This easy reverse-seared filet mignon recipe produces restaurant quality steaks. Impress your squeeze on Date Night or Valentine's Day!
Reverse seared filet mignon is a perfect dinner for date night or any special occasion.
This recipe walks you through the simple steps to consistently produce better than restaurant quality steaks every time.
Do you have thick rib-eye or T-Bone steaks, no problem. This reverse sear process can be applied to any thick steak of 1 ½ inches thick or more.
Also, check out some of our other favorite Date Night or Valentine's Day dinners: Date Night Prime Rib Roast, Steak Mushroom Onion Skillet, Work-Ahead Chicken Rollatini, and Roast Beef Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce.
What does “reverse sear” mean?
Reverse-sear is a cooking process for thicker meats. It can be done on roasts and thick steaks.
You begin by cooking the meat at a low temperature in the oven.
Then, when you're within a few degrees of your desired final internal temperature, you remove it and place it in a screaming-hot cast iron skillet to provide the sear. This produces an amazing crust.
Basically, it is "reverse" of what most people do, which is searing first and then finishing in the oven.
The benefits of reverse-searing filet mignon
1 - The initial low temp oven process cooks your steak to a uniform doneness.
Meaning that there will be less gray edges and more succulent pink tenderness throughout the middle of the steak.
2 - Cooking in the oven first, allows the surface of the meat to dry even further. The dry surface is critical to establishing an amazing crust during the sear process.
3 - The initial low and controlled oven temperature provide a more uniform roast and prevents overcooking.
4 - Pan searing in the cast iron skillet at the end produces the most BEAUTIFUL crust. Also, since you do it at the end, it remains crisp at time of serving.
In short, your reverse-sear filet mignon steaks will have you wondering why you ever shelled out $50 a plate at a steakhouse.
How to reverse sear filet mignon
Remove filet mignon from refrigerator one hour prior to cooking.
Preheat the oven to 250º F. Dry your steak thoroughly with paper toweling, then season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
Don’t be shy on the seasoning: filet mignon doesn’t have a ton of flavor because it has less fat content than other cuts.
(OPTIONAL) Wrap a bacon slice around the edge of filet. Bacon wrapped filet mignon provides added flavor that complements the beef, but it also protects the edges from getting overdone during the cook process: WIN-WIN!
Note: we find that using fully cooked microwaveable bacon results in perfectly crispy bacon rather than the rubbery, sometimes under cooked bacon you cut off and throw away.
Next, tie your steak around the edge (if wrapping with bacon, tie over the bacon). Filet mignon is a bit wonky and can flop around a bit if not tied.
Then, place the steaks on a rack set into a foil-covered baking sheet. This allows consistent air flow around the entire steak.
Now, place into the pre-heated oven. Roast until about 2–3º F from your desired final temperature.
Depending on the thickness of your steak, this can take 30–60 minutes. Our 2 inch steaks took 60 minutes of roasting time.
You can either use a leave-in thermometer to monitor the temperature or check periodically with an instant read thermometer.
If using a instant read type, check after 30 minutes and continue to do so until your desired internal temperature is reached.
We prefer medium rare, so we look for a temperature of 132º F.
When your steaks are about 5 minutes away from being done, start preheating a cast iron skillet over medium-high.
After 5 minutes, add ½ tablespoon each of butter and oil to the skillet. Then add steaks once all the butter has melted.
Sear the steaks about 60-75 seconds per side to establish the amazing crust.
Spoon the remaining butter oil mixture from the pan over your filet mignon while the other side is searing.
Remove the steaks to a plate and allow to rest for about 5 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.
Put a dollop of compound butter on top of the filet mignon steaks and serve.
Here are some highlights of the cooking process:
When is filet mignon done?
Don't rely on the color of juices, pressing the meat with your fingers, or sight to determine when your steaks are done.
The only reliable way is reading the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer.
Your filet mignon is done when it reaches your desired internal temperature (see chart below).
Again, once the steak is pulled from the skillet, the temperature will continue to rise another 2-3 degrees.
What is filet mignon?
The filet mignon is a very thick steak (usually about 2 inches), cut from the beef tenderloin.
A bit of science geekery, because I studied muscle physiology in grad school: the tenderloin is a non-weight bearing muscle, so the steer doesn't use it very much.
This means that there is less connective tissue than in weight-bearing muscles, which makes filet mignon very tender.
In fact, you'll find that you can cut a properly cooked filet mignon with a butter knife, as explained by Omaha Steaks, here.
Let's think of this another way. Have you ever noticed the extremely tender part of the T-bone or porterhouse steak on one side of the bone?
That's the filet mignon section of the beef tenderloin, simply left attached to the bone.
How much does filet mignon cost?
Prepared or pre-cut filet mignon steaks can range from $10 - $30 per pound. It all depends on the grade of beef: for example, prime will cost more than choice, etc.
To save money, I prefer to buy the whole beef tenderloin and cut my own filet mignon steaks, like so:
Slicing the whole beef tenderloin requires a bit more work because you will need to trim the meat, but the end result will be amazing and provide great extra cuts for future meals.
You can see my tips for trimming and breaking down a whole beef tenderloin in Easy Roast Beef Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce.
Since tenderloin and filet mignon are expensive cuts, I try to buy them around holidays when they typically go on sale.
In fact, we were recently stunned to find a whole beef tenderloin for $4.99 per pound! (Granted, these prices will not get you prime beef, but—with very few exceptions—we've had no complaints about the meat we've bought at a steal.)
Can you imagine serving two 8 oz filet mignon steaks for a total cost of $4.99??
We cut as many filet mignon steaks as we can from the whole beef tenderloin (usually 5–6 good-size steaks with a couple smaller ones) and freeze what we don’t eat that night.
We chop the smaller ends of the tenderloin into cubes to use in chili, stew, stroganoff, shish kebobs, etc. These remaining cuts are incredibly tender—you'll be surprised how amazing they make any dish you use them in.
How to make the compound herb butter
The ingredients are simply unsalted butter, shallot, tarragon, salt and pepper, and pepper flakes. Simply melt the butter in a saucepan, add the shallots, and saute until very soft.
Then add the remaining ingredients and continue to saute for a minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set into a bowl of ice water, until the butter starts to set up, but isn't yet hardened.
Next, scoop the mixture onto some parchment paper into an oblong shape and gently fold the sides of the parchment paper around it (to keep it roughly log shaped).
Finally, refrigerate until solid. Slice off a dollop and watch it melt over your reverse-seared filet mignon beauties.
Use up the extra compound butter on steamed vegetables, meats, scrambled eggs, and more.
What side dishes go well with filet mignon?
A few of our favorite side dishes that pair beautifully with reverse-seared filet mignon (or really any steak) are Easy Skin-On Mashed Potatoes with Horseradish, Easy Microwave Brussels Sprouts, Skillet Pepper-Mushroom-Onion Stir-Fry, Meal-Prep House Salad & Homemade Thousand Island Dressing, Arugula-Shaved-Fennel Salad, and Green Beans with Bacon and Onions. The creamed spinach (shown below) will be on the blog soon!
That's it! I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Valentine's Day. I hope these reverse-seared filet mignon steaks are a hit!
Stay safe. Stay well.
FOR THE STEAKS
- 2 8 oz filet mignon steaks, cut ~2 inches thick
- 2 tsp coarse salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp granulated garlic powder (optional)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
FOR THE HERBED COMPOUND BUTTER
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup shallot, finely minced
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp dried tarragon
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Filet Mignon Steaks
- Remove filet mignon steaks from refrigerator one hour prior to cooking. Preheat the oven to 250º F.
- Dry steaks thoroughly with paper toweling, then season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
- Wrap bacon (see Recipe Note #1) around steaks and tie around the edge with butcher's string.
- Place steaks on a rack set into a foil-covered baking sheet.
- Place in the pre-heated oven. Roast until about 2–3º F from desired final temperature (see Recipe Note #2).
- 5 minutes before you remove the steaks from the oven, preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the butter and oil to the skillet, then add steaks immediately after all butter has melted (see Recipe Note #3).
- Sear the steaks about one minute on each side, or until a deep, golden brown crust develops. As each side sears, spoon remaining butter-oil mixture from the pan over your filet mignon steaks.
- Remove steaks from the skillet to a plate and cover with foil for 5 minutes (see Recipe Note #4).
- Add a dollop of compound butter on top of the filet mignon and serve (see Recipe Note #5).
For the Herbed Compound Butter (can be made up to 2 weeks in advance)
- Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add shallots. Saute on medium-low until the shallots are completely softened, about 8–10 minutes. Add pepper flake, salt, and black pepper after about 6 minutes of sauteing the shallots.
- Add tarragon and saute an additional minute.
- Remove saucepan from heat and set into a bowl of ice water to chill the bottom.
- When the butter begins to congeal, scrape onto a sheet of parchment paper in an oblong shape (as close to the shape of the original stick of butter as you can).
- Roll the sides around the butter and refrigerate until hardened. Store in a butter dish for up to 2 weeks.
- We find that an easy hack for avoiding rubbery bacon is to use fully cooked, microwaveable bacon. Alternatively, partially cook regular bacon so it is still pliable and can be wrapped around the steaks.
- Depending on the thickness of your steak, this will take 30 – 60 minutes. Our 2-inch steaks took 60 minutes of roasting. Either use a leave-in thermometer or check periodically with an instant read beginning after 30 minutes (continue checking until your steaks are within 2–3º F of your final target temperature).
- Be careful: there will be some spattering at first, but this will settle down after a few seconds
- The temperature will continue to rise another 2-3 degrees after removing from skillet.
- Leftover Herbed Compound Butter is excellent on meats, steamed vegetables, eggs, and more!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 steak
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 760Total Fat: 52gTrans Fat: 0gSodium: 2000mgCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 7g
Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate: if you are tracking this information for medical purposes, please consult a trusted external source. Thanks!