Is Steak Tartare Bad for Your Health? Discover the Surprising Truth

Steak tartare – a dish that is loved by many, while detested by others. Perhaps one of the most controversial dishes in the culinary world, steak tartare is essentially uncooked beef, finely chopped and mixed with various spices and condiments. The thought of eating raw meat might sound unappealing to some, but for others, it’s considered a delicacy. But the question remains – is steak tartare bad?

There’s no denying that steak tartare has a unique texture and flavor profile, which might not be to everyone’s liking. However, the dish has been around for centuries and has been a staple in many cuisines. Some claim that eating uncooked beef can be dangerous due to the risk of foodborne illnesses, while others argue that when prepared correctly, the dish is perfectly safe. But is it really worth taking the risk?

If you’re a foodie or an adventurous eater, you might be tempted to give steak tartare a try. After all, why not step out of your comfort zone and try something new? But before you take that bite, it’s important to consider the potential risks and weigh them against the reward of experiencing a unique culinary experience. So, is steak tartare bad? The answer is up for debate, but it’s ultimately up to the individual to decide if it’s worth the risk.

Raw Meat Safety Considerations

When it comes to consuming raw meat, such as in steak tartare, it is important to be aware of potential safety hazards. Here are some key considerations:

  • Microorganisms: Raw meat can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can make people sick. This includes E. coli, Salmonella, and Campylobacter. These microorganisms can be present in the muscle tissue of the animal or on the surface of the meat
  • Handling: Raw meat should be handled carefully and hygienically to minimize the risk of contamination. This includes keeping the meat at a safe temperature, separate from other foods, and avoiding cross-contamination with kitchen utensils or surfaces
  • Quality: The quality of the raw meat used for steak tartare is crucial. It should come from a trusted source, be freshly butchered, and stored properly. If in doubt, it is safer to use cooked meat instead

It is important to note that while some people may be more at risk of foodborne illnesses from consuming raw meat, such as pregnant women or those with weakened immune systems, it is never completely safe to consume raw meat. The risk of food poisoning can never be completely eliminated, but practicing safe handling techniques can help to minimize it.

Traditional steak tartare ingredients

Steak tartare is a dish made of raw beef minced and served with onions, capers, spices, and raw egg yolk. The dish has been a staple in French cuisine for centuries and has since become a popular delicacy around the world.

  • Beef: The meat used in steak tartare is usually a prime cut of beef, such as filet mignon or sirloin. It is crucial that the beef is fresh, high-quality, and free of any contaminants that could cause illness.
  • Onion: A small amount of finely diced onion is used to add a depth of flavor and texture to the tartare. The type of onion used can vary, but shallots are a common choice.
  • Capers: Capers are a pungent and salty addition to the dish that adds a bright, tangy flavor to the beef. They are often finely chopped and added to the tartare mixture.

Is steak tartare bad?

The raw nature of steak tartare can make it a controversial dish, as there is always a risk of foodborne illness when consuming raw meat. However, when using high-quality, fresh beef and following proper food handling techniques, the risk can be greatly minimized.

It is also essential to source your ingredients from a reputable source and consume the dish from a trusted establishment. If in doubt, it is always safer to err on the side of caution and choose a cooked dish instead.

Proper steps for preparing steak tartare

To reduce the risk of foodborne illness, it is vital to follow proper food handling techniques when preparing steak tartare. Some basic steps include:

  • Ensuring the beef is fresh and free of any contaminants before use
  • Washing your hands and all utensils thoroughly before handling the beef
  • Cutting the meat with a clean, sharp knife on a sanitized cutting board
  • Storing the beef at a safe temperature before and after preparation


Steak tartare is a beloved dish in many French restaurants around the world, but its raw nature can make it a potentially risky meal. By sourcing high-quality ingredients and following proper food handling techniques, you can make the dish safely. Remember always to use caution, choose a reputable establishment, and prioritize your health and safety above all else.

Ingredients Preparation
1 pound beef tenderloin, finely chopped Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined
2 tablespoons finely diced onion Form the beef mixture into a patty shape and top with raw egg yolk
1 tablespoon capers, finely chopped Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.

Common variations of steak tartare

Steak tartare is a classic French dish made from finely chopped raw beef. It is usually seasoned with herbs, spices, and other ingredients, then served with bread or crackers. However, there are many variations of this dish that reflect regional and cultural differences:

  • Belgian steak tartare: This variation is typically made with capers, Worcestershire sauce, egg yolks, and onions. It is served with fries instead of bread.
  • American steak tartare: In the United States, it is common to find steak tartare made with mustard, mayonnaise, and pickles. It is usually served with toast points.
  • Asian steak tartare: In Asia, steak tartare is sometimes seasoned with soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. It may be served with rice crackers or wasabi.

