Beef Tenderloin Roast
Updated Dec 10, 2023
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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.
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.
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).
Make the herbed butter mixture. Stir together the softened butter, herbs, and minced garlic in a bowl and set aside.
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).
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.
Season the tenderloin. Use paper towels to pat out any excess moisture from the tenderloin. Then season both sides with salt and pepper.
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.
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.
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!
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!
- Easy Thanksgiving Turkey
- Braised Short Ribs
- Apple Cider Sage Pork Chops
- Slow Cooker Pot Roast
- Honey Baked Ham
- Filet Mignon
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!
Beef Tenderloin Roast
- Probe Thermometer An essential for perfectly cooked meat!
Beef Tenderloin Roast
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
- 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.
- 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).
- Use paper towels to pat any excess moisture from the beef tenderloin, then season both sides 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.
- 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).
- 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.
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Recipe originally posted December 2021, but updated to include new information for your benefit!