This comprehensive guide teaches you all about premium beef tenderloin including where it comes from, how to cook it best, essential prep tips and tricks for making it shine, plus all of our amazing beef tenderloin recipes. This is everything you need to know about cooking the perfect tenderloin at home.

Beef tenderloin sliced with a skillet of crab imperial on the slide

In this recipe:

Welcome to Steak Cuts 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Delicious Cuts of Beef

Beef tenderloin is considered one of the most delicious and tender cuts of beef. If you’ve ever ordered filet mignon at a steakhouse, then you’ve enjoyed beef tenderloin!

Want to become a beef tenderloin expert?

You’ve come to the right place! Our guide will teach you all about this coveted cut – how to identify it, best cooking methods, proper doneness levels, how to trim it yourself, plus delicious beef tenderloin recipes. You’ll learn exactly what makes this type of steak so special and prized for its mild flavor and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. Armed with our step-by-step instructions for cooking the perfect beef tenderloin, you can create 5-star restaurant quality meals right in your own kitchen!

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Beef tenderloin tied with butcher's twine to make an even roast.

🥩 The Cut: What is Beef Tenderloin

This premium cut comes from the short loin primal cut near the back of the cow, an underworked part of the animal. Beef tenderloin is known for being the most tender cut of beef due to its low amount of connective tissue with minimal excess fat like you would see in a prime rib roast. It has little marbling and, because of this, it is also a lean cut with a mild beef flavor, which means it can dry out quickly if overcooked (keep reading, we’ve got tips for that). Not only is this a standalone cut, but it’s also a signature part of the iconic Porterhouse and T-bone steaks.

You can find whole tenderloin at your local market around the holiday season. They will usually be wet-packed and include the oblong head, tail, and silver skin that will need to be trimmed. Or you can purchase them already trimmed, with just the center section ready to go cut into a long cylindrical roast. If you aren’t spotting them at the local grocery stores, check out your local butcher shop or our favorite places to buy meat online for where we order them from. Whether you’re buying choice or prime grade, this is considered a prime cut making it a pricey cut of meat so look for it when it’s on sale.

Beef tenderloin is where the petit Filet mignon steaks are sliced from along with the classic chateaubriand roast. If you buy them while on sale, you can learn how to trim a whole beef tenderloin at home to make these cuts yourself.

When cooked properly, beef tenderloin is exceptionally soft, buttery smooth, and succulent making it a date night staple and steakhouse special for special occasions.

Sliced roast to show the exposed juicy tenderloin with a pink center.

How to Cook Beef Tenderloin

When it comes to cooking beef tenderloin, the key is maintaining its famous fork-tender texture while getting that steakhouse crust on the surface of the meat.

There are many methods to cooking it that work, but we are fond of the reverse sear method, where we smoke the roast and then sear it over high temperature in a hot cast iron skillet. We find the subtle flavor of the smoking wood can really enhance this steak. We also use a finish with a hot sear to get a nice crust if we sous vide a beef tenderloin or grill it over indirect heat.

A perfectly cooked oven-roasted beef tenderloin with creamy horseradish sauce is also a fan favorite for Christmas Dinner. But no matter how you cook it, use your instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat.

Sous vide beef tenderloin with a sprig of rosemary being seared in a pan.

WHAT TEMPERATURE TO COOK BEEF TENDERLOIN?

For the best flavor and texture, you want to cook beef tenderloin to a steak temperature of medium-rare, 130-135°F after it’s rested for a rosy pink center and the iconic texture. Our favorite way to cook this is to bring it to a temp of 125 degrees F and let it rest with homemade herb compound butter on top before slicing and serving it.

For the most even cook, let your beef tenderloin sit at room temperature for one hour before cooking it, and use a meat thermometer for accurate results.

The Best Beef Tenderloin Recipes

Whether you’re planning a swanky dinner party or just want a stunning beef tenderloin recipe to impress your partner, these recipes are the best way to cook this luxurious cut.

