Perfectly tender and exquisitely seasoned, this beef loin recipe is the ultimate dish for special occasions. Adapted from Cook’s Country’s Classic Roast Beef Tenderloin recipe, following this step-by-step guide, you can now cook this expensive cut of meat with confidence.
All you need is the right technique, some planning, and just a few basic seasonings – salt and pepper! – to treat your family and friends to chateaubriand’s full-bodied flavor. Whether you serve this beef tenderloin for Christmas dinner, Easter dinner, or just because, this roast tenderloin recipe will be your go-to whenever you want to impress.
What is Beef Tenderloin?
Whole beef tenderloin is a long, lean piece of meat that comes from the back bottom area of the cow. Though expensive, tenderloin is considered the softest, most tender cut of beef (more tender than prime rib!) and has fewer calories than fattier parts.
The uncut beef loin is usually uneven, with a thick middle section that tapers off to thinner ends. However, butchers often cut off the ends to yield an even, center cut of beef, referred to as the chateaubriand. Filet mignon steaks, then, are just chateaubriand cut into smaller pieces.
Ingredients You Will Need?
To prepare reverse-seared tenderloin, you’ll need two pounds of beef tenderloin (preferably the center cut, aka chateaubriand), kosher salt, black pepper, unsalted butter, vegetable oil, and roasted garlic butter.
This recipe uses Diamond Kosher Salt (affiliate link.) If you are using table salt or sea salt, please use half the amount of salt that is listed in the recipe card below.
Optional Seasoning Suggestions
- Fresh herbs: Give your beef tenderloin seasoning a garden-fresh taste by adding a layer of fresh herbs. Fresh rosemary and thyme are two of my favorite herbs to use in this dish.
- Creamy horseradish sauce with garlic: If you’d rather omit the garlic butter in this beef recipe, storebought or homemade creamy horseradish sauce makes an excellent substitute.
How to Cook a Whole Beef Tenderloin?
Wondering how to prepare reverse sear tenderloin like a master chef? These step-by-step instructions will have you cooking a whole beef tenderloin without breaking a sweat.
- Tie, pat dry, and season: Use kitchen twine to tie the tenderloin crosswise at equal, 1½-inch intervals. Then, pat dry the meat with paper towels on all sides. Dry brine the tenderloin by sprinkling it with an even layer of kosher salt.
- Let it rest: Transfer the beef loin to a plate, cover it with stretch film, and let it rest at room temperature for one hour. If you let the meat rest overnight, place the covered beef in the fridge and remove it one hour before cooking. It is best if the tenderloin has come close to room temperature before placing it in the oven.
- Prepare the beef tenderloin for roasting: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F., and place a wire rack in a sheet pan. Set the prepared pan aside. Then, use paper towels to pat dry the rested whole beef loin before sprinkling it evenly with black pepper. Spread an even layer of butter on all sides of the loin. Transfer the seasoned meat to the wire rack.
- Roast in the oven: Roast the tenderloin for 45-55 minutes or until the thickest part of the meat registers 125 degrees F. with a digital thermometer (for rare). Or, cook the beef loin for 55-65 minutes or until its internal temp. reaches 135 degrees F. (for medium-rare). Be sure to flip the tenderloin halfway through the cooking process.
- Reverse sear: Heat the oil in a large skillet (or cast iron skillet) over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Sear the beef tenderloin roast for 1-2 minutes on each side (four sides for a total of 5-8 minutes) until browned.
- Rest & slice: Transfer the reverse-seared beef tenderloin onto a cutting board, spread two tablespoons of roasted garlic butter over it, and let it rest (uncovered) for 10-15 minutes. Remove the kitchen twine, and slice the beef steak into ½-inch thick slices. Serve with extra roasted garlic butter on the side.
Temperature Guide for Beef Tenderloin
The answer to “What temperature should beef tenderloin be cooked to?” depends on how you like your meat cooked. Below, you will find the ideal temperature ranges for every preference:
|Doneness Level Of Beef Tenderloin||Internal Temperature||Visual Cue of Doneness|
|Rare||125 F˚ (~52 C˚)||Red in the middle with a pinkish inner crust|
|Medium- Rare||135 F˚ (~ 57 C˚)||Pink in the middle, slightly brown towards the outside|
|Medium||145 F˚ (~ 63 C˚)||Dark pink in the center, slightly darker brown on the outside|
|Medium-Well||155 F˚ (~ 68 C˚)||Slightly pink in the middle, dark brown on the outer crust|
|Well-Done||165 F˚+ ( ~74 C˚+)||Evenly brown throughout|
How Long Does it Take to Cook a Beef Tenderloin?
The ideal oven temperature for roasting a 2 lb. center-cut beef tenderloin using this reverse sear method is 300 degrees. In other words, since we are also searing the whole beef loin on the stovetop as a second step, low and slow cooking is the way to go.
Your cooking time for beef tenderloin will vary depending on your preference for how you like your meat. I recommend following the cook times below for specific preparations:
- Rare: 45-55 minutes
- Medium: 55-65 minutes
- Medium-well to well done: 75-80 minutes
After you cook the beef tenderloin in the oven, sear the meat in a high-temperature skillet for two minutes on each side (8 minutes in total). This searing process will give your beef loin a crisp and flavorful exterior.
What to Serve it With?
Reverse-seared beef tenderloin is the ultimate special occasion dish. Complete your menu with a perfectly paired side by whipping up one of these sophisticated yet simple recipes.