Additionally, there are some variations of steak tartare that use different types of meat or non-meat ingredients:

  • Tuna tartare: This variation substitutes raw tuna for beef and is often seasoned with citrus, avocado, and sesame oil. It is typically served with wonton crisps or a salad.
  • Vegan tartare: This vegetarian version of steak tartare can be made with beets, carrots, or mushrooms. The ingredients are typically minced and seasoned with herbs, spices, and vinegar. It is served with crackers or toast.

Ingredients commonly used for seasoning

Aside from the use of regional and cultural variations, steak tartare is often seasoned with the following ingredients:

Ingredient Flavor profile
Capers Briny, tangy
Onions Sharp, sweet
Worcestershire sauce Savory, umami
Dijon mustard Pungent, spicy
Tabasco sauce Spicy, vinegary
Garlic Pungent, earthy

While these ingredients are common, they are not required in every recipe. Some chefs prefer to keep the seasoning simple to allow the natural flavor of the beef to shine through.

Cultural Significance of Steak Tartare

Steak tartare is a dish that has evolved throughout history, from a simple mix of raw meat and spices to a delicacy enjoyed in high-end restaurants around the world. It has cultural significance both in traditional cuisine and in modern gastronomy.

  • In traditional cuisine, steak tartare is often associated with French cuisine and is a staple in brasseries throughout France. Its popularity was born in the early 19th century and has since spread to other European countries. The dish is often served with a side of fries and is seen as a casual, yet refined, meal.
  • Steak tartare has also become a signature dish in modern gastronomy, appearing on menus of Michelin-starred restaurants around the world. Chefs often put their own twist on the classic dish, incorporating unique flavors and ingredients to create a new experience for diners.
  • The dish has also been featured in popular culture, such as in Ernest Hemingway’s novel “A Moveable Feast” and in the movie “Julie & Julia.” It has become a symbol of sophistication and culinary adventure.

Steak tartare has a rich history and cultural significance, making it more than just a dish. Its evolution through time and appearances in pop culture have cemented its place as a beloved and iconic food.

Country/Region Preparation
France Finely chopped raw beef mixed with egg, mustard, capers, and shallots.
Belgium & Netherlands Served with onions, capers, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco sauce. Often served with a raw egg yolk on top.
Germany Raw beef mixed with onions, capers, and raw egg yolk. Served with raw onions, pickles and dark German bread.
Russia Minced raw beef mixed with onions, salt, pepper, and sour cream. Served with bread, boiled potatoes, and raw onions.

The dish is prepared differently based on the country or region in which it is served. Each version showcases the unique flavors and ingredients of the area, making steak tartare a versatile and dynamic dish.

Nutritional value of steak tartare

Steak tartare is a unique dish that is made of raw beef. The dish is served with raw egg yolks, capers, onions, and seasonings. Contrary to popular belief, steak tartare is a rich source of nutrients that provide a host of health benefits. Here are some of the nutritional values of steak tartare:

  • Protein: The beef used to make steak tartare is a rich source of protein. Protein is an essential nutrient that helps in building and repairing tissues, muscles, and organs. A 100-gram serving of steak tartare can provide up to 27 grams of protein.
  • Vitamin B12: Steak tartare is a good source of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. It also plays a crucial role in the production of red blood cells. A 100-gram serving of steak tartare can provide up to 111% of the daily recommended value of vitamin B12.
  • Iron: Steak tartare is an excellent source of iron. Iron is essential for the formation of red blood cells and provides oxygen to the body. A 100-gram serving of steak tartare can provide up to 12% of the daily recommended value of iron.

Moreover, steak tartare is low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fats. The dish is also rich in various minerals, such as zinc, phosphorus, and selenium, which are essential for healthy living.

Important Note: It is important to note that steak tartare may not be suitable for everyone. People with weakened immune systems or certain medical conditions should avoid consuming raw meat. Additionally, the quality and safety of the meat used to make steak tartare is essential. It is recommended to use high-quality beef from a reputable source that follows proper safety and hygiene guidelines.

Raw Beef (100g) Amount
Calories 146
Protein 27g
Fat 3.5g
Iron 12%
Vitamin B12 111%
Zinc 33%
Phosphorus 16%

In conclusion, steak tartare is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and minerals that offer various health benefits. However, it is essential to ensure that the meat is of high quality, and proper safety and hygiene measures are followed. If you’re looking for a way to incorporate raw beef into your diet, steak tartare is a delicious and nutritious option worth considering.

