Serve a timeless feast with this traditional beef tenderloin roast recipe. It’s slow-roasted in the oven, then seared to perfection for that perfect crust before being sliced and served as the main course with all your favorite side dishes for the holidays or family dinners.
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If you’re looking for the perfect beef recipe for a traditional beef tenderloin roast, one that doesn’t need a fancy smoker or charcoal grill, this is the mouthwatering roast you’re looking for. Tender, juicy, and full of flavor, this classic cut of meat is perfect for special occasions and dinner parties.
Don’t fret, though; where this may be an iconic crowd pleasure, it couldn’t be easier to make. Whether you’re hosting a holiday gathering, Christmas dinner, or simply want to elevate your Sunday family meal, this is our go-to method to help you get the perfect roast beef tenderloin recipe every time. With its melt-in-your-mouth texture and irresistible aroma, this is going to be on the menu for years to come.
🥩 The cut: What is beef tenderloin
Known for it’s signature tenderness, the tenderloin is, indeed, the most tender cut of beef from the cow. It comes from the loin region and makes for a wonderful roast tenderloin or sliced into filet mignon steaks for individual steaks. Unlike the prime rib, which is loaded with marbling (aka, flavor) the tenderloin is an incredibly lean cut, that is best not cooked past a steak temperature of medium (135°F).
Because of that, this roast is ideal for hot and fast on the grill, low and slow on the smoker, or if you really want to guarantee an edge-to-edge pink center, using the sous vide method. But we feel that nothing tops the iconic oven-roasted beef tenderloin.
You can purchase whole tenderloin trimmed or untrimmed from most markets. We tend to only buy them during the holiday season when whole tenderloins go on sale at our local grocery store. When buying, check the meat labels for whether it’s Prime or Choice. Because tenderloin is so lean, we know there won’t be much marbling anyway, and find ‘choice’ is a great option when we want to save a few pennies.
The whole tenderloin is an oblong-shaped cut that has a thicker side and a thinner tail. If you don’t want to trim the tenderloin into a smaller chateaubriand roast, you can use butcher’s twine and fold back the tail end, tying the roast off every 2″ or so to make a long even roast. Some butchers may offer to do this for you.
Where the cut may be indulgent, the rest of the ingredients are pantry staples. We keep it simple and let the flavor of the beef shine.
- Whole beef tenderloin – check for these at Costco, around the holidays at your local stores or from our favorite places to buy meat online.
- Kosher Salt
- Oil – we use avocado oil, but any olive oil will work too.
- Unsalted butter – this recipe calls for butter in during the sear as well as while resting. If you want to amp up the flavor, use a homemade compound butter when resting.
- Fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme – it’s optional, but we love the woodsy notes it gives this mild cut of beef.
- Garlic cloves
- Freshly ground black pepper
How to cook beef tenderloin in the oven
This classic beef tenderloin roast starts with a slow roast in the oven and finishes with a high sear, a technique known as the reverse sear method.
Prep the tenderloin
- Start by removing the roast from the package and patting it dry with paper towels. If you’re working with an untrimmed beef tenderloin, you may need to trim the silver skin with a sharp knife.
- Fold the thinner end (the tail) under the roast and use kitchen twine to secure it in place, tying the tenderloin off about every 2 inches. This will help the tenderloin to maintain its round shape and cook evenly.
- Then, liberally season the whole tenderloin roast with salt and place it on a wire rack nestled over a baking sheet. Let it air dry in the fridge overnight or for 24 hours. You will notice the beef gets a deeper red color.
Cook the tenderloin roast
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 325°F. Rub the roast with a thin coat of oil and place in the oven. Cook it for 45-55 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 120 to 125 degrees F with an instant-read thermometer. The trick here is to make sure the thermometer probe is inserted to the thickest part of the roast, not the tail end.
- Remove the roast from the oven and set aside while preheating a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet large enough, a griddle top will work as well.
- Add the beef tenderloin roast to the hot skillet and sear until a good crust forms. Add four tablespoons of butter, fresh rosemary sprigs, thyme, and garlic cloves. As you rotate the roast to brown it, spoon the melted butter over the top of the roast.
- As soon as all sides are browned, remove the roast from the heat. The internal temperature should be 130 to 135°F, depending on your desired internal temperature. Remember, the internal temp will continue to rise 5 to 10 degrees while it rests for a perfect medium-rare roast. Add another tablespoon of butter over the top of the roast, tent it with foil, and let the roast rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
- When ready to slice and serve, cut the twine from the roast and slice it into individual portions, about 1/2 to 3/4″ thick. Drizzle the melted butter, reserved juices, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper over the top, and serve immediately.
