You're going to love this easy recipe for a tender, juicy, and very flavorful beef tenderloin roast!
Simply rub the meat with olive oil and spices, roast it in a 500°F oven to crisp up the outside, then finish cooking it in a moderate 350°F oven. Perfection!
This recipe is absolutely perfect for special occasions. It's so tender and buttery! Another great one is, of course, ribeye roast. And tri-tip roast is tougher and inexpensive but wonderfully flavorful.
The simple method of cooking the meat in a very hot oven, then finishing it in a moderate oven, produces tender, juicy, and very flavorful roast. This is not a dish I make very often, but when I do, it's always a huge success.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty roast. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Beef tenderloin roast: I usually get a small 2-lb. roast. If your roast is bigger, you'll need to increase the cooking time.
Olive oil: I love the flavor of olive oil. But if you prefer an oil with a higher smoke point, you can use avocado oil instead. Melted butter is another good option.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use.
Spices: Garlic powder, dried thyme, and dried sage. Make sure they are fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
Roasting a beef tenderloin is surprisingly easy, considering it's such a fancy cut. Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
You start by bringing the roast to room temperature. This will help it cook more evenly.
Pat it dry, then rub it all over with a mixture of olive oil and spices.
Insert a meat thermometer into the roast's thickest part. Cook it for 15 minutes in a super hot (500°F) oven.
Now, lower the oven temperature to 350°F and keep cooking until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 130°F. In my oven, with a small 2-lb. roast, this takes 20 minutes. But the only way to know for sure is to use a thermometer.
Let the meat rest before slicing it, to prevent the juices from escaping when you cut into it. Gently remove the butcher twine, then slice the roast.
I get this roast at Whole Foods. The butchers are always happy to cut me a small roast, and they are also happy to tie it for me with butcher twine. So just ask! It's not difficult to do it yourself, but it's nice to let the professionals do it for you.
Frequently asked questions
No. The tenderloin is an elongated cut that comes from near the rear of the cow. It's an area that doesn't get exercised by the animal, which is why it's so tender.
Filet mignon is not a whole roast. Rather, it's a steak that comes from the part of the tenderloin that goes into the short loin. Each tenderloin can produce just a few filet mignon steaks, and these steaks are the most tender part of the cow.
There's no need to sear it, thankfully! The 15 minutes it spends in a superhot 500°F oven allow it to nicely brown, saving us the (annoying) extra step of searing.
Definitely cook it uncovered. You want it to brown, and this is achieved by leaving it uncovered.
When cooking roasts, one of the best tools you can use is a meat thermometer that you can set up to alert you when the meat reaches your desired temperature.
You really don't want to overcook an expensive roast, and you also don't want the middle to remain completely raw. Ideally, you want the inside to be medium-rare, 130 degrees F.
Keep in mind, though, that the USDA recommends cooking roasts to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
It's important to allow the roast to rest for 30 minutes before slicing it. The rest time allows the temperature to stabilize, and the juices to redistribute and settle.
Cut into the roast too early and you will lose a lot of those yummy juices, leaving you with drier meat.
Unlike the well-marbled ribeye roast, a beef tenderloin roast is quite lean. So even though the cooking method outlined here renders it as juicy as possible, many people like to serve it drizzled with brown butter sauce.
To make brown butter, simply melt 4 tablespoons of salted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Keep cooking it until it slightly browns, then remove it from the heat. After slicing the roast, drizzle the brown butter over the beef slices.
I like to serve this tasty roast with mashed cauliflower. The garlicky, cheesy mash closely mimics the experience of eating mashed potