What is a Good Beef Tendeloin Dinner? A Guide to Preparing the Perfect Tenderloin Meal

Beef tenderloin is considered one of the most tender and delicious cuts of beef. When properly prepared, it can make for an impressive and mouthwatering meal. This article will provide a complete guide on how to make the perfect beef tenderloin dinner.

Overview of Beef Tenderloin

Beef tenderloin, sometimes called filet mignon, is a cut of beef that comes from the short loin primal cut. It is known for being extremely tender, lean, and flavorful. Here are some key facts about beef tenderloin:

  • It comes from the psoas major muscle, which does little work, keeping the meat very tender.

  • It is a long, narrow cut that tapers at one end. A full tenderloin can be up to 16 inches long.

  • When removed from the bone and trimmed, it is referred to as a filet mignon.

  • It is very lean, with little marbling or fat. This makes it healthful but means it can easily become dry if overcooked.

  • It has a milder flavor than other beef cuts but is still rich and beefy when properly prepared.

Choosing a Tenderloin

When selecting a tenderloin for dinner, here are some tips:

  • Choose a tenderloin that is evenly shaped and not too tapered on one end. It should have some marbling for flavor.

  • Plan on about 1/2 to 3/4 pound per person if serving just the tenderloin.

  • Look for a roast that is trimmed and ready to cook rather than an untrimmed whole tenderloin.

  • For filet mignon steaks, choose 1-2 inches thick and as evenly sized as possible.

  • Organic, grass-fed, or certified Angus beef offers excellent flavor and quality.

Preparing Tenderloin for Cooking

Proper preparation is key to ensuring a tender, juicy tenderloin:

  • For a whole roast, trim off any excess fat and silver skin. Leave an outer fat layer for basting.

  • Tie the roast with butcher’s twine to maintain its shape during cooking.

  • Season the roast well with salt and pepper before cooking. Garlic, herbs, and spices can also be rubbed on.

  • Allow the meat to come to room temperature before cooking for even cooking.

  • For filets or medallions, also trim fat and season well. Cutting slits can help seasonings permeate the meat.

Cooking Methods for Tenderloin

There are several excellent cooking methods to achieve a perfect tenderloin:

Roasting – Roasting in the oven at 400°F is a classic preparation. Baste during cooking and use a meat thermometer for doneness.

Grilling – Grilling over high heat creates a nice seared crust. Cook to medium rare for best texture.

Pan-searing – Cook in a very hot pan for a browned crust, then finish in the oven. Use butter, oil, or beef fat for the pan.

Sous vide – For the ultimate in evenly cooked, tender beef, cook low and slow in a water bath with an immersion circulator.

Braises and stews – Tenderloin can also be cut into pieces for braises and stews. The moisture helps keep it tender.

Doneness for Tenderloin

Due to its leanness, beef tenderloin should not be cooked past medium or it will become tough and dry:

  • Rare – 120-125°F, red center

  • Medium rare – 130-135°F, warm red center

  • Medium – 140-145°F, hot pink center

Use an instant-read thermometer to test doneness and avoid overcooking. For whole cuts, temperature will rise about 10°F during resting.

Sides and Sauces for Tenderloin

The right sides and sauces complement tenderloin’s flavor:

Sides: Mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, rice pilaf, pasta, roasted vegetables

Sauces: Béarnaise, red wine reduction, peppercorn, horseradish cream, chimichurri

Herb butter, garlic butter, and beef jus or gravy are also excellent complements.

Beef Tenderloin Recipes to Try

Here are some excellent beef tenderloin recipes perfect for a special dinner:

  • Roasted Whole Tenderloin – Rubbed with herbs and garlic, then roasted. Served with red wine sauce.

  • Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon – Individual filets wrapped in bacon for added flavor.

  • Tenderloin with Balsamic Glaze – Seared then roasted tenderloin sliced over arugula salad with balsamic glaze.

  • Peppercorn Crusted Tenderloin – Crusted with cracked peppercorns for a spicy crust.

  • Tenderloin Medallions with Mushroom Sauce – Pan seared medallions served with creamy mushroom sauce.

  • Sous Vide Tenderloin – For the most tender, evenly cooked beef. Finished by searing.

Tips for Perfectly Cooked Tenderloin

Follow these tips for the best results when cooking tenderloin:

  • Pat the meat dry before cooking for better browning
  • Allow the meat to come to room temperature before cooking
  • Pre-heat pans, grill, and oven well before cooking
  • Use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking
  • Let the cooked tenderloin rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing
  • Slice against the grain for the most tender texture
  • Avoid re-cooking sliced tenderloin; it dries out quickly


From choosing the right cut to cooking methods and doneness, properly preparing beef tenderloin takes some care. But the results are incredibly tender, savory beef that is perfect for special occasions or elegant dinners. With flavorful sides and sauces, beef tenderloin makes for an impressive meal. Follow this guide for tips on selecting, preparing, cooking, and serving spectacular beef tenderloin every time.

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What pairs well with beef tenderloin?

From mashed potatoes to roasted vegetables and baked maraconi and cheese, these sides will compliment your tenderloin well, but they’re tasty enough to hold their own.

Which cooking method is best for beef tenderloin?

The food web and a great many cookbooks (very many of them highly reputable) recommend blasting a tenderloin in a hot oven, 450–500°F (232–260°C), for a relatively short time to cook it, followed by a counter rest.

What is tenderloin best used for?

Beef Tenderloin is a long cut of beef that you can use for a roast, Beef Wellington, or slice into small portions of steak known as “Filet Mignon”. Tenderloin is particularly useful for entertaining guests and special occasions, as you can cut several extremely tender, perfectly portioned, mouthwatering steaks from it.

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