Beef Tenderloin Roast

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This beef tenderloin roast is a stunning main to take center stage on your Christmas dinner table. It’s elegant, incredibly tender to the point where it feels indulgent, and worth every single penny. I’ll guide you every step of the way with this no-fail recipe for perfect results during the holiday season.

Slices of beef tenderloin on a plate.

Beef Tenderloin Roast Is The Star Of Christmas Dinner

Holiday dinners revolve around lavish, splurgy mains, which is what makes them feel so special. And that, my friends, is what this beef tenderloin roast is all about. It’s ridiculously tender with a perfect medium-rare pink, coated in a garlic herb crust that adds a ton of flavor, and served with a creamy horseradish sauce that makes each bite so satisfying.

But, you might be thinking – this is one pricey cut of meat and I’m a little intimidated! Fear not because this is an easy, totally foolproof, beef tenderloin recipe. It’s very similar to everyone’s favorite prime rib recipe, but it cooks in about half the time. Plus, it’s really easy to carve into beautiful slices for serving, similar to pork tenderloin. Who doesn’t love that?

Once you make this recipe don’t be surprised if your family assigns you to beef tenderloin duty every holiday from here on out. It’s truly a Christmas dinner sensation.

Ingredients for beef tenderloin roast on a table.

Beef Tenderloin Ingredients

There’s a reason why this is an expensive cut of meat. It’s the most tender cut of beef available and where filet mignon comes from. Filet mignon is actually just the middle portion of the tenderloin sliced up. That’s why beef tenderloin is such a coveted main during the holidays!

With most succulent pieces of meat like this, all you need is a simple garlic herb butter to bring it to life. Here’s what you’ll need.

  • Beef Tenderloin: You need a 4 to 4 ½-pound whole beef tenderloin for this recipe. You could also buy two 2-pound center-cut tenderloins (also known as a chateaubriand cut).
  • Salt & Pepper: A generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper are always welcome to give the meat tons of flavor.
  • Avocado Oil: This is my go-to oil choice when searing meat at a high temperature in a pan. But you can use olive oil as well.
  • Butter: It’s best to stick with unsalted butter as it’ll already be salted from the searing process. Just make sure to let the butter come to room temperature before mixing in the garlic and herbs. This will make it easier to blend and slather onto the meat.
  • Garlic: It’s all about fresh garlic in this recipe. Not only is fresh minced garlic more pungent in flavor, but it will help add texture to the outside of the tenderloin.
  • Fresh Herbs: Rosemary and thyme always makes for a sensational herb combo for meat dishes. Just make sure to use fresh sprigs, and not dried herbs.

Tenderloin Shopping Tip: Tenderloins can be purchased untrimmed or trimmed. To save yourself time and energy, ask your butcher to trim and tie the roast. And yes, tying with the twine is necessary to ensure even cooking since it’s naturally an oblong shape!

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

Equipment You’ll Need

Before we dive into the cooking process, let’s make sure you’re well equipped. You’ll need three items – an oven-safe pan, kitchen twine, and a meat thermometer.

  • Cast-Iron Pan: Grab your favorite oven-safe skillet as you’ll sear the tenderloin on the stovetop first, then finish it in the oven. I love to use this cast-iron pan for this recipe!
  • Kitchen Twine: Tying the tenderloin with butcher’s twine ensures that it cooks evenly, as a whole tenderloin is thinner on one end (see how you fix that below).
  • Thermometer: This is a crucial item to make sure your beef tenderloin is cooked perfectly (and to your liking!). You’ve got a few options here as well. You can use a probe thermometer that’s meant to be left in the meat as it cooks, an instant read thermometer, or a basic meat thermometer.

How To Cook Beef Tenderloin Perfectly

Now that you’re fully equipped – let’s get cooking. This beef tenderloin is truly a cinch to make. But first, let the beef tenderloin come to room temperature prior to cooking (about 1 to 2 hours). Then preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Herbed butter in a bowl for beef tenderloin

Make the herbed butter mixture. Stir together the softened butter, herbs, and minced garlic in a bowl and set aside.

