Rare vs Blue Steak – What’s The Difference?

Rare and blue steak, two terms that often pique curiosity and debate among steak enthusiasts.

Whether you’re a meat lover or a food adventurer, understanding the difference between rare and blue steak can elevate your dining experience.

In this article, we dive deep into the nuances of these culinary treats, exploring their preparation and how to cook rare or blue steak safely.

Rare vs Blue Steak

Thin cut sirloin steak. Credit: Unsplash
Thin cut sirloin steak. Credit: Unsplash

Rare Steak

A rare steak is cooked to an internal temperature between 125°F to 130°F (51°C to 54°C).

It is characterized by a cool, red center with a gentle gradient toward the edges.

This level of doneness preserves the natural flavors and tenderness of the meat while ensuring it is safe to eat.

Blue Steak

Blue steak, also known as “bleu” in French cuisine, takes the concept of rareness to an even more extreme level.

Cooked to an internal temperature of around 115°F (46°C), it is essentially raw inside.

The blue steak is seared briefly on each side, leaving the center cool and almost untouched by heat.

Not to be confused with a black and blue steak, as it’s different due to being charred and crisp on the exterior.

Now, let’s explore the finer details of each preparation.

How To Ensure Food Safety When Cooking Rare or Blue Steak?

To ensure food safety when cooking rare or blue steak, follow these guidelines:

  1. Quality Matters: Start with a high-quality cut of meat from a reputable source, ensuring proper handling and storage.
  2. Cooking Temperature: Invest in a reliable instant-read thermometer to accurately gauge the internal temperature of the steak. Be sure to place the thermometer in the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone.
  3. Hygiene Practices: Maintain a clean cooking environment, practicing good hygiene and preventing cross-contamination. Thoroughly wash your hands, utensils, and cutting boards after handling raw meat.
  4. Resting Period: Allow the steak to rest for a few minutes after cooking to ensure the juices redistribute within the meat, increasing flavor and tenderness.
  5. Personal Preferences: If you have concerns about food safety or prefer your steak to be cooked more thoroughly, aim for a slightly higher internal temperature than the suggested range for rare or blue.

What Makes Rare Steak So Special?

When prepared to perfection, a rare steak offers a delightful sensory experience. Here’s what you can expect from a perfectly cooked rare steak:


Retaining a significant amount of the meat’s natural juices, a rare steak boasts a succulent and robust flavor profile. The caramelization achieved on the outer surface during cooking enhances the taste, while the cool, juicy center adds a burst of mouthwatering goodness with each bite.


Rare steak strikes a balance between tenderness and chewiness, making it a popular choice for steak lovers who enjoy a bit of resistance in their meat. The cuts, saturated with natural juices, provide a pleasurable juiciness that accentuates the overall texture.

Visual Appeal

With its vibrant reddish-pink center, a rare steak is a feast for the eyes. The contrast of rich hues and the seared outer crust creates an enticing visual presentation.

What Makes Blue Steak So Special?

While not for the faint of heart, blue steak offers a unique experience that can captivate even the most discerning palates. Here’s what sets blue steak apart:


The minimal cooking time and low internal temperature of blue steak ensure a tender and buttery texture. The meat practically melts in your mouth, offering a luxurious experience as you savor each bite.

Purity of Flavor

By leaving the center raw, blue steak preserves the true essence of the meat. You’ll experience the unadulterated flavors, unmasked by excessive cooking, allowing the quality of the beef to shine through.

Adventurous Appeal

For those seeking a culinary adventure, blue steak delivers a thrill. Enjoying a steak that is predominantly rare elevates the dining experience, challenging your taste buds and providing a truly unique meal.

Preparing and Cooking Each Steak

To understand the distinction between rare and blue steak, it’s helpful to explore the science behind their preparation.

The key factors that affect the cooking process and the resulting steak are:

Internal Temperature

The internal temperature of the steak determines its level of doneness. As the temperature rises, the proteins in the meat denature, causing physical and chemical changes that affect texture and flavor.


Searing the steak on high heat creates a flavorful crust on the outside and enhances the visual appeal. However, searing alone is not sufficient to achieve a rare or blue steak.

Resting Period

Allowing the steak to rest after cooking lets the juices redistribute, resulting in a more flavorful, moist steak. This step is crucial for both rare and blue preparations.


Is It Safe To Eat Rare Or Blue Steak?

Rare and blue steaks are safe to eat as long as they are prepared with care and from high-quality cuts. The internal temperature of the steak plays a crucial role in ensuring safety. Cooking a steak to at least 125°F (51°C) for rare and 115°F (46°C) for blue is recommended to minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses. However, individuals with compromised immune systems or other health concerns should exercise caution.

What Cuts Of Steak Are Best For Rare Or Blue Cooking?

Certain cuts of meat lend themselves well to rare and blue preparations due to their tenderness and flavor. Cuts like tenderloin, ribeye, and New York strip are popular choices. These cuts have a good amount of marbling, which enhances the texture and adds flavor to the steak.

Can Any Steak Be Cooked To Blue Or Rare?

While any steak can be cooked to rare or blue, it’s essential to consider the quality and thickness of the cut. Thicker cuts are easier to cook evenly while maintaining the desired level of doneness. Additionally, the quality of the meat, including its freshness and marbling, plays a significant role in achieving a tender and flavorful result.


Rare and blue steak offer distinct and memorable culinary experiences that allow you to indulge in the natural flavors and textures of high-quality meat.

Understanding the differences between rare and blue, the science behind their preparation, and the considerations for food safety ensures an extraordinary dining experience.

Whether you prefer the juicy tenderness of rare steak or the adventure of a true blue steak, make sure to select top-quality cuts and embrace the pleasure of savoring these unique culinary treasures. Happy dining!

Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.