Pan-Seared Filet Mignon Recipe

4.73 from 239 votes
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Pan-sear filet mignon in a cast iron skillet once and you will never grill steak again (unless you absolutely have to grill filet mignon). There are plenty of ways to cook tenderloin steak but this recipe is by far my favorite along with reverse searing. If you go out to a nice steakhouse then this is most likely the method they are using to cook your steak.

Perfect pink medium rare filet mignon sliced in half on a cutting board.

Filet mignon is known for its tenderness and buttery texture. They have a delicate flavor compared to other cuts of beef, such as pan-seared ribeye or New York strip. It is often considered a luxury cut and is usually reserved for special occasions.

Because filet mignon is a lean cut of meat, it is important to cook it properly to avoid drying it out. I recommend cooking it to medium-rare or medium doneness to preserve its tenderness and juiciness.

If you enjoyed this recipe, I highly recommend you also check out my blueberry glazed filet mignon, balsamic glazed filet mignon, and bacon-wrapped filet mignon. If you’re looking for a good steak to share with a crowd, look no further than my porterhouse steak recipe with dipping sauces or my surf and turf recipe for two!

Why This Recipe Works

The secret to cooking the perfect steak is combining pan searing with an oven finish. This gives you a nicely seared exterior (high heat) with a juicy and evenly cooked interior (indirect lower heat).

The overall consistency and predictability of this cooking technique give this recipe a very high success rate on the very first try. I’ve followed it to the T with great success with hundreds of steaks. If this is your first time preparing filet mignon or if you’re struggling to get it right, then this recipe is for you.

Ingredients

  • 10-12 ounce tenderloin beef filets (roughly 1.5- 2 inches thick): look for steaks that are about 2 inches thick and appear plump and deep red in color. Avoid steaks with signs of browning or slimy texture.
  • Salt and pepper: for seasoning and optional dry brining.
  • Vegetable or canola oil: these oils are best for searing because they have a higher smoke point than butter or olive oil.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities below.

Seasoning the Steak

Remove your steak from the fridge 1 hour before cooking to bring it closer to room temp. This is going to ensure even cooking and more accurate cooking times. Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and season generously with coarse sea salt or kosher salt and pepper.

Seasoned raw filet mignon steak.

Dry Brining Steak

You can take seasoning one step further with dry brining. Dry brining is the process of drying out the exterior of the steak with salt before cooking, locking in the juices, and enhancing the flavor. To dry brine steak, place the steaks on a wire rack set on a baking sheet and season liberally with coarse sea salt or kosher salt, and pepper. Place the steaks in the fridge uncovered for at least one hour or preferably overnight. The drier steak surface will make for even better crusting.

Steak should still rest on the counter for at least 30-45 minutes before cooking to climatize. No additional salt or seasoning is required.

How to Cook Filet Mignon

The secret to cooking the perfect filet mignon is to combine pan searing with an oven finish. Why is this the best way to cook filet mignon? This method gives your filet a nice seared exterior with a perfectly juicy and tender inside that’s evenly cooked throughout. A cast iron skillet allows you to easily transfer your steak from the stovetop to the oven, making this a simple recipe to master.

To summarize, sear filets for 2 minutes per side on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet on high heat with butter or oil and then immediately transfer to a preheated oven at 415°F. I typically bake filets for about 5-6 minutes for medium-rare.

Quick Tip

Precisely timing your cooking time for steak always yields consistent results. I use my phone to time each side on the skillet and then in the oven. If you adhere to strict cooking times, I promise you will never overcook a steak again.

Step 1.

Leave the butter on the counter to soften or place it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until malleable, 10-15 seconds. Use a fork to mash in the herbs and garlic until fully mixed. Store in the refrigerator and remove 10 minutes before adding to the filet.

Garlic and herb compound butter for steak.

Step 2.

Preheat the oven to 415°F. Remove the steak from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking, this is to bring the steak to room temperature and ensure your cooking times are more accurate. Season all sides liberally with salt and pepper. This can be done while your steak comes to room temp.

Seasoning raw filet mignon with salt and pepper.

Step 3.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil (all you need is a very light coating) to an oven-safe cast iron skillet and turn the heat up high, allowing the skillet to become very hot. Twirl the pan to distribute oil as it heats. Once the oil starts to smoke, place the filets face down and sear undisturbed for 2 minutes. Flip the filets and sear for an additional 2 minutes. This will give your filets a nice seared edge.

Pan searing filet mignon in a cast iron skillet.

