What’s The Difference Between Rare and Raw Steak?

Raw meat is often considered healthier because it contains less fat and has higher levels of nutrients. On the other hand, cooked meat loses some of its nutritional value.

There are several differences between raw and cooked beef. The main difference is that raw beef is usually tougher and harder to chew.

What’s The Difference Between Rare and Raw Steak?

Also, raw beef tends to contain more connective tissue (collagen) and blood vessels.

In this article, we will be discussing the difference between a rare and a raw steak. Thus, you will be able to notice the difference when you next cook a steak. 

Rare Steak Vs Raw Steak


The main difference between a rare and raw steak, is that a raw steak isn’t exposed to any form of heat. It is commonly cool and soft to the touch and will remain red to pink all over. 

While a rare steak will have been charred slightly on the outside. Therefore, the outside of the steak will be a deep brown color, yet the insides will still remain red and cool.

This browning happens as the steak’s natural sugars are released alongside amino acids when they come into contact with heat. This is also referred to as the Maillard reaction. 

You can cook a steak to different levels of doneness. For a rare steak, you want the inside of the steak to still remain red.

If you cut into the steak and the color is brown or pink, then that steak is medium to well done. Thus, it is no longer considered as a rare steak. 


A raw steak will be softer than a cooked steak. This is due to the fact that raw meat contains more water and is therefore easier to chew.

However, once cooked, the muscle fibers contract and tighten up, making them firmer.

This is why a raw steak is often chewy, as the fibers are loose, which means more effort is needed to break them up. While a cooked steak is tender and juicy.


Raw steak is generally leaner than cooked steak. This is because raw meat contains much less fat than cooked meat. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

Some cuts of beef such as sirloin and round contain more fat than others.

In addition, some types of beef such as brisket contain more fat than others, but even these tend to be leaner than most other cuts.

Cooked steak is typically lower in calories, saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, and trans-fatty acids.

Cooked steak is also high in protein, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, selenium, and pantothenic acid. 


When you take a bite of a raw steak, you will probably taste blood.

This is why some people who serve rare steak will serve it with other bold flavors such as lemon or mustard to help offset the bloody flavor, which a lot of people don’t find very appealing. 

Compared with a rare steak that has a slightly charred and smokey flavor. If you sealed your steak in a skillet pan instead of on a grill, then a rare steak could also have a butter taste as well. 

Is It Safe To Eat A Raw Steak?

If you’re wondering whether it’s safe to eat a raw steak, then yes, it is. There are many benefits to eating a raw steak. One being that it helps to boost your immune system.

Another being that it helps to reduce inflammation. Lastly, it helps to increase your metabolism.

However, you must make sure that your raw steak is refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, until the moment that it needs to be served.

If your raw steak is left at a higher temperature than harmful bacteria could begin to grow which could cause illness. Such as E. coli and salmonella.

Some symptoms of these illnesses include vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. 

The majority of healthy adults will easily recover from these illnesses.

However, children, the elderly, and even pregnant women should avoid raw steak for their own health, as this could make them seriously ill. 

Steak Temperatures

There are various ways that you can serve a steak. These all depend on the temperatures and how long you cook your steak for.

What’s The Difference Between Rare and Raw Steak?

You will notice when you go to a restaurant that you are always asked how you would like your steak cooked. 

In this little guide, we have put together all the ways that you can cook your steak and the timings for each one. 


A blue steak has been briefly seared on a hot pan or grill for under a minute on each side.

The outside of the steak will have a dark down color, yet inside it will still have a raw like appearance. This steak is usually cooked to 115 degrees. 


For a rare steak, it is cooked to 120 degrees. As we have already mentioned, a rare steak will have an even brown exterior coloring, yet inside the steak will still have a dark red center and be cool. 


A lot of people like their steak to be cooked medium rare. Thus, this kind of steak will be cooked to 130 degrees.

The outside of the steak will be charred, yet the inside will still be red, but this time it will be warm to the touch.


A medium steak will have a much darker brown exterior, and the inside will be pink instead of red. The inside will also be hot to the touch, as the steak is cooked to 140 degrees.

A medium steak is a great choice for anyone who doesn’t like the sight of blood on their plate.


A medium-well steak will have reached an interior temperature of 150 degrees.

The inside of the steak will still be holding onto that slight pink hue, but the majority of the inside will be a brown color now. 

Well Done 

A well done steak will have an interior temperature of 160 degrees. Throughout, the steak will be a deep brown color.

Most people see this kind of steak as the toughest to eat, as all the fibers have contracted and all the natural juices have dried up from the hot temperatures. 

How you have your steak cooked is all up to personal preference. Some people believe that well done is horrible, while others like the taste and texture of a well done steak.

However, it is also important to remember that your streak will continue cooking even when you put it to one side to rest.

Thus, always remove your steak from the heat when it is around 5 degrees under your preferred steak temperature. 

Tips For Cooked And Raw Steak

All steak should be kept in the fridge at below 40 degrees Fahrenheit until needed.

If your steak is stored above 40 degrees for more than 2 hours, then that steak is no longer seen as safe to eat, as bacteria will have begun to start growing on the steak. 

After you have cooked your steak, if you have leftovers, these should be placed in the fridge within 2 hours.

You are trying to reduce any chances of bacteria growing on the meat, whether it is raw or cooked. 

Speaking of raw steaks, they should only be kept in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. Or you can freeze them for up to 6 months. Even cooked steaks can be left in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days.

As a result, no steak, whether cooked or raw, should stay in your fridge for longer than 5 days. 


Raw steak is an acquired taste, but some recipes do call for it.

The main difference between a raw and a rare steak is the fact that a rare steak is cooked slightly, and nothing happens to a raw steak. 

There are a lot of ways to serve a steak, and we hope this article has given you an insight into how you may like to cook your next steak.

How you cook steak is personal to everyone, but now you should’ve known the difference between a rare and raw steak.

John Rinder
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