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How to Cook Filet Mignon — And Everything You Need to Know About the Tender Cut

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Gloriously tender filet mignon is one the most prized cuts of steak you can serve. With no connective tissue to add fat or toughness, the little rounds of steak are smooth and buttery.

Such great steak can be tricky to prepare properly, and nothing is worse than spending a premium price on luxe meat only for it to turn into an overcooked hunk of beef.

That’s why we’re giving you all the tools you need to make perfectly cooked filet mignon steaks at home. Below you’ll learn what makes filet mignon unique, a foolproof cooking technique, as well as a few new recipes for getting started in your own kitchen and cooking the perfect filet mignon.

The Cut

Famous for their buttery smooth texture and mild flavor, filet mignons are cut from the center of the tenderloin on the cow. As the term “beef tenderloin” suggests, filet mignons are the most tender cut of steak you can buy.

They’re also extremely sought after due to their scarcity: An average cow provides no more than 500 grams of filet mignon meat.

The meat’s tenderness comes from the lack of connective tissue, as the muscle in the cow bears no weight. And while it’s not as robustly flavored as other cuts of steak like ribeye or New York strip (you can also blame this on the lack of connective tissue), filet mignon’s mild flavor makes it ideal for all sorts of pan sauces and glazes, as well as bacon-wrapping preparations.

Grass-fed filet mignon, in particular, boasts unique marbling and tons of depth.

It’s often quite expensive to purchase filet mignon at a steakhouse, and while the premium cut may come with a premium price tag, it’s always more affordable to cook it up at home. Plus, you don’t run the risk of shelling out hundreds to a restaurant that over-cooks this supremely tender cut.

Below, we’ll detail the best ways to prepare filet mignon at home, at a fraction of the price you’ll find in restaurants.

How to Cook Filet Mignon

Filet mignons respond well to high heat, fast cooking preparations. The most common way to prepare it involves quickly searing it on the stovetop, then finishing it in the oven at a lower temperature. This ensures a good crust on the outside of the meat and an evenly cooked, tender finish.

Filet mignons are typically served rarer than other cuts, as overcooking them destroys their buttery mouthfeel.

  • To sear and bake filet mignon, first preheat the oven to 350°F and heat some oil in a large, heavy cast-iron skillet on the stovetop. Give a nice sear to the filet mignons for two to three minutes a side, until a brown crust forms.
  • Transfer the skillet with the steaks to the oven. Cook for six to eight minutes. Remove the steaks when they’re perfectly medium-rare, with a temperature of 120°F.
  • Let them rest at room temperature for at least eight minutes. If you’d like to slice them, do so thinly against the grain.

There are, of course, other ways to prepare filet mignon that are equally as delicious. You can grill them, broil them, cut them up and serve them in a stew, and wrap them up in bacon before putting them in the oven. For more ideas, check out the recipes below.

Filet Mignon Recipes

filet mignon with brown butter recipe

Chef Yankel’s One Pan Filet Mignon with Rosemary Brown Butter and Sauteed Veggies

This easy recipe bastes filet mignons in rosemary and butter, finishing them off in the oven. They’re served atop a quick-cooking bed of sautéed Brussels sprouts, peas and smashed carrots, then drizzled with a nutty brown butter that makes this a meal to truly die for.

Gluten-Free Beef Wellington with Bacon Jam

Here’s a unique way to prepare filet mignon: Wrap it in a buttery, gluten-free dough and bake it off. You’ll have juicy, impossibly tender meat on the inside, and a soft, melt-in-your-mouth bread-like dough on the outside. Oh, and you won’t have to fret about gluten!

Bacon-Wrapped Filet with Buttermilk Smashed Potatoes and Mushroom Red Wine Sauce

bacon-wrapped filet mignon

As discussed before, filet mignon’s lack of fat makes it ideal for wrapping with unctuous bacon. This indulgent meal is served beside creamy smashed multicolor potatoes and a super-rich mushroom red wine sauce made from pan juices, assorted umami mushrooms, red wine, and heavy cream.

Pepper Crusted Filet with Bacon Cider-Braised Red Cabbage

This simple but gorgeous filet mignon meal first sears then bakes the steaks, which are seasoned with salt and crusted with a coarse ground pepper medley. The filets are served atop a bed of braised red cabbage, complete with chunks of bacon and notes of apple cider.

Herb-Crusted Filet with Warm Beet and Bacon Salad

This recipe first crusts the filets with a mélange of herbs, like chives, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and tarragon. This imparts big flavors, of course, as does the searing and baking process it goes through. When served with a warm beet and bacon salad, this healthy but delicious meal is the perfect way to showcase filet mignon’s versatility.

Chef Yankel’s Filet Beef Bourguignon

Speaking of versatility, try using filet mignon as an impossibly-tender stew meat in this beef bourguignon recipe. You’ll love that it comes together in 30 minutes and that it’s an insanely rich way to serve up filet mignon. Serve atop a buttery heap of mashed potatoes, of course.

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Courtney Hamilton
Courtney Hamilton is a writer and editor with over seven years' experience in journalism, blogging, communications, and other media. She has written for publications like PaleoHacks, PaleoPlan, The Center for American Progress, OC Weekly, and more. 
 
Check out more of her work at www.courtney-hamilton.com.