Classic French Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre Recipe

 The Spruce

Ratings (16)
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings

Steak au poivre (pronounced "oh-PWAHV") is a classic French steak recipe that features a perfectly cooked steak crusted with cracked peppercorns and served with a rich, creamy sauce flavored with cognac or brandy.

Cognac, to be sure, is the traditional ingredient since steak au poivre is a French recipe and cognac is a type of brandy made in France. So to be truly authentic, use cognac. Any good quality brandy will also work.

Ingredients

  • 4 (8-ounce) boneless strip steaks (or ribeye steaks, about 1 1/2 inches thick)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 tablespoons butter (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cognac (or brandy)
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Steak au Poivre Recipe ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. Let the steaks sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before you start to cook.

    Steak au Poivre Recipe
    The Spruce 
  3. Preheat your oven to 450 F.

  4. Crack the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or by crushing them in a metal skillet with the bottom of another heavy pot or pan. Transfer the crushed peppercorns to a plate or sheet pan.

    Steak au Poivre Recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Season the steaks with Kosher salt and then press the steaks into the cracked peppercorns. Make sure to coat both sides of the steaks.

    Steak au Poivre Recipe
     The Spruce
  6. Heat a wide oven-safe pan over medium-high heat, then add the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Swirl it around to combine, then add the steaks.

    Steak au Poivre Recipe
     The Spruce
  7. Brown them for about two minutes on each side.

    Steak au Poivre Recipe
     The Spruce
  8. Transfer the pan to the oven for another 4 to 5 minutes.

    Steak au Poivre Recipe
    The Spruce 
  9. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the steaks to a plate, tent them with foil and let them rest for 5 to 6 minutes while you make the sauce.

    Steak au Poivre Recipe
     The Spruce
  10. Pour out all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan, then put the pan back on the stove but don't turn on the heat yet.

    Steak au Poivre Recipe
    The Spruce 
  11. Add the cognac or brandy and scrape the flavorful bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

    Steak au Poivre Recipe
    The Spruce
  12. Add the cream and stir to combine.

    Steak au Poivre Recipe
     The Spruce
  13. Now turn the heat back on to medium-high and bring the sauce to a boil.

    Steak au Poivre Recipe
     The Spruce
  14. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes or until it has reduced by about half.

  15. Stir in the remaining butter and season to taste with Kosher salt.

    Steak au Poivre Recipe
     The Spruce
  16. Serve the sauce over the steaks right away.

    Steak au Poivre Recipe
     The Spruce
  17. Enjoy!

Recipe Variation

  • You could also use tenderloin steaks for this recipe (they should be about 1 1/2 inches thick and have plenty of marbling), or even flank steak, which is very flavorful but cooks a little faster since it isn't as thick. Be sure to slice it against the grain.