Beef tenderloin is the best way to impress your friends and family, becoming a staple in some households around the holidays. Let's get prepared for that season by learning how long to cook it for.
For a medium-rare beef tenderloin, you should cook it for 25 to 30 minutes at 450°F. Use a digital instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature has reached 130°F before removing from the oven. After resting for ten minutes, it will reach the desired 135°F mark for perfect doneness.
Naturally, medium-rare may not be your preferred way to eat a beef tenderloin. But don't worry; we're covering everything you need to know below.
Beef Tenderloin Doneness Chart
Like other cuts of meat, the cooking duration largely depends on the desired doneness. Size also plays a role.
For your reference, the cooking times in this table assume you're using a two-pound beef tenderloin.
|Ideal Internal Temperature
|Temperature to Remove from Oven
|How it Looks
|How it Feels
|20 to 25 minutes
|The center is bright rare, but it becomes pinkish toward the outer edge
|Very soft when touched
|25 to 30 minutes
|The center is very pink, sporting slightly brown toward the outside
|Soft to the touch, but there will be slight resistance
|30 to 35 minutes
|The center is light pink, with a true brown color on the outer portion
|Between firm and soft
|35 to 40 minutes
|The center is very slightly pink, but the outer portion is brown
|Firm with a bit of resistance
|40 to 45 minutes
|It's brown throughout
Buying Beef Tenderloin: Your Foolproof Guide
Purchasing beef tenderloin brings up three major things to think about — how much meat per person, the specific cut, and whether trimmed or untrimmed. Here are our recommendations to ensure you get the perfect cut:
Generally speaking, you should estimate about ½ pound of meat per person. It's based on raw weight and accounts for roughly two ounces of shrinkage during cooking and trimming.
If you're including hearty sides, cut it down to six ounces per person instead.
You have three options — the head, the center, and the tail.
Typically, the head end is trimmed into steaks or made into carpaccio, while the tail ends remain as tenderloins.
If you're serving four to six guests, use a center-cut beef tenderloin. If you're serving more people, purchase a tail-end cut and tie the roast to ensure even cooking.
Trimmed or Untrimmed?
Untrimmed tenderloins have fat and silverskin, so they're cheaper. Only go for this if you have a filet knife and know how to use it.
For a few dollars per pound more, you can buy a trimmed version. We recommend this one for home cooks!
5 Expert Tips for Cooking Beef Tenderloin to Perfection
- Season liberally — Beef tenderloins are pretty large cuts of meat that don't have a lot of fat. So, generously seasoning with salt and pepper (giving it a few pats to ensure it sticks) will make sure you have flavor in every single bite.
- Remove it from the fridge before cooking — Make sure you leave the meat on the counter for an hour or two before you cook it. Don't forget to cover it! This allows the tenderloin to come to room temperature, ensuring the meat cooks evenly. Putting cold meat in the oven will cause the center to miss out on all that cooking time.
- Never skip preheating your oven — It needs to be hot before you put your tenderloin in. Otherwise, the recommended cooking durations go out the window!
- Use a digital, instant-read thermometer — Checking for the correct temperature is the best way to know whether your meat has reached your preferred doneness.
- Let it rest — After it has spent time in the oven, loosely tent the beef tenderloin with foil and allow it to rest for ten minutes before you slice it. This allows the juices to redistribute through the meat, ensuring everybody enjoys tender mouthfuls.
Should You Marinate Beef Tenderloin Before Cooking?
Marinating meat cuts is a brilliant way to infuse intense flavor and boost the moisture content to ensure succulence. However, that simply isn't needed for beef tenderloin, a cut so high-quality that it doesn't need extraneous flavors to hide it.
Instead, stick to a salt and pepper rub. It will add a subtle flavor that enhances the meat, letting the tenderloin truly be the star of the show.
Easy Brown-Butter Beef Tenderloin Recipe
- 5 pounds beef tenderloin
- 2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 4 garlic cloves
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.
- Make sure the beef tenderloin fits inside the 12-inch skillet. If it doesn't cut it in half.
- One-half of the tenderloin should have a thinner, tapered end. Fold this end up against the rest of the roast.
- Tie it together with kitchen twine to create an even thickness.
- Season the beef tenderloin with salt, black pepper, and white pepper.
- Sear the beef tenderloin on all four sides until browned. This will take about three to four minutes per side.
- Put the meat in a roasting pan.
- Place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. This will give you a medium-rare tenderloin. Just refer to our table above for different cooking durations depending on how you like your beef cooked.
- Use an instant-read thermometer to find out whether the internal temperature is between 120°F and 125°F for medium-rare. Make sure the probe reaches the center of the meat.
- Remove the meat from the oven.
- Cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
- Rest for ten minutes before serving.
- While the beef tenderloin is resting, melt the butter in a small pan on medium heat.
- As soon as the butter melts, add the four whole garlic cloves to the pan.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the butter starts to bubble and foam. It will begin to change color.
- Remove from the heat as soon as it reaches a dark golden brown.
- Pour into a heat-safe vessel.
- Remove the garlic cloves.
- Slice the roast into ½-inch to ¾-inch slices.
- Drizzle with brown butter.
- Serve immediately with your favorite side dishes!
- This recipe serves eight people, so scale appropriately.
- If you haven't cooked beef tenderloin before, you may not know what to pair with it. Allow us to give you a few recommendations — asparagus puff pastry tart, green bean casserole, French potato onion gratin, roasted apple and radicchio salad, cheesy zucchini casserole, buttered rutabagas, butter pecan pumpkin souffle, or sweet corn spoonbread casserole.
- When cooking beef tenderloin for a special occasion, we recommend slicing it at the table. To make it look extra special, frame the meat with herb sprigs. And for Christmas, add green and red peppercorns to spruce up the holiday color palette.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 1025Total Fat: 81gSaturated Fat: 35gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 36gCholesterol: 271mgSodium: 692mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 68g