Easy Roast Beef Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce is the perfect meal for the holidays or any special occasion. And it's easier than you think!
This beef tenderloin recipe may just be the perfect Christmas, holiday, or special occasion dinner.
The presentation of a whole beef tenderloin roast is impressive. But it's the flavor and tenderness that really take this over the top.
While whole beef tenderloin can seem intimidating to cook, don't worry. This recipe will show you how to trim, cut and cook it.
You will see, it's really quite easy.
Prefer to make thick filet Mignon steaks from tenderloin? I have a fantastic reverse seared filet Mignon recipe, you must check out!
How much beef tenderloin per person?
Figure a ½ pound (8 oz) of uncooked beef tenderloin per person.
Feel to free to scale up or down depending on the appetite of your guests.
Keep in mind, beef tenderloin leftovers are never a bad thing. Hint, hint.
How to trim beef tenderloin
The budget-friendly strategy of buying a whole beef tenderloin does mean that you have some trimming and slicing to do. But it's very easy!
For a great tutorial on trimming beef tenderloin, check out this video: Trimming and Tying Your Whole Holiday Tenderloin by Wegmans.
Begin by removing the fat and silver skin
After you remove the surface fat, you will notice some silver skin which needs to be removed.
This is a shiny, bluish strip of connective tissue that runs most of the length of the tenderloin. It will not break down during the roast and is inedible.
Because this strip is so tough, it's easy to slide a sharp knife underneath and cut it away.
Removing the chain
Along one edge of the tenderloin is the chain. You should be able to pull it from the main tenderloin with your fingers.
Then, use a filet knife to completely separate it from the rest of the roast.
Removing the head
You'll notice a large "head" at one end of the tenderloin: find the separation point and remove with the knife. This will make for a great filet Mignon steak!
Cut the Chateaubriand
The chateubriand is the center-cut portion of the whole beef tenderloin.
This will yield the most tender meat and also makes for a beautiful presentation.
Locate the largest and most uniform thickness of the tenderloin and cut the length of roast you want to prepare.
For this recipe, we chose a 12" section. It was a perfect fit for our cast-iron skillet and was more than enough for our party of five.
Cutting the beef tenderloin into steaks
Is beef tenderloin filet mignon?
These steaks are usually cut into 1 ½ to 2 ½ inch thicknesses from a trimmed beef tenderloin.
The head of the tenderloin and thicker end pieces can be cut into filet mignon steaks.
If you want all steaks, just cut the Chateaubriand into steaks as well.
Using up the remaining pieces of beef tenderloin
After trimming your chateaubriand and filet mignon steaks, you will be left with some thinner end pieces and meat from the chain.
This meat is awesome and should not be discarded.
Some people leave the fat on (not the silver skin though) and grind it into hamburger.
How to tie beef tenderloin
Beef tenderloin is a wonky cut that isn't a uniform thickness, so tying the roast every 2–3 inches with butcher's twine helps us even out this thickness.
A single lengthwise tie is also recommended.
If you are roasting the entire tenderloin (rather than cutting off the ends), you can tuck the thin ends underneath the roast before tying to make the thickness more uniform.
How to cook beef tenderloin
Begin with a dry brine
We are huge fans of dry brining large cuts of meat a day or two in advance of cooking them. Check out this article to learn why.
This beef tenderloin recipe involves a dry brine in kosher salt.
Dry the meat with paper towels and liberally salt all sides.
Use a teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat.
Then set on a cooling rack inside a shallow baking pan and refrigerate uncovered for at least 3 hours, but up to 48 hours.
The salt initially draws the water out of the meat which eventually gets sucked back in, but this time with the salt.
This results in a more flavorful and a juicier roast.
If you don't have the time for the dry brining step, you can simply salt and pepper right before searing the roast and the results will still be fantastic.
Seasoning for beef tenderloin
We prefer a very simple rub of salt and pepper. This allows the beef flavor to shine through.
Other seasonings like granulated garlic, onion and rosemary are also very popular.
One hour before cooking, pull the beef tenderloin from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature.
Dry the meat thoroughly with paper towels before applying generous amounts of freshly ground black pepper.
Then massage the pepper around the entire roast.
If you didn't dry brine with salt earlier, also add generous amounts of kosher salt on all sides of the tenderloin.
Pre-heat the oven
Allow 30 minutes for the oven to preheat to 400º F before proceeding to the searing process.
Sear the tenderloin in a cast-iron skillet
Preheat the skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Then add a tablespoon of vegetable oil.
When the oil starts shimmering, place the tenderloin in the skillet and sear the first side for 1 ½ - 2 minutes.
Repeat this process for the next two sides.
Then place it on it's fourth and final side and insert a leave-in thermometer into the thickest part of the roast.
Then it's time to go into the oven.
Note that there's no need to sear the fourth side for 2 minutes. It will sear from the residual heat from the skillet when placed in the oven.
Finish cooking the beef tenderloin in the oven
Put the hot skillet in a pre-heated 400º F oven and roast until the tenderloin is done. This will take 20-30 minutes.
When is beef tenderloin done?