Step 4.

Optionally add some herb butter and a whole garlic clove/herbs to the pan before transferring it to the oven. The butter will melt and the herbs will season the pan drippings for a later step. Transfer your skillet directly to the oven. [WARNING] skillet may be hot, handle it with oven mitts. For rare, bake for 4 minutes. Medium rare, 5-6 minutes. Medium, 6-7 minutes. Medium well, 8-9 minutes. Remember, depending on the size of the steak, the more or less time it will take. This recipe is ideal for an 8-10 ounce portion, roughly 1.5-2 inches thick.

Step 5.

Optionally spoon some of the seasoned pan drippings over the steak to infuse it with extra flavor.

Step 6.

Remove filets from the skillet and set them on a plate or cutting board and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. This is important to bring your steak to its final serving temperature.

Basting filet mignon with butter pan drippings.
Pan seared filet mignon on a butcher block topped with garlic and herb butter.

Step 7.

Top with a slice of garlic and herb butter and serve.

Temperature for Steak

The timing/temperature chart below corresponds to the pan sear/oven method in this recipe. It’s a great guide assuming you choose a steak of similar size and thickness as listed in the recipe. I recommend a digital thermometer to verify your steak’s internal temperature for the desired level of doneness. Always measure in the middle of the thickest part of the steak.

DonenessInternal TempOven Duration
Very Rare/rare120°F to 125°F 4 minutes
Medium rare125°F to 130°F5-6 minutes
Medium135°F to 140°F6-7 minutes
Medium well145°F to 150°F8-9 minutes
Well done160°F and above10+ minutes

SMOKE WARNING: Cooking steaks at high temps in a skillet tends to get smokey. Open a kitchen window and turn on your kitchen’s overhead vent fan before you start to help with ventilation.

Let Steaks Rest

The legend, Anthony Bourdain once said, the most important aspect of cooking any steak is the rest period after you take it off the heat. Letting a steak rest for 5-7 minutes before cutting is critical for two reasons. One, it continues to actually cook the steak. Second, the juices evenly distribute throughout the meat, yielding the perfect bite every time. Always let your steaks rest!

What to Serve With Filet Mignon

You can never go wrong with steak and potatoes. Pair this porterhouse steak with my parmesan roasted fingerling potatoes or my garlic butter roasted red potatoes. If you’re looking for ultra-crispy potatoes, try my pesto smashed potatoes! If you prefer mashed potatoes, try my rich and delicious cream cheese mashed potatoes.

My favorite veggie of choice will always be my roasted bacon and parmesan Brussels sprouts. Make this recipe surf and turf with pan-seared lemon butter scallops or baked lobster tails.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a cast iron skillet?

Cast iron is really versatile and can be used for so many different recipes on my site. Here is the one I have. Any oven-safe pan should do the trick, however, as a disclaimer, I based the cook times and results on cast iron.

What if I don’t have an oven-safe pan?

If you don’t have an oven-safe pan, you can sear your filets on the stovetop and then transfer them to a baking sheet lined with a wire rack. This method works really well at keeping your steaks elevated from the direct heat while in the oven. Just note, this will likely add additional baking time.

What if I’m cooking more than 4 filets?

If cooking more than 4 steaks on a standard skillet, you may need to adjust the cooking times. I wouldn’t attempt to cook more than 6 filets at a time in a single skillet because the heat loss is going to be too significant.

Why is my steak undercooked?

It’s very important to start with steak that’s had a chance to warm up on the counter. Cooking cold steaks is going to impact cooking times significantly. Also, be sure you’re starting with a very hot skillet. You should not add your steak until the oil is smoking.

I’m cooking steak for a very large crowd. What should I do?

This is a difficult recipe to pull off for 10-12 people unless you have two skillets. If cooking for a larger crowd I would also suggest reverse searing a whole tenderloin or cooking your steaks on the grill. Learn how to grill your filet mignon here.

More Steak Recipes

Enjoy this recipe? If you made this recipe, please leave a ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ star rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments!
4.73 from 239 votes

Pan-Seared Filet Mignon Recipe

Servings: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
The only filet mignon recipe you will ever need. Never grill steak again—the fail-proof method to cooking the perfect filet mignon.

Ingredients 

  • 4, 10 ounce thick tenderloin beef filets, roughly 1.5- 2 inches thick
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil, can use 1 tbsp butter but it has a lower smoke point

Garlic & Herb Butter

  • 1/2 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic

Instructions 

For the herb butter

  • Leave the butter on the counter to soften or place it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until malleable, 10-15 seconds. Use a fork to mash in the herbs and garlic until fully mixed. Store in the refrigerator and remove 10 minutes before adding to the filet.

