Cooking Perfect Filet Mignon: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you are looking to impress guests with a juicy, flavorful steak, look no further than filet mignon. This premium cut of beef comes from the tenderloin, a muscle that sees little use, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth texture. While it may seem intimidating to cook such a luxurious piece of meat, with our step-by-step guide, you can achieve a perfectly cooked filet mignon every time. From choosing the right cut to preparing and seasoning, we’ve got you covered.

Cooking Perfect Filet Mignon: A Step-by-Step Guide | Eat Urban Garden
Cooking Perfect Filet Mignon: A Step-by-Step Guide

The Definition of Filet Mignon

Filet Mignon is a steak that is cut from the tenderloin, which is one of the most tender parts of a cow’s back. The tenderloin is an oblong muscle that spans either side of the spine, tucked away in the middle of the cow’s back. It is more expensive than other cuts of beef as it is relatively small, but it’s also the leanest and most tender muscle of the cow, which means that it has less fat and is more tender texture-wise.

What Makes Filet Mignon So Special?

Filet mignon, also known as tenderloin steak, is a prized cut of beef that comes from the small end of the tenderloin. It is known for its tenderness, buttery texture, and rich flavor. These qualities make it one of the most popular and sought-after cuts of steak.

The Science Behind the Tenderness of Filet Mignon

Filet mignon is known for being incredibly tender, and there’s a scientific reason why. It comes from a muscle that doesn’t get much exercise in the cow’s body, so it is naturally tender. Additionally, filet mignon has a low amount of connective tissue, which further adds to its tenderness. This is why it is often used in dishes that require quick cooking times, as it is easy to overcook and can become tough if cooked for too long.

The Versatility of Filet Mignon

Filet mignon is a versatile cut of beef that can be cooked in many different ways. It can be grilled, broiled, sautéed, or roasted, and can be served with a variety of sauces and seasonings. Its neutral flavor profile also makes it perfect for pairing with strong, bold flavors like garlic, rosemary, and red wine.

  • Grilling: Grilling is one of the most popular ways to cook filet mignon. It allows the steak to develop a flavorful crust while maintaining its tender interior.
  • Broiling: Broiling is another great option for cooking filet mignon. It involves cooking the steak under a high heat broiler for a few minutes on each side.
  • Sautéing: Sautéing filet mignon involves cooking it on the stovetop with butter or oil until it is browned on the outside and cooked to your desired degree of doneness.
  • Roasting: Roasting filet mignon involves cooking it in the oven at a high temperature for a short amount of time. This method is great for cooking larger cuts of filet mignon.

Overall, filet mignon’s tenderness and versatility make it a favorite among steak lovers. Whether grilled, broiled, sautéed, or roasted, it is always a treat to enjoy this prized cut of beef.

The Best Ways to Select and Prepare Filet Mignon

Filet mignon, the king of steaks, is a lean and tender cut prized for its succulence and flavor. However, preparing a perfect filet mignon can be a daunting task for home chefs. Here are some tips to help you select and prepare the best filet mignon:

Choosing the Right Cut

When it comes to selecting the best filet mignon, look for a bright red color with marbled fat running through the meat. The marbling is essential to keep the steak moist and tender during cooking. Choose filet mignon that is at least 2 inches thick to prevent overcooking. Avoid pre-cut steaks that have been sitting in a meat case as they are often dry and less fresh than those cut to order.

Preparing the Meat

Before cooking, allow the filet mignon to come to room temperature for about an hour. This ensures that the steak will cook more evenly. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. For an elevated flavor, add minced garlic, rosemary, or thyme. Rub the seasoning onto the meat, ensuring that it is evenly coated.

Cooking at the Proper Temperature and Time

Filet mignon should be cooked over high heat, either on a grill, stovetop, or broiled in the oven. Preheat the oven or grill to 400°F (204°C). Place the steak on the grill or in the oven and sear for 2-3 minutes per side to form a crust. Then, transfer the steak to the oven and cook to your desired temperature, 5-6 minutes for medium-rare, 6-7 minutes for medium, and 8-9 minutes for medium-well. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the steak reaches 125°F (51°C) for medium-rare or 135°F (57°C) for medium-well. Remove the steak from heat and let it rest for 5-10 minutes to let the juices redistribute throughout the meat.

What Cooking Methods are Best for Filet Mignon?

Filet mignon is the tenderest cut of beef and is a popular choice among steak lovers. To get the best out of this cut, it is essential to use the right cooking method. Here are some of the best cooking methods for filet mignon:


Grilling is an excellent way to cook filet mignon if you want to achieve a smoky and charred flavor. To grill filet mignon, you need to preheat the grill to high heat. Brush the steak with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the steak on the grill and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Broiling is another great method for cooking filet mignon. To broil filet mignon, you need to move the oven rack to the top position and preheat the broiler. Brush the steak with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the steak on a broiler pan and broil for about 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Pan-searing is a quick and easy method for cooking filet mignon. To pan-sear filet mignon, heat a skillet over high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, place the steak in the skillet. Cook the steak for about 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Sous Vide

Sous vide is a cooking method that involves vacuum-sealing the steak and cooking it in a precisely controlled water bath. This is a great method for cooking filet mignon if you want to achieve a perfect, evenly-cooked steak. To sous vide filet mignon, season the steak with salt and pepper and seal it in a vacuum bag. Cook the steak in a water bath at 130°F for 1 to 2 hours. Once done, sear the steak in a hot skillet for a minute or two per side to achieve a crispy crust.

