Order steak in France: rare, medium, rare and well done (2023)

Do you know the different degrees of doneness of beef? While terms like "medium well" and "well done" are commonly used in English-speaking countries, they don't always translate well into French. To help you navigate this culinary terrain, here's a guide to the different degrees of doneness of beef (steak and hamburger) in French, and a helpful chart that compares temperature differences between meats around the world. -speaking world.

How to order a steak your way (and a burger, too) in France

Order steak in France: rare, medium, rare and well done (1)

In English there is a standard scale of 6 different temperatures or degrees of doneness for cooking steaks, burgers and sometimes other meats used by chefs and carnivores.

There's also a lesser-known sixth level called Blue, or rare blue in English, but it's not a popular choice in the English-speaking world.

6 levels of steak cooking in English
1rarely blue
3Poorly cooked
5half good
6Well done

Order steak in France: rare, medium, rare and well done (2)

What is doneness and how is it defined?

The terms used for doneness or doneness of meat indicate the degree of doneness of the meat, which corresponds directly to the meat's internal temperature, color, flavor, and texture. The longer you cook a piece of meat, the hotter its core temperature becomes.

For example, a well-done steak is well done with no pink or red and has an internal temperature of at least 158F or 70C. It will be chewy and firm because all of the fat and liquid has been cooked.

But no matter how simplified that scale has gotten, cooking meat to the desired doneness isn't an exact science.

In a busy kitchen, chefs don't stand in front of their stoves with a meat thermometer or color chart to ensure your steak is cooked to the exact temperature that's somewhere on the doneness scale. This is done primarily through time, color, and sometimes touch.

There are also differences in the definition of the degree of doneness of a piece of meat, which can vary depending on the person, region and country.

Rare in one country, for example, may be considered medium rare in another country.

There's also a bit of subjectivity when it comes to the doneness of steaks. A home cook might call a steak pink, while your neighbor looks at the same piece of steak pink and calls it medium.

However, there is enough overlap and the differences are generally minimal. Keep this in mind when reading doneness levels and temperatures.

There are 4 main cooking levels for meat and French steak temperatures (ready levels)

Order steak in France: rare, medium, rare and well done (3)

– In France, eating steaks or other meat where you can ask how much or how little has been cooked is similar to English, but there are differences.

– First of all, English terms like medium, rare, medium and medium well do not fit well into the vocabulary of a traditional French restaurant because the French use a very different vocabulary to describe the different degrees of doneness of steaks.

- Instead of 6 steak doneness levels, there are 4 French steak doneness levels, favored by French chefs and meat lovers.

- While blue rare steak is not common or popular in most English-speaking countries, it is in France.

- Finally, although a well-done steak is generally acceptable in English-speaking countries, it is rare in France and some find it anathema to cook a good steak so well.

The 4 stages of steak cooking in France and their English equivalents are:

meat point
level in french
literal meaning
in French
equivalent to
to cook the steak
Azul /
Halb roh
blue rare steak45° to 49°C
113° to 120°F
2bleedingbloodyCru50° to 55°C
122° to 131°F
3Poorly cookedto the point / rightPoorly cooked55° to 60°C
131° to 140°C
-N/D--N/D-Average60° to 66°C
140° to 150°F
-N/D--N/D-half good
4Well donewell overWell done+70 °C

Have you noticed that French doesn't have a term for "medium" or "medium well" steak?

**Conditions in French-speaking Quebec

(Video) Gordon Ramsay: how to cook the perfect steak.

FYI, in French-speaking Quebec, cooking terms for beef are similar but not exactly the same as in France.

You can hear these cooking terms in Quebec restaurants.

Blau- very rare, also known as blue rare
bleeding- Cru
medium rare / medium rare- Poorly cooked
Average- Average
Well done- Well done

Below is a detailed explanation of each French cuisine term for France.

Read on to the end for other French culinary-level terms you might find on a French restaurant menu in France, where core temperature is often asked for. (duck, ahi tuna, etc.)

"Bleu" (literally "blue")


core temperature:45° to 49°C (113° to 120°F)

Order steak in France: rare, medium, rare and well done (4)

Ask for your steak "bleu" (blue in French) to be cooked in France and you'll get Steak Rare, a cut above steak sashimi.

