For filet mignon steak, I use one method and one method only: pan-searing. There are a couple of reasons for this.
First, it's way easier to cook and way easier not to overcook.
Second, it's so delicious. The deeply caramelized sear on the outside is just *chef's kiss*.
Third, you can make it year-round because you don't have to break out the grill. Let me tell you I love a filet mignon in the middle of December. By the end of this post, I'm going to have you convinced as well.
Pan-searing filet mignon means you develop a delicious crust that seals in all the juicy, beefy flavors. Plus, it's so tender, it only takes a few minutes to cook and you're good to go with a gourmet meal.
This recipe is also very near and dear to my heart. It's one of the first things I remember my dad teaching me how to cook. This is the method he taught me (and we added a blue cheese sauce at the end -lmk if you're interested in that recipe too). It's one of the first "gourmet"meals I remember making as a kid, so I hope you love it as much as I do!
Why You're Going to Love this Recipe
- The tenderness - It just melts in your mouth, no tough chew here.
- The flavor - The richness of the beef flavor shines in this cut, it's seriously delicious.
- The versatility - You can cook it simply with salt and pepper or get fancy with herbs and spices; it's up to you.
- The presentation - Whether you're cooking for a special someone or impressing guests, filet mignon always looks stunning on a plate.
- Enjoy it on its own or pair it with your favorite sides, the options are endless.
Frequently Asked Questions
Filet mignon is a cut of beef that comes from the smaller end of the tenderloin, a muscle that doesn't get much exercise, making it incredibly tender.
an searing or grilling are popular methods for cooking filet mignon. The steak is seasoned with salt and pepper and then seared in a hot pan or on a grill for a few minutes on each side, until it reaches your desired degree of doneness. My personal preference is pan-searing it, as I feel you have more control over the temperature that way.
Yes, filet mignon is generally considered a premium cut of beef and is one of the more expensive cuts you can purchase.
The best way to determine if your filet mignon is done cooking is to use a meat thermometer. For a medium-rare steak, the internal temperature should be around 125-135°F.
What is Filet Mignon?
Filet mignon is a cut of beef that comes from the smaller end of the tenderloin, a muscle that runs along the cow's spine. The tenderloin is one of the most prized cuts of beef because it is a muscle that doesn't get much exercise, making it incredibly tender and juicy.
It is also a relatively small cut of meat, which is why filet mignon is one of the most expensive cuts of beef. But, because of its tenderness and rich, beefy flavor, it is a highly sought-after cut by steak lovers all over the world.
Why is it so Expensive?
Filet mignon is the king of steaks, and it comes with a royal price tag to match. There are a few different reasons for the high price tag.
First, let's talk about where it comes from. Filet mignon comes from the tenderloin, a smaller muscle near the spine. This muscle doesn't get much exercise, making it incredibly tender. But because it's a smaller muscle, there's less of it to go around, which drives up the price.
Second, there's the demand. Because filet mignon is so tender and delicious, it's in high demand, and when demand is high, so are the prices. It's simple supply and demand, really.
Third, let's not forget about the process. The tenderloin must be carefully trimmed and cut into individual steaks, and this process can only be done by skilled butchers. The time and effort that goes into producing a filet mignon adds to the overall cost.
Finally, there's the marbling. Marbling, or the fat within the meat, adds to the flavor and tenderness of the filet mignon. This higher quality meat costs more, and it's one of the reasons why filet mignon is so sought after.
For this recipe, we're pairing it down to the basics. The focus here is on cooking the perfect steak, so we're not going to be adding almost anything to it (and honestly, it doesn't need much anyway.
- Olive oil
- Filet mignon (I like mine to be a bit thicker, around 1.5". I find that thicker steaks are far easier to cook than thinner ones are. The thin ones fry and burn while you're still trying to get that sear on the outside).
And that's it! Of course, you can absolutely add any number of delicious sauces, including this mushroom steak sauce (which you make after the steak is done cooking in the same pan. I Highly recommend it).
How to Make Filet Mignon
I promised you the easiest way to make this steak, so here we go. Also, FYI, you'll need an oven-proof pan for this recipe. I love my cast-iron skillet for this, because when it gets hot, it stays hot, which is perfect for this recipe.
First, preheat your oven to 400F.
Take your filets out of the fridge and let them rest on the counter unit they come to room temperature (about half an hour).
Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season generously on both sides with salt and pepper. And I mean generously.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it starts to smoke.
Add the steaks to the hot skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until a crust has formed and they are browned. If you have the crust, it's done - don't cook it anymore on the stove top.
Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake for 4-7 minutes, or until the steaks reach your desired degree of doneness (120-125°F for rare, 130-135°F for medium-rare, 140-145°F for medium, 150-155°F for medium-well, and 160°F and above for well-done).
Honestly, if you like your steaks medium-well or well-done, this is not the steak for you. Filets absolutely have the best taste and texture at medium rare.
