This beef tenderloin is the perfect main course to serve for Christmas or any holiday feast; every bite will blow your guests away. The meat is roasted without searing, making the cooking process seamless and straightforward. The result is the most tender slices of beef, with a browned crust and a perfectly pink center. Served on the side is a creamy horseradish sauce that adds the perfect touch of flavor!
Beef tenderloin is one of my favorite beef recipes! For many reasons. It’s far less intimidating than your typical rib roast, and the results are just as decadent and indulgent – but with half the effort!
Serve this filet alongside your favorite holiday side dishes and enjoy the most outrageously delicious meal you’ve ever made at home. This recipe is pure elegance and one your family & guests will rave about!
The tenderloin is an elongated muscle known as the most tender cut you can get. The center of the tenderloin, also known as chateaubriand, is where filet mignon or tenderloin steak is cut from, which is why it comes to no surprise that it yields incredibly tender results.
SIMPLE ELEGANCE. This recipe is true elegance when it comes to cooking. It’s an expensive cut of meat, so it’s perfect for special occasions and holiday meals.
SURPRINGLY EASY. While beef tenderloin’s filet is elegant, it is one of the simplest fancy recipes to prepare. My favorite thing about this recipe is there are no fussy preparation or technical cooking instructions; it’s straightforward and achievable for any home cook.
TENDER & IRRESISTIBLE. The results when this tenderloin is finished are simply divine. Once cooked, the beef is mouthwateringly tender and juicy. You barely need a knife to cut it! It’s impressive, elevated, and a meal your guests will never forget.
One of the best things about beef tenderloin is the ingredients are few! The meat alone has so much tenderness and natural flavor, but you’ll need a handful of simple ingredients to make it shine with the true flavor it deserves.
Beef tenderloin: this special cut of beef is what filet minion is from, making it the most tender piece of beef you can get. I recommend having your butcher trim the fat and tie it for you!
Butter: soft butter is used and adds flavor and a browned crust to the outside of the tenderloin.
Herbs: fresh rosemary and thyme are used to add herbed flavor to the outside of the beef.
Garlic: a few gloves of garlic finely minced will enhance the flavor outside of the beef with the butter and herbs.
Salt & pepper: a generous amount of salt & pepper is needed to flavor the beef, as well as bringing flavor to the herbs, garlic, and butter.
How to Make Beef Tenderloin
Dry the tenderloin. Use paper towels to dry the tenderloin of any moisture or liquid.
Mix the butter and herbs. In a small bowl, mix together the soft butter and chopped rosemary, thyme, and minced garlic.
Butter and season the beef. Next, use your hands to spread the herb butter all over the tenderloin. Then evenly sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
Roast, then let it rest. Next, roast the tenderloin at 500F on a roasting pan for 25 minutes for medium-rare. (If making the horseradish sauce, prepare this while the beef is roasting). When the filet is done, remove it from the oven and cover with foil for 10-15 minutes. Then use scissors to cut the strings, before carving into 1-inch thick slices. Serve the beef slices right away with the creamy horseradish sauce!
Always dry the meat before applying the rub. Patting the beef dry with paper towels is essential. If this step isn’t taken, the butter spread won’t stick properly and will slide off. Resulting in less flavor throughout the whole filet.
The tenderloin must be properly tied. Tying beef isn’t just for looks but is essential for an even roast throughout the whole piece of beef. Some pieces of tenderloin are smaller than others and need to be tied under the other pieces to cook at the same rate. If you do not have experience with tying beef, ask your butcher to do it for you.
Use butter instead of oil. I use salted butter instead of olive or other cooking oil whenever I make beef. The salty flavor from the butter cuts through the beef and adds so much more depth of flavor than oil ever could. For the best flavor, use butter.
Use a digital thermometer for accuracy. For measuring the doneness of the beef, insert a meat thermometer into the side of the tenderloin so it’s in the center cut of the beef. Use this to determine when you want to remove the meat to rest.
