The Ultimate Guide to Cooking the Perfect Filet Steak


Filet steak, also known as filet mignon, tenderloin steak, or beef tenderloin, refers to cut of beef taken from the tenderloin, which is a muscle that runs along the spine of the cow. Filet steaks are prized for their tenderness and flavour.

The tenderloin is one of the most tender cuts of beef because these muscles don’t get much exercise, and therefore have less connective tissue. This makes filet steaks melt-in-your-mouth tender. However, the lack of fat marbling means filet steaks are not as inherently flavourful as cuts like ribeye or strip steak.

Properly cooking filet steak is all about bringing out its best qualities – maximizing tenderness while adding flavour. When cooked correctly, the buttery texture of the filet combines beautifully with seasonings and sauces. This makes it a perfect choice for elegant dinners and special occasions.

Buying Quality Filet Steak

When shopping for filet steak, it’s important to look for certain characteristics to ensure you’re getting a high-quality cut of meat. Here’s what to look for:

  • Marbling – This refers to the thin white lines of fat running through the meat. A moderate amount of marbling is ideal as it keeps the meat tender and flavourful during cooking. Avoid cuts with large chunks of fat.
  • Cut Surface – The cut surface of the meat should be bright red and velvety looking. Dry or brown edges mean the steak has been sitting around too long.

Following these tips will help you select tender, juicy, and flavourful filet steaks perfect for cooking up a delicious meal.

Preparing the Steak

Properly preparing your filet steak before cooking is an essential step to ensure the meat cooks evenly and develops maximum flavour. Here are some tips:

  • Take the steak out of the fridge and allow it to come closer to room temperature before cooking. Cold steak will cook unevenly. Take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Generously season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper. Kosher or sea salt is best as the flakes will stick to the meat well. Freshly cracked black pepper adds great flavour. You can also use other dried herbs and spices like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika or rosemary.
  • Optionally, brush or rub the steaks with a thin coating of oil. This helps the seasoning stick and creates a nice sear. Use an oil with a high smoke point like avocado, grapeseed or canola oil.
  • Let the seasoned steaks sit at room temperature for about 15-30 minutes before cooking. This allows the salt to penetrate and seasons the meat all the way through.
  • Pat the steaks very dry with a paper towel right before cooking. You want the surface as dry as possible to get the best sear.

Starting with properly seasoned room temperature steak will ensure you get the perfect cook with a flavourful crust and tender interior every time.

Cooking Methods

There are several excellent methods for cooking a filet steak, each with their own advantages.

Pan Searing

Pan searing is a classic and easy method for cooking filet steak. Use a heavy cast iron or stainless steel pan and get it very hot before adding oil. Brush the steaks with oil then place them in the pan. Sear the steaks for 2-3 minutes per side to get a nice brown crust. Flip only once during cooking. Use tongs instead of a fork to avoid piercing the meat and losing juices. Pan searing keeps the steaks tender and juicy on the inside while providing that flavourful sear on the outside.


Grilling over high heat is another excellent option for cooking filet steaks. Prepare a hot charcoal or gas grill. Place the steaks directly over the heat and grill for 4-7 minutes per side, depending on thickness. The high heat helps sear the outside while keeping the inside pink and juicy. Flip only once during cooking. Grilling imparts a wonderful smoky flavo from the charcoal or wood chips. It allows fat to drip away from the steaks as they cook too.


Broiling in the oven is a convenient hands-off method. Place the steaks on a broiler pan lined with aluminum foil and set the oven to high broil. Broil for 6-8 minutes per side until done to your desired doneness. Keep a close eye to avoid overcooking. The intense overhead heat from the broiler sears the outside of the steaks nicely. Broiling requires no flipping or monitoring during cooking. It lets you easily cook multiple steaks at once too.

Sous Vide

For the most tender and juicy filet steak, cook it using the sous vide technique. Place in a water bath at 130°F for 1-4 hours depending on thickness. This low temperature gently cooks the steaks to medium rare throughout without overcooking the outside. Finish by searing the steaks briefly on each side to get a nice crust. Sous vide yields incredibly tender, evenly cooked steaks edge to edge.

Pan Searing a Filet Steak

Pan searing is a quick and easy method for cooking filet steak with delicious, browned crust on the outside while keeping the inside nice and tender. Follow these simple steps for pan searing filet steak to perfection:


  • 1 filet steak, about 1 inch thick
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter (optional)
  • Fresh thyme or rosemary (optional)


  1. Take the filet steak out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Pat, it dry thoroughly with paper towels.
  2. Season the steak generously on both sides with salt and pepper. You can also rub some olive oil over the steak to help promote browning.
  3. Heat a cast iron or stainless-steel skillet over high heat until very hot. Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
  4. When the oil is shimmering hot, add the steak. Let it sear undisturbed for about 90 seconds until a nice brown crust forms.
  5. Flip the steak over and sear the other side for another 60-90 seconds for medium-rare doneness. Use tongs to lift the steak up and check the browning.
  6. If desired, add a tablespoon of butter, fresh thyme or rosemary to the pan. Tilt the pan and spoon the butter over the steak to baste it.
  7. Remove the steak from the pan and let it rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. The resting time allows the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the meat.


  • Let the pan and oil heat up well before adding the steak. This helps create a better sear.
  • Resist moving the steak around too much. Let it sear undisturbed to get that crust.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check doneness. Pull it off the heat at 115F for rare or 125F for medium-rare.
  • Basting with butter, herbs and garlic adds great flavour. Try mixing them into a compound butter.
  • Letting the steak rest after cooking is crucial for juicy results!

With just a hot skillet and a few minutes, you can enjoy a restaurant-quality filet steak cooked to perfection right at home. The quick sear gives you that flavourful crust while keeping the inside nice and tender.

