How to Roast Beef Tenderloin

slicing beef tenderloin on a cutting board

How to Roast Beef Tenderloin (aka filet of beef or Chateaubriand) ~ I’ll give you easy instructions for the perfect roast, no muss no fuss ~ just juicy meat! Ideal for special occasions and holiday meals.

Garlic browned butter sauce being spooned on a tenderloin roast

Roasting a beef tenderloin is simple, simple, simple  

You don’t need a culinary degree, a video, complicated marinades, or lots of confusing instructions. Cooking a large cut of meat is easy and practically foolproof, just be sure you’ve got your instant read thermometer handy, it will be your best friend.

beef tenderloin (aka beef filet or Chateaubriand)

It’s probably the poshest cut of beef, incredibly tender and my personal favorite. Filet mignon steak is sliced from the whole tenderloin, so you know it’s special.

Beef tenderloin is from the loin portion of the cow, and is a long piece of meat that can range from 2-6 pounds. It’s low in fat, and very tender. It should be tied with butcher’s twine to help it cook evenly.

(Pssssst: this is a lot easier than roasting a turkey, and everybody will appreciate the break from the bird.)

beef tenderloin being sliced on a Boos cutting board

How to buy a beef tenderloin

Many butchers will stock tenderloins, and you can find them at stores like Costco. If you shop at a regular supermarket you’ll want to order one ahead of time from the meat counter.

For a holiday meal you’ll want a whole tenderloin, and that will feed approximately 8 – 10 people. Allow at least 1/2 pound per person in your calculation. For more people you can cook multiple tenderloins. For a family meal, you can purchase a smaller piece, the butcher can cut it down for you.

Be sure to ask for your meat trimmed and tied. Trimming removes any tough ‘silverskin’ and excess fat, and tying insures that the meat is at an even thickness so it will cook evenly.

A whole beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied

What you’ll need

  • a 4-6 pound beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
  • olive oil
  • large flake salt
  • multi colored peppercorns (green, pink, black, and white) ~ crushed with a rolling pin
  • garlic or garlic powder
  • large roasting pan that can accommodate your tenderloin (I use a baking sheet)
  • instant read meat thermometer ~ this simple tool will make you a more confident cook

tricolor peppercorns and malden salt

For the optional garlic butter sauce (you know you want it)

  • 1 stick butter
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • salt

making garlic browned butter sauce

Why I don’t marinate my meat

In my opinion marinating is an unnecessary step. A quality cut of meat like the tenderloin is fabulous in itself, and doesn’t need extraneous flavors to disguise it. A simple salt and pepper rub ads subtle flavor and lets the meat itself shine through.

The whole concept of marinating meat has been challenged in recent years, I discuss it in my Sauerbraten post. The gist is that studies have shown that flavor does not actually penetrate the meat, even after lengthy marinades, and many marinades can actually make meat mushy. This jibes with what I’ve observed over the years. If you’re interested in the subject you can read more about the myths of marinating, here.

beef tenderloin with peppercorn rub

Important tips for cooking beef tenderloin

  • Take the beef out of the refrigerator and leave on the counter (covered) for an hour or 2 before cooking.  This allows the meat to come closer to room temperature which in turn allows the meat to cook more evenly. If you put cold meat into the oven the center will not cook properly.
  • Season well.  A tenderloin is a large cut of meat that does not have much fat in it. A generous amount of salt and pepper will help flavor every slice. Pat it on to make sure it sticks.
  • Make sure you preheat your oven and it is hot before you slide the meat in. You’re going to sear it first, then lower the heat to finish cooking.
  • Use an oven thermometer to check for the correct temperature, don’t rely on timing alone. See temperature chart below for exact temps.
  • Let the meat rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to settle back into the meat.

beef tenderloin on a baking sheet

Popular methods for roasting beef tenderloin

There’s no right or wrong way, and as you can see, there are multiple techniques for cooking this cut of meat.

Certified Angus Beef (the method I’m using) sears the meat in a 450F oven for 15 minutes and then turns down the heat to 325F  to finish cooking.

Ina Garten slides the seasoned roast into a 500F oven and cooks for 25 minutes for medium rare.

The Pioneer Woman cooks her at 475F for 20-25 minutes.

America’s Test Kitchen grills the filet for 12 minutes on the hot side of a gas grill, then finishes on the cooler side (300F) for another hour or until it reaches 125F inside.

sliced beef tenderloin medium rare

Favorite sauces for tenderloin of beef

This is almost my favorite part ~ I love what a great sauce can bring to beef.

Browned butter garlic sauce ~ an easy peasy pan sauce that never disappoints, and what I used today.

Creamy horseradish sauce is a classic. Sour cream is blended with fresh grated horseradish and a touch of vinegar and salt. Simple and powerful, I love it.

Cranberry horseradish sauce would be spectacular for the holidays.

