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overhead shot of sliced. beef tenderloin

Best Beef Tenderloin Recipe

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Chill: 8 hours
Total Time: 10 hours
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 787kcal
Author: Becky Hardin
Tenderloin is one of the best cuts of meat, so it deserves to be cooked right. Learn my Mom's method for how to cook the perfect tenderloin for an amazing main course dish to serve on the holidays or special occasions. This beef just melts in your mouth, it's one to remember.
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  • 3 pounds beef tenderloin center-cut (also called chateaubriand)
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup black peppercorns crushed
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
  • 1 shallot roughly chopped

For Serving (Optional)



    One to Two Days Ahead...

    • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside or over the baking sheet.
    • 3 pounds beef tenderloin
    • Generously season all sides with salt and peppercorns (or pepper).
      Kosher salt, ¼ cup black peppercorns
    • Set the beef on the wire rack and transfer to the refrigerator (uncovered) to chill for at least 8 hours and up to 48 hours.

    When Ready to Cook...

    • Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 225°F.
    • Place the beef with the rack and baking sheet onto the kitchen counter 30 minutes before cooking.
    • After 30 minutes, transfer the tenderloin/rack/baking sheet to the oven and cook 2-3 hours, or until a meat thermometer, placed in the center of the tenderloin, registers 120°-125°. Remove the beef from the oven for 10 minutes and cut off the twine.

    To Finish Under the Broiler...

    • Place the oven rack 6 inches from the broiler element and set the oven to broil.
    • Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Melt the butter, while gently swirling the pan, until foaming subsides and butter turns a light brown and has a nutty fragrance (be careful not to burn the butter).
      ½ cup unsalted butter
    • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the thyme, garlic and shallots. Cook 30-60 seconds after the crackling stops. Pour the seasoned butter through a mesh strainer over a medium bowl.
      4 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 cloves garlic, 1 shallot
    • Pour the butter mixture evenly over the tenderloin and brush with a silicone brush or baste with a spoon until all surfaces are coated.
    • Place the pan with the tenderloin under the broiler and broil, turning every 30 seconds, until meat is browned on all sides, baste each time the meat is turned.
    • Transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board. Let is rest 5-10 minutes and slice into ½–inch slices.
    • To serve, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and chives (if desired) and serve with Brandy Peppercorn Sauce, our personal favorite (see recipe) or Horseradish Sauce (see recipe).
      Coarse sea salt, Brandy Peppercorn Sauce, Mustard Cream Sauce, Chopped fresh chives



    Recipe adapted from: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt Serious Eats 
    • This Beef Tenderloin is roasted at a low temperature and, using the reverse-sear technique, then finished under the broiler. Slow cooking the beef first allows for even cooking from the edge to center of the beef. Broiling and basting the tenderloin, at the end of cooking, will add color and flavor.
    • I do not recommend cooking beef tenderloin beyond 140°F, as it can turn dry and tough.
    • Temperature Guide
      • For rare tenderloin: 125-130°F
      • For medium-rare tenderloin: 130-140°F
      • For medium tenderloin: 140-150°F
      • For medium-well tenderloin: 150-160°F
    • Nutritional information does not include optional ingredients.
    Storage: Store beef tenderloin in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


    Serving: 0.5lb | Calories: 787kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 65g | Saturated Fat: 30g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 25g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 199mg | Sodium: 503mg | Potassium: 847mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 0.4g | Vitamin A: 559IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 6mg