How to make the perfect beef tenderloin roast for a super tender, mouth-watering meal. Whether you’re enjoying a fancy evening in with your special someone or serving guests, this beef tenderloin recipe is sure to please!
And now, we have beef tenderloin roast to add to it!
We eat a lot of meat in my household, and I’ve found beef tenderloin roasts (and roasts in general) to be extra fun to both make and consume.
The fact that roasts turn out mouth-wateringly flavorful and tender adds extra charm and creates excitement around dinner.
Plus, they aren’t any more difficult to make than any cut of meat as long as you have some background information!
Small easy steps, like seasoning the tenderloin with sea salt and allowing the meat to come to room temperature before you cook it are extra touches to make the meat tender and juicy.
This post covers everything you need to know about cooking beef tenderloin in the oven.
All you need is a few basic ingredients and you’re all set for a meal your family or friends will talk about for ages!
What is Beef Tenderloin?:
Beef Tenderloin comes from the rear portion of the spine, just behind the kidney of the cow. It has a cylindrical shape and is arguably the most tender cut of beef in spite of the low fat content.
Because this tends to be a pricy cut of meat, it is typically reserved for serving on special occasions like Christmas dinner or New Years Eve.
You would think the lack of fat would result in a tougher meat, but on the contrary, beef tenderloin is remarkably tender and juicy.
Once cooked, the roast is cut into individual tenderloin steak.
You can find it at the meat counter of the grocery store during the holiday season and sometimes other parts of the year.
Ingredients for Beef Tenderloin:
This is a basic, easy beef tenderloin recipe, requiring three basic ingredients: Beef tenderloin, sea salt, and Italian seasoning.
Nothing fancy, just a little something to season the meat.
You can absolutely get creative with a garlic herb compound butter, slurries, marinades, sauces, etc., but for the purpose of introducing the lovely tenderloin to this site, I figured we’d start simple.
Serve roast beef tenderloin with creamy horseradish sauce, red wine sauce, mushroom sauce, or Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms.
Tips for The BEST Beef Tenderloin:
Bring the meat to room temperature before you start cooking. This not only ensures the meat cooks evenly, it also helps achieve a perfect sear without having to burn the outside.
Use an instant read meat thermometer for the most accurate results.
Keep it simple! Beef tenderloin is amazingly flavorful on its own and doesn’t require much more than salt and pepper for mouth-watering results. While you can absolutely get creative with sauces and seasonings, it’s not necessary.
If you’re looking for a garlic herb crust, make the garlic compound butter from my Garlic Butter Prime Rib recipe.
How to Make Beef Tenderloin:
If your tenderloin contains excess fat and/or the silverskin, trim it off.
Cut your tenderloin into 2 or 3 pieces if it is long, so that the pieces can fit in your cast iron skillet for searing and roasting.
If you have cooking string or kitchen twine, wrap the roast in 1 to 2-inch segments.
This ensures the roast doesn’t bow out during the roasting process and helps it to cook evenly. If you don’t have string on hand, the roast will still turn out great if you don’t wrap it.
Sprinkle all sides of the tenderloin with kosher salt and Italian Seasoning (and black pepper if you’d like) and place in a casserole dish, roasting pan, rimmed baking sheet, or large container.
Refrigerate up to 12 hours, open to the air to dry brine. This allows the salt to penetrate deeply into the whole beef tenderloin, creating the most tender, best results.
If you don’t have time to dry brine the meat, you can proceed to cooking it once you’ve seasoned it.
Two hours before you want to cook the tenderloin, place it on the counter to bring it to room temperature. If you don’t have time for this, don’t worry about it…the meat will still turn out great!
When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of avocado oil (or olive oil or high temperature cooking oil of choice) to a large cast iron skillet and heat to medium-high heat.
Allow the skillet to heat to a high temperature (about 375 to 390 degrees F, which you can check if you have a laser thermometer).
Transfer the beef tenderloin to the hot skillet and sear for 3 to 4 minutes per side on all 4 sides, or until the whole tenderloin has a golden-brown crust on the outside of the roast. The goal is to get a golden crust on the whole surface of the meat.
Note: depending on the size of your tenderloin and the size of your cast iron, you may need to do this in batches.
