3 Tips for Foolproof Filet Mignon + Recipe

Last Updated on December 14, 2023

Filet mignon–it’s the ultimate, the most prized cut of steak. With its luscious, tender texture, filet is a luxurious pleasure to enjoy.

Filet is cut from the small end of the tenderloin, which comes from the back of the cow. Because that’s a less active part of the animal, the muscle doesn’t become tough. 

If you find cooking filet at home intimidating, you’re not alone: It’s a delicate cut, with very little fat and no connective tissue, so precision in cooking is important. Overdo it, and your beautiful filet will end up dry and tough. Medium rare is ideal. With a pricier cut like filet, you want to get it right.

We’ve got you.

Here are 3 key tips, and a simple recipe for perfect filet every time.

1. Cooking over high heat will get you a good sear on the filet, while leaving the center nice and tender. Be sure to pat the steaks dry very thoroughly and wait until your skillet or grill is very hot before cooking. Transfer to a 400ºF oven (or indirect heat on the grill) to finish if it needs further cooking. Remove it from the heat when a meat thermometer reads 120ºF to 125ºF for medium rare, then let it rest before serving.

2. Filet mignon is a great cut for the reverse sear method. Instead of starting with a hot skillet on the stove, you cook the steaks in the oven on a low temperature (250ºF) until it reaches 10 to 15 degrees below the finished temperature. Then you quickly sear it in a hot skillet just to form a crust. This method takes longer, but it’s nearly foolproof. (Bonus tip: Reverse sear is fantastic for any cut that’s an inch or thicker; try it with ribeye, NY strip or a tenderloin roast.)

3. Filet mignon is also delicious cold, thanks to its super-tender texture–and this is a great way to serve it to guests, as the delicate work of cooking it is done in advance. Cook the filet to medium rare, let it cool completely, then wrap well and refrigerate. Slice thinly against the grain and serve with horseradish cream and capers or chopped roasted red peppers. It makes a luxe appetizer, brunch or light supper.

Simple Reverse-Seared Filet Mignon

4.34 from 3 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Stand: 35 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 2 1-inch-thick ButcherBox Filet Mignons about 5 ounces each
  • cooking spray preferably avocado oil or olive oil
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp high-heat cooking fat such as avocado oil or ghee
  • flaky sea salt optional


  • Remove the steaks from the fridge and let them stand on the counter until they reach room temperature, about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 250ºF. Place a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet. Mist the rack with cooking spray.
  • Pat the steaks dry thoroughly with paper towels. Season generously all over with salt; sprinkle lightly with pepper. Place on the rack and bake until an instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part reads 120ºF (for medium rare), 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  • Place a cast iron or other heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat until very hot, 3 to 4 minutes. Swirl the cooking fat over the bottom of the skillet and add the steaks immediately. Cook, flipping with tongs once or twice, until well seared on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the steak to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice the steak against the grain and serve, sprinkling with flaky sea salt, if desired.
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Beth Lipton is a Brooklyn-based recipe developer and writer specializing in food and wellness. Her work has appeared in Clean Eating, Paleo magazine, FoodNetwork.com, Well+Good, Outside, Sleep.com and more. Beth's latest cookbook, Carnivore-ish, featuring 125 animal protein-forward recipes, is available now.