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Perfect Filet Mignon Recipe

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When a friend shared with me how to cook filet mignon in the oven at home years ago, I didn’t believe her at first that it could be that easy. After all, a perfect filet mignon steak is one of the most expensive dishes you can get at a restaurant. Then I heard it from a couple more people that it’s quick and simple to do. I knew I had to try a pan seared filet mignon recipe for myself!

Since I first made this, I’ve used the same stovetop-to-oven method for other cuts of meat, including sirloin steak, baked pork chops, new york strip, asparagus stuffed chicken, and more.

This easy filet mignon recipe was originally published on June 21, 2017, and was republished in May 2021 to add process pictures and additional tips.

My love for cast iron filet mignon started several years ago. The Twin Cities have a wonderful event a few times a year, called Restaurant Week. My first really good pan seared filet mignon was at The Capital Grille during restaurant week.

Then, in 2014, we took a weekend trip to Chicago. And, it’s no secret that Chicago has some of the best steakhouses in the country. I knew we had to splurge and try one of the best ones! When my husband and I got to the steakhouse, we were seated by the window with a view. After we ordered, the owner of the restaurant came over and asked us if we would be willing to switch tables. He said that some VIP guests were unexpectedly coming, and for our trouble he would pay for our entire meal and bring us an expensive bottle of champagne. In the end, the VIP guests never showed up (ha!), but the free steak dinner sure was memorable, and it inspired me to try to replicate that perfect filet mignon recipe at home. So here it is.

What Is Filet Mignon?

Filet mignon is the best steak out there! It’s a smaller cut from the beef tenderloin, which is lean and tender.

Quick filet mignon recipe overview:

  • What does filet mignon taste like? Cooked correctly, beef filet mignon tastes like the most tender steak you’ve ever had. It has a mild flavor, minimal marbling, and a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  • Is it easy to make? Yes, this fancy steak is surprisingly easy to make.
  • How much time will I need? You only need about 15 minutes to make filet mignon at home. But for best results, take the steaks out of the fridge about 15-30 minutes before cooking.

What part of the cow is filet mignon?

Filet mignon is the smaller end of the beef tenderloin, which is a tender cut of meat that runs along the sides of the cow’s spine [*].

Is beef tenderloin the same as filet mignon?

Filet mignon is a part of the beef tenderloin, so they are not exactly the same thing, but one is a part of the other.

How To Choose Filet Mignon Steak

If you want a perfect filet mignon, first and foremost you need high quality meat. Even though it’s more expensive than some other cuts of steak, it’s well worth it and still a fraction of the price you’d pay at a nice steakhouse. Here is what to look for:

  • Source: If possible, get meat from your local butcher rather than a grocery store. The butcher will have the freshest beef.
  • Grade: Filet mignon steak grades range from Prime (the best and most expensive, but very hard to find outside of high end restaurants) to Choice (the next best and my recommendation) to Select (which will work if that’s all you can get). It’s well worth it to get the best you can find and afford.
  • Thickness: Filet mignon steaks come in a range of thicknesses from 1/2 inch up to 3 inches. Avoid the thinner steaks! The best filet mignon will be at a minimum 1.5 inches thick, preferably 2 inches thick. Again, you’re more likely to get those thicker cuts from a butcher.
  • Color: Choose bright red steak, which means that it’s fresh. Avoid ones that are brown or have dark spots.
  • Marbling: Filet mignon is a naturally lean cut of meat, so it won’t have a lot of marbling, but the amount will impact the final taste. Choose based on your preference, if you like a fattier steak or a leaner one.
  • Grass fed or not: I prefer to buy grass fed steaks when possible. I get mine at the butcher when I can, but to save time, I also like this grass fed steak delivery service.

Ingredients for the best way to cook filet mignon

How To Cook Filet Mignon

So, what’s the best way to cook filet mignon? Start in a pan, then finish in the oven.

How to prepare filet mignon for cooking:

  • Bring the steak to room temperature. Take your steaks out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking. If they have any connective tissue on the edges, trim this away.
  • Make garlic herb butter. Mash together butter, garlic, rosemary, and thyme.