Remove the skillet from the oven and remove the steaks to a wire cooling rack. Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes.
Serve and enjoy!
Internal Temperature for Steak
Alright, let's talk about this because it's literally the most asked question on the internet regarding steak. What does the temperature need to be for your desired level of doneness, and how do you get it?
First of all, YOU NEED A MEAT THERMOMETER. I've said it once, and I'll say it a thousand times more. It's the only way to accurately make sure your steak is done.
Second, the length of time it takes to finish cooking will definitely depend on the size and thickness of your steak. I highly recommend checking the internal temperature before you put it in the oven. If it's a really thin steak, it might be done already.
The chart below is a guideline to help you out, but again, you need to be checking with your thermometer.
|Doneness||Internal Temp (°F)||Cooking Time in Oven (minutes)|
|Well Done||160°F and above||11 and up|
Tips and Tricks for the Best Filet Mignon
- Season with salt and pepper: Salt and pepper bring out the natural flavors of the beef, so don't be shy with it! Sprinkle a generous amount on both sides of the steak, and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking to allow the flavors to fully develop.
- Use a cast-iron skillet: Cast-iron skillets retain heat well and help create a beautiful sear on the steak. If you don't have a cast-iron skillet, you can use a heavy-bottomed pan.
- Don't touch it: Once you place the steak in the hot skillet, resist the urge to move it around. Let it cook undisturbed for 3-4 minutes on each side to form a crust.
- Use an instant-read thermometer: A thermometer is the best way to determine the doneness of your steak. It's important to remove the steak from the heat once it reaches the desired internal temperature to avoid overcooking.
- Let it rest: After cooking, let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. This will help ensure a juicy and tender steak.
- Serve with a simple sauce: Filet mignon is a high-quality cut of meat, so a simple sauce made with herbs, butter, or wine can really elevate the dish without overwhelming the flavors of the steak.
What to Serve with It
Roasted or mashed potatoes - Potatoes are a classic side that pairs perfectly with filet mignon. Try roasting them with garlic and rosemary for an extra burst of flavor - or add truffle oil to your mash!
Grilled or sautéed vegetables - Grilled bell peppers, sautéed mushrooms, broiled asparagus or roasted Brussels sprouts are all great options. They add a pop of color to your plate and provide a nice balance to the richness of the steak.
A fresh salad - A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette dressing will help to cut through the richness of the filet mignon and provide a crisp and refreshing contrast.
A sauce or compound butter - A sauce like béarnaise or hollandaise, or a compound butter like garlic or herb butter, can add even more flavor to your filet mignon.
A starch - A crusty baguette, dinner rolls, or a simple pasta dish can also be great accompaniments.
Pairing wine with expensive red meat is something that I feel like truly heightens the experience, and it means you get the most out of your meal. Here are a few ideas for you. I personally lean heavily to the reds with this one, though.
- Syrah/Shiraz - A full-bodied red wine with bold and spicy flavors, Syrah/Shiraz can complement the richness of the steak.
- Zinfandel - A medium to full-bodied red wine with juicy fruit flavors, Zinfandel can have a slightly spicy character that can work well with the bold flavors.
- Malbec - A full-bodied red wine with rich fruit flavors and a soft texture, Malbec can add even more depth and complexity to the steak.
- Barbera - A medium-bodied red wine with bright acidity and fruit flavors, Barbera can provide a nice balance.
- Cabernet Sauvignon - This full-bodied red wine is a classic choice to pair with filet mignon. Its bold flavors of dark fruit and tannins complement the rich flavor of the steak.
- Merlot - A medium-bodied red wine, Merlot has a smooth and soft quality that pairs well with the tender texture of filet mignon.
- Pinot Noir - A lighter-bodied red wine, Pinot Noir has bright fruit flavors and a gentle acidity that can balance out the richness of the steak.
- Chardonnay - A full-bodied white wine, Chardonnay can have buttery and creamy flavors that work well filet mignon.
Other Awesome Steak Recipes
The Easiest Filet Mignon Recipe
- Oven safe skillet such as a cast-iron skillet
- 2 filet mignon steaks 1.5-2" thick
- 1 teaspoon salt for seasoning (adjust to taste)
- ½ tsp pepper for seasoning (adjust to taste)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
- In a large oven-safe skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it starts to smoke.
- Add the steaks to the hot skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until a crust has formed and they are browned.
- Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake for 5-7 minutes, or until the steaks reach your desired degree of doneness (120-125°F for rare, 130-135°F for medium-rare, 140-145°F for medium, 150-155°F for medium-well, and 160°F and above for well-done).
- Remove the skillet from the oven and let the steaks rest for 7 minutes.
- Serve the steaks with your favorite sides and enjoy!
- When you're steak is searing, don't move it around in the pan. When it's ready, the steak will easily lift away from the pan (if you're doing it to early, it will stick, and you'll rip off some of the crust).