beef cuts chart with ribs and sirloin highlighted

Top Sirloin vs. Ribeye Steak: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated on November 21, 2023

In this guide, we’ll break down the differences between sirloin vs. ribeye steak to give you a better understanding of each cut. You’ll learn:

  • Where these cuts are sourced from
  • The flavor profile of top sirloin vs. ribeye steak
  • When to use each cut while cooking
  • How to cook top sirloin and ribeye steaks with delicious recipes

While there’s a lot to consider when choosing top sirloin vs. ribeye steak, you really can’t go wrong with either one. We hope this guide helps you build your steak knowledge and gives you the confidence to cook up both cuts at home.

What Is Top Sirloin?

top sirloin steak

If you’d enjoy the rich profile of a roast with the tender texture of a steak, top sirloin steak is for you. This affordable cut comes from the hip area of the cow, close to the round primal. It’s naturally lean, as this area gets a lot of exercise.

You may have heard that top sirloin is inferior to other, more luxe cuts (maybe like that ribeye we’ll discuss later on). When cooked properly, though, top sirloin is a joy to eat.

The best part about top sirloin? It cooks up quickly and easily, but with all the robust depth of flavor of a roast.

What Is Ribeye Steak?

ribeye steak

A favorite for many people, ribeye steak is one of the most premium cuts you can get. It’s an endlessly tender and juicy steak, cut from the center of the rib section of the cow.

As for flavor, the ribeye steak is smooth, rich, and undeniably beefy. It has a high fat content and rich marbling—the fatty connective tissue within the muscle—which makes it the ideal cut for grilling on an open flame.

The rib primal area, specifically, the longissimus dorsi, gets very little use. This is why you’ll find so much fat dispersed throughout the muscle. That fattiness burns up when cooked, turning into juicy moisture for the steak.

The beauty of a ribeye steak is that it just takes some salt and pepper to make it spectacular. Finish it with some butter for truly decadent results.

What’s the Difference between Top Sirloin and Ribeye Steak?

Both top sirloin and ribeye steaks are just that—steak. When cooked properly, they’ll both deliver juicy, tender, and beefy results.

As far as cuts go, there are some key differences. Top sirloin is cut from the round primal, near the hip of the cow. It’s a well-exercised region, leading to a leaner cut of beef. Comparatively, ribeye steaks are fattier, as they’re cut from the rib primal area. This is a little-used muscle.

There’s also a big difference in price, typically. Top sirloin steaks are often dubbed “weeknight steaks,” as they’re more affordable and accessible. Ribeye steaks, on the other hand, are a bit more luxe thanks to that incredible marbling. These are more of a special occasion steak.

When to Use Top Sirloin vs. Ribeye Steak

We love both of these steaks, and truthfully, you can make many of the same things with them. Still, top sirloin steak might be better suited to everyday meals, while ribeye is best for special occasion dinners.

Below, we’ve compiled some of our favorite ways to use top sirloin vs. ribeye. With these ideas, you’re bound to make something delicious.

How to Use Top Sirloin Steak

top sirloin steak with bacon and brussels sprout hashTop sirloin steak is incredibly versatile—you can grill it whole for a juicy steak dinner or incorporate it into a simple dish. Top sirloin works especially well when you:

  • Cube and add it to soups or stews
  • Cut it up for kabobs
  • Add it to greens and veggies for a steak salad
  • Slice and add it to a stir fry
  • Serve it on a sandwich
  • Slice and add it into tacos

Don’t be afraid to switch things up and make top sirloin steak your go-to protein when putting together weekday staples.

5 Top Sirloin Recipes to Try

Need more inspiration? Here are some delicious top sirloin recipes worth making tonight:

How to Use Ribeye Steak

ribeye steak with sweet potato hashOften saved for celebratory moments, ribeye steaks hold up well as the focal point of your plate or when added to your favorite recipes. You can:

  • Grill it for a special occasion
  • Sear and baste with butter in a cast-iron pan
  • Add to a decadent pasta or stroganoff

Because of its richness, ribeye steak is a great protein to use when you’re looking to create a remarkable dish that will leave guests wanting more.

5 Ribeye Steak Recipes to Try

To cook up the perfect ribeye, check out these mouth-watering recipes:

Now that you know the differences between top sirloin and ribeye steak, you can find ways to easily incorporate these cuts into your meals throughout the week. Both steaks have their delicious place, and hopefully they find their way into your kitchen soon.

Courtney Hamilton is a writer and editor with over seven years' experience in journalism, blogging, communications, and other media. She has written for publications like PaleoHacks, PaleoPlan, The Center for American Progress, OC Weekly, and more. 
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