Did you just open your freezer, pick out a steak and go, “Eye of round? I have no idea what that is and how to cook it.”
If that’s you, then you’re in the right place. It’s easy to cook eye of round steak incorrectly and end up with a leathery dinner instead of a tender one, but when you nail it, the flavor is amazing. We’ll show you all the dos and don’ts, along with some amazing recipes to follow.
What is eye of round steak?
Eye of round is a part of the round steak that comes from the round primal, which is the part of the steer that includes the hind legs and is used often throughout the animal’s life.
The entire round steak has three main cuts: the top round, the bottom round, and the eye of round. The meat from round steaks is lean and flavorful, but it also needs some help to be tender. That’s why it’s cheaper than sirloin, ribeye, and other more tender cuts.
Even though it looks the prettiest, the eye of round is actually the toughest part of the round roast. It dries out easily without some care, but the recipes and tips below show you how to get around that!
The best ways to use eye of round steaks
Since it is so lean and has less connective tissue than stringy cuts like brisket, eye of rounds are best cooked medium rare and sliced thinly, brought up slowly in a braise, and/or marinated in advance.
Most people use eye of round for:
- Slow oven roasts
- Deli sandwich meat
- Cubed steak dishes (think chicken fried steak)
10 delicious eye of round steak recipes
Here are a variety of eye of round steak recipes that get at this cut from multiple angles. Happy cooking!
Many chefs cook round steaks by doing a quick sear and then bringing them slowly up to temp. This recipe from AllRecipes does exactly that, and it couldn’t be easier or more delicious. Add a homemade horseradish sauce on top to really make it memorable!
On paleo, keto, or any other low-carb diet? Our friend Russ Crandall has your back. This recipe uses a simple and delicious homemade spice rub and also employs that “start high, finish low” technique that is great for the eye of round. Enjoy!
Valerie’s Kitchen has your back if you’re craving a homemade deli sandwich. Once you make homemade roast beef for sandwiches at home, you will never go back. It’s so good!
For a showstopper that would do well at any holiday dinner or date night, use this recipe from No Spoon Necessary. They show you how to nail the perfect roast while taking advantage of all the drippings to create flavorful vegetables and a delicious brown gravy.
This recipe from Jernej Kitchen recommends thinly slicing your round steak and then using a meat tenderizer before seasoning. This recipe essentially acts like a bourguignon: you pan-sear the meat, deglaze it with wine, make a quick sauce with shallots, garlic, and broth, and then simmer the meat slowly in the sauce for a few hours.
This is a perfect recipe for your next grill-out or pool party. Part of the secret from The Mountain Kitchen is the Baltimore Tiger sauce they pair with the sandwich, which is a blend of mayo, sour cream, and mustard. Yum! They also go deep into the grilling process, including recommendations on what internal temperatures to flip the steaks at and so on.
Don’t skip the marinade on this recipe from Clean Eating Magazine. Outside of that, this recipe is as simple as it gets: just broil it for a few minutes on each side and serve it with your favorite side dishes.
If you don’t have a grill or aren’t feeling it, these French dip sandwiches from Chef Alli get you in the ballpark using an oven. It features amazing caramelized onions and a classic au jus. Don’t go cheap on the bread — good rolls make or break this sandwich!
There is nothing wrong with a classic, and Kevin is Cooking shows you how to make this staple dish like a pro. From fresh thyme to crimini mushrooms, to making sure you scrape up the good bits before deglazing, this is a recipe everyone should know.
For an easy meal prep soup, try this beef soup recipe from Gimme Some Oven. I’d recommend marinating it or at least salting the beef for an hour in advance before searing, but you don’t have to do that if you’re pressed for time!
Pro tips for cooking eye of round steak
Since the eye of round is a tougher cut of meat, the execution is a bit more nuanced. Here’s how to nail it!
Cut thinly when you can
If it makes sense for the recipe, cut your thin steak even thinner! This helps the meat feel more tender when you’re eating it. Just cut slowly to avoid any accidents.
Always cut across the grain
Steaks are full of muscle fibers and connective tissues. Identifying the parallel “grain” of those fibers and cutting perpendicular to them causes all of those bands to snap, making the meat much more tender. This, along with cutting the meat thinly, is essential to making your eye of round steak fork tender!
Know that eye of round cooks fast
Eye of round is extremely lean, which means the temperature rises quickly. So whether you’re roasting, slow cooking, or grilling this cut, make sure you keep a close eye on the internal temperature.
Pull your steak at the right temp
Your roast will still be cooking when you remove it from your heat source, so it’s best to pull it around 5º shy of the temperature you want it to be. If you want to make sure you stay at the lower end of these ranges, you could even pull it 7-10º below.
Here are the different cooking temperatures for steaks for easy reference:
- Rare: 120-125°F – bright red center and warm throughout
- Medium rare: 130-135°F – pink center and slightly brown at the edges
- Medium: 140-145°F – light pink center and clearly brown at the edges
- Medium-well: 150-155°F – slight pink at center but the rest is brown
- Well done: 160-165°F – essentially no pink and brown throughout
Chill it before slicing (for sandwiches)
Chilling your eye of round before slicing makes getting perfect slices easier than when it is fresh and hot. That’s because the fat firms up in the cold.
Don’t skimp on quality
There is no replacement for grass-fed and grass-finished meat raised the way nature intended.
Opting for higher-quality meat isn’t always an option if you’re sticking to a budget, but grass-fed beef is so much better for you from a nutritional perspective — and you’ll taste that difference, too. The best beef providers use 100% grass-fed beef, avoid hormones or antibiotics, and don’t use pesticides, herbicides, or artificial fertilizers.
The best recipes start with the best steaks
No matter how good of a cook you are, using subpar meat will affect its taste and nutritional value. US Wellness Meats was founded in 2000 in Monticello, Missouri (pop. 98) by visionary farmers, who saw that big-business cattle-raising practices were taking a toll on our animals and our health. We use rotational grazing practices that are good for the planet and good for our cattle, and I promise once you try this meat once you will never go back.
Discover how good 100% grass-fed and grass-finished round steaks really are.
Nathan Phelps owns and writes for Crafted Copy, a boutique copywriting shop that finds the perfect words for interesting products. He is also an ethical foodie, outdoors-aficionado, and hails from Nashville, TN. He splits his time between helping sustainable businesses find new customers and managing his ever-increasing list of hobbies, which include playing guitar, baking bread, and creating board games.