Mashed garlic herb butter for filet mignon

  • Chill. Form the butter into a log wrapped in plastic and refrigerate.

Garlic herb butter in plastic wrap

How to season filet mignon:

  • Salt & pepper is all you need. A great quality steak like filet mignon doesn’t need a marinade or fancy seasonings. Simply season liberally with salt and pepper.

Seasoned filet mignon with salt and pepper

How to cook filet mignon in the oven:

  • Sear beef. Melt more (plain) butter in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and sear on both sides until browned.

FYI: The steak will not be cooked through at this point. This is normal, you just want to brown the outside.

Pan seared filet mignon in cast iron skillet

  • Finish the filet mignon in the oven. Transfer the skillet to the oven to finish cooking to your desired doneness. (See tips and time chart below for perfect filet mignon every time!) Top with garlic herb butter.

Baked filet mignon with garlic herb butter in cast iron skillet

  • Rest. Transfer the steak to a plate and let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting into it.

Resting filet mignon on a plate

How Long To Cook Filet Mignon In The Oven?

Use a meat thermometer to test your filet mignon recipe for doneness. Do not cut it open to check!

Even better, I recommend a probe thermometer, which means you won’t have to open the oven to check on the steak at all. Simply stick the probe into the thickest part of the steak in the center, set the desired internal temperature (use the chart below!), and it will beep when your baked filet mignon is perfectly cooked.

If you don’t have a thermometer or just want a starting point, the following is a good filet mignon time chart to follow. It assumes 2-inch-thick steaks, so you’ll need less time for thinner steaks or more time for thicker steaks.

Filet Mignon Cook Time Chart

Doneness Brown On The Stove Then Oven For Target Temperature *
Rare 2 minutes per side 4-5 minutes 120 degrees F
Medium Rare 2 minutes per side 5-6 minutes 130 degrees F
Medium 2 minutes per side 6-7 minutes 140 degrees F
Medium Well 2 minutes per side 7-8 minutes 150 degrees F
Well Done 2 minutes per side 8-9 minutes 160 degrees F

TIP: The meat temperature will rise another five degrees as it rests. The guidelines above are the temperature that the steak should be when you take it out of the oven, before resting. A medium rare filet mignon will look like the picture below after it rests.

Close up medium rare filet mignon

Tips For The Best Filet Mignon

Follow these tips for the best filet mignon every time:

1. Choose quality beef.

I mentioned this above in the section about How To Choose Filet Mignon Steak, but I can’t stress it enough: the best filet mignon starts with quality steak! Choose bright red, fresh, and thick filets from your butcher.

There’s no doubt that beef tenderloin is expensive, but when you compare it to restaurant prices, it’s actually quite reasonable. Where I live, the price ends up in the realm of $10-$15 for a large filet mignon steak, versus $50 or more at a high-end steakhouse. If you think about it, cooking filet mignon at home costs about the same as a burger at a casual sit-down place!

2. Trim the edges.

Beef tenderloin is naturally lean, but it often comes with a layer of connective tissue along the edges. Make sure to cut this off for the best texture.

3. Season simply, but liberally.

Don’t be afraid to season your steak liberally with salt and pepper! No other seasonings are necessary, though garlic powder and dried herbs (such as Italian seasoning) can be added. If there’s one thing to know about cooking filet mignon, it’s that the quality meat is the star.

Aside from a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper, a perfect filet mignon recipe means that the steak stands out on its own! You really don’t need to douse it in steak sauce or anything, but I do enjoy it topped with fresh garlic herb butter, as in the recipe below.

However, I do love this steak sauce or chimichurri sauce with other steak cuts! Try them if you make top sirloin steak in the oven, but with filet they’re not usually needed.

4. Use high heat.

High heat is absolutely critical to getting a good sear on your steak. The best way to do this is in a pan that heats up to a very high temperature, so put away that non-stick cookware.

What you need is a cast-iron pan like this one. It makes an enormous difference! Plus, it allows you to finish the filet mignon in the oven after pan searing, which is an important step.

