5 Herbs That Go Well With Steak [How to Use Them]

As a meat lover, I never missed dining and enjoying my favorite steak seasoned with different herbs in a restaurant. However, steak tastes best when shared with our loved ones. Let us find out below the herbs that go well with steaks and cook them at home.

The herbs that go well with steaks are 1) rosemary, 2) thyme, 3) oregano, 4) basil (not fresh), and 5) sage. They add flavor, enhance the aroma, and can be used as a natural preservative and even be a partial salt substitute for steak recipes.

Continue reading to know how to use these herbs and serve delicious steak to your family and friends.

1. Rosemary

Rosemary is an herb known for its woody aroma and piney flavor that tastes great in all kinds of beef recipes.

Rosemary herb is frequently used in different recipes but it is widely used in steaks. You can use it in your sirloin strip steak from the preparation stage until serving. Cooking rosemary-garlic sirloin steak will only take you less than ten (10) minutes to prepare. You can prepare the following ingredients.

  • 1 pound sirloin steak
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ tsp kosher salt, divided
  • ½ tsp ground pepper, divided
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium shallots, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 ½ tbsp butter
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary

Mix the rosemary with the minced garlic and pepper, then rub it on the sirloin steak. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and put the olive oil. Fry the sirloin and flip it after one minute to prevent overcooking the steak. Add the rosemary, butter, and other seasonings and baste the steak with the melted butter. Flip it again to cook for another minute. Once done, place it on a nice platter, season it with ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper and garnish with more rosemary.

I am using this cast-iron skillet when cooking steak at home. You can get this one on Amazon.

Apart from rosemary’s rich piney flavor and aroma, it also gives significant health benefits. According to The New York Times, a study shows that adding rosemary to ground beef, or any muscle meat before grilling, frying, broiling, or barbecuing reduces toxins (heterocyclic amines). These toxins are produced when cooking meat at high temperatures (above 300 degrees Fahrenheit.) Read more about rosemary here.

Gordon Ramsay Cast Iron Steak Recipe Butter-Basted with Garlic Rosemary

2. Thyme

Thyme is an aromatic and flavorful herb that is perfect for any beef recipe, especially steak.

If you want to cook a delicious rib-eye steak, one of the ingredients is fresh thyme leaves. Its minty and lemony flavor will make your steak more delicious. In cooking this dish, you should prepare the following.

  • 2 rib-eye steaks about 1 ½ inch thick, and 1 to 1 ¼ pound each
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Kosher salt is good for everyday use, especially in cooking, because it is pure, natural, and has no additives.

You can serve this dish in 20 minutes, 10 minutes preparation, and 10 minutes for cooking. Take note to use an oil with a high smoking point like canola or vegetable oil when cooking steak on a stove. This will prevent your steak from tasting like a scorched one.

Do not use oil with a low smoking point, like butter, because it will easily burn. This will cause your steak to have a burnt taste. Butter is good with steak, but you can add it at the end together with the garlic and thyme leaves. Let the butter melt until you can smell the garlic and the aroma of the thyme.

NY Strip Steak With Garlic Thyme Butter Cooked In Cast Iron Skillet!

3. Oregano

Oregano is an herb rich in antioxidants and antimicrobial properties. It gives a combination of sweet, bitter, and peppery flavors with a trace of mint.

Oregano can be used in meat, sausages, salads, stewings, dressings, and soups. It is also best used in preparing steak sauce or marinades before grilling or frying the steak. A sample recipe of grilled strip steaks with garlic and oregano can be found below.

  • 2 pcs. strip steaks ( 1 inch thick)
  • 2 small cloves minced garlic
  • 30 mL olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Prepare a marinade by mixing the garlic, olive oil, and dried oregano in a bowl. Coat the strip steaks with the mixture, wrap it lightly with plastic and place it in the fridge for 2 hours. Preheat a cast-iron grilling skillet over medium-high heat, place the steaks on the grill and cook it for 5-6 minutes on each side. Let it rest for seven minutes and serve it with your favorite seasonings.

Use oregano as written in the recipe. Adding more than what is needed might ruin the desired taste of your steak because naturally, oregano tastes like how it smells. Not all people like the strong aroma of herbs when plenty is added to the dish.

