Servings: 4 Prep: 5 min Cook: 15 min Total: 20 min
One of the most common questions asked, since the day I stepped into a professional kitchen is … “How do I cook a steak?”
Truth be told, there are a million ways, a variety of methods, a plethora of seasonings, many theories, etc. I’m going to suggest the following based on a beef tenderloin steak, but suggest that the concepts can be applied to most cuts of a (quickly cooked) grilled, sautéed or roasted beef cut (nothing braised, smoked or slow roasted, mind you … those are very different approaches). This recipe is a generalization, but contains enough tips that they can be applied to several different cuts for a delicious well seasoned “beef flavored” steak!
Beef Purchasing Thoughts: Beef is one of those things where you can spend A LOT of money for an aged kobe beef. You can splurge for some organic, grass fed beef (this is what I go for, when I can find it. It’s quite good for you, but is a touch more gamey and dry than you might be accustomed to). You can pick up whatever is on sale at the local store, etc. It depends on your price point, as well as … your dinner guests. Sometimes you want to impress, others … not so much. For me, personally, no matter what, I tend to buy a whole large piece (tenderloin, prime rib, etc.) of meat, trim it and break it into steaks, myself. It’s much cheaper this way. Then, I’m personally in the habit of vacuum packing and freezing my steaks for later use. Yes, this can diminish the quality of the meat, but not so much that it prevents me from doing it, to save some time and money down the road. I live in Mexico and tend to get my meat from CostCo or a local restaurant distributor, but for those of you with access to great butchers or farmers, I suggest striking up conversations with them to see what’s available. I’ve even heard of groups of neighbors getting together and buying whole or halves of cattle from local farmers and breaking them down, themselves. This is a great way to get the best, for less.
Beef Seasoning Thoughts: The whole of idea of crusts, marinades, rubs, spice blends, etc. tend to come from history, where refrigeration was scarce and a masking of the funky flavors of an old piece of meat needed done. Or, the flavorings came from a method of preservation. Yes, these flavor blends ALSO happen to taste really good, but if you’ve got access to a fresh cut of high grade beef … you want to taste the beef! A properly cooked and juicy steak seasoned with nothing more than salt and pepper will always elicit the same response … “How did you cook this?! What did you season it with?!” When you say, “Salt and pepper”, they won’t believe you.
Pan Roasted Beef Tenderloin SteakPrint Rate
- 4 each 6 to 8 oz thick cut beef tenderloin steaks trimmed and brought up to room temperature
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Beef tenderloin, and most cuts of meat for that matter, is a muscle. It likes to be relaxed when you cook it. It's more relaxed when it's warm, than freezing cold, straight from the refrigerator. It'll also cook more evenly, if it's warm. If you haven't done so, already, place your covered raw steaks on the countertop for about 30 minutes to an hour, prior to cooking them. This isn't long enough for them to pick up any bacteria, so provided your kitchen is clean ... not to worry.
- Optional: Some people tie a string around the steak, at this point. They tighten it, nice and tight. They remove it, when the steak is cooked and rested. This will create a more perfectly circular or "round" steak. I like my steak to be in the shape it came in, but if you want a round steak ... go for it!
- Pre-heat your oven to 450° F.
- Pre-heat an oven proof sauté pan, over medium-high heat. Be sure to select a pan that is wide enough to allow for all 4 steaks, and allow space between them. They should not touch one another in the pan. This will help with heat distribution.
- Season your beef with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Your beef can likely handle more salt than you might think. Really coat your beef with a nice dusting of salt (don't go crazy, though ... that's a nice piece of meat!).
- Look at your steaks and make a decision about which side of each steak is the most attractive. This will be the presentation side. Make a mental note.
- Add your olive oil (light olive oil, or another flavorless, high smoke point oil, is recommended) to the pan. Quickly swirl the oil around the pan. The oil should ripple, but shouldn't burn or smoke.
- Once you see nice rippling of the oil, add the butter to the pan. Give the pan a quick twirl, then place the attractive "presentation side" of the steaks face DOWN in the sauté pan.
- Allow the steaks to simply sit and sear in the pan for about 3 minutes. Try not to move them around, poke them or swirl the pan around. I know it's tempting, but let the surface of the steak get a nice caramelization from the bottom of the pan. If there isn't a scorching or "frying" sound, then turn the heat up on the stove. If the pan isn't hot enough, the beef will "steam" rather than "sear". This will great a gray lump of meat and won't retain as much of the juices. You must sear the presentation side of the beef, to get a nice brown color.
- Once the presentation side has a nice deep sear on it, flip each steak in the pan.
- Let the steak sear for 1 minute.
- Place the entire pan in the oven for about 5 minutes.
- Poke the fleshy lump at the base of your palm, where it intersects with your thumb. Press this portion of your palm with your opposing index finger and make a mental note about the "spring" it gives back, when you poke it.
