The 13 Best Steak Toppings to Turn a Good Meal into a Great One
Steak is on top of the food chain. When it comes to food, steak is as good as it gets.
Prime steak is fit for outdoor grilling or meat smoking with friends and family on a sunny Sunday afternoon and also perfect to close a deal at a fancy steakhouse.
Steaks are a way to celebrate, to commemorate special occasions, and also to treat yourself once in a while.
Steak is always great, whether it’s pan-seared in a cast-iron skillet or char-grilled over an open flame.
The best steak toppings can make any steak a work of art; after all, meat is delicious, but it kinda shines better with the right partner.
What to put on a steak, that is the question. Of course, if you visit a steak house, you’ll have to make the best of what’s on offer, and the restaurant will probably just play it safe — same old toppings and every other steak garnish.
When you grill or use a smoker to cook your own steak, then it’s go time.
Steak toppings are the final skill set for a grill master in the making to acquire.
Of course, we’ve covered the classics, but you’ll be surprised by how out-of-the-ordinary you can go when it comes to steak garnish. If it tastes good, then it’s on the list, if it’s not, you should still try it!
Mix and match, choose your favorite toppings, try something new!
Favorite Toppings for Steak Lovers
Sharpen your steak knives and light up the grill, because these toppings for steak will take your steak game to new heights.
1. Salt, Intensifying Flavor Since Forever
We have to start somewhere, right? Salt not only elevates a steak to restaurant standards but is necessary to meet everyone’s expectations. This doesn’t mean we can’t get creative.
There are many types of salt, and each one has its own personality. They’ll all react differently with your steak.
Fleaky sea salt is fantastic for fatty steaks like a rib eye or a strip steak; coarse salt works great with fat too.
Finer, all-purpose salt has a more uniform effect and works beast with lean meat like tenderloin.
Try black Hawaiian salt for a smoky feel and added visual impact.
Read all about the importance of using the right salt in Over the Fire cooking blog.
2. Pepper, the King of Spices
If you think the world of salt is diversified, you’ll be amazed by how a few tweaks in the pepper department can change your steak’s taste profile.
Start with fresh ground black peppercorns.
These are not only fresher and more aromatic than the regular grounded black pepper, but they also bring texture to the table too.
After you’ve recognized the virtues of good ol’ fresh ground peppercorns, now try adding green, red, white, or pink peppercorns to your steak.
One might be fruitier, others less pungent; some are more aromatic and others well-rounded.
We’ll let you try them out and find the one that suits your palate best.
Check out Chantal Walsh’s Beef with pink peppercorn sauce.
3. Potatoes, Betcha Can’t Eat Just One!
We’ll cover a few vegetables on this list because we care for you, but also because they’re great with steak.
First, there are potatoes. Buttered baby potatoes grilled to perfection will make your steak dish a whole meal.
Fries are good too, and will make your dinner more of a casual encounter.
Mashed potatoes, especially with a hint of truffle oil, can make you forget who’s the main character on the plate.
An elegant, multi-layered stack of thin, baked potatoes is a real treat and a trade secret.
Make it at home and serve your steak like in a downtown, uptight steakhouse.
Tiffany from crème de la Crum teaches us how to make an amazing Garlic Butter Steak and Potatoes Skillet.
4. Veggies and Mushrooms, Making Steak Healthy Again
All right, we’ll say it: There’s nothing wrong with leaving veggies out of the picture for once, we’re talking steak night here, aren’t we?
But we’re not doing that today because vegetables can enhance your steak in ways you can’t imagine.
A few grilled asparagus are great steak toppings, call them a steak garnish if you will.
Sautéed mushrooms, with a little garlic and diced onions, top your steak like the king’s crown.
The earthiness of mushrooms entwines beautifully with the meat and the charred flavors.
Check this keto friendly Pan Seared Steak with Asparagus & Mushrooms from Kelly at The Feed Feed.
5. Kimchi, a Foreign Delight
Let’s take our steak topping skills to new frontiers with a spoonful of kimchi.
This is Korean fermented, spicy cabbage, and if you haven’t tried it yet, it’s addictive!
