Filet Mignon Recipe including everything you need to know about cooking the perfect filet mignon each and every time. It’s really quite simple and only requires a few ingredients!
If you’re like me and have humbly stayed away from cooking filet mignon at home out of fear of messing it up, PAUSE.
Cooking mouth-watering, perfect filet mignon at home is actually crazy simple! Like anything, all you need is a bit of background information and you’re set to make the BEST filet mignon for any occasion.
Because it tends to be pricey, I see filet mignon as one of those special occasion meals for sharing with your special people.
…Or by your onesie on a Friday night if that’s how you roll (I do it on occasion!)
Here’s everything you need to know about the process! Let’s dive in!
What is Filet Mignon?:
Filet Mignon is cut from the tenderloin of a cow. The tenderloin begins at the loin and stops at the sirloin. Tenderloin are either cut into individual filet mignon or sold as a tenderloin roast.
If you have made Beef Tenderloin, you have made filet mignon as a roast, and likely cut the end result into individual seaks (or filets).
Because the tenderloin (and therefore filet mignon) only makes up about 2% of the cow and is incredibly tender, it is considered one of the most prized parts (if not THE most prized) of the animal.
Why is filet mignon so tender? Because the tenderloin is a non weight-bearing muscle that is rarely used, maintaining nice muscle structure without the toughness that comes with frequently used muscle. Although filet mignon is very lean (there is almost no fat that runs through it), it is still incredibly flavorful due to its location on the animal.
Where to Buy Filet Mignon:
You can buy filet mignon, or tenderloin from any butcher, and the majority of grocery stores that carry beef will have it in either regularly or periodically.
The grocery store I frequent always stocks individually packaged grass-fed filet mignon, which is how I source mine.
Because beef tenderloin and filet mignon are popular during certain holidays (Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day), it is worth picking yours up in advance or calling ahead to be sure you can snag the amount you need prior to the event.
A couple of tools will help you achieve the ultimate BEST filet mignon: a meat thermometer, and bringing the meat to room temperature before cooking.
The most important part of cooking perfect beef is using an accurate thermometer. Without a thermometer, you’re guessing about the status of the done-ness. If you’re confident in your judgement and are a fan of the poke test, proceed forth. If you’re like me and are hesitant to mess up a pricey meal, be sure you buy a thermometer if you don’t have one already!
Bring the filet mignon out of the refrigerator one hour before you want to cook it and pat it dry with a paper towel (on both sides). You want the meat to be at room temperature (or close to it) before you sear it so that it cooks evenly and you don’t end up with a charred exterior and raw interior.
If you are trying to cook the filet mignon right now, no sweat – you can still go through with the procedure…just be careful to not overcook the outside and pay attention to the interior temperature.
If your Filet Mignon is Thick:
The thickness of filet mignon varies greatly depending on where you buy it. My grass-fed filets are only 1.5 to 2 inches thick, which means I can cook them in the cast iron for a few minutes per side and don’t need to finish them off in the oven.
If your filets are 3 inches thick or thicker, you may consider pan-searing the filets to get the char, then finishing them off in the oven at 400 degrees F. This will ensure you have the perfect crispy outside without it getting burned and the inside will be cooked to perfection as well.
If your filets are thick and you don’t finish them off in the oven, you run the risk of burning the outside and still ending up with a raw center.
Ingredients for Filet Mignon:
Filet Mignon: The star of the show! Choose the amount of filets you buy based on how many people you’re serving. What is “normal” is a 6-ounce filet per person. Do keep in mind, most people will eat more than 6 ounces if given the opportunity. 😉
Sea Salt, Garlic Powder, Black Pepper: seasoning with this trifecta always results in the most amazing meat! Sea salt brings out the flavor as well as tenderizes the meat and ensures it cooks evenly and is juicy throughout. You can skip the garlic powder if you don’t like it, but I find the garlic powder and pepper bring a smokiness to the meat without any additional effort.
Avocado Oil: Because we’re searing at a high temperature, we must use an oil that has a high smoke point to avoid burning it. For this reason, I don’t recommend using olive oil, but avocado oil works magnificently.
You can also use butter as long as you pair it with avocado oil, as the avocado oil will prevent the butter from burning. Try, for instance, two tablespoons of grass-fed butter (or ghee) and one tablespoon of avocado oil.
