Steak Diane

Updated, from the recipe archive. First posted 2006. Enjoy! ~Elise

Steak Diane is tradtionally made with a thinly pounded steak, and a cognac, butter, and shallot sauce that is flambéed right before serving to great dramatic effect. Doing some research into Steak Diane, I found that the “Diane” part refers to Diana, the Greco-Roman goddess of the hunt, and “a la Diane” sauces were typically served with venison and game meat in centuries past. It was probably New York hotels that popularized the flambéed steak version.

This Steak Diane recipe is based off of one I got years ago from my friend Heidi, who found a version in her local paper, the Carlisle Mosquito (great name for a newspaper, isn’t it?). The recipe calls for pan-frying the steak, using the pan juices as a base for the “Diane” sauce—a sauce made with mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and cream—and then serving the steak with the sauce poured over it. No flames are involved. Heidi’s husband Vauhgn is a master at the grill, so they often grill the steak instead of pan-frying it, and just make the sauce separately. The sauce can be used over chicken or pork as well, and if you have leftovers, you can even stir it in over some pasta.

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Steak Diane Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup beef broth*
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 4 (6-ounce) center cut beef tenderloin steaks or another cut of your choice
  • Salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup finely minced shallots
  • 4 Tbsp cognac or brandy
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp chives, finely chopped

*If cooking gluten-free, use gluten-free broth

Method

1 Whisk together broth, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and tomato paste; set aside.

2 Sprinkle salt on both sides of the steak and set aside at room temperature for 15-30 minutes.

3 Put butter in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Let this heat for 1-2 minutes. Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel. Turn the heat to high and sear the meat for 1-4 minutes, depending on how thick the steak is. (You may need to cook the meat in batches.) Turn and sear on the other side. Use the finger test to check the doneness of the meat. When the steaks are done, move to a cutting board and tent with foil.

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4 While the meat is resting, sauté the shallots 2 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring once or twice. Add the cognac to deglaze the pan. Increase the heat and cook until the cognac is almost evaporated. Stir in the broth mixture and bring to a boil. Cook until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook for two more minutes.

5 If you want, thinly slice the steak to serve. Otherwise serve individual steaks. Drizzle warm Diane sauce over the steak and garnish with freshly ground black pepper and chives.

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Links:

Chicken Diane - from Angie's Recipes
Venison steak Diane from Hank Shaw's Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

33 Comments

  1. Scott

    I gave this a try tonight! Delightful. So very simple and totally hit the spot. THANKS! I can’t wait to try this again with some grilled chicken, per your recommendation.

    http://sseichinger.blogspot.com/2007/06/diana-goddess-of-hunt.html

  2. janine

    Steak Diane is a superb dish that calls for a wonderful, hot,crusty baguette. There is no better steak dish. It is relatively unseen in restaurants.
    Expect a real country setting and possibly skiing when you open a menu to find this delightful delicacy. Paired with a half glass of the finest red wine, perhaps a bordeaux, you will find yourself floating in culinary heaven.
    If you find room for desert, a cherry clafoutis would top off the experience. Add a fine hot chocolate or cafe au lait and pull up a nice, warm bed with white flannel sheets! Goodnite.

  3. Jim

    Excellent recipe and a very simple way to make steak, though, I must admit that I have JUST managed to make it right (despite 3 or 4 tries). The conundrum: not using heavy cream. Previously, I couldn’t manage to make it without the sauce separating and the condensed milk (a decent substitute for cream) curdling. For those attempting this, here are some tips that I’ve discovered. First, mix in a little bit of corn starch with the condensed milk (or half-and-half). Second, make sure you liberally temper it. Lastly, turn the heat off after the 2 minute simmer, and pour the milk in SLOWLY, stirring constantly. As soon as it is integrated, take it off the burner. It’s a bit more work, but it worked well for me.

  4. firman

    without the cognac or brandy, how is the taste? any substitute or any option for it ?

    Steak Diane is traditionally made with alcohol because it gets lit on fire, which is the alcohol burning off. I cannot recommend a substitute. If you want to make it without it, go ahead, and then let us know how you like it. ~Elise

  5. Rocky Mountain Woman

    I’ve got some venison steaks in my freezer that have been waiting for something just like this…

  6. mdean

    The brandy-like substances I have on hand are Navar (vanilla brandy) and Grand Marnier (orange brandy). Either of these would be pretty gross, wouldn’t they? I’m thinking they would cross the line from adventurous to self-destructive. Please let me know if you think otherwise–I’m not real familiar with (normal) brandy.
    Regardless I’m going to do this but I may need to make a trip to the liquor store first. The sauce sounds great and pan frying is usually how I cook steaks anyway.

    Yeah, I’m thinking either of those is probably not a good idea. ~Elise

  7. Sarah

    I’m vegetarian, and I may try to make Portobello Diane. It sounds so good!

    Great idea! ~Elise

  8. Greg Walker

    Steak Diane is one of the very best! I remember first having it at Aldo’s in Sacramento – they specialized in tableside flambe. The lights were turned down low and the flames in the pan were a seductive blue. I make it at home occasionally, complete with the fiery show! It never fails to be delicious and to impress.

