Frenzy, and I'm committed to sharing my knowledge of grilling and smoking with you. I believe that BBQ and grilling should be accessible to everyone. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, I'm here to guide you on your grilling journey. Welcome!


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  1. So I made this and it was delicious,, but the measurements are not in this recipe… I kinda just added all ingredients guessing how much. It would be nice for the measurements for the marinade.

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