Filet Mignon

updated Dec 22, 2023
Valentine's Day

How to cook perfectly tender and juicy filet mignon crowned with garlic butter.


Prep15 minutes

Cook35 minutes

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If you equate filet mignon with fancy, it’s probably because it’s something you order at a celebratory dinner in a steakhouse or buy once a year for Valentine’s Day. This small, extremely tender steak comes with a high price tag, so if you’re cooking it at home, you want to make sure it’s perfect when it’s time to eat.

Here’s our foolproof method for making a crusty-on-the-outside, fork-tender-on-the-inside steak that’s finished with a garlic butter to melt and pool around it all.

The Ingredients You’ll Need for Filet Mignon

  • Filet mignon: Plan on one (6-ounce) steak per person, and get ones that are about 1 1/2-inches thick.
  • Salt and pepper: Season the steaks with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Vegetable oil: You’ll need a little bit of vegetable oil to sear the filet mignons at the end.
  • Garlic butter ingredients: To make the compound butter, you’ll need unsalted butter, garlic, a spring of parsley, and salt.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

What’s the Best Way to Cook Filet Mignon?

The answer for perfectly cooked filet mignon lies in a process called the reverse sear. Pioneered by J. Kenji López-Alt when he was at Cook’s Illustrated, the reverse sear method is the opposite of how steaks are traditionally cooked. Instead of searing over high heat and then finishing the cooking in the oven — which results in a gray band of meat around a pink center — the steaks are slowly and evenly cooked in a low-temperature oven until they are about fifteen degrees from your desired doneness.

To finish cooking and get that tasty browned crust on the outside, the steaks are quickly seared in a super-hot pan, which also gives them the complex flavors and textures you crave. You’re left with a perfectly medium-rare filet mignon that’s beautifully burnished on the outside but evenly pink on the inside.

What Cut of Steak Is Filet Mignon?

Filet mignon are steaks cut from the smaller end of the tenderloin, and while it’s the most tender part of the animal, it’s also one of the smallest, thus the hefty price tag.

Filet mignon is free of any tough muscle, but it’s also lean and doesn’t have much fat. This means that it cooks extremely quickly, but can just as easily overcook and become dry and tough. Our technique ensures your pricey steak is cooked just the way you want it to be.

How Long Do I Cook Filet Mignon?

The whole cook time is under about 30 minutes after I tweaked Lopez-Alt’s method a little bit to ensure consistent results and a tasty crust.

Setting the oven at 275ºF slowly cooks the steaks evenly but fairly quickly — 20 to 30 minutes. For searing afterward, a little extra oil and about a minute on each side produced a tasty dark-brown crust.

What Temperature Do I Cook Filet Mignon To?

Make sure you have an accurate thermometer, which is key to this cooking method. You’ll use it to check the internal temperature of the steak to know when to take it out of the oven.

For medium rare, aim for about 115°F. If you’d like the steak more rare or more well-cooked, add or subtract 10 degrees for each level of doneness. Remember that the steaks will continue cooking out of the oven and during the searing process and can go up to 10 degrees higher.

How Do I Serve Filet Mignon?

Reverse-seared filet mignon is tender, juicy, and delicious, but it never hurts to gild the lily. While the steak’s in the oven, make a simple garlic butter by mashing some garlic, parsley, butter, and salt together. Dollop this onto the just-seared steaks and watch magic happen as the butter melts and mingles with the meat, letting you dip each bite of steak into buttery heaven.

As for some sides to serve with filet mignon, here are some great ideas:

Filet Mignon Recipe

How to cook perfectly tender and juicy filet mignon crowned with garlic butter.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 4 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 4

    (1 1/2-inch thick) filet mignon steaks (about 6 ounces each)

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 clove


  • 1 sprig

    fresh parsley

  • 2 tablespoons

    vegetable oil


  • Rimmed baking sheet

  • Wire rack

  • Aluminum foil

  • Chef's knife

  • Cutting board

  • Measuring spoons

  • Tongs

  • Small bowl

  • Large frying pan, preferably cast iron

  • Instant-read thermometer

  • Paper towels

  • Kitchen twine


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  1. Soften the butter. Place 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small bowl and let sit at room temperature until softened. Meanwhile, start cooking the filet mignons.

  2. Heat the oven to 275°F. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 275°F. Fit a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.

  3. Dry and season the steaks. Pat 4 filet mignon steaks dry with paper towels. Tie kitchen twine around each steak to help it maintain a round shape if desired. Season all over with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and 1/2 teapsoon black pepper, then place on the wire rack.

  4. Slow roast. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of a steak registers about 115°F for medium rare, 20 to 30 minutes (start checking at 20 minutes). If you’d like the steak more rare or more well-cooked, add or subtract 10 degrees for each level of doneness. Meanwhile, make the garlic butter.

  5. Make the garlic butter. Finely chop 1 garlic clove until you have 1 teaspoon. Pick the leaves from 1 fresh parsley sprig and finely chop until you have 1 1/2 teaspoons. Add the garlic, parsley, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt to the bowl of butter. Smash with the back of a fork until well combined.

  6. Heat the pan for searing. When the steaks are about 5 degrees from the desired temperature, heat the oil in a large frying pan, preferably cast-iron, over high heat until just starting to smoke.

  7. Sear the steaks. Add the steaks and sear until a dark golden-brown crust forms, about 1 minute per side. Using tongs, turn the steaks onto their sides and hold them there to also sear the edges, rotating them until all the edges are browned.

  8. Serve the steaks with the garlic butter. Divide the garlic butter over the steaks. Transfer to serving plates and let sit until mostly melted, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The garlic butter can be made and refrigerated up to 5 days ahead. Let sit at room temperature while cooking the filet mignon so that it softens slightly.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.