Slicing a beef tenderloin in half.

Trim and cut the tenderloin. When you buy a whole beef tenderloin from the butcher it usually comes in this very long, oblong shape. Make sure the silverskin is trimmed off (you or your butcher can do this), tuck the thin end under (so that it’s more uniform in thickness), and then cut it in half (so it’ll fit in the pan).

Beef tenderloin tied in string on a table

Tie it up for even cooking. This part is really important. You must tie up your beef tenderloin for even cooking. Watch the video below to see how I tie up the tenderloin with kitchen twine (it’s really easy!). But you can also ask the butcher to do this.

Seasoning beef tenderloins with salt and pepper

Season the tenderloin. Use paper towels to pat out any excess moisture from the tenderloin. Then season both sides with salt and pepper.

Searing beef tenderloin in a cast iron pan

Sear the tenderloin. Heat the oil in your cast iron pan until it’s shimmering. Then add the beef tenderloin and brown for a few minutes on each side (about 10 minutes total), creating that deliciously looking golden crust.

Beef tenderloin in a pan before roasting

It’s roasting time! Slather the herbed butter mixture over the top side of the beef tenderloin, then transfer the entire pan to the oven. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until your preferred level of doneness (which you can reference in the chart below).

Let it rest before slicing! Transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. This will help the juices slowly redistribute throughout the meat making it extra tender and juicy! Then remove the twine and slice into 1-inch thick pieces.

Slices of beef tenderloin roast on a plate

How Long To Cook Beef Tenderloin In Oven

Since we’re searing the beef tenderloin first and letting it sit at the end for residual cooking, the roasting time is fairly short. I’m cooking a 4-pound tenderloin, which only needs 15 to 20 minutes for a perfect medium-rare. If you want a medium doneness, just cook it a couple of minutes more. But don’t guess on time (especially as all ovens cook differently). Use a thermometer for the perfect doneness!

Ideal Beef Tenderloin Temperatures

It’s easy to overlook the “resting” process and slice directly into the meat. But keep in mind that there will be residual heat, where the beef tenderloin will continue cooking as it sits at room temperature. And since this is a more delicate cut of beef, medium-rare to medium are your ideal choices for the best texture. I like my pieces a rosy, medium-rare, but you can reference the chart below for your finished preference.

  • Rare – remove at 110°F. Rested temp will be 115 to 118°F. Majority of the center is bright red with a very thin layer of pink on the outer edge.
  • Medium Rare – remove at 120°F. Rested temp will be 125 to 128°F. Center is red and becomes pinkish towards the outer edges.
  • Medium – remove at 130°F. Rested temp will be 135 to 138°F. Center is a warm pink and the outer portion is brown.

Serve It Up With The Tastiest Horseradish Sauce

Guess what? I never liked horseradish sauce… until I made it myself at home. Now I’m obsessed with it! If you really want to wow your guests, serve up the beef tenderloin with this homemade horseradish sauce. It’s divine!

Slices of beef tenderloin with horseradish sauce

Ways To Store Leftovers

Leftovers of this beautiful cut of meat are more than welcome. Because honestly, it tastes just as good the following days! And to make it easier, I’d slice them into pieces while it’s still juicy and fresh. It’ll make reheating a lot easier.

  • In the fridge: Store leftover sliced in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.
  • In the freezer: If you’re wanting to save a few slices past a week, freeze them! Make sure to let the sliced meat cool, then place it in freezer safe bags, and squeeze all the air out. It’ll last for up to three months in the freezer.
  • To reheat: If the meat is frozen, thaw in the fridge the day before. Then pop it in the microwave for a minute or two, until it’s warmed through.

More Holiday Mains To Serve

A holiday dinner table always puts meaty mains on display! From the perfect roasted turkey to juicy pork chops – here’s a few mouthwatering recipes to wow the crowd. But don’t worry, they’re super easy to make just like this beef tenderloin!

