Classic French Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre Recipe

 The Spruce

  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings

Steak au poivre (pronounced "oh-PWAHV") is a classic French steak recipe. "Au piove" is French for "peppered," and the dish features a perfectly cooked steak crusted with cracked peppercorns. It's typically served with a rich, creamy pan sauce flavored with cognac or brandy ladeled on top.

Cognac 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, but any good quality brandy will also work.

Serve steak au poivre with French fries for a traditional meal, or try roasted potatoes or green beans for a healthier option.

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Ingredients

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

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Steak au Poivre Recipe ingredients
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  2. Let the steaks sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before you start to cook. Preheat your oven to 450 F.

    Steaks sitting out on the countertop
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  3. 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.

    Peppercorns crushed in a mortar and pestle
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  4. Season the steaks with salt and then press the steaks into the cracked peppercorns. Make sure to coat both sides of the steaks.

    Seasoned steaks on a plate
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  5. Heat a wide, oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Swirl it around to combine, then add the steaks.

    Steaks in a hot pan with butter and oil
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  6. Brown them for about 2 minutes on each side.

    Flipping steaks in the pan browned on one side
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  7. Transfer the pan to the oven for another 4 to 5 minutes.

    Cooked steaks in a pan
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  8. 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.

    Steaks on a plate covered in aluminum foil
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  9. Pour out all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan, then put the pan back on the stove. Don't turn on the heat yet.

    Pan with drippings and fat
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  10. Add the cognac or brandy and scrape the flavorful bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

    Pan with added cognac
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  11. Add the cream and stir to combine.

    Stirring pan sauce with cream
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  12. Turn the heat back on to medium-high and bring the sauce to a boil.

    Thickened sauce in the pan
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  13. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes or until it has reduced by about half.

  14. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and season to taste with salt.

    Sauce in pan with added butter
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  15. Serve the sauce over the steaks right away.

    Steak au Poivre on plates with green beans
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  16. 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.

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