Chimichurri ~ nobody knows beef better than the Argentinians, and their signature herb sauce is epic with tenderloin.

spooning garlic browned butter sauce on steak

What goes with filet of beef

How to serve beef tenderloin

  • Beef tenderloin can be served whole, and sliced at the table, or sliced ahead of time. Just be sure to have a large platter handy.
  • For holidays and special occasions I like to frame the meat with sprigs of mixed herbs.
  • This dish is perfect for Christmas because the green and red peppercorns fit right into the holiday color scheme.

slices of beef tenderloin on a platter with fresh herbs

Forget all about those carving lessons you got from your uncle

This tenderloin is a cinch to slice up. Just grab your sharpest knife and cut into thick or thin slices (after it has rested for 10 minutes, of course.) It’ll slice like butter! Arrange them on a platter and surround with a few fresh herbs for looks.

This is an ideal main course for any holiday, when I think you’ll really appreciate the ease of prep. While your friends and family are enjoying their appetizers you can slide it in the oven and know it will be done to perfection in under an hour.

slicing a beef tenderloin




slicing beef tenderloin on a cutting board
5 from 12 votes

How to Roast a Whole Beef Tenderloin

How to Roast Beef Tenderloin (aka filet of beef or Chateaubriand) ~ I'll give you easy instructions for the perfect roast, no muss no fuss ~ just juicy meat! Ideal for special occasions and holiday meals.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Yield 8 -10 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • Instant read meat thermometer


  • 1 4-5 pound beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
  • olive oil
  • coarse salt
  • 3 Tbsp multicolored peppercorns

Garlic browned butter sauce

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • salt


  • Remove the meat from the refrigerator and let rest on the counter for 1-2 hours, covered.
    beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
  • Preheat the oven to 450F
  • Crush the peppercorns either in a small food processor, a spice grinder, or with a rolling pin. Crush them to a rough cracked stage, it's fine if a few are still whole.
    garlic and whole peppercorns
  • Rub the meat all over with olive oil. Then salt it generously, all over.
  • Press the crushed peppercorns onto the surface of the meat, all around the tenderloin. Arrange the meat in your roasting pan or on your baking sheet.
    beef tenderloin rubbed with salt and pepper
  • Roast at 450F for 15 minutes, then, without opening the door, turn the heat down to 325F and continue roasting until an instant read thermometor inserted in the thickest part reads 125F for mediun rare. (the internal temp will rise a bit as it rests.) The exact time will depend on your particular roast, mine took about 30 minutes.
    Beef tenderloin, just out of the oven
  • Let the meat rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes before slicing.
  • In the meantime make the sauce: melt the butter over medium heat in a small heavy bottomed saucepan and add the smashed garlic cloves. Cook the butter until it turns a golden nutty brown, stirring or swirling the pan almost constantly. Watch carefully because the butter can go from golden to burnt very quickly. If your butter isn't turning brown, just keep cooking, it will. It should only take a few minutes. I like to use a silicone spoonula to scrape the bottom of the pan so nothing scorches. Remove the garlic cloves and add salt to taste.
    making garlic sauce for beef tenderloin
  • Use a sharp carving knife to slice the meat. You can do 1/2 inch slices, or go for larger, filet sized slices, it's up to you.
    slicing beef tenderloin on a cutting board
  • Arrange the sliced beef on a platter, surround with herbs, if you like, and drizzle with the sauce. Serve extra sauce on the side.
    roast beef tenderloin on a platter with herbs

Cook's notes


Internal temperature chart for cooking beef

Rare 120-130 °F Red
Medium Rare 130-135 °F Pink
Medium 135-145 °F Some Pink
Well 145-155 °F Sliver of Light Pink
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    Jessica Formicola
    September 28, 2020 at 7:23 am

    5 stars
    My family loves beef tenderloin! Thanks for all of these great tips- can’t wait to try them!

  • Reply
    Taylor Kiser
    September 28, 2020 at 7:15 am

    5 stars
    Thanks for sharing your tips! This beef tenderloin looks perfect!

  • Reply
    Carole McKiee
    September 28, 2020 at 7:06 am

    I have tried all the cooking methods except the grill and will stick with yours. I wouldn’t risk the grill with this delicious and expensive cut of meat. Ina Garten’s basil sauce for filet is good too. Thanks Carole

    • Reply
      September 28, 2020 at 7:10 am

      Oooh I’ve never tried Ina’s basil sauce, thanks:)

  • Reply
    September 28, 2020 at 6:50 am

    5 stars
    This is melt in your mouth tender, don’t need a knife, give me all the beef – amazing!!

  • Reply
    September 28, 2020 at 6:47 am

    5 stars
    Yummy! This looks delicious and tasty! I can’t wait to make this!

    • Reply
      September 28, 2020 at 6:55 am

      It’s got to be the easiest cut of meat to cook Beth 🙂

  • Reply
    Nancy L
    September 28, 2020 at 6:36 am

    5 stars
    I enjoy all your recipes and articles. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Beth Sachs
    September 28, 2020 at 6:08 am

    5 stars
    Delicious served with creamy mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables.

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