4. Basil

Basil is an aromatic herb that has a touch of peppery and minty smell. It is known for its sweet and savory taste that is good for cooking meat like steaks. It should never be used fresh, but rather in paste form; otherwise, it will burn.

Basil can be used as marinades and sauce for steaks. It is best for grilling sirloin and rib-eye steak. Prepare the following ingredients in cooking a grilled rib-eye steak with basil and butter.

  • 2 ribeye steaks (boneless and 1 inch thick)
  • ½ stick unsalted and softened butter
  • ½ tsp minced garlic
  • 8 medium-sized fresh leaves of basil
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 small-sized tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Always use fresh bright green basil leaves. If possible, use your homegrown basil to make sure that the leaves you are adding to your dish are fresh. Do not use basil leaves which are black, brown, dark green, and yellowish leaves with dark spots. Discoloration of the leaves moist, and rotten smells indicate that the basil is not good for cooking. Fresh basil leave can last for 5-9 days.

To use basil as a marinade, mix it with the softened butter, garlic, and olive oil in a bowl. Coat the steak with the marinade, wrap it lightly with plastic and place it in the fridge for 2 hours. Put the remaining mixture in the ice cube container and place it in the freezer.

Preheat the grilling grate over medium-high heat, put the steak on the grill, and cook it for 6 minutes on each side. Transfer the steak on a nice platter, put the cubed basil butter mixture on top of the steak, and let it rest for 7 minutes.

Slice, serve, and enjoy your steak with the melted basil butter sauce.

Garlic & Basil Rib Eye

5. Sage

Sage is a perennial woody herb rich in antioxidants and rosmarinic acid which serves as an anti-inflammatory agent that is good for digestion. It helps in holding up the stronger flavor of the steak and adds a fragrant aroma to the dish.

Using sage in your steak makes the dish more flavorful. Its powerful aroma with a touch of woody, piney, minty, and even eucalyptus taste. These characteristics of sage will give a twist to your regular steak dish. Prepare the following ingredients in making a garlic-sage steak topping recipe.

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt

Put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix them all together with a hand mixer or wooden spoon until they are well incorporated. Put the mixture in an ice cube container and place it in the fridge for 1 to hours. Once you are done cooking your sirloin or rib-eye steak either by frying or grilling, place it on a platter to rest for 7 minutes. While waiting for the time to serve the steak, put 1 or 2 cubes of your mixed garlic sage toppings on the steak to let it melt. You may slice, serve, and enjoy your dish.

The $48 Steak - An outrageously delicious steak smeared with Sage Butter.

Heat Resistance in Herbs: Ideal for Frying

Herbs that are heat resistant are those hard or woody such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, bay, and sage.

Their woodbine allows them to keep their flavor throughout prolonged heat exposure such as frying, boiling. Without wilting or becoming a mash as it might happen with softer ones.

Gordon's Guide To Herbs

Herbs as a Salt Substitute

As we know, dried herbs are more potent compared to fresh ones. In cooking, fresh herbs are recommended, but you can use either dried or fresh ones. If you opt for dried herbs, you need to consider the quantity that you need for a particular recipe. For example, for one tablespoon of fresh herbs, you may substitute it for ½ teaspoon crushed herbs or ⅓ teaspoon powdered.

Herbs and spices contain less sodium which is a good salt substitute in any dish. The Dietary Guideline for Americans recommended a maximum of 2300 milligrams (mg) sodium intake per day. One teaspoon of table salt contains 2325 mg of sodium which is more than what is recommended. This is the reason why herbs are a good salt substitute because most of them contain only 2 mg of sodium. This lessens our worries about our sodium intake per day.

Herbs That Go Well With Steak – Infographic

7 Herbs To Not Use With Steaks

The herbs that should not be used in cooking steaks are those known to be tender and delicate in nature, such as 1) fresh basil, 2) chives, 3) dill, 4) mint, 5) cilantro, 6) parsley, and 7) tarragon.

These herbs can easily burn due to the high cooking temperature. They can be best used as a garnish; raw material for salads, marinades, or relishes; and can be added towards the end of cooking to retain their taste and color.

1. Fresh Basil

Basil is sweet, warm, and has a delicious and robust flavor. It is best used in sauce like pesto and can be used as a garnish in meats, seafood, vegetable salads, and pizzas. In general, when used fresh, it is added to a recipe just at the end, especially if oven-based (like a pizza).