Pairing Wine with Filet Mignon

Filet mignon is a tender and flavorful cut of beef that is often enjoyed on special occasions or as a treat. To elevate the experience of savoring this delicious dish, pairing the right wine can make all the difference. Red wines tend to pair best with filet mignon and here are some excellent choices:

Cabernet Sauvignon

A popular choice for pairing with filet mignon is Cabernet Sauvignon. This medium to full-bodied wine has a robust taste that goes well with the bold flavors of the filet mignon. It has a tannic structure that helps cleanse the palate between each succulent bite. Delicate notes of blackcurrant and oak are commonly found in this wine.

Pinot Noir

If you’re looking for a wine with a lighter profile, Pinot Noir is a great option. This light to medium-bodied red wine is known for its fruit-forward flavors, making it a perfect complement for the tender filet mignon. With notes of cherry, raspberry, and spice, Pinot Noir brings out the subtle flavors of the steak.


Merlot is a smooth and velvety wine with a medium to full body. It has a well-rounded fruitiness that balances the boldness of the filet mignon. With subtle flavors of plum and black cherry, this wine enhances the meaty taste of the filet mignon.


Malbec is a bold red wine with complex dark fruit flavors of blackberry and plum, with hints of chocolate and spice. The strong flavors of Malbec pairs well with the richness of a well-cooked filet mignon.

Syrah (Shiraz)

An intense and spicy wine with fruit-forward flavors of blackberry, raspberry, and hints of vanilla is a great option to accompany a succulent filet mignon. This full-bodied red wine has high tannins, which contributes to its ability to cleanse the palate and helps enhance the flavors of the steak.

Pro tip: Decanting the wine will enhance its flavor profile and remove any bitter tannins. Pour the wine into a decanter and let it sit for about an hour before serving. This will let the wine breathe and open up the flavors, taking the dining experience to the next level.

Alternative Dishes from Filet Mignon

While filet mignon is a classic dish, there are other recipes that can be easily created with other parts of the tenderloin or with the cut from other types of steak. Here are some alternative dishes that you might want to try:

Beef Tenderloin Medallions

If you don’t want to pay the high price for filet mignon, you can opt for beef tenderloin medallions instead. These are usually cut from the same part of the cow, but they are a bit smaller in size. You can prepare them in the same way as filet mignon, but they will cook faster. Make sure to season them well to enhance the flavors of the meat.

Steak and Mushroom Skewers

This recipe is perfect for those who love grilled meat, but want to try a different flavor. Cut the tenderloin into cubes and marinate them in a mixture of olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Then, skewer the meat with button mushrooms and grill them until both sides are nicely browned. Serve them with a side of mashed potatoes or steamed vegetables.

Beef Wellington

If you’re feeling adventurous in the kitchen, you can try making beef Wellington. This dish features tenderloin steak that is wrapped in puff pastry, along with a layer of mushrooms, pâté, and herbs. It is then baked in the oven until the pastry is golden brown and flaky. While this recipe may take some effort to prepare, the end result is worth it!

Beef Stroganoff

This classic Russian dish is simple to make yet has a unique flavor. Cut the tenderloin into strips and sauté them in a pan with onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Then, add beef broth, sour cream, and a splash of white wine. Serve it over a plate of egg noodles or rice. This dish is perfect for a cozy night in.

Grilled Steak Salad

If you’re trying to watch your calorie intake, you can still enjoy the flavors of steak by making a grilled steak salad. Cut the tenderloin into thin slices and season them with your favorite spices. Then, grill them until they are slightly charred. Serve them on a bed of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers. Drizzle some balsamic vinaigrette over the top for extra flavor.

Steak Fajitas

For a Mexican twist on steak, you can try making steak fajitas. Cut the tenderloin into thin strips and season them with cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. Sauté them in a pan with sliced onions and bell peppers. Serve them with warm tortillas, sour cream, and guacamole. This dish is perfect for a casual taco night with friends and family.

Thanks for Trying Our Step-by-Step Filet Mignon Recipe!

We hope you enjoyed cooking and savoring your perfectly seared filet mignon. Remember, the key to success is patience in getting the perfect cut, timing, seasoning, and temperature. Keep practicing and trying different methods until you find what works for you and your taste buds. Bookmark our website and come back for more delicious and fail-proof recipes!

Cooking Perfect Filet Mignon: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn how to cook the perfect, tender, and juicy filet mignon with our easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide. Impress your guests or treat yourself to a restaurant-like dining experience at home.

  • 2 1.5-inch-thick beef filets
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves (smashed)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Let the filets sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Pat them dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper on all sides.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Position the oven rack in the center.
  3. Heat a cast-iron skillet or oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil and butter. Once the butter is melted and bubbly, add the garlic and rosemary. Gently place the filets in the skillet and sear them until browned and crusty on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip the filets, and sear the other side for another 3 minutes. Use tongs to sear the edges of the filets for 30 seconds each. Baste the filets continuously with the butter using a spoon.
  4. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and cook the filets until they reach your desired doneness, about 6-8 minutes for medium-rare or an internal temperature of 130°F. Check the internal temperature using an instant-read thermometer by inserting it horizontally through the side of the filets. Once done, remove the skillet from the oven and let the filets rest for 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.
  5. Discard the garlic and rosemary. Serve the filets hot with your choice of side dishes and garnishes.
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