Your beef tenderloin is done when when the internal temperature is 10º F below your desired final temperature.
|Doneness||Final Temperature |
|Medium Rare||135º F|
|Medium Well||150º F|
|Well Done||160º F|
The tenderloin will continue to cook an additional 10º F after it is removed from the oven. This is called carryover cooking.
I prefer my beef tenderloin medium rare, so I removed the it from the oven at 125º F.
Allow the meat to rest
Remove the tenderloin from the skillet and place it on a cutting board so it can rest for a minimum of 20 minutes.
This resting time is crucial. It allows all the juices to redistribute throughout the tenderloin and not spill out on the cutting board.
Besides, it allows us time to make the flavorful peppercorn sauce.
Peppercorn sauce for beef tenderloin
This sauce recipe is a recreation of a creamy green peppercorn sauce I loved from a local steakhouse I visited many years ago.
Immediately after removing the meat, use the same skillet to saute shallots until soft over medium-high heat.
Be sure not to clean or wipe the skillet out! We want the remnants from the beef still in the pan.
Next, turn the heat to high for about a minute.
Once the pan is good and hot, add the brandy.
Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any fond (the delicious caramelized bits of meat stuck to bottom of the skillet).
You want the alcohol flavor to burn off, so let it cook for 1 minute.
Now, add in the crushed green peppercorns, beef broth, heavy cream, and Maggi seasoning sauce.
The Maggi is optional, but boy, does it amp up the flavor!
Reduce heat to a medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Finally, finish the sauce with butter and you're done.
Slice the tenderloin and serve
After resting for 20 minutes, the meat is ready to be sliced and served.
Begin by removing all the butcher twine.
Then, proceed to cut one inch thick medallions.
Nothing left to do now but plate it and pour that flavorful peppercorn sauce on top of each slice.
What side dishes go with roast beef tenderloin?
And don't forget the bread: you can't go wrong with our Easy Dinner Rolls!
Leftover beef tenderloin recipes
You could also sear the pieces of meat and add them to my Mushroom Stroganoff.
That's it! This impressive meal comes together very quickly after the dry brining step. It's so easy and delicious. I hope your family loves it!
Want more holiday roast options? Check out my Date Night Prime Rib Roast (scalable to larger crowds!), Herb-Roasted Rack of Pork, Holiday Turkey Roulade with Sausage Stuffing, and Roast Rack of Lamb-Potato Traybake! Or, there's always Ultimate Classic Roast Turkey.
Stay safe. Stay well. And have a wonderful holiday season.
For the beef tenderloin:
- 3 lb. center cut beef tenderloin (see Recipe Note #1)
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
For the Creamy Green Peppercorn Sauce:
- ¼ cup shallot, minced
- ⅓ cup brandy
- ⅓ cup beef broth
- 2 tablespoon brined green peppercorns, rinsed and finely crushed
- ½ cup heavy cream (see Recipe Note #2)
- ¼ teaspoon Maggi seasoning sauce (optional)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Tie tenderloin every 2–3 inches, and then tie once around the length of the roast.
- Dry meat with paper towels and liberally salt.
- Set on a rack set into a baking sheet; refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but up to 24 hours (see Recipe Note #3)
- Remove roast from refrigerator a half hour to an hour before you plan to start cooking. Dry any accumulated moisture from the tenderloin with paper towels.
- Sprinkle liberally with black pepper. Let the roast sit at room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 400º F. Make sure your oven is preheated before proceeding to step 7.
- Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high for 5 minutes. Add oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the roast. Sear 2 minutes on 3 of the 4 sides.
- After the 3rd side is seared, turn onto the fourth side (see Recipe Note #4), insert a leave-in temperature probe into the thickest part of the roast, and place the skillet in the pre-heated oven.
- Roast until the leave-in thermometer registers 10º F from your desired final target temperature (see Recipe Note #5). Remove and rest for at least 20 minutes.
- While the tenderloin rests, make the sauce: Add shallots to the same hot skillet (do not clean or wipe out).
- Turn the heat to high; after 1 minute, add brandy; boil and reduce for 1 additional minute.
- Add crushed green peppercorns, beef broth, heavy cream, and Maggi seasoning sauce (if using). Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the butter; stir until melted into the sauce.
- Slice the tenderloin into one inch medallions; serve with the sauce spooned over the top.
- This is also called the chateaubriand. I recommend buying a whole, untrimmed beef tenderloin. Trim and cut the roast according to the instructions in the post above. This saves money and provides additional, excellent-quality meat for filet mignon steaks, stew, and more.
- Also called double cream or whipping cream.
- Note that if you don't have time for the dry brining step, simply dry your roast thoroughly with paper toweling and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Your roast will still be fabulous.
- There is no need to sear the fourth side of the roast because the screaming-hot skillet will sear the final side as it roasts in the oven.
- The roast will continue to rise in temperature 10º F as it rests, depending on the size of your roast. There's no need to cover with foil.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 8 oz.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 894Total Fat: 70gSaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 32gCholesterol: 220mgSodium: 832mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 55g
Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate: if you are tracking this information for medical purposes, please consult a trusted external source. Thanks!