Preparing Steak Tartare at Home

Steak tartare is a French dish that is made with raw beef and is typically served as an appetizer. While it may sound daunting to prepare raw beef at home, it is actually quite simple. Here are some tips to ensure that you prepare delicious steak tartare at home:

  • Choose the right cut of beef: When it comes to steak tartare, it is essential to choose the freshest cut of beef possible. You can opt for tenderloin, sirloin, or ribeye, but make sure that the meat is of the highest quality and comes from a reputable source.
  • Prep the beef: Before you begin preparing the beef, it is essential to ensure that it is completely chilled. This will make it easier to handle and cut. Use a sharp knife to dice the meat into small, uniform pieces.
  • Add seasonings: The flavor of steak tartare depends heavily on the seasonings you use. Some classic ingredients include capers, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, and spices like salt, pepper, and paprika. You can customize the seasoning according to your taste preferences and add as much or as little as you like.
  • Texture: The texture of steak tartare is equally important. Some people prefer their steak tartare very finely minced, while others like larger chunks of meat. When you prepare the dish at home, you can decide how textured you want it to be, and adjust it accordingly.
  • Egg yolk: A traditional accompaniment to steak tartare is a raw egg yolk. It is essential to ensure that you use fresh eggs, and separate the yolk from the whites. You can mix the yolk into the beef or serve it alongside the dish.
  • Plate it up: Finally, it is important to serve steak tartare correctly. It is traditionally served cold, and you can shape it into a patty or a mound on a plate. Garnish with herbs, diced onions, and cornichons, and serve with a side of French bread or toast points.

Controversial opinions about steak tartare consumption

Steak tartare is a dish made from raw beef that is finely chopped or minced and served with onions, capers, and seasoning. While some people consider it a delicacy, others are wary of consuming raw meat. Here are some of the most controversial opinions about steak tartare consumption.

  • Health Concerns: Many people are concerned about the potential health risks associated with consuming raw meat. Raw beef can contain harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning. While some restaurants use only the freshest and highest-quality beef, there is still a risk of contamination.
  • Ethical Considerations: Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of consuming raw meat due to ethical concerns. They may feel that killing animals for food is wrong, or that it is inhumane to eat them in any form without cooking them first.
  • Cultural Differences: In some cultures, consuming raw meat is a common practice. For example, in Japan, raw beef is served as part of dishes like yukhoe and tataki. However, in other cultures, such as Western cultures, it is less common and can be seen as unusual or even taboo.

Despite these concerns, many people still enjoy steak tartare and other raw meat dishes. Some argue that eating raw meat can be safe if it is prepared and handled properly, and that it can be a delicious and healthy way to consume beef.

If you do choose to try steak tartare, it’s important to be aware of the risks and to choose a reputable restaurant that uses high-quality meat and follows proper food handling procedures. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about the potential risks and benefits of consuming raw meat before trying it for yourself.

Is steak tartare bad: FAQs

1. What is steak tartare?
Steak tartare is a dish made from finely chopped raw beef, seasoned with salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and other ingredients.

2. Is it safe to eat raw beef in steak tartare?
Raw beef can contain harmful bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. Eating undercooked or raw beef can increase the risk of foodborne illness, so it is not considered safe for everyone.

3. Are there any health benefits of eating steak tartare?
While steak tartare is a good source of protein, iron, and other nutrients, it is not a recommended source for these nutrients due to the risk of consuming harmful bacteria.

4. Who should avoid eating steak tartare?
Pregnant women, young children, elderly people, and individuals with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw or undercooked meats due to the risks of foodborne illness.

5. Can cooking beef eliminate the risks of consuming harmful bacteria?
Cooking beef to the recommended temperature can help eliminate harmful bacteria, but the process of making steak tartare involves consuming raw beef, which can still contain harmful bacteria.

6. Are there any alternatives to steak tartare for those who enjoy raw beef dishes?
Sushi rolls and sashimi are popular raw seafood dishes, while beef carpaccio is a thinly sliced beef dish commonly served as an appetizer.

7. How can I minimize the risks of consuming harmful bacteria in steak tartare?
Only consume steak tartare at reputable restaurants that use high-quality, fresh beef. Ask the chef about the ingredients and their sourcing, and make sure the dish is prepared and served at the appropriate temperature.


While steak tartare may be a delicacy for those who enjoy raw beef, it is not considered a safe option for everyone, especially those at higher risk for foodborne illnesses. If you do choose to consume steak tartare, it is important to follow safe food handling practices and only consume it at reputable restaurants. Thank you for reading, and be sure to visit again for more informative articles.