Here’s the story, Koreans love meat, all of it, steak too. A Korean barbecue is, in essence, a night around the grill, and meat always comes with kimchi, amongst other stuff.
The savory, spicy topping makes you salivate; it’s the acidity that makes your steak taste better.
Try it with marbled meat like USDA Choice or Prime and experience steak like never before.
Kimchi is hands down one of the best steak toppings around.
Watch this Beef Steak topped with Special Kimchi & Mushroom Sauce from Remy Kitchen.
6. Elegantly Flavored Butter
If you’re looking for something traditional to put on your steak, go with butter.
As it melts, it coats your steak, making it one of the most glorious bites in the food realm.
Butter is flavor; it’s texture, it’s a new layer of complexity.
You already know this:
Butter is the means of transport for other flavors.
Garlic, basil, rosemary, thyme, chipotle, there’s a world to discover with flavored butter, each recipe making your steak a completely different beast.
And easy but spectacular way to make a steak perfect with garlic and herb butter.
7. Blue cheese, Heavenly Crumbles
This one’s another classic, but don’t mistake it with blue cheese sauce, which we’ll cover ahead. We’re talking bits and pieces of cheese, sitting over your steak.
Stilton, Gorgonzola, Cabrales, Roquefort, Danish blue, or just plain generic blue cheese, whichever you choose will work on steak nicely. It’s the pungent aromas, the salty taste and unforgettable tanginess, these cheeses, above all other pair incredibly well with meat, especially lean meat that could use some help in the flavor department; think filet mignon, for example.
Watch Holly from My Recipes make a Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Port Reduction and Blue Cheese.
8. Tapenade, Intensity alla Provençale
We’ll never know who tried this fantastic combination first, but in the name of steak lovers around the globe, we salute you, anonymous hero.
Tapenade is an olive-based paste, often mixed with capers and anchovies, and it’s typical of French Provençal cuisine.
Tapenade is incredibly flavorful: earthy notes, herbal scents, an oily, smooth texture. If you like olives, you’ll love this spread.
At first, it tastes uncommon, but flavors combine as if they were meant to be together.
Big prime cuts, like a T-Bone or even better, a porterhouse steak or a bone-in rib eye with all their flavor work great with the gritty tapenade spread.
See Benjamin Cooper’s masterpiece, a Wagyu Rump Steak with Chinese Black Olive Tapenade in the Cook for Syria blog.
9. Mexican Salsa, a Colorful Topping
Mexico has a big grilling tradition, like in the US, steaks feed families every weekend around the country; the toppings are a different story.
Pico de gallo (the rooster’s peak) is the most common Mexican salsa topping.
Easy to make, simply dice white onions, tomatoes, jalapeño and coriander.
Mix in equal proportions all the ingredients but the jalapeño pepper: add that one to taste.
A drizzle of lime juice and a pinch of salt finishes the sauce.
Your Mexican-inspired steak will become something else. Try a flank steak for this one; it’s Mexicans favorite.
Sonia Mendez from Hispanic Kitchen teaches us to make a Steak and Grilled Pico de Gallo.
10. Guacamole, Go Green
The second way you can infuse your steak with Latin American flavors is by topping it with guacamole.
The silky, unctuous avocado creates contrasting characters that frame the meat and really make it shine.
You can make guacamole in two ways: mashed or diced. Either way, add ripe avocado, tomatoes, onions and coriander, with a dash of lime juice. Jalapeño is optional and to taste.
Again, flank steak works excellent, but a nice charcoal-grilled rib eye will be incredible. For the full experience, cut your steak into strips and make tacos out of it.
Here this recipe from The Organic Kitchen, by Linda Spiker for a Grilled Skirt Steak and Veggies with Guacamole.
11. Chimichurri, A Herbal Touch
Argentina is a beef meat powerhouse. They not only produce some of the best meat in the world, but they also eat it regularly too.
For Argentines, it’s all about chimichurri. The silky mixture of olive oil, vinegar, parsley, oregano, minced garlic, and chili flakes is epic. You can use any herbs you want, ending up with different results.