Only slice when ready to serve. If you’re like me and hate eating cold food, don’t slice the tenderloin until everyone is ready to eat. The tenderloin stays hot while its covered with foil, but once it’s sliced it cools quickly.
Use a sharp carving knife. A sharp knife is essential when you are roasting anything! Whole chickens, turkeys, and beef roasts – you need a really sharp carving knife or it will be nearly impossible to properly carve. I use this set from amazon and it works beautifully!
Never skip resting the meat. Letting roasts like this tenderloin rest is essential for it to properly cook, as well as the results being juicy and tender. The rest time allows the juices of the meat to distribute evenly throughout the whole cut of meat. This is an important step, so never skip it!
What to Serve it With
Beef tenderloin is absolutely delicious all on its own, but a few things pair beautifully with it. Such as…
Sauce. We personally love to serve tenderloin with a creamy horseradish sauce (see recipe card) or the au jus made from pan drippings. Other popular choices are red wine sauce or mushroom sauce!
Sides. Our favorite side dishes to serve alongside tenderloin are cheesy scalloped potatoes, sauteed Brussels sprouts, roasted seasonal vegetables, mashed potatoes, pomegranate apple salad, or this pear and gorgonzola salad. For some homemade bread, this meat would pair perfectly with our rosemary and garlic bread!
Rare – 120-125F · Medium rare – 130-135F
Medium – 140-145F · Medium well – 150-155F
Insert a digital meat thermometer into the thickest part of the tenderloin to determine the temperature. If you would like a different cook on the meat then what the recipe calls for, remove the roast about five degrees before it reaches the desired temperature. The tenderloin will continue to cook as it rests while tented with foil.
Filet of Beef Tenderloin
- 3 pound beef tenderloin, trimmed of fat and tied
- 5 Tablespoons soft salted butter
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
Horseradish Cream Sauce
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 1/2 teaspoons horseradish
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustrard,
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 500F. Make sure your oven is clean before preheating to prevent any smoking.
- Pat the beef dry: Use paper towels to dry any liquid from the beef tenderloin.
- Mix the butter and seasonings: in a small bowl, mix the soft butter with the minced garlic, and chopped herbs.
- Spread the butter on the beef. Use your hands to spread the butter and herb mixture over the tenderloin, covering every part. Then evenly sprinkle the salt and black pepper over the whole tenderloin.
- Roast. Next, place the tenderloin on a baking or roasting pan and roast for 25 minutes for medium rare. Both a whole and a half tenderloin cook in the same amount of time, so if you use a roast bigger than 3 pounds there is no need to adjust the cooking time.
- Make the horseradish sauce. While the beef is in the oven, make the horseradish sauce. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, then season with a healthy pinch of salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust the flavor as needed.
- Rest the meat, then carve. When the meat is finished roasting, remove from the oven and cover with foil. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. When it's rested, remove the foil and use kitchen scissors to cut the strings. Then, use a sharp carving knife to slice the beef into 1-inch thick slices. Serve right away!
- How to make au jus from the pan drippings: To make a quick sauce, add a splash of broth to the bottom of the pan (vegetable or beef broth/stock), put it on a burner, and heat the pan with the stock. I constantly scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get any bits from the roast into the sauce. Taste, add a pinch of salt or pepper if needed, then serve hot over the slices of beef! Tip: make the au jus while the meat rests so everything is ready simultaneously.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I do with leftover beef tenderloin? Make a really elegant roast beef sandwich. Slice the beef thinner for this, then layer it on bread with your favorite sandwich toppings.
Is beef tenderloin filet mignon? Filet mignon is part of the tenderloin cut, so they are often seen as one and the same.
How many people does a tenderloin feed? You’ll want a whole tenderloin that will feed approximately 8-10 people generously for a holiday meal. A good rule of thumb is 1/2 pound per person. This will also depend on how many side dishes your guests will be filling up on too! For a smaller family meal, ask your butcher to cut a piece that is around 2 1/2 pounds in weight.