Here’s the best quick version on how to cook filet mignon. This steak is a delicate cut of meat with a tender middle, and, when cooked well, it makes a memorable meal.
Get a fresh cut of meat from the butcher, season it generously with salt and freshly ground pepper, heat an oven-safe skillet on the stove, then add the filet mignon and sear it on all sides to brown it. Place the seared filet in the oven at 400F, and then wait until it’s at your desired degree of doneness.
Unless you are a master at feeling the doneness of a steak by pressing on it, you will want to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Find meat thermometer guidelines here.
Why Choose Filet Mignon Instead of Any Other Meat Cut?
The filet mignon is, quite possibly, one of the best meat cuts you can get. This isn’t a personal opinion – it’s a statement of fact!
The filet mignon comes from a part of the cow that gets no stress and little to no movement. This means the filet will have close to no muscle development, a perfect thing if you’re looking for extra-tender meat.
A lot of people feel turned off by the idea of filet mignon because it’s an overpriced item at restaurants – but when cooked at home it’s just as delicious at a fraction of the price.
What to Look for When Buying Filet Mignon
Filet mignon is a pricey cut of beef. That means you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. Here are some characteristics to keep an eye out for when buying this cut of meat.
Filet mignon generally has a lower amount of fat than other beef cuts, so don’t expect a lot of marbling. If you are looking for a fattier cut of meat that is more expensive, look for some wagyu. The more marbling a cut of meat has, the more flavor it can potentially offer when cooked well.
Make sure the filet mignon’s color shows rich pinkish red. Stay away from meat that looks close to expiring and is graying or has yellowing fat. Yellow fat and greying meat is a sign the cut of meat is not as fresh as it was when first cut.
A center cut of filet mignon cooks easier. Filet, depending on the cut, can either be the primary muscle of the cut or consist of the two muscles of the area. The center cut is the primary muscle.
Since made of just one muscle instead of two, a center cut cooks with more consistency, and you don’t need to worry about two muscles dividing into sections when you cook the filet mignon.
The USDA has a grading system that rates how nice a cut of meat is. You want to go for a prime or choice grade if available.
Try to select cuts of filet mignon that are about the same thickness. That way you can be sure that you’ll get a perfectly cooked filet mignon in about the same amount of time. Different butchers sell them in different size cuts. Sometimes only 1 inch cuts are available, but you can also ask the butcher for a thicker cut. Be aware that the thicker the cut of meat, the longer it will take to cook throughout.
How to Cook Filet Mignon: Step-by-Step
Here is a step-by-step guide to cooking filet mignon deliciously. This filet mignon recipe is our favorite, and we hope you love it too.
- 1 Filet mignon
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
Prepping the Filet Mignon
Armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to cook the steak filet. Get out those ingredients because we’re grilling up a perfect filet mignon recipe!
Step 1: Start with a fresh cut
The key to a perfect filet steak is getting a fresh cut of meat. If it is a few days old, it isn’t going to taste as good. Try to get the steak from the butcher the day of or the day before it will be cooked.
If you have to freeze the steak, be sure to thaw it out in the refrigerator over night.
Step 2: Season generously
Remove the steak from the fridge and let it rest for 30 minutes. Season the steak generously with salt and pepper.
Cook Filet Mignon: Skillet and Oven
Cooking the filet is quick and easy. In this recipe, we grill filet mignon before baking it to give it that crispy, crunchy outer.
Step 1: Preheat oven and skillet
Preheat the oven at high heat, 400F (205C ), and while you’re waiting for a hot oven, also heat up an oven-friendly skillet such as a cast iron pan.
Drizzle a little olive oil on the skillet and bring it to medium heat. Add some butter high in saturated fat for extra crustiness
Here are some ideas for which cast iron skillet size will work well for this recipe.
Step 2: Cook the filet mignon
Once the skillet has reached temperature, fry the filet on the cast iron skillet or any oven-safe skillet. Pan searing for about 2 minutes per side will give you a perfect crusty sear that everyone will love. Let the steak cook undisturbed on each side rather than flipping it over several times.
