5 Steps on How to Tenderize Eye of Round Steak for Tenderness

Cooking eye of round steak can be tough due to its location on the cow. Tenderize it with a meat mallet, marinade, or braising for a flavorful, tender result.

How To Cook an Eye Of Round Steak To Make It Tender

Steak is a very delicious and popular high-protein food, but certain cuts, like Eye of Round, tend to be tough if they aren’t cooked in the right way. Here’s how to cook an eye of round steak to make it more tender, along with background information on prepping & different cooking methods.

Eye of Round is a flavorful cut of meat that is affordable (unlike filet mignon, New York Strip, or even ribeye or T-bone), but requires a bit of work to get it right (like sirloin or cube). Here is an overview of how to cook an eye of the round steak to make it tender so you can feel like you’re eating a tender cut like filet mignon for a lot cheaper.

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Why is the eye of the round steak so tough?

isolated beef, eye of round

The eye of the round steak is so tough because of the particular area of the cow where this steak is derived. The eye of the round steak comes from the rear leg of the cow, which is where immense muscle and connective tissues are (similar to how brisket is from the front legs) and little marbling/fat is located. This means that, while the steak will be flavorful, it will be pretty tough, especially in comparison to filet mignon and other extremely tender cuts of steak.

How to prepare your eye of round steak

Before cooking your steak, you will want to prepare it properly so you can end up with a steak that is as tender as possible. You should use a meat mallet to pound your steak before cooking it, as it will help to break up some of the fibers, which will make your cut of meat significantly more tender. If you don’t have a meat mallet, you can use a rolling pin or similar object. Some people have even used a knife or fork to poke the steak throughout to break up the fibers. You will be surprised at how effective any of these methods are at tenderizing your eye of round steak.

Why is marinating your eye of round steak a good idea?

Another way that you can tenderize your steak is to marinate it, because, believe it or not, marinating the steak helps to tenderize. How? Anything with an acidic base can tenderize the tough fibers in the steak if allowed to marinate for at least 6-8 hours. This is why pre-prepping your eye for round steak is important, as most people marinate the steak overnight after using a mallet on it, and when they cook it the next day, the meat melts in their mouth.

How do you make a marinade?

It’s easy to make a great marinade for your steak by combining oil, vinegar, lime, or lemon juice and your favorite spices. Not only will your steak come out super tender, but it will also give your meat an amazing flavor. Simply place all your marinade ingredients in a large zip lock or container with a lid, insert the steak let it soak in the flavors, and tenderize for at least 8 hours and then you can cook it.

Consider Tenderizing Seasonings

McCormick Unseasoned Meat Tenderizer, 3.37 oz

If you check the spice section of your local grocery store, you will probably find one or more types of seasonings called “Meat Tenderizer.” Meat tenderizers, containing enzymes like papain or bromelain, aid in breaking down tough muscle fibers and collagen, enhancing the effectiveness of other tenderizing methods when combined. While they alone may not tenderize the eye of round steak sufficiently, when used alongside techniques like pounding, marinating, or brining, they contribute to a more flavorful and tender result. So, while not a standalone solution, incorporating meat tenderizer with other methods ensures a deliciously tender outcome.

Choose Your Cooking Method

Looking to learn how to cook eye of round steak? When it comes to tenderizing the eye of round steak, selecting the right cooking method is crucial. Each method offers its advantages for achieving optimal tenderness and flavor.


Baking the steak at a low temperature (275-300°F) for a prolonged period (2-3 hours) with ample water and seasonings allows the meat to cook slowly and gently. This slow cooking process helps to break down tough connective tissues and collagen, resulting in a more tender steak. The added moisture from the water helps keep the meat juicy and flavorful.

Crock Pot or Pressure Cooker

Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker

Using a crock pot (slow cooker) or pressure cooker allows for even more efficient tenderization in a shorter cooking time. These cooking methods utilize steam and pressure to break down the tough muscle fibers quickly, resulting in a tender and succulent steak. Additionally, the enclosed environment of these appliances helps to retain moisture, ensuring that the meat remains juicy throughout the cooking process.


Braising your eye of round steak is another great way to create tender steak. What exactly is braising?

Braising is similar to slow cooking, as it entails slowly cooking your meat (or vegetables) either on the stovetop or in the oven, at a slow temperature, with water and steam that help the meat or vegetables to become tender. Here’s how:

  • To braise your steak, you will first sear your meat in a Dutch oven or skillet with some oil for a few minutes until the meat is golden brown.
  • Next, you will add onions, garlic, seasoning, and beef broth and place them all in a Dutch oven or pot. Be sure to use a wooden spoon or plastic spatula to scrape all the leftover brown pieces from searing your meat and add it to the Dutch oven.
  • Slowly boil on the stovetop or place in the oven at a temperature of around 300 degrees F.

This process should take about two hours, and your eye for round steak will be transformed from small, tough cuts into a tender cut of meat that your friends and family won’t believe was initially tough.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I request the meat market to tenderize my steak?

Some meat markets with onsite butchers may tenderize meat upon request, although results may vary. While it may not render the steak as tender as desired, it can facilitate the tenderizing process at home.

Can I simply bake eye of round steak to make it tender?

Baking eye of round steak in the oven with ample water and seasonings at 275-300°F for 2-3 hours can yield tender results. Alternativ

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