Place the skillet to the preheated oven and roast to desired doneness, using a thermometer to check the internal temperature – 115°F to 120°F for rare (about 10 to 15 minutes), 120°F to 125°F for perfect medium-rare (about 12 to 18 minutes), and 130°F to 135°F for medium (about 18 to 25 minutes).
Keep in mind, the temperature of the meat continues to raise once it’s out of the oven. It will increase by 5 to 10 degrees as it sits.
Remove the tenderloin from the oven and place it on a cutting board to rest for 15 minutes.
Cut the string off of the tenderloin, and slice into ½-inch slices.
Serve with your favorite side dishes, and enjoy!
Store any leftover meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
How Long to Cook Beef Tenderloin:
The amount of cook time the tenderloin needs in the oven depends on three factors: the thickness of the tenderloin, the temperature of the meat when you begin cooking, and the amount of time you sear the meat.
The size of your roast, the length of the tenderloin, and how much you cook the surface of the meat all make a difference in the cooking time.
Because there are so many variables, it is best to use a meat thermometer rather than sticking to specific bake times.
Leaving an oven-safe meat thermometer inside the tenderloin as it bakes is the best way of achieving your desired level of doneness without having to open the oven multiple times.
For rare, medium-rare, or medium, these are your finish temperatures:
Rare: 115°F to 120°F
Medium-rare: 120°F to 125°F
Medium: 130°F to 135°F
In my experience, if the meat is at room temperature before you sear it and you sear the meat for 12 minutes total on all sides, you’re looking at 10 to 15 minutes for rare, 12 to 18 minutes for medium-rare, and 18 to 25 minutes for medium.
Again, these times can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, so be sure to use a thermometer for your desired result. A smaller roast will not require very much time in the oven, so keep your instant-read thermometer handy.
How Much Beef Tenderloin Per Person:
Serving guests and want to know how big of a beef tenderloin roast to buy? When I serve guests, I always account for 1 pound of meat per person. This may sound like a lot of meat, but you may be surprised by how much one person can put away.
Keep in mind, some of the weight will be lost in water during the cooking process. I keep it safe by assuming other people may want to eat the same.
In general, I find most women won’t eat more than one third to one half pound of meat in a single sitting, but most men can easily power through one pound.
Use your best judgment based on who you’re serving as hunger levels vary widely between individuals. Truly, there is nothing wrong with leftovers (I chop up leftover tenderloin and make egg scrambles with veggies with it), so it’s best to overshoot.
What to serve with beef tenderloin? Here are my top picks.
Suggested Side Dishes:
- Creamy Cauliflower Casserole
- Greek Potato Salad
- Arugula Strawberry Salad with Pickled Onions and Strawberry Vinaigrette
- Lemon Garlic Rosemary Rice
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
- Garlic Roasted Potatoes
And that’s it! The best beef tenderloin recipe is your ticket to an unforgettable main dish!
Beef Tenderloin Recipe
- Sprinkle all sides of the tenderloin with sea salt and place in a casserole dish or large tupperware container. Refrigerate up to 12 hours, uncovered.
- Two hours before you want to cook the tenderloin, place it on the counter to bring it to room temperature. Sprinkle the whole roast with Italian seasoning.
- Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of avocado oil (or high temperature cooking oil of choice) to a cast iron skillet and heat to medium-high. Allow the skillet to heat to a high temperature (about 375 to 390 degrees F, which you can check if you have a laser thermometer).
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Transfer the beef tenderloin to the hot skillet and sear for 3 to 4 minutes per side on all 4 sides, or until the whole tenderloin has a golden-brown crust on the outside.
- Place the skillet to the preheated oven and roast to desired doneness, using a thermometer to check the internal temperature – 115°F to 120°F for rare (about 10 to 15 minutes), 120°F to 125°F for medium-rare (about 12 to 18 minutes), and 130°F to 135°F for medium (about 18 to 25 minutes). Keep in mind, the temperature of the meat continues to raise once it’s out of the oven. It will increase by 5 to 10 degrees as it sits.
- Remove the tenderloin from the oven and place it on a cutting board to rest for 15 minutes.
- Cut the strings off of the roast and slice into 1/2-inch slices. Serve and enjoy!
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This recipe was originally shared on 12/30/2020. I updated the photos and added more information but the method of cooking is the same.