While there is a term in English for this degree of doneness, it's called "rare steak," but it's not as common in the US or UK as it is in France.

Another way of describing rare blue steak is "à peine saisi" /Ah-pen-sayzi/, which roughly translates to "rare". You can also use this term if you want your yellowfin tuna undercooked, but you would never order your yellowfin tuna cooked "bleu".

Steak Bleu cooking time and core temperature:

Times may vary depending on the degree of doneness and thickness of the steak, but generally a medium-rare blue steak will only cook 10 to 30 seconds per side in a very hot pan over high heat, as long as the inside remains cold and essentially raw with a core temperature NOT higher than 50°C, around 113F.

Why do people like rare blue steak?

Because ordering a Steak Blue Rare doesn't stand a chance of cooking long enough to melt a steak's fatty marble, cuts of meat used for this temperature are typically lean cuts of meat, not fatty.

Lean cuts of meat are low in fat and become tough and dry the longer they are cooked. The longer you cook the meat, the more moisture it draws out. The muscle fibers also contract, making the meat firmer as it cooks.

In other words, people like to order blue steak, which should be low-fat because it's tender and retains more moisture and flavor.

Is It Safe to Eat Extra Rare Blue Steak?

Some countries advise against eating undercooked or raw meat as it can harbor pathogens. But most pathogens or parasites do not penetrate the dense flesh. So once the outside is fully cooked, a rare steak should be perfectly safe to eat.

Use your best judgement.

Another aspect of eating pathogen-free, raw, or raw meat is eating primarily grass-fed beef. Cows evolved to digest nutrients from grass, but the same is not true of grain-fed cows. A primarily grass-fed cow that has spent its life grazing has a healthier immune system and poses less of a threat to people who enjoy eating undercooked or raw meat.

(Video) Every Term to COOK A STEAK (All Steaks Doneness & Time frames)

French consumers consider meat containing hormones to be unhealthy and potentially dangerous, which is one of the reasons why the administration of hormones to meat-producing animals is banned in France and the European Union. France does not import growth hormone or antibiotic-fed beef from the United States.

Why is an extra rare steak called bleu (blue)?

Some French online sources have said that a very rare steak is called blue because the meat has a slightly blue tint.

However, according to Larousse Gastonomique, an encyclopedia primarily about French gastronomy, "cooking au bleu" was originally a method of cooking freshwater fish, especially trout.

This almost forgotten way of preparing trout à bleu owes its name to the scales that turn blue when they come into contact with vinegar, one of the ingredients in the recipe. In a way, this culinary term might have been associated with a rare blue steak.

Are the two terms related? I have no idea.

Saignant (literally means bloody)


core temperature:50° to 55°C (122° to 131°F)

Order steak in France: rare, medium, rare and well done (5)

A rare steak in French is the "saignant" steak, which literally means steak with blood.

A Saignant steak takes a little longer to cook than a Blue Rare steak, but it's still relatively rare. 75% of the interior is red with a thin charred crust and the flesh is still tender and juicy.

It is very common to order lean steaks and rare burgers (Sagnant).

Magret de canard, which is also low in fat, is usually ordered saignant (rarely in French). Magret de canard is the duck breast of a moulard duck farmed for liver (foie gras).

Brilliant cooking time:

Depending on the thickness of the meat, each side should be seared in a sizzling pan over high heat for about 60 seconds to 1 minute 30 seconds. The core temperature should reach around 50 to 55 °C (122 ° to 131 °F).

Point Á (literally at the point or just to the right)


core temperature:55° to 60°C (131° to 140°C)

Order steak in France: rare, medium, rare and well done (6)

If you want to order Steak Rare, you need to order Steak Rare.

"boiled downdot" means "perfectly cooked" as in perfect and ranges from medium-low to just below medium. The interior is not fully cooked and has a slightly pink or rosy interior.

(Video) I Ordered Well-Done Steaks From A Nice Steakhouse.

At cooking time and core temperature:

The steak is usually grilled over high heat; then the temperature is lowered and cooked for about 1 minute and 30 seconds on each side. The core temperature is no more than 60 °C, around 140 °F, which is on the higher end of Medium Rare.

There is no medium or medium steak in French.

In some English-speaking countries, the next doneness level would be medium, followed by medium, but that's not the case in France; The terms medium and medium rare in French do not exist. The next level of cooking jumps from rare to well done.

