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Why Do Chefs Mix Butter With Olive Oil When Pan Searing A Steak?

This has been a traditional practice that was geared towards ensuring that the milk solids did not burn too quickly especially upon exposure to high temperatures. However, the veracity and accuracy of this was never ascertained in those times but this has now been demystified and many experts have stated that this combination might not have the desired compounding effect. This is a murky area devoid of any clarity hence it’s imperative that this article sheds some light on this subject as it’s been subjected to some long protracted debates. The following is an outline of the several benefits of mixing butter with olive oil when pan searing steak in order to establish whether the whole idea is farcical and contradictory or indeed a great and fitting concept that should be adopted by all cooks globally.

  • To Ensure That It Does Not Burn Too Quickly
Tasty beef steak on cast iron grate with fire flames

Naturally, high susceptibility to heat males the olive oil burn too quickly hence the addition of butter is great to introduce some much needed stability to reduce this burning or volatility in the strictest sense of the word. This increases its longevity from the onset. Olive oil like most oils has a slightly higher flash point thus butter plays a complementary role as it has a low flashpoint.

  • Lessen the Smoke

Mixing the two ensures that the smoke emanating thereof is reduced completely thus avoiding the chaos that ensues when the smoke becomes excessive and very intolerable. Less smoke implies that the steak will be crisp and the aroma is not ruined by the bad odors resulting from the smoke. The kitchen is not damaged or ruined and as a result, many chefs have made this a standard practice as it curtails the levels or magnitude of harm brought about by the smoke by reducing it to a bare minimum.

To Enhance the Flavor

This is attained by adding some great nutty flavor to the steak. The flavor is literally the hallmark of steak excellence. Steak might look great but this is pointless if the accompanying taste is not as impeccable and reflective of its appearance. Butter gives the steak some nutty flavor hence rendering it a preferable addition.

Aesthetic Appeal

This is achieved through the addition of a great sheen to the food. The additional browning is perfect in order to make the steak more appealing and eye-catching. Chefs are not oblivious of the fact that some visually appealing steak is often desirable for the customer even before they get a proper taste of the same. It is usually remarkable for the steak to seem decent at face value and back this up by being tasty thus fulfilling the customers’ demands on all fronts. Butter helps to accentuate the look and it cannot go unnoticed, as the difference when the steak is seared devoid of the butter is quite staggering.

Thicken the End Product

Steak is great when slightly thick. This helps when dining and to ensure that it is not wobbly when preparing it. Suffice to say, this is usually overlooked and the impact that butter has in this regard is overly undermined. Some thick steak not only simplifies the chef’s work but it also enhances the dining when ripping it apart as it becomes easy to handle and cut through. Butter makes this seamless and in its absence, the preparation often has calamitous consequences on the searing and dining experience.

Perfect Finisher

Butter is a marvelous finisher. Many chefs have now seen the light and come to the realization of how butter is indeed the ideal finisher in the searing process. It might be added in the final conclusive stages but the impact that it has is phenomenal.


Butter can usually be prepared in advance and a perfect blend can be obtained by adding some herbs thus creating some great aroma that cannot be attained through the plain use of olive oil.

The butter, ideally clarified butter should be added at the commencement of the cooking process but other people usually opt to add the normal butter in the final stages of the cooking process to add some much desire flavor. It has become agreeable that butter and olive oil brings the best out of each other as they are quite complementary and the profound influence of butter on the steak remains unparalleled. Ultimately, the steak becomes quite splendid. The article has exhaustively discussed this question and clearly depicted that the addition of butter is not just a formality as it has a huge bearing on the searing process as aptly demonstrated above.

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