- Chestnut Soup: When the beef tenderloin is cooking in the oven, make this velvety chestnut soup. Ready in 30 minutes, this easy soup recipe is the perfect starter for such an impressive main dish.
- Warm Goat Cheese Salad: These herb-crusted goat cheese balls bring every bite of reverse sear chateaubriand to life. Served atop a bed of leafy greens, shallots, and Dijon mustard vinaigrette, this tasty side is just what your hearty protein needs.
- Mashed Potatoes with Rosemary: Nothing pairs better with slow-roasted beef tenderloin than this creamy classic. Buttery, rich, and whipped to perfection, these mashed potatoes are a go-to dish for a crowd.
- Roasted Asparagus: With only five ingredients, you can have this fiber-packed vegetable side ready to serve in fifteen minutes. This beginner-level recipe ensures that your expertly seasoned asparagus is tender and flavorful every time.
Two pounds of roasted beef tenderloin yields between eight to nine 1½-inch pieces. If you serve two slices per person, you should be able to feed four people using this recipe.
Yes! Dry brining beef tenderloin is an easy way to remove excess moisture and add flavor to the meat. I recommend salting right after pat-drying the raw beef tenderloin thoroughly.
To reverse sear a tenderloin roast, cook the beef in the oven at a lower temperature (I recommend roasting it at 300 degrees F. for 45-55 minutes). Then, sear the whole beef loin on the stovetop at a high temperature for two minutes on each side. Oven-roasting gives the meat its pink, tender center while searing the beef tenderloin gives it a crisp, caramelized crust.
I’ve found that the best oven temperature for beef tenderloin is 300 degrees F. Slow roasting a beef tenderloin in the oven at such a low temperature will ensure the meat becomes soft and pink at its center without overheating.
Other Special Occasion Beef Dinner Recipes
If you loved this Christmas beef tenderloin recipe, your dinner guests won’t be able to resist these other restaurant-quality dishes. You can’t go wrong with these rich and tasteful mains.
If you try this Reverse Sear Roast Beef Tenderloin recipe or any other recipe on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.
This recipe has been adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s Classic Beef Tenderloin recipe with minor changes to the originally published recipe.
Reverse Sear Beef Tenderloin Recipe
- 2 pounds beef tenderloin preferably center-cut aka Chateaubriand
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt* or 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil such as avocado oil
- 1 recipe roasted garlic butter Optional
- Tie the beef: Using kitchen twine, tie beef tenderloin crosswise at 1 ½ inch intervals.
- Pat dry: Pat dry with paper towels on all sides.
- Season: Sprinkle it evenly with kosher salt.
- Rest: Transfer onto a plate, cover it with stretch film and let it sit on the counter for one hour.
- Preheat the oven: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Place a wire rack in a sheet pan and set it aside.
- Prep for roasting: Pat dry the now-rested beef tenderloin. Sprinkle it with black pepper and spread it with butter on all sides, ensuring it's evenly distributed. Transfer it onto the wire rack.
- Roast: Roast for 45-55 minutes or until the thickest part of the meat registers 125 degrees (for rare) on a digital thermometer, or 55-65 minutes or until the internal temperature is 135 degrees F (for medium-rare). Be sure to flip the roast halfway through the roasting process.
- Sear: Heat oil in a large skillet (or a cast iron skillet) over medium-high heat until smoking hot. Sear tenderloin on all four sides for 1-2 minutes on each side (for a total of 5-8 minutes) until browned.
- Rest: Transfer the roasted beef tenderloin onto a cutting board and spread with 2 tablespoons of roasted garlic butter. Let it rest, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes.
- Slice: Remove kitchen twine and slice in ½-inch thick slices.
- Serve: Serve with more roasted garlic butter on the side.
- Salt: This recipe uses Diamond Kosher Salt (affiliate link.) If you are using table salt or sea salt, please use half the amount of salt that is listed in the recipe card below.
- Serving size/: This reverse sear tenderloin recipe yields between eight to nine 1½-inch pieces. If you serve two slices per person, you should be able to feed four people using this recipe.
- Trim: It is best to ask your butcher to trim the beef tenderloin for you, but if you purchase one that is not trimmed, you will need to trim the fat, connective tissue, and silver skin. I would not recommend skipping this step as otherwise, your beef tenderloin will not be in a uniform size and cook evenly.
- What if I am cooking a larger piece? If your beef tenderloin is larger than 2 lbs., I recommend cutting it into 2 lb. pieces and roasting them side-by-side on a wire rack. This way, you can properly sear them in a 10-12 inch cast iron or stainless steel skillet.
- Store: Bring the sliced beef tenderloin to room temperature. Then, place it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to four days.
- To reheat: When it comes to reheating the leftover beef tenderloin slices, the goal is not to overcook it and, ideally, to maintain the crusty exterior and soft pink interior. So, to reheat:
- Remove the sliced tenderloin from the fridge and let it reach room temperature (10-15 minutes).
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
- While the oven heats, place the tenderloin slices on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle them with a few tablespoons of cooking juices or beef stock. Wrap the beef loosely, fully covering each slice.
- Roast the wrapped tenderloin in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until the meat’s internal temperature registers 135 degrees F. with a meat thermometer.
- Let it rest for 5 minutes, unwrap, and serve.
- Roasted Garlic Butter: I usually make a batch of this compound butter and keep it in my freezer. If you are short on time, you can mix 2 cloves of fresh garlic with salted room temperature butter and any fresh you have on hand and use that instead.
- Serving suggestion: In the photos, I served it with my Garlic and Butter Green Beans, but you can serve it with any of our side dishes.