Beef tenderloin is decadent and impressive, but it can cook and rest in just an hour, which makes it appropriate for dinner parties, holiday gatherings, and more.

By Mary Claire Lagroue
Meredith

Special occasions require hours of prep time, but tender, buttery beef tenderloin does not. Ergo, special occasions require beef tenderloin. Don't question our logic. All we're saying is, beef tenderloin tastes super indulgent and can cook and rest in just an hour. Here's how to cook this mouthwatering main, plus our best recipes for beef tenderloin and sides to serve with it.

What Is Beef Tenderloin?

Beef tenderloin costs more than other cuts because its marbled fat makes it extra tender. It comes from a back muscle that doesn't get much exercise. Filet mignon also comes from the muscle we know as tenderloin. When butchers cut the tenderloin into two-inch steaks, it becomes filet mignon.

How to Prepare Beef Tenderloin

One pound of tenderloin equals about four servings. You can purchase a cut of tenderloin without its outside fat and silver skin (a silver-colored strip of connective tissue that runs along the top of the tenderloin), or remove these at home.

Tie the tenderloin at one- to two-inch intervals with cotton twine (butcher’s string). If you're working with a whole tenderloin, cut off the tail (the tapered end), or fold it under and tie it. This helps the tenderloin cook evenly.

Because it's low in fat, beef tenderloin relies on salt and other fats for flavor. Our easy, ever-popular Fabulous Beef Tenderloin Recipe calls for soy sauce and butter. Louise's Herbed Beef Tenderloin tops the tenderloin with olive oil, garlic, and herbs. Herbed and Spiced Roasted Beef Tenderloin coats the roast with an aromatic rub.

How to Cook Beef Tenderloin in the Oven

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

2. Place a three-pound beef tenderloin roast into a shallow glass baking dish. Pour 3/4 cups of low-sodium soy sauce over the beef tenderloin roast, followed by half a cup of melted butter. You can replace half of the soy sauce with red wine for a more complex flavor, reviewer Lisa K recommends, or use the marinade of your choice.

3. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes to brown one side. Then, turn the roast over. After 35 to 40 minutes, rotate the beef again so the presentation side is up. Baste it occasionally until it reaches your desired internal temperature. Then, remove the tenderloin from the pan and cover it with tin foil. Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes to redistribute the juices before slicing it.

How Long to Cook Beef Tenderloin

How long you cook beef tenderloin depends on the size, the oven temperature, and how pink you like it.

  • Rare: 120ºF to 125ºF
  • Medium-rare: 130ºF to 135ºF
  • Medium: 140ºF to 145ºF

What to Serve with Beef Tenderloin

Beef tenderloin pairs best with sides that can stand up to its decadent flavor without stealing the show. These potato and vegetable sides pair nicely for a full meal.

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