  • lower = 130°-140°F
  • medium = 140°-150°F

Bien Cuit (literally well cooked)

/bee-yen Kwee/

core temperature:+70 °C (+158 °F)

Order steak in France: rare, medium, rare and well done (7)

If you want to ask for a well-done steak in French, you have to say "bien cuit", literally well-done.

Bien cuit or well done is probably the least popular way for meat lovers to order their meat in France. The interior is fully baked with no visible discoloration.

You'll hear the French complain time and time again that well-done meat is too tough, too dry and lacking in flavor.

Cooks and meat lovers sometimes liken this doneness to the bottom of a shoe.

  • Cook sole (cooked like a shoe sole)
  • shoe sole shape

These terms idiomatically mean to cook meat until it becomes like shoe leather.

Bien cuit cooking time and internal temperature:

Depending on the thickness of the meat, each side is cooked for a few minutes until cooked through. The core temperature is 70 °C or more.

Nunca pidas tu bistec "well done"

Although "bien fait" means "well done" in French, it is not a term used to describe cuisine. Another minor caveat about "bien fait" in French is that it's a term most often used sarcastically to mean "genius well done." You can also use "bien fait" to describe someone who is well built, like a handsome guy who is well built, you can say "il est bien fait".

Other culinary terms

In addition to bleu, saignant, à point and bien cuit, there are other levels of French cuisine for different types of meat and fish. Here are some you might find on a French menu in France.



Order steak in France: rare, medium, rare and well done (8)

Rosé is a term used for larger cuts of meat like roasts, lamb, and white meats like pork, beef, and poultry.

(Video) Ordering steak "well done"

In some parts of France, people use the term rosé for medium-sized steaks, depending on who you're talking to.

Mi-Cuit (usually for fish)


Order steak in France: rare, medium, rare and well done (9)

When you see the term mi-cuit, meaning half-cooked or half-cooked, this is a term commonly used to describe the degree of doneness of certain types of fish, such as seared ahi tuna, also known as tuna -Tataki.

Seared tuna ranges somewhere on the doneness scale from rare to medium, depending on the chef.

Mi-Cuit can also be used to describe the doneness ofFoie gras, foie gras, foie gras.

But we're still not done.

Mi-Cuit is also a baking term for cakes that are baked with a soft, sticky center. For example, a melted chocolate cake is called a mi-cuit au chocolat.

frying pan


Order steak in France: rare, medium, rare and well done (10)

The French word for bread, like pan, is poêle /pwell/.

When you see poêlé(e) on a French menu, it means something has been fried. Technically, anything cooked in a pan is poêlé, and you'll typically see this word as part of the instructions for a recipe that calls for pan frying.

Sometimes dish names include the word poêlé (and) fried to describe the dish. For example, a popular dish in France, especially during the Christmas season, is a popular dishFoie gras, foie gras, foie grasPoêlé, that's basically a thick pieceFoie gras, foie gras, foie grasseasoned with salt and pepper.

Example of a dialog for ordering a steak in France.

OF: Hello, I'll have steak and fries, please. (Hi, I'll order steak and fries, please.)


Possible ways the waiter will ask you how you want your steak or burger cooked. They all contain the word 'cuisson', which means 'to cook' or 'bake' in English. It is also used to refer to the degree of cooking of food, e.g. B. Rarely.

  • How would you like your steak cooked? (Comment voulez vous votre steak?)
  • What cooking level? (How cooked?)
  • And the cooking level? (how cooked?)

YOU: Means weird please

Final thoughts on ordering steaks in France

Ordering a steak à point or a fabulous burger in France doesn't have to be complicated.

Remember there are four basic ways to order your steak or burger in France four ways.

(Video) Is that steak RAW??

Blue, rare, medium and well made.

For ahi tuna, mi-cuit means grilled.

Tastes good!


1. HOW TO ORDER MEAT in French
2. Why Rare Steak is Safe — but NOT Rare Chicken
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3. Blue rare!
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4. Ordering a well-done steak in France
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5. Cooking a Perfect Medium Rare Steak in 15 Minutes! | MasterChef Canada | MasterChef World
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6. Gordon Ramsay's Top 10 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Steak
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