- Open the oven and poke the smallest steak. It should "spring", or give back, in a fashion very similar to the poking of your palm (poke the very center, or the hardest part of your palm, for a medium well). Alternately, use a meat thermometer, in the thickest part of the steak (this makes a hole in the steak, allowing some juices to leak out, but ... sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do). When the internal temperature of the smallest steak is 120° F remove it from the oven. Normally, the steaks are all approximately the same size, so removing the entire pan is appropriate.
- Remove the steaks from the pan and place to the side, in a warm location, on a plate. They will continue to (carryover) cook, on their own. This should bring them up to a nice medium-rare, while also allowing the muscle to relax, again, and the juices to settle within the meat. It's at this point I often hear "But I want my steak to be HOT!" Yes, you can serve it fresh out of the oven, and it will be hotter on the surface, but it will also be cooler in the center and more juice will bleed out, when cut. It's also true that more flavor exists closer to body temperature. Extreme heats and colds loose deaden some of the flavor. A nice warm, relaxed steak is the way to go.
- Final suggestion: At this point, the pan has nice little bits of beefy goodness (known as "fond") stuck to the bottom of the pan. Throw some mushrooms, capers, garlic and black pepper in that pan! This will help pick up the fond. Then, hit the pan with a little red wine and some cream. If any juices have leaked out of the steaks, pour those juices into the pan. Cook for a moment, until the creamed mushrooms have thickened , a bit. Place the mushrooms on a plate, then perhaps some grilled asparagus and top it with a steak. Enjoy!
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24 thoughts on “Pan Roasted Beef Tenderloin Steak”
Not everyone likes his/her meat under done. I like my meat cooked well – all the way through, and no, I do not wind up with dry, horrible, tough steak. If it is seared and then cooked over low heat, the meat will be juicy, succulent and well done!!
Hi Dee, I believe everyone has the CAPACITY to enjoy their steak done properly … if they’ll just open their eyes to it! I kid, of course. What you say is true. If you want a well done steak with its juice(s) left in tact, it’s better to go low and slow. In fact, the lower and slower, the better. There are whole businesses surrounding this idea, where not only is the meat more juicy, but because it’s done low and slow, less water evaporates, less fat melts out, etc. As a result, the meat is technically "larger and heavier", because it retains that moisture. As a result, they can get more steaks from a piece of meat, than those that do it fast. Those few extra steaks add up to a tidy little profit, over the years … Ultimately, I personally side with the customer. If the customer wants it well done, they get it well done (however, I reserve the right to poke some fun at them … I can’t help it … it’s in my training … *wink*) I still hope something in here was useful to you. Thanks! 🙂
I followed your directions for cooking the steaks and presented it to my family. They were amazed at how good it was. Thank you for your tips on cooking a delicious steak.
Glad to hear it, Unknown! A good steak, simply seasoned and properly cooked … is absolutely delicious! No need for marinades, brines, pounding, etc. Thanks for the kind words!
I found your site last night, and I had two beautiful tenderloins sitting in my fridge waiting for me to figure out how to cook them nice(for a change). I followed your directions with two exceptions: I let them sit in the oven for 10 minutes, as my husband and I like our steaks medium, and I didn’t have any wine, so I just threw the mushrooms in, some garlic, thyme, basil, salt, pepper, and got them nicely browned, then added a bit of beef stock, reduced it a bit, then added some cream, and reduced it. YUM!!! Thank you so much! My husband could actually eat a steak again, and not chew it for 1/2 hour. We are grateful to you.
Thank you for the kind words, Carole! I’m glad you got some great steaks out of me! 🙂
Good, good, GOOD!! Thank you so much! Simple is best for me. 🙂 My hubby & I loved these tenderloin steaks. We are chicken & fish people & only eat beef on rare occasions. This one was Father’s Day! I added mushroom slices & marsala wine to the juices in the pan (forgot what you call it – I have a friend who calls it ‘essence!’) Anyway, it was so yummy & flavorful, Wow!
Yay! I’m glad you enjoyed it, Shelley! Typically the little bits are called the "fond", but … essence works for me! I’m surprised you didn’t try the Father’s Steak. I have a specific recipe just for father’s day. Something to look forward to, next year! 😉
10/10 will use your website again
Awesome, Lila! Please do! 🙂
This was a great technique to how to cook this. It was my first time making a tenderloin peice. Tote only thing, I followed your top to a t and my meat was raw. So I put it back in for another 10minutes and got it to be medium, so a little red in the middle and cooked around. It was soo good! Thank you for posting this as you were the best recipe/ technique I found out there.
—Reply posted by DJ on 2/9/2015
Whoops! Did you forget to flip it, before placing in the oven?