How to Cook Filet Mignon:
Bring the filet mignon out of the refrigerator and remove it from its packaging at least 20 minutes (ideally 1 hour) before you want to cook it and pat it dry on both sides with a paper towel. Place the filets on a plate.
Sprinkle both sides with sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder and allow it to sit in its seasoning while it comes to room temperature.
Note: I don’t include exact measurements in the recipe because everyone likes different amounts of seasoning. I personally go very liberal on the sea salt and garlic powder but light on the black pepper.
Add 2 to 3 tablespoons to a well-seasoned cast iron skillet and heat to medium-high. You want enough oil to generously coat the surface of the cast iron. Allow the cast iron to heat to 375 to 385 degrees (you can take the temperature with a laser thermometer ).
Carefully place the filet mignon on the hot skillet and sear for 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on your desired level of done-ness.
For my 1.5 to 2-inch thick filets, I can cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side and land at a perfect medium-rare.
Cooking Temperatures for Filet Mignon:
- Medium rare: 130-135°
- Medium: 135-145°
- Medium well: 145-155°
Immediately transfer the filets to a plate and allow them to sit untouched for at least 15 minutes before serving. This process is crucial for the optimal tenderness of the meat.
How to Cook Filet Mignon in the Oven:
If your filets are thick, be sure to start the cooking process in cast iron and finish it off in the oven. Here’s how you do it:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Add the avocado oil to a cast iron skillet and heat to medium-high (you want the skillet to be sizzling hot before you place the meat in it).
Carefully place the filets on the hot skillet and sear for 3 minutes per side.
Transfer the whole skillet to the oven and roast until the filets reach your desired level of done-ness (Medium rare: 130-135° , Medium: 135-145° , Medium well: 145-155°), about 3 minutes for medium-rare, 5 minutes for medium, and 7 to 10 minutes for medium-well.
How to NOT Overcook Meat:
Meat continues to cook even after it has been removed from its heat source. For this reason, it is worth pulling the meat off the cast iron skillet (or out of the oven) a few degrees (budget 3 to 5 degrees) before your desired end temperature.
Why It Is Important For Meat To Rest:
Allowing the meat to sit for 15 minutes before you serve it allows all sorts of magic to happen. The next time you cook a steak, test it yourself – cut into one steak right after you take it off the heat source and let another steak rest.
You will notice a remarkable difference in the flavor and texture. The steak that has rested will be more tender and rich in flavor, whereas the texture of the steak that did not rest will be a bit tougher and grainy.
This is the same with poultry and pork as well, so keep that in mind when preparing your other animal proteins.
Now that you’re a filet aficionado, let’s go for it! Serve with your favorite sides and impress your people!
Suggested Side Dishes:
Here are some of my favorite sides for serving alongside meat.
- Balsamic Roasted Vegetables
- German Style Potato Salad with Caramelized Onions and Chives
- Stir Fry Vegetables Recipe
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
- Apple Cider Glazed Roasted Carrots with Rosemary
- Roasted Celery Root with Carrots, Parsley and Dill
Enjoy with your loved ones!
Filet Mignon Recipe
- Take the fillet mignon out of the refrigerator and remove it from its packaging at least 20 minutes (ideally 1 hour) before you want to cook it.
- Pat the filets dry with a paper towel and place on a plate. Sprinkle both sides with sea salt, black pepper, and garlic powder and allow it to sit in its seasoning while it comes to room temperature.
- Add 2 to 3 tablespoons to a well-seasoned cast iron skillet and heat to medium-high. You want enough oil to generously coat the surface of the cast iron. Allow the cast iron to heat for a few minutes - ideally to 375 to 385 degrees F (you can take the temperature with a laser thermometer).
- Carefully place the fillet mignon on the hot skillet and sear for 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on your desired level of done-ness. Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature. For Medium rare: 130-135° , Medium: 135-145° , Medium well: 145-155°
- Immediately transfer the fillets to a plate and allow them to sit untouched for at least 15 minutes before serving. This process is crucial for the optimal tenderness of the meat.
- Note: If your filet mignon is very thick (3 inches thick or more), finish cooking it in the oven at 400 degrees F, until it reaches your desired level of done=ness. This will prevent the outside of the filets from burning while achieving a perfect result on the inside.