For the filets

  • Preheat the oven to 415°F. Remove the steak from the fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking, this is to bring the steak to room temperature and ensure your cooking times are more accurate. Season all sides liberally with salt and pepper. This can be done while your steak comes to room temp.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of oil (all you need is a very light coating) to an oven-safe cast iron skillet and turn the heat up high, allowing the skillet to become very hot. Twirl the pan to distribute oil as it heats. Once the oil starts to smoke, place the filets face down and sear undisturbed for 2 minutes. Flip the filets and sear for an additional 2 minutes. This will give your filets a nice seared edge.
  • Optionally add some herb butter and a whole garlic clove/herbs to the pan before transferring it to the oven. The butter will melt and the herbs will season the pan drippings for a later step. Transfer your skillet directly to the oven. [WARNING] skillet may be hot, handle it with oven mitts. For rare, bake for 4 minutes. Medium rare, 5-6 minutes. Medium, 6-7 minutes. Medium well, 8-9 minutes. Remember, depending on the size of the steak, the more or less time it will take. This recipe is ideal for an 8-10 ounce portion, roughly 1.5-2 inches thick.
  • Optionally spoon some of the seasoned pan drippings over the steak to infuse it with extra flavor.
  • Remove filets from the skillet and set them on a plate and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. This is important to bring your steak to its final serving temperature.
  • Top with a slice of garlic and herb butter and serve.

Video

Notes

Cooking steaks at high temps in a skillet tends to get smokey. Open a kitchen window and turn on your kitchen’s overhead vent fan before you start to help with ventilation.
If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet or pan, sear the steaks first and then transfer them to a baking sheet lined with a wire rack. This method works really well at keeping your steaks elevated from the direct heat source but will also add additional cooking time to your oven duration. Plan on 2-3 additional minutes.
Temperatures for steak
Rare: 120°F to 125°F
Medium rare: 125°F to 130°F
Medium: 135°F to 140°F
Medium well: 145°F to 150°F
Well done: 160°F and above

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 858kcalCarbohydrates: 1.1gProtein: 55.4gFat: 67.5gSaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 233mgSodium: 552mgFiber: 0.4g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
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About Shawn Williams

My name is Shawn, author behind Kitchen Swagger. I'm a food & drink enthusiast bringing you my own simple and delicious restaurant-inspired recipes.

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Recipe Rating




518 Comments

  1. Your filet mignon recipe in a cast iron pan is the best I have every had. The only way I will make them
    from now on.

  2. 5 stars
    Perfect technique for filets; foolproof. Paired the tasty; perfectly cooked filets with roasted broccoli, Anthony Bourdain’s Tartiflette Potatoes and a great Cab—DELISH. Shawn, thanks for sharing your error proof Filet recipe. Cheers!

  3. 4 stars
    Very nearly foolproof—I think the oven cooking times will come out rarer than described so consider adding a couple minutes. The sear is perfect though and overall these turned out amazing!!

  4. My brother sent us some Omaha Steaks, so we tried two of the filets with this recipe and the other two on the grill. I followed the recipe pretty closely but didn’t have fresh rosemary or tarragon, but the butter, garlic, and dried rosemary were still delicious! I pan-seared, then put in the oven for 5 min with garlic cloves and cherry tomatoes.

    1. Your filet mignon recipe in a cast iron pan is the best I have every had. The only way I will make them
      from now on.

  5. This is a really easy recipe to cook filet mignon.
    Admittedly, I don’t do any of the herb butter parts of this recipe. I simply season the steak with salt and pepper and then follow the cooking instructions.
    One thing I’ll mention is that the oven cooking times did not work for me and the first time I tried this recipe, the steak was very rare. I like my steak somewhere between medium-rare and medium (warm pink center) so I cook it in the oven for 9 or 10 minutes after the sear. Of course, this is all very dependent on the height of the steak. I typically buy mine at Whole Foods and they are on the taller side.

  6. 5 stars
    I made filet mignon for my family for dinner tonight and they absolutely loved it! I prepared it exactly how you said to and it was absolutely perfect!! Thank you for sharing your recipe and tips! Abby G

  7. 5 stars
    Cast-iron, Pan-seared, bacon-wrapped fillets finished in the oven at 415 degrees. So tasty. Turned out perfect.