Classic Beef Tenderloin Roast Recipe
A slow roasted tenderloin that is melt-in-your-mouth tender and packed with rich, beefy flavor.
5 from 20 votes
View Recipe
Grilled Beef Tenderloin Recipe
A quick grilled tenderloin that is slightly charred on the outside while remaining remarkably tender and succulent inside.
5 from 22 votes
View Recipe
A cutting board with sous vide beef tenderloin on it.
Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin Recipe
Unbelievably tender, edge-to-edge medium rare tenderloin with just the right rosy hue thanks to precise sous vide cooking.
5 from 28 votes
View Recipe
A smoked tenderloin is sliced and garnished with arugula.
Smoked Beef Tenderloin Recipe
Smoky, juicy tenderloin with a wonderfully crisp bark that takes this cut to new heights.
5 from 36 votes
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Chateaubriand Recipe
Thick cut tenderloin, the most tender of all cuts, prepared simply to highlight the rich flavor of the beef in an elegant presentation.
5 from 16 votes
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classic beef wellington sliced on a cutting board and a serving on a plate with potatoes and greens.
Beef Wellington Recipe
Tenderloin blanketed in mushrooms, prosciutto and puff pastry resulting in the ultimate surf and turf experience in one bite.
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Sliced beef tenderloin on a black serving platter with sauce and herbs.

How to cut beef tenderloin

A whole beef tenderloin will come with a thick end (the head) and a thin end (the tail) where the tournedos cut comes from. See our full guide for the step-by-step process on how to expertly break down a beef tenderloin.

Once done, you’ll want to use butcher’s twine to fold back the narrow end of the tail and tie it off, securing the full length of the tenderloin, to make an even shape roast for better cooking.

Sliced beef tenderloin topped with crab imperial

Sauces for Beef Tenderloin

A lot of beef connoisseurs complain that the flavor of tenderloin isn’t bold enough, the texture too soft. We’ll disagree but have a little trick up our sleeve. Because of the “mild beefy flavor” of beef tenderloin, serve it with a luscious steak sauce to give it that steakhouse feel. When we’re feeling extra snazzy we pair it with crab imperial spooned on top for a serious 5-star meal.

Classic Béarnaise Sauce

Master the classic bearnaise sauce with this recipe. A thick, rich sauce that’s perfectly paired with steak, chicken, or veggies.

Blue Cheese Sauce

Want to elevate steak night? Try this easy recipe for blue cheese sauce. A rich creamy sauce perfect for steaks, chicken, and pork.

Red Wine Sauce for Steaks

This steak sauce with red wine offers bold, savory flavors and is packed with veggies. It’s the perfect addition to top off your next winter dinner.

Brandy Peppercorn Sauce

This rich brandy peppercorn sauce is the perfect addition to a pan seared filet mignon steak for a steakhouse worthy recipe.

Chateaubriand sliced for serving on a cutting board.

What is beef tenderloin good for

What isn’t beef tenderloin good for? There’s a reason it’s on the menu of high-end restaurants everywhere. This expensive cut of meat is worthy of the splurge once or twice a year whether hosting for the Christmas Eve dinner or flexing your cooking skills.

Slice it into perfect filet mignon steaks and sear it for that delicious crust. You can even dice up the tenderloin tails and use them in something cozy like steak and potato soup, or fold into omelets and scrambled eggs, or slice them thin for tenderloin sandwiches.

Pairing Wine with Beef Tenderloin: Expert Recommendations and Pairing Tips

Unlike a ribeye steak that has a bold beefy flavor, this piece of meat is mild so it needs to be paired with a wine that doesn’t overpower it, but compliments it. Pick a light red wine to pair with it like Pinot Noir, Grenache or a mild Sangiovese to serve with beef tenderloin.

Sous vide beef tenderloin sliced on a cutting board with brussels sprouts.

Beef Tenderloin FAQs

Can you cut a beef tenderloin roast into steaks?

You can absolutely cut a beef tenderloin into individual filet mignon steaks. Actually, we recommended saving some money and learning how to trim a tenderloin so you can do this at home.

What cooking mehtod is best for beef tenderloin

We love any method that allows the beef to cook evenly to medium rare and gives it a great crust on the outside. Our favorite beef tenderloin recipe is our smoked beef tenderloin which uses a cast iron pan for the signature crust.

Why is beef tenderlon so expensive?

Beef tenderloin gets its expensive price tag due to its coveted soft texture. A whole tenderloin ranges between 3 1/2 to 5 pounds and there are only two on each animal making them a coveted cut.

Beef tenderloin Vs Filet Mignon

There’s no winning this fight, as beef tenderloin and filet mignon are the same thing. Filets are just a whole tenderloin that has been sliced into individual 3 to 4-oz steaks.

How many people can a beef tenderloin feed?

Depending on the size of the tenderloin and slices of the steak, figure it can feed between 6 to 10 people.

More Steak Recipes

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Well, Hey, Y’all.

Kita is a multi-talented individual, boasting numerous accomplishments such as being an award-winning recipe developer, world-traveled professional photographer, and journalist. As the lead creative force behind Girl Carnivore®, she is widely recognized as an authority on all things meat.

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