Trust me when I say everyone will be raving about this beef tenderloin for days! If you make it this holiday season, I’d love to hear what you and your loved ones think in a comment below!

A plate of sliced beef tenderloin roast

Beef Tenderloin Roast

4.97 from 78 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This garlic herb beef tenderloin roast gives your average steak a major (easy) upgrade! It also makes for stunning main for Christmas and the holidays. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!

Video

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

Beef Tenderloin Roast

  • 1 center-cut beef tenderloin roast (4 to 4 ½ pounds), trimmed and tied
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil

Garlic Herb Butter

  • 6 tablespoons softened butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

Instructions 

  • Remove the beef tenderloin from the fridge and let it come to room temperature prior to cooking, about 1 to 2 hours.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the butter, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Set aside.
    A bowl of herb butter for beef tenderloin
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Slice the beef tenderloin in half, then trim and tie it up (if it hasn't already been done by the butcher).
    Tied up beef tenderloin on a table
  • Use paper towels to pat any excess moisture from the beef tenderloin, then season both sides with salt and pepper.
    A plate of beef tenderloins seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Heat the oil in a large cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the beef tenderloin and brown for a few minutes on all sides, about 10 minutes total, to create a golden brown crust.
    Searing beef tenderloins in a pan on stovetop
  • Slather the butter herb mixture over the top side of the beef tenderloin, then transfer the entire pan to the oven. If using a probe thermometer, insert the probe before placing the tenderloin in the oven. Roast the beef tenderloin for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how you like your meat cooked (see temperature tips above).
    Oven roasting beef tenderloins with butter mixture
  • Remove the beef tenderloin from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes, to allow the juices to redistribute. Then remove the twine and slice into 1-inch thick pieces. If you'd like, serve with horseradish sauce.
    A plate of sliced beef tenderloin with horseradish sauce

Lisa’s Tips

Don’t forget to make the homemade horseradish sauce, it pairs beautifully! And there’s so many delicious sides you can serve with this tenderloin. A few of my favorites include:

Nutrition

Calories: 732kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 62g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 26g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 181mg | Sodium: 768mg | Potassium: 706mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 276IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 5mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Beed Tenderloin Roast, Beef Tenderloin
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally posted December 2021, but updated to include new information for your benefit!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




149 Comments

  1. So Delicious. I did tweak this as I used an inside round roast not a tenderloin, and I used dried herbs (fresh would have been better)! I did cook it a little longer as my husband prefers more medium well and it turned out perfectly! I threw some baby potatoes and chopped up onion on the sides of the cast iron pan before putting it in the oven and these were delish – all caramelized and soaking up the herb butter as it ran down the roast! Thanks again Lisa for a wonderful and easy recipe!5 stars

  2. My tenderloin is just under 7 pound, if I halve it, should I still count on 15 to 20 minutes, or will the pieces need a bit longer. Thanks (and no, I don’t have a reliable meat thermometer, i just don’t trust it is correct from previous use, so I’m going to have to wing it) :-)

  3. I love this recipe but have 1 major problem with it: internal temperatures. I’ve done it 3 times, each with a 2 pound filet roast. I’ve taken it out at 120*, determined by my wireless thermometer. Each time the temperature has risen by over 20*. The one tonight was taken out at 120* and after 15 minutes of resting in open air (not tented) it’s at 145*. Be careful, as such an expensive cut of meat can be ruined if overcooked. Otherwise everything else is on point!4 stars

  4. This recipe for “The Best Ever Beef Tenderloin” was perfect. We followed the directions exactly and everyone agreed it was the most delicious beef tenderloin we had ever had. It was so flavorful and the beef melted in our mouths.5 stars

  5. Nice work handling that meat. The butter sauce made it super succulent garnished with a side of rosemary sprigs. My guests loved it!5 stars

