For most recipes the instructions for cooking a steak on a stove say "pat the steak dry" then cook on the stove.

The drying instructions I have also seen for chicken and fish.

Why dry steak/meat/chicken/fish before cooking on a stove?

(I saw another question that was asking about how to dry the meat but not why.)

2 Answers 2


Because any moisture left on the surface will turn into steam upon touching the hot pan.

The steam will cause a lot of oil splatters (which is not only a huge mess, but can also hurt you), and if it can't evaporate fast enough, will interfere with proper browning, especially if you are overcrowding your pan or if your meat exudes a lot of moisture.

  • Excellent point about the spattering. (I usually use my grill or the broiler, so I avoid that problem)
    – Joe
    Commented Dec 3, 2017 at 21:47

To get a good sear (grill marks/browning)

If you don't, the moisture will generate steam , cooling the cooking surface and preventing it getting over 100deg C

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