5. Don’t move the steaks around.

When you pan sear filet mignon, you need prolonged contact with the pan, without moving, to get ideal browning. Resist the urge to check or move the steaks around. At medium-high heat, two minutes per side without moving is all you need to get a good sear.

6. Time it right.

After your pan seared filet mignon recipe is browned on the stove, finish it in the oven to achieve the right level doneness. Everyone’s preferences are different, but I highly recommend cooking it medium rare, or at least no more than medium. This is a very lean cut of meat, so it will be dry if you overcook it.

Use the filet mignon cook time chart above as a guide, along with a meat thermometer.

7. Let filet mignon rest.

You may be impatient to cut into your steak immediately after cooking, but don’t do it! All the juices will spill out onto the plate and you’ll end up with a dry steak.

Instead, letting the steak rest for about 5 minutes will let the juices re-absorb into the meat, leaving you with the juicy filet mignon that you want.

Pan seared filet mignon on a plate

Storage Instructions

What to do with leftovers?

Use leftover tenderloin filet in sandwiches, tacos, sliced on top of salads, or reheat it the right way using the method below.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Can you freeze filet mignon?

Yes, you can freeze filet mignon for 2-3 months. It’s best to freeze before cooking, but if you have leftovers you want to freeze, you still can.

How to reheat filet mignon:

I like to reheat filet mignon the same way that I reheat reverse sear steak, which can be made with any cut of meat but I used filet there as well. Here is how to reheat it without drying it out:

  • Preheat the oven to a low temperature, such as 250 or 300 degrees F.
  • Place the steaks in a baking dish and add a little broth to the bottom (this will create steam to keep moisture in). Seal the top with foil.
  • Heat in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until warm.

Plated filet mignon recipe with brussels sprouts

What To Serve With Filet Mignon

Now that you know how to cook the perfect filet mignon, complete your filet mignon dinner with simple steakhouse sides:

  • Cast Iron Skillet – This is crucial for getting the heat high enough for a great sear. Plus, it goes straight into the oven.
  • Meat Thermometer – Unlike others, this reads super quickly and accurately, so you avoid overcooking your steak.
  • Cooking Alarm Thermometer – You can set the desired internal temperature on this thermometer and it will beep when it’s ready, for the perfect filet mignon every time.

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Ingredients

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Instructions

Get RECIPE TIPS in the post above, nutrition info + recipe notes below!

Click on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.

  1. Remove your filet mignon from the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking to bring it to room temperature. (This will ensure even cooking.)

  2. Mash together half of the butter (1 tablespoon, 14 g), rosemary, thyme, and garlic. (Sprinkle in a little sea salt if using unsalted butter.) Form into a log and refrigerate until the last step.

  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C).

  4. Trim any connective tissue around the edges of the beef tenderloins. Season the filets liberally with sea salt and black pepper on both sides.

  5. Heat the cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, until the skillet is very hot. Melt the remaining butter (1 tablespoon, 14 g) in the skillet.

  6. Add the filets. Sear for 2 minutes on each side, without moving them around.

  7. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Bake to desired level of doneness. (I recommend medium rare.) For a 2 in (5 cm)thick filet, that is 5 minutes for rare, 6 minutes for medium rare, 7 minutes for medium, or 8 minutes for medium well. Use a meat thermometer to check for the right temperature – 120 degrees F (52 degrees C) for rare, 130 degrees F (54 degrees C) for medium rare, 140 degrees F (60 degrees C) for medium, and 155 degrees F (68 degrees C) for medium well. The temperature will rise by another 5 degrees F while resting (see next step).

  8. Remove the filets from the oven and transfer to a plate. Top each with 1/2 tablespoon (7 g) of herb butter (slice the log of herb butter into four parts and put one on each steak). Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before cutting.

Recipe Notes

Serving size: 4 oz, or 1/2 of an 8-oz filet

Video Showing How To Make Filet Mignon:

Scroll up a bit to see the video for this recipe — it’s located directly above the ingredients list. It’s the easiest way to learn how to make Filet Mignon!

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