We know your cast iron skillet might get a bit dirty after this, so here are some tips on how to clean your cast iron skillet after a day of pan searing is over.
Step 3: Move the steak into the oven
Once you’ve seared the filet on both sides, put the skillet in the preheated oven. You can also use a baking sheet instead of a skillet, but we recommend using a cast iron skillet for rich flavor. The exact amount of time it takes for a steak to reach the desired internal temp will depend on the thickness of the cut. The estimated cooking times are based on our cooking experience with a 2 inch thick filet:
Filet Cooking Times:
- Medium rare, it will take about 6 minutes.
- Medium, it will take about 8 minutes.
- Medium well can take 10 minutes or so.
- Well done will take at least 12 minutes.
Check the temperature with a meat thermometer before serving the steak to be certain is has reached the desired temperature.
Step 4: Remove and let the steak rest
Once the desired temperature and desired doneness has been reached (for a perfect medium rare steak or medium well), remove the skillet from the oven and put the steaks on a plate, and let the steaks rest for 5 minutes, or until the meat reaches room temperature.
When plating steak, be sure it has had time to rest. If you serve immediately, the steak will leak juices on the plate you serve it on. Pair it with garlic mashed potatoes or mixed roasted vegetables for a hearty meal.
Tips for Eating Filet Mignon Steaks
What goes with a filet steak? The best steak recipe is the one that’s been adjusted to your and your family’s preferences. Here are our most attractive toppings and sides to get your creative juices flowing:
- Top with ground pepper
- Fry on medium high heat and add butter for an extra crusty sear
- Sprinkle on coarse kosher salt when the steak reaches room temperature and everything’s said and done
How Do I Get a Good Sear When Cooking Steaks?
When cooking steak to a nice crust, you need to heat your pan to a high temperature before pouring the oil (or add butter). Let the oil get close to smoking before you place your fillet mignon in the pan. That’s the only way to achieve that nice sear!
Why Is My Filet Mignon Tough to Chew?
There are many potential causes for chewy steak. If the steak is not fresh, it could turn out a bit chewy when cooked.
Another potential cause of chewy steak is overcooking it. If you keep an eye on the temperature of the meat with a thermometer, then you should be able to avoid this problem.
What Is Sous Vide?
Sous vide is a method of cooking steak that involves cooking the steak in a vacuum-sealed container in a water bath. The results are mouth-wateringly flavorful and the meat is extra tender in the middle.
Anytime you cook filets with oil on the stove, especially in this filet recipe, it’s a good idea to keep some baking soda within easy reach. You probably won’t have to use it, but baking soda will quickly put out an oil fire. Being on the safe side and always keeping baking soda in the kitchen definitely wouldn’t hurt.
Remember to never use water to try and put out an oil fire! Since water and oil naturally don’t mix, the water will simply splash the oil around and potentially cause the fire to spread.
Learning how to cook filet mignon can up your kitchen skills, and there’s never an end to mastering your best filet. Here’s some extra reading for restaurant quality home cooking, plus a side dish we feel fits right in. Let us know what you think!
- How to Cook a Perfect Steak in the Oven
- Plate your steak with a side of okra or asparagus.
Perfect Filet Mignon
- 1 grill pan
- 1 Oven
- 1 regular filet mignon
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
- Thaw a frozen filet in the refrigerator overnight.
- Remove the steak from the fridge and let it rest for 30 minutes then season the steak generously with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven at high heat, 400F (205C ), and while you're waiting for a hot oven, also heat up an oven-safe skillet.
- Drizzle a little olive oil on the skillet and bring it to medium heat.
- Once the skillet has reached temperature, pan-fry the filet.
- Grill the filet mignon for just 2 minutes per side until crusty.
- Once you’ve seared the filet on both sides, put the skillet in the oven.
- Bake the steak according to the doneness you prefer. For example: For medium rare, it will take about 6 minutes. Medium, it will take about 8 minutes. Medium well can take 10 minutes or so. Well done will take at least 12 minutes.
- Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer before serving the steak to be certain is has reached the desired internal temperature.
- Remove the skillet from the oven, put the steak on a plate, let it rest for 5 minutes, then serve.