2. Chives

Chives are known to have a mild flavor compared to other herbs. Frying or grilling it under high temperatures will destroy its taste. However, you may use it towards the end of cooking as a garnish in soups or dips, seafood recipes, and omelets.

3. Dill

The sweet and aromatic parts of dill are edible but the more you cook it, the more it loses its flavor. Therefore, I recommend using it as a garnish to enjoy its taste and aroma. You can also use it with seafood, soups, vegetable salads, and egg dishes. Add this to your vinegar and oil to create a tasty salad dressing.

4. Mint

Mint is known to have a refreshing flavor and is usually used in different recipes because of its aroma. However, it is not recommended to use it in frying or grilling because it will easily get scorched and tastes bitter. You may use it as a garnish after cooking and also can be mixed in teas, soups, juices, or desserts.

5. Cilantro

Cilantro is sweet, earthy, and too soft and tender to be used in frying a stake. However, you can use it as a garnish after the dish is cooked to add fresh flavor. Adding it to your salsa, guacamole, sauce, and salad dressings can make it more flavorful.

6. Parsley

Parsley is a savory and aromatic herb that is rich in Vitamin K. It cannot be used in frying or grilling dishes under high temperatures because it will easily burn and its taste will be sapped. As a garnish, it goes well with grilled vegetables and meat, salads, and sauce.

7. Tarragon

Tarragon is known to be the king of herbs in France. It is widely used in many french dishes as a garnish or dressing for salads. It has a distinct anti-seed flavor and is not advisable to use it in frying or grilling because it easily burns. Its taste will become unrecognizable. It can be used in chicken soups or any creamy sauce.

What Herbs Taste Like?

Herbs are known to add fragrant aroma and enhance flavor to your dish. Their characteristics and flavor may make or break your cooking journey.

Let us check out below which herbs suit the desired flavor of our favorite dish.

HerbsTaste and Characteristics
parsley, chives, chervil, burnetThey have a delicate flavor that compliments well with other herbs. 
thyme, oregano, mint, basil, celery leaves, tarragon, marjoramTheir flavor is medium and should be used in small to moderate amounts. (e.g. 1-2 tsp. of dried herbs for 6-8 servings)
sage, bay leaf, rosemaryThey have a strong and dominant flavor, therefore you should use them in moderate amounts. (e.g. 1tsp for  6-8 servings)
mintIt has a sweet flavor that will enhance the taste of the meat that you are cooking.
dill, chives, tarragon, oreganoThey have a savory taste and are good for cooking eggs, meat, and dishes with cheese.
Taste and Characteristics of Herbs

Summary of 5 Herbs that Go Well with Steak

1. The five herbs that go well with steak are rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil(dried), and sage.

2. The seven herbs that are not recommended for prolonged cooking are fresh basil, chives, dill, mint, cilantro, parsley, and tarragon.

3. Herbs enhance the aroma and flavor of your steak and, at the same time, give you health benefits.

4. Fresh herbs are recommended seasonings in cooking steaks, but dried ones can be used depending on your preference.

5. Knowing the herbs’ flavor and characteristics that you will use in cooking is important to achieve the desired taste of your favorite dish.


“Cooking with Herbs, Spices, and Seasonings” in University of Georgia Extension Spice it Up Series

Smith, Delia, editor. The Food Aid Cookery Book. British Broadcasting Corporation, 1986.

Tinton, Terry, et al. Professional Chef: Level 3 S/NVQ. Cengage Learning, 2008.

“The Claim: Rosemary Helps Reduce Toxins in Grilled Meat” by Anahad O’Connor in The New York Times

“Rib Eye Steaks with Thyme-Garlic Butter” by Katie Workman in The Mom 100

“A Review on Applications and Uses of Thymus in the Food Industry” by Gema Nieto in NCBI

“Oregano” by S.E. Kintzios in Science Direct

“9 Impressive Benefits Of Sage” by John Staughton in Organic Facts

“Herbs: Preserving and Using” by M. Bunning, D. Woo, & P. Kendall in Colorado State University Extension

“Fresh Herbs — Pick Through the Garden of Possibilities” by Bryan Roof in Today’s Dietitian

“Most People Consume Too Much Salt” in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“Season For Health: A Guide For Using Herbs and Spices For Your Home Cooking” by Kiah Farr, et.al. in University of Arizona Cooperative Extension

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