Girl Carnivore Expert Recipe Tip
Because this is a lean cut of meat, you get the most reward by cooking it to medium-rare for those signature fork-tender bites. The most important tool you need for this is a quality digital meat thermometer. That’s the key to making sure you get the perfect internal temperature every time. Overcook it, and the meat will become dry. See all of our favorite tools on our Shop page for the brands we use and trust.
What to serve with
We love serving beef tenderloin with classic pan sauces, like our smoked creamy horseradish sauce, brandy peppercorn sauce or red wine steak sauce, for an extra luscious experience. If you’re going to do this, use the pan that you seared the roast in for added depth and umami flavor.
This classic roast is perfect paired with your favorite side dish recipes. Try it with fancy domino potatoes or simple garlic parmesan fries. Add a smoked baked potato, fresh roasted green beans, or go-to creamed spinach or our latest crush, cheery brussles au gratin, for a classic steakhouse feel.
When it comes to beef tenderloin, we love to pair its mild flavor with mellow red wines like Pinot Noir or Grenache.
Leftovers and reheating
Let the leftover beef tenderloin roast cool before wrapping any leftovers, with any reserved juices, tightly in foil and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
We love tenderloin when it’s just sliced, as the minimal marbling and fat means that this lean cut can dry out when overcooked. To reheat it, we recommend preheating the oven to 325°F and placing the foil-wrapped meat in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until heated through. Otherwise, slice it thin and make tenderloin sandwiches, tacos, or even filling for scrambled eggs and breakfast burritos.
Where the best beef tenderloin roast may be reserved for the most special of events, it’s our favorite way to elevate those memorable meals. It’s a cut that never fails to impress, so next time you’re looking for an indulgent yet easy-to-prepare dish, consider reaching for this beef tenderloin roast recipe.
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Beef Tenderloin Roast
- 5 lbs Whole beef tenderloin
- 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tbsp Oil avocado oil or olive oil
- 6 tbsp Unsalted butter divided (see notes)
- 3 Fresh rosemary sprigs
- 3 Fresh thyme sprigs
- 3 Garlic cloves smashed
- Freshly ground black pepper
Prep the tenderloin:
- Remove the roast from the package and pat dry with paper towels.5 lbs Whole beef tenderloin
- If needed, trim the roast of any silver skin.
- Fold the thin tail end under and secure the roast every 2″ with butcher’s twine to create a long even roast.
- Liberally season all sides of the beef with the salt and place it on a wire rack over a large sheet pan to air dry in the fridge over night or up to 24 hours.1 tbsp Kosher Salt
Cook the beef roast:
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 325°F and let the roast sit at room temperature for 30 – 45 minutes.
- Rub the roast with a thin coat of oil return it to the wire rack on the baking sheet.1 tbsp Oil
- Place in the oven and cook it for 45-55 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 120 to 125 degrees F with an instant-read thermometer.
Sear the beef tenderloin:
- Remove the roast from the oven and set aside while preheating a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the beef tenderloin roast to the hot skillet and sear until a good crust forms.
- Add four tablespoons of butter, rosemary sprigs, thyme, and smashed garlic cloves.6 tbsp Unsalted butter, 3 Fresh rosemary sprigs, 3 Garlic cloves
- As you rotate the roast to brown it on all sides, spoon the melted butter over the top of the roast.
Rest, slice and serve:
- Carefully remove the roast from the skillet.
- Add the remaining butter over the top of the roast, tent it with foil, and let the roast rest for 10 to 15 minutes.6 tbsp Unsalted butter
- To slice and serve, cut the twine from the roast and slice it into individual portions, about 1/2 to 3/4″ thick.
- Drizzle the reserved juices and a sprinkle of salt and pepper over the top, and serve immediately.Freshly ground black pepper
- To sear this recipe, we use a large cast iron pan, but if you don’t have one big enough, a cast iron griddle top (or even the grill preheated to sear, 450-500°F works great)!
- This recipe calls for butter in during the sear as well as while resting. If you want to amp up the flavor, use a homemade herb butter when resting.
- Use an instant-read thermometer for the best results when cooking this roast. It’s a crucial tool to make sure you cook the roast to 135°F for a perfect medium-rare center.