  9. Tony

    Been doing the Gordon Ramsay recipe for Steak Diane for a long time… which I love. (videos are all over YouTube) I love the brandy/cognac flambe part too. I’ll have to give your version a try sometime.

  10. Leslie

    Pear, peach, or apricot juices are suitable substitutes for cognac

  11. Peter

    I too prepared this tonight. Total comfort food. Delicious and easy. Followed exactly except for dollop of butter in sauce reduction. Thanks for this classic!

  12. Lady Amalthea

    This sounds wonderful! Steak would be divine, but I have some frozen chicken breasts that I think would be perfectly suited to this as well…

  13. Ty

    Very tasty! Thanks

  14. Mary

    This looks absolutely fantastic, and really not that complicated. It makes my mouth water just looking at it and I’ve just had dinner! I would really love to put you on my blog roll. I just want to make sure that’s ok. Thanks,
    Mary

    Yes, that’s fine. Thanks! ~Elise

  15. razzle

    In step 4, it says stir until the cognac is almost evaporated. How do I know when it is almost evaporated? I’ve never tried this before but, it sounds interesting.

    When there is hardly any liquid left in the pan, you are ready for the next step. ~Elise

  16. Scarlett

    I didn’t have tomato paste or Worcestershire sauce on hand so I substituted with ketchup and soy sauce. It turned out so delicious! I’m definitely saving this recipe – one of the best steak sauces I’ve found.

  17. Greg Walker

    After reading this yesterday, last night I dreampt of Steak Diane! To butcher the old Maltese proverb, “He who goes to bed hungry dreams of steaks!”

  18. Beverly

    For those who find buying a whole container of heavy cream a waste you can make creme fraiche by just putting the cream in a jar and adding a couple of tablespoons of yogurt or buttermilk and leave it on the counter for a couple of days.

    • Helen

      you can freeze it in ice trays, with plastic wrap over the top, till you need it,last about 2-3 months

  19. lynn

    the steak house in reno. it used to be at the peppermill. now at the western village in sparks, nevada. i had it at the peppermill and since they are both owned by the same people.. i am thinking. hmmm.. this could be as good as the peppermill. flamed at the table and the flavor an ambiance.. unbelievable.. can’t wait to try this recipe.. thank you so much.,

  20. timnrobin

    My wife and I made this amazing dish last night with great apprehention as that we both have neoither had this before. But after the simple recipie that you have here we have wondered why we havent tried this before. Great recipie and thank you for another wonderful dish that we have added to our dinner items that we constantly rotate through. this will be one that we definitly have again and again and again.

  21. Karen

    I am always trying to incorporate veggies into dishes with red meat (my thinking being that I’ll eat less red meat that way). Might try adding some mushrooms into the sauce. I’ll let you know how it turns out…

  22. Nancy Long

    Jim – I believe you mean ‘evaporated’ not ‘condensed’ milk. Condensed is heavily sweetened.

    Will definitely try this version very soon.

  23. George

    Very good looking. I was just reading about a Steak Diane recipe in my America’s Test Kitchen cookbook and I think I will try it soon. I’ve done something similar with a brandy cream sauce when making Steak au Poivre, but I think the shallots, cream, and tomato paste would go together very well.

  24. Chris

    I made this for dinner on Saturday. Excellent, and simple!

  25. Liz

    I tried this last night!

    AMAZING thank you!

  26. Patti

    Excellent recipe and very easy. Made lyonnaise potatoes to go with this and it all came out incredible! Definitely a keeper recipe. I did not try it, but like the idea of using the evaporated milk to perhaps lower the calorie count. I will try that next time.

  27. Phyllis Kirigin

    Your version of Steak Diane sounds delicious and I’m going to try it. I have always made it with thinly sliced boneless shell steak. Then I pound it even thinner and pan fry it. Instead of the cream, it make the sauce with a few dollops of chilled Campbell’s beef consomme (with gelatin). I know–salty as all get out, so I don’t use any salt on the steak. I use the rest of your ingredients and flambe it with cognac. That very thin steak which, of course, cooks through, also develops a crusty edge and is quite good.

  28. Bob

    When my wife & I were married in 1982, we had dinner and she ordered Steak Diane. She had not had it again until I fixed it for her on our 32nd anniversary this year. It turned out superb and it was a joy to watch her enjoy it. Thank you for posting this.

  29. Paddy

    I made this for my wife last evening. The first time either had tried this dish. She made me write it down and put it some place safe, it was that good. I used brandy and 8 oz of fresh sliced mushrooms with our rib eye steaks. The pre-seasoning was done with Ted’s Montana Grill Seasoning Spice (found recipe on internet). We use it on all red meat dishes. I let that sit on the meat a minimum of 6 hours.

  30. Kate

    I made this last night for the first time ever. All I did different was I added sautéed gourmet mushrooms, and horseradish dijon (because it’s what I had) All I can say is that it was absolutely amazing!!! Made it with NY strips, however next time I plan on using filets. Any good cut of beef would work though. Made some creamy, cheesy spinach with it to go on top of.. unbelievable. Will make this again and again. Thank You Thank You Thank You!!!!!

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