Tried this method with a piece of round steak I had. Not the most tender of steaks but cheaper than tenderloin. Worked like a charm! The steak came out juicy and tender. Thanks!!!
—Reply posted by DJ on 2/9/2015
Fantastic! Yep, each of these little steps will help work on just about any cut. Every little bit helps! 🙂
I don’t consider myself a great cook, plus we don’t own a grill. My husband and I had a hankering for steak and I had found beef tenderloin onsale at the market. Oh my goodness!!! I followed the instructions to a tee, right down to the end with the fond. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. This is a wonderful recipe and method for cooking beef. I will use it on special occasions and for very special guest!!
—Reply posted by DJ on 5/29/2015
Excellent, Dee Dee! I’m thrilled! Yep, Fond is such a wonderful thing, as well. I’m glad you used it! 🙂
This is pretty much how I prepare steaks as well. It’s wonderful simple, and much more controllable than cooking on a grill (though I do love the occasional charcoal fired, grilled steak), especially when the weather is uncooperative. If you have a cast iron skillet, that’s your best pan for searing steaks and then transferring them to the oven. Perfect, even heat if you take the time to properly preheat the pan, especially on a gas range. Like the article says, carmelize some onions and mushrooms after the steaks are done and deglaze with a nice red wine and you have a great addition to roasted potatoes or asparagus.
—Reply posted by DJ on 6/7/2015
Yep! I suspect this is true. Weirdly, I have no meaningful experience with cast iron. They’re heavy and clunky and tough to use in a rapid fire way. Given my restaurant history, they’ve just never really made much of an appearance. However, given their material and mass … I couldn’t agree more! 🙂
OK, I found this while searching for a good way to cook tenderloin steaks. I could never get my steaks to taste as good as they do at a restaurant. NOW, I’m the QUEEN of STEAKS. This method has worked for many other types of steaks as well. Thank you!!!
I’d be interested in how to cook a nice steak on the grill…charcoal?
—Reply posted by DJ on 12/30/2015
Fantastic! Yep, this method is tried and true. Most all of it applies to using a grill, as well. For a grill, I often get the grill very hot, season and oil the warmed steak and then place it in a hot spot above the coals (lump charcoal is my personal favorite … I feel like I can always taste the gas). Then, what I do is … place a metal bowl or pan over the top of the steak. This collects the heat from the grill and cooks from all sides. Don’t “squish” it, mind you … just put a big overturned metal bowl over it. Let it get nice grill marks, then flip it and put the bowl back. Get nice marks, then flip it and turn it about 45 degrees, so you get nice angled grill marks. Put the bowl back. Flip it once more and … let it just finish cooking under the bowl. Poke it and test doneness, then set it aside to rest … then enjoy! 🙂
As a vegetarian with a carnivore kid, it seems like I was wasting more steak then I could afford in my inapt effort to cook him his beloved steak. I found some beef tenderloin cuts on sale and decided to give it one more go for the poor kids sake. I found these instructions, followed it to the letter and made a perfect steak! I even took a bite myself. Thank you thank you thank you.
Just tried it. Did the mushrooms suggestion except used cream cheese didn’t have cream.
Good stuff! Perfect steaks like in a restaurant.
—Reply posted by DJ on 3/21/2016
Fantastic, Dee. I’m thrilled you enjoy it! 🙂
Made this tonight, was absolutely delicious! Topped with a whipped herb butter.
—Reply posted by DJ on 7/26/2016
YAY!! A whipped herb butter is a perfect complement, too! Yum! 🙂
I made this tonight, pan sauce and all. Best steak I ever made. Thanks for the tips!
hi i made my tenderloin steak using yourmethod last night it was excellent! I added 2 minutes to the oven time because itwas quite thick and it was perfect! Moist and tender and very yummy! Thank you so much!! Shari
These directions for the pan seared beef tenderloin turned out phenomenal! Wanting to do something special for Valentine’s Day, my husband made us two tenderloins and by following these directions step by step produced an out of this world dinner. We were both very pleased! Thank you!
i made this tonight and it was delicious!!! Thank you so much!!!
—Reply posted by DJ on 5/13/2018
YAY!!! I’m thrilled you enjoyed it!
I had loin steaks but not ‘tenderloin’ when I came upon your site. I followed your directions & received “Rave Reviews” from both my adult son & my husband. The steaks were delicious!!! I had no cream so I added cream cheese to the fond with the mushrooms & wine. We all loved this recipe & vowed to ALWAYS cook steak this way!
Do you have any tips for chicken?
My son, who dines with us frequently, tries to stick to a keto diet; without gravy or sauce of some kind my chicken tends to be dry. If you could do for chicken what you have done for our steaks, we would all be thrilled!
Thank you so much!!
This is my go-to method. Comes out great every time. Thanks for sharing with us.