  6. My husband and I made this beef tenderloin recipe for Christmas and it was amazing! This was our first time trying this cut of meat and your video and instructions made the process a lot less intimidating. The meat was so tasty thanks to your herbed butter. It truly was melt in your mouth! Thank you for making homemade dinners such as this so doable!5 stars

  7. the cook time on this was perfect. Came out medium rare. Only misstep was I forgot to salt and pepper the beef. Would have been better5 stars

  8. OMG! I made this for Christmas and wow! It was delicious the whole family loved it. The horseradish sauce was a hit too. Thanks for the video it was helpful.5 stars

    1. You’re more than welcome, Karen! I’m glad the whole family loved both the beef tenderloin and horseradish sauce. :)

  9. I made this recipe minus the butter part for keeping it more healthy. It was easy to follow, fool proof, and delicious. The meat was cooked to perfection. I only used avocado oil, and added the herbs directly to the oil prior to searing the meat. The meat still picked up all the flavors without having too much fat from the use of butter. I have saved this recipe for the future.5 stars

  10. This recipe is perfect! So easy and I found the video most helpful. Our meat was medium rare, tender and the butter garlic spread on the meat was the perfect touch. Excellent recipe and I highly recommend it.5 stars

  11. I have two beef tenderloins, total 8-9 lbs. After searing, it says roast 425 for 15-20 min. Is that correct? I’ve seen 15 min/lb. Can I roast the 2 tenderloins at the same time and how long would it take for med. rare.

    1. Hi Lee – yes, you can roast two at the same time, but I recommend you go by temperature and not time. For medium rare you’ll want to remove them from the oven at 120F. Make sure to read my tips above!

    2. I am making this on christmas and i don’t have a cast iron! i have an old stainless roasting pan that was my grandmas, will that work?? its oblong shaped, bigger than a large burner. I can sear it in just my regular frying pan and then transefer it to the stainless roasting pan to finish?

  12. Hi! Looking forward to making this on Christmas Eve. I have 2 large tenderloins for 21 people so won’t be able to fit it all in a cast iron skillet. Do you think I can sear on the grill instead and finish in a roasting pan in the oven? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jen – yes, you could toss them on the grill. Though they’d be less seared and more grilled, though I’m sure still delicious. Enjoy!

  13. Hello! I will be making this for Christmas dinner. For the herb butter should I use unsalted butter or regular butter? Thank you

    1. It’s only my husband and me so I found a 2.61 lb whole beef tenderloin (tied with twine). We don’t like red or pink. How long for medium-well?

  14. Hello, I would like to free up my oven space for other items, can I sear the meat in the cast iorn then transfer it to my counter top roaster for finish cooking and get the same result?

    1. Lisa – I hope this is not breaking decorum, but as an experienced cook, I wanted to follow up on this question.

      The reason why you want a very hot oven is because you want the meat to cook rapidly and evenly. This guarantees a tasty and tender beef. I don’t know about your counter top roaster. Is it capable of reaching and maintaining the proper temperature? I have a counter top oven that, while useful for some things, seems incapable of maintaining temperatures above around 350. Just a thought…

  15. I will be making this for Christmas. Can I sear it in a cast iron pan and then put it in a different dish for the oven? I’m doubling the recipe so it won’t all fit in my cast iron pan

      1. I do think fresh is best in this recipe, but yes, in a pinch you could substitute with dried. Though I’d use less, about 1/3 as much. Enjoy!

  16. Lisa, regarding the pan…i do not have a traditional cast iron pan but instead have stainless all clad and Staub cookware. . Staub is cast iron with a ceramic top….what is best? All clad stainless pan or a Staub pan? Thank you in advance. Can’t wait to make this!

    1. You can sear your tenderloin roast in a lightly oiled heavy bottomed wider/shallow stainless pan, such as a sauteuse pan, and then place in oven vs a cast iron skillet- if you don’t have cast iron. I have both and use both interchangably.