Grilling a Filet Steak

Grilling is a classic and delicious way to cook a filet steak. Follow these steps for perfect results:


  • Filet steak, about 1-1.5 inches thick
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter, olive oil, or other grilling fat


  1. Take the filet steak out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature, about 30 minutes. This helps it cook more evenly.
  1. Prepare your grill by heating it to high heat. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high. For charcoal, let the coals become hot and ashed over, or use hardwood lump charcoal.
  1. Pat the steak dry with paper towels. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. You can also use other dry rubs or herbs at this stage. Press the seasoning into the meat.
  1. Use a grill brush to clean the grates. Then grease them by rubbing a folded paper towel dipped in oil over the grates. This prevents sticking.
  1. Place the filet steak on the hot grill. Let it sear undisturbed for 2-3 minutes. This creates a nice crust.
  1. Flip the steak using tongs. Cook another 2-3 minutes. Keep flipping every few minutes for even cooking.
  1. Add a knob of butter, olive oil, or other fat to the top of the steak as it grills. This bastes the meat and adds flavour.
  1. Grill to your desired doneness, about 8-12 minutes total for medium-rare. Use the poke test or a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
  1. Let the steak rest off the grill for 5-10 minutes. This allows the juices to reabsorb for a tender, juicy steak.

10. Serve the grilled filet steak hot off the grill. Enjoy!


  • Let the steak come to room temp before grilling for even cooking.
  • Make sure the grill is very hot. Sear over direct high heat.
  • Flip frequently to prevent burning.
  • Add fat or oil to baste the steak as it cooks.
  • Let it rest before slicing for a juicier steak.
  • Resist cutting into it right away! Resting is crucial.
  • For perfect grill marks, rotate the steak 45-90 degrees with each flip.

Grilling really brings out the rich, beefy flavour of a filet steak. Follow these simple steps for the ultimate grilled filet at home.

Broiling a Filet Steak

Broiling is a great hands-off method for cooking filet steak. It involves cooking the steak under direct, intense heat in your oven’s broiler. Follow these steps for broiling the perfect filet steak:


  • 1 filet steak, 1-1.5 inches thick
  • Olive oil or melted butter for brushing
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Herb seasoning (optional)


  1. Take the filet steak out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Pat it dry with paper towels.
  1. Set an oven rack about 6 inches from the broiler and preheat the broiler to high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  1. Brush both sides of the steak lightly with olive oil or melted butter and season generously with salt and pepper. You can also use an herb seasoning like garlic powder, rosemary, or thyme.
  1. Place the steak on the prepared baking sheet. Broil for 4-7 minutes per side, flipping halfway through. The cooking time will depend on thickness and doneness preference.
  1. Use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness. Remove the steak from the oven when it reaches your desired internal temperature. For medium-rare, take it out at 125°F.
  1. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Oven Tips

Keep a close eye on the steak when broiling – it can burn quickly under intense heat.

  • Position the oven rack higher or lower to adjust the intensity of the broiler. Place thick steaks further from the broiler element.
  • For grill marks, broil for 2-3 minutes per side then finish cooking on a hot grill pan.

Broiling is a simple, no-fuss way to get a juicy, evenly cooked filet steak with nice charring. With the right timing, you’ll get restaurant-quality results right from your oven.

Sous Vide Filet Steak

Sous vide is a cooking technique that uses precise temperature control to achieve the perfect level of doneness. It’s a fantastic method for cooking filet steak as it helps ensure the meat is cooked evenly throughout and remains incredibly tender.

Here’s how to sous vide a filet steak:

Equipment Needed

  • Sous vide immersion circulator
  • Large pot or container for water bath
  • Tongs
  • Paper towels


  1. Set your sous vide immersion circulator to 130°F (54°C). This is the ideal temperature to cook filet steak to medium-rare doneness.
  1. Remove the steak from its packaging to season it, you will need sous vide bag to reseal it in.
  1. Once the water has come up to temperature, submerge the bagged steak in the water bath. Cook for 1-2 hours until the centre reaches your desired temperature.
  1. Remove the steak from the bag and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels. Sear the steak for 1 minute per side in a hot pan with oil or butter to develop a nice crust.
  1. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. The steak will be perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge!

Sous vide delivers tender, foolproof filet steak every time. Just be sure to properly sear after cooking to get that nice crust on the outside. Enjoy your sous vide success!

Doneness and Serving

Properly cooking filet steak to the right doneness and serving it with the perfect accompaniments is key to an exceptional steak experience. There are a few techniques for judging the doneness of your filet steak. The most reliable method is using an instant-read thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the steak and it should read:

  • Rare – 120-125°F
  • Medium Rare – 130-135°F
  • Medium – 140-145°F
  • Medium Well – 150-155°F
  • Well Done – 160°F+

You can also use the finger test by comparing the firmness of the meat to the fleshy part of your hand. Rare is soft and spongy, medium rare is slightly firmer but still spongy. Medium is firm with minimal give, and well done is hard with no sponginess.

The final doneness technique is cutting into the steak to visually inspect the interior colour. Rare will be bright red throughout, medium rare is bright red centre with pink around the edges, medium is light pink all over, and well done has no pink.

Once your filet steak is cooked, let it rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. This allows the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the meat for a moist and tender bite. Resist the urge to cut into it right away!

When it comes to sauces for filet steak, classic options include béarnaise, au poivre, red wine reduction, chimichurri, and compound butter. These all pair wonderfully with the rich flavour of filet. For side dishes, roasted or mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, creamed spinach, and roasted brussels sprouts make excellent accompaniments. A filet steak dinner is truly a special occasion meal to savour.