It’s the vinegar and the olive oil, the ones that interact the most with the meat. A sweet balsamic vinegar and an extra virgin olive oil are fundamental.
Gremolata, a similar Italian green sauce that includes lemon zest works equally well.
Karina from Café Delites makes the best steaks with chimichurri.
12. Egg, A Brunch Special
A perfectly poached eggs is an exciting way of making your steak more versatile.
Now you can have it for lunch, brunch, or why not, breakfast?
Adding a fried or poached eggs on a steak is nothing new; it’s the original breakfast of champions.
Eggs and steak are a winning combination: simplicity at its finest.
Perhaps out of place at a formal dinner table, this is an excellent combination to keep in mind.
While you’re at it, add a few crunchy strips of bacon and order a mimosa. You’re now on top of your game.
The ultimate steak topper stack: Poached egg, rucola salad, sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese in olive oil.
13. Lobster, a Steak’s Best Friend
There’s no better steak topping than a gigantic lobster tail. Butter-poached or grilled, lobster is sweet, creamy, and lusciously addictive.
Surf & Turf they call it but name it any way you want to; welcome to the big leagues.
A lean beef tenderloin or a fat rib eye will do the job equally, but at this stage, no one will judge your choice of meat, there’s a lobster over it.
For similar results, top your steak with jumbo shrimp, buttered and flavored with garlic, they’ll do the trick, trust us.
Shawn Williams shows us how it’s done in his recipe for Steak and Lobster Tails: Surf and Turf for Two at Kitchen Swagger.
The Best Steak Toppings: Other Ways to Up your Game
Sauces are excellent ways to dress up your steak. They take a grilled piece of meat and turn it into a high-end meal, worthy of your in-laws coming over.
Make sure you practice these sauces beforehand.
The right flavor, the right thickness, and loveliest of colors take a few trials.
Don’t worry, if you can cook a juicy, medium steak with a golden-brown crust, how hard can a sauce be?
Take a look at the next steak sauces to add to your repertoire
A child sauce from the Hollandaise sauce, Bearnaise is a great steak sauce. Butter, egg yolk, vinegar and a steady whipping hand, this sauce takes practice to master.
Emulsifying the ingredients is no easy feat but getting the right flavor and especially the right texture will make you feel like a Master Chef.
It works wonders on filet mignon. Top with crab meat and asparagus to create the traditional Steak Oscar.
Blue Cheese Sauce
Mixing blue cheese and mayo is the easiest way to make this sauce, but the real thing substitutes mayonnaise for buttermilk and cream.
Gently simmered in a saucepan with shallots and garlic, this one is one hell of a sauce.
Mushrooms, butter, cream and black pepper will do the trick. You can blend it for a well-integrated sauce, or you can make a chunky one.
Try it with filet mignon; it’s an instant classic.
Reduce cream in a saucepan, add all the pepper you want; black, red, pink, or white, we talked above about these spicy variations.
Add a splash of Cognac or Brandy to give it some punch.
There’s No Steak Dinner without Wine
Red wine is fabulous with steak, but there are ways to fine-tune your pairing.
Lean cuts of meat, like the top round, round tip, bottom round, sirloin, top loin, tenderloin, and flank, go better with round wines with a medium structure like Merlot or Malbec.
Fatty cuts of meat, like the New York strip, the rib eye, the T-Bone, porterhouse or a tomahawk, go better with structured reds of grippy tannins like Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux blends, Barolo or Chianti.
You see, tannins are suspended particles in wine that make it taste grainy or drying. Tannins react equally with the meat’s fat. So, the more fat, the more tannins you need.
The same goes for marbled cuts of meat that can have fat within the flesh.
At the end of the day, remember, your steak your rules!
Once you start looking at steak as the base for the most exciting meals you can imagine, you’ll be putting over it all you find in the fridge.
Got roast beef and making a sandwich? Check out our list of roast beef sandwich toppings.
The best steak toppings are the ones you like the most. A subtle steak garnish or a flavorful sauce, it’s all good; steak is always good.