How to Cook a Filet Mignon (Tenderloin)
Filet mignon is the sort of dinner you remember from a special occasion at a high-end steakhouse. Also known as a tenderloin steak, it’s buttery and melt-in-your-mouth tender with every bite.
For Valentine’s Day or any day, it’s easier than you might think to make a memorable filet mignon at home with this step-by-step guide:
- Choose your pan: Our favorite way to make tenderloin steaks starts on the stove and finishes in the oven. That means you’ll need an oven-safe pan. A cast-iron skillet is great if you have one. Otherwise, any heavy pan that can safely go in the oven will work nicely.
- Bring steaks to room temperature: When it’s time to cook dinner, it can be tough to wait. But wait you must. Before cooking, let your filets come to room temperature to ensure they stay juicy. This step should take around 20 minutes.
- Dry your filets: Ensure you land with an even crust on your steaks at the end by taking a moment to dry it with a paper towel at the beginning.
- Season with salt and pepper: Add a few cranks of fresh ground pepper and several shakes of high-quality sea salt on both sides of each steak. We recommend seasoning your steaks about 30 minutes before cooking.
- Preheat the oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Add oil to the pan: Choose a neutral oil, such as avocado, and add it to the pan. You can also use olive oil if you prefer.
- Turn up the heat: Turn the stove up … high. The heat on the stove needs to be hot enough that the oil is close to smoking. That’s another thing that will help your steak get a good sear.
- Sear on the first side: Cook your steaks for around 2-2 ½ minutes on the first side. Do not move until you are ready to flip.
- Flip and add butter: Using tongs, turn your steaks over to the other side and add butter. The butter is optional – it adds a flavor you might find familiar from restaurant steaks. Sear for another 2-2 ½ minutes.
- Turn to sear the edges: Get your steaks brown on all sides by ensuring the edges hit the hot pan too.
- Move the skillet into the oven: Finishing in the oven is an important key to a great filet mignon. Cook your steaks on the stovetop only until they’re seared. You don’t want them to char. This important shift to the oven yields a golden-brown crust on the outside with juicy steak in the middle.
- Check the temperature with a meat thermometer: Your steaks won’t take long to in the oven, only 4 or 5 minutes. Check for your desired doneness with a meat thermometer before taking your tenderloin steaks out of the oven. We like our filet mignon medium rare (135°F).
- Serve with your favorite sides: Serve your filets on top of creamy mashed potatoes with a side of roasted asparagus or sliced on top of an arugula salad.