This easy reverse-seared filet mignon recipe produces restaurant quality steaks. Impress your squeeze on Date Night or Valentine’s Day!
I used to have a jaded view of Valentine’s Day. I’m sure you’ve heard some version of this before:
…Valentine’s Day is a made-up holiday so Hallmark can sell cards…
Regardless of whether that’s true, ever since I married the man of my dreams, I want to celebrate Valentine’s Day. And Date Night!
But instead of buying cards or flowers, we have a special, romantic dinner at home.
Some of our favorite Date Night or Valentine’s Day dinners include Date Night Prime Rib Roast, Steak Mushroom Onion Skillet, Work-Ahead Chicken Rollatini, and Roast Beef Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce.
And, I figured that this is the perfect time of year to post a filet mignon recipe, so here we go!
This no-fail recipe, reverse-seared filet mignon, is finished with a dollop of delicious herbed compound butter. What’s not to love about that?!
First, what does “reverse sear” mean?
The reverse-sear method will produce restaurant-quality steaks: it’s perfect not only for filet mignon, but any thick steak.
Reverse-sear means that you first cook the steak in the oven at a low temperature.
Once you’re within a few degrees of your desired final internal temperature, you remove it and, after a quick rest, sear in a screaming-hot cast iron skillet to create an amazing crust.
Basically, it is exactly backward of what most people do, which is searing first and then finishing in the oven. Thus the name “reverse sear”!
Benefits of reverse-searing filet mignon
Reverse searing 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.
It’s important to dry your meat thoroughly before seasoning. Cooking in the oven allows the surface of the meat to dry even further, which will vastly improve the crust during the sear process.
The initial low and controlled oven temperatures provide a more uniform roast and prevents overcooking.
Then, pan searing in the cast iron skillet at the end produces the. Most. BEAUTIFUL. Crust.
In short, your reverse-sear filet mignon steaks will have you wondering why you ever shelled out $50 a plate at a steakhouse.
Let’s back up…what is filet mignon in the first place?
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 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!
We chose not to use the bacon for this recipe because we topped our steaks with a delicious herbed compound butter.
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. Note that cooking time can vary widely depending on the oven and the thickness of the steak.
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 final internal temperature is reached. We prefer medium rare, so we look for a temperature of 132º F.
Once your internal temperature is reached, place the steaks on a plate and tent with foil for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat a cast iron skillet to high.
The temperature will continue to rise another 2-3 degrees after removing from the oven (since we are cooking at such a low temp (250º F), we don’t get much residual temperature rise during the rest).
After 5 minutes of pre-heating the cast iron skillet, add ½ tablespoon each of butter and oil. Add steaks immediately once all the butter has melted. There will be a bit of spatter at first, but it will settle down after a few seconds.
Sear the steak about one minute, or until the side becomes golden brown, then repeat on other side. Spoon the remaining butter oil mixture from the pan over your filet mignon while the other side is searing.
Put a dollop of compound butter on top of the filet mignon and serve. (The steaks have already rested 10 minutes so you can dig in right away!)
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 oven, the temperature will continue to rise another 2-3 degrees.
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.
- Tie steaks 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 #1).
- Remove steaks from the oven to a plate and cover with foil for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- After 5 minutes of pre-heating the cast iron skillet, add the butter and oil. 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.
- Add a dollop of compound butter on top of the filet mignon and serve (see Recipe Note #4).
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 icewater 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.
- 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).
- The temperature will continue to rise another 2-3 degrees after removing from oven.
- Be careful: there will be some spattering at first, but this will settle down after a few seconds
- The steaks have already rested 10 minutes, and the searing process does not reheat the interior of the steaks enough to necessitate an additional rest—you can dig in right away!
- 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!