Steak pinwheels are a simple but effective gourmet take on a steak dinner and are one of those recipes that looks like you put in hours of effort.
Most of us are used to cooking steak pinwheels in the skillet or grill to get that caramelized crust, but can you cook them in the oven too?
How do you cook premade steak pinwheels in the oven? The best method is to sear them on each side on a preheated cast iron griddle in the oven, then loosely cover them to finish cooking through. They should be allowed to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Want to try your hand at cooking steak pinwheels in the oven? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know!
What Are Steak Pinwheels?
Steak pinwheels might look fiddly and complicated to prepare, but they are actually surprisingly easy!
And if you don’t have the time, patience, or inclination to make them yourself, you can buy them premade from many stores and butchery counters.
The other advantage to steak pinwheels is that they make the most of a slightly tougher cut of beef, and a little bit of steak goes a long way. This means you can serve up a gourmet dinner, even on a tight budget!
Steak pinwheels are made from flank steak, which is tenderized with a meat mallet. A layer of filling is then slathered over the steak, and it is rolled up, pretty much like a Swiss roll!
The roll of meat is tightly tied with multiple loops of cooking twine and then sliced into individual pinwheels.
There is a huge range of choices available for steak pinwheel fillings, so you can have fun playing around with different combinations.
Cream cheese, herbs, and spinach is always a popular choice, with other variations including salami, prosciutto ham, and different types of cheese.
How Should Steak Pinwheels Be Cooked?
There are quite a few variations on how steak pinwheels can be cooked. The reason for this is that flank steak can be quite tough. The aim is to get perfectly tender steak, that is also beautifully caramelized on the outside.
This is actually trickier than it sounds! It is possible to cook steak pinwheels on the stovetop, as long as you can ensure a consistent level of heat.
The best way to do this is by using a pan with good heat retention, such as a cast-iron pan (if you don’t have a cast-iron pan at home, we’d recommend this one!).
However, when cooked in this way your steak pinwheels might not be quite as tender as you would like.
For this reason, a popular way to cook them is to sear them on both sides in a cast iron griddle, and then continue cooking them in the oven.
This combination gives the best of both worlds—a tender and juicy piece of steak, with that all-important flavor-enhancing golden crust.
But is there a way to skip the stovetop altogether, and cook steak pinwheels in the oven? Yes, there is!
With some clever cooking techniques, you can get great results by cooking steak pinwheels in the oven, from start to finish.
Step-By-Step Guide To Cooking Steak Pinwheels In The Oven
This technique is a simple modification of the stovetop to oven method, and will produce perfectly cooked steak pinwheels!
For best results, use a cast iron griddle pan to get those distinctive caramelized lines. If you don’t have one, a baking tray will work well.
- Take the steak pinwheels out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking, to allow them to come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Rub the surface of your cast iron griddle or baking tray with a generous amount of vegetable oil.
- When the oven has preheated, pop your cast iron griddle or baking tray into the oven to heat through for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the tray from the oven and place the pinwheels on the tray—they should sizzle when they hit the surface!
- Quickly return the tray to the oven, and after 3 minutes flip the pinwheels over to sear the other side.
- Once both sides are golden brown, remove the tray from the oven and cover it with aluminum foil. This should be tented, creating a dome filled with steam.
- Place the tray back into the oven, until the pinwheel steaks are cooked to your desired level. This will take around 10-15 minutes for medium steak.
How Long To Cook Beef Pinwheels In Oven
There is no hard and fast rule for how long steak pinwheels should be cooked in the oven, as there are so many variables.
The thickness of the steak and the size of the pinwheels will have a big impact on the cooking time. A large pinwheel made with thicker steak will take much longer than a small, thin pinwheel.
It will also depend on how well cooked you like your steak. Medium-rare steak will take much less time than a steak that is well done.
A good guide is to allow 25 minutes from start to finish to cook steak pinwheels in the oven. For an average-sized pinwheel, this will be sufficient to achieve a medium steak with a caramelized exterior.
How To Tell When Steak Pinwheels Are Cooked
If you have one, a meat thermometer is the best way to tell if your steak pinwheels are cooked. When it comes to steak, it will also depend on how well done you want your meat.
There is a very big difference between a rare steak pinwheel and a well-done steak pinwheel!
Remember that meat continues to cook after you remove it from the oven, during which time the temperature will increase.
When you reach the temperature target for your desired “doneness” of steak, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest in a warm place for 5-10 minutes.
To cook steak pinwheels, aim for the following internal meat temperatures:
- Rare – 120°F
- Medium rare – 130°F
- Medium – 140°F
- Medium well – 145°F
- Well done – 155°F
But what if you don’t have a meat thermometer—is there any other way to tell when your steak pinwheels are cooked?
Have a look at the outside of the steak—is it golden and caramelized? The aim is to get a crisp, flavorsome crust, with meat that is tender and juicy in the middle.
The only real way to check if the steak is cooked is to cut into the meat and look at the color of the flesh and juices. For rarer steak, you will want to see a bit of pink left in the middle, and for well done it should be the same color throughout.
How To Prepare Steak Pinwheels In Advance For A Party
Many people panic about serving steak for a party, thinking it needs to be cooked right before the guests eat it.
However, steak is a lot more forgiving than many people realize, and there are ways to take the last-minute rush out of cooking steak pinwheels for a dinner party!
The first trick is to make the most of the resting period once the pinwheels are cooked. Steak should be left to rest for a minimum of 10 minutes before you eat it, and if kept in the right conditions it can be rested for even longer.
To keep the steak pinwheels in perfect condition, you will need to keep them covered. A tent of aluminum foil works well for this.
They will also need to be kept warm, but not so hot that they continue cooking and drying out. An oven or slow cooker on the “keep warm” setting is the perfect temperature for this.
Another great method that can take the hassle out of cooking steak pinwheels for a party is the reverse sear method.
Here, the steaks are cooked in advance in the oven for 20-40 minutes, depending on how well done you want them. They can then be left to cool and stored in the fridge until your guests arrive.
Then, all you need to do when the time comes to eat is quickly sear the steak pinwheels for 90 seconds on each side, and serve!
If you really want to amaze your guests, use a tabletop griddle or hibachi grill to cook the pinwheels right in front of them.
Now that we’ve covered how to make some delicious steak pinwheels, here are a few related questions on the subject!
How do you prevent steak pinwheels from burning?
Steak pinwheels are easy to burn, as they are thin and delicate pieces of meat.
If they are burnt on the outside then they are likely to be dry and unappetizing, which is a disappointment if you’re cooking a gourmet dinner for someone special!
To prevent steak pinwheels from burning, make sure the cooking surface is liberally brushed with oil. This will help the meat to caramelize rather than turn black and burnt.
Remember to flip the steak pinwheels after a few minutes on the hot skillet, and keep them covered once both sides are browned.
You need to keep all those precious juices inside the meat, as this is what adds flavor and keeps them tender.
Can you cook steak pinwheels on the grill?
Steak pinwheels are tricky to cook on the grill, as this tougher cut of meat may not turn out as tender as you would like.
The trick is to make the most of the resting period, as this can make all the difference between melt-in-the-mouth steak and a tough, inedible lump of meat!
Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to between 500-600°F. Cook the pinwheels on the grill for 6 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown.
Remove them onto a warmed plate, and loosely cover to prevent heat and steam from escaping. Rest them for at least 10 minutes, then serve.
If you’re interested in making your own steak pinwheels from scratch, here’s a great video featuring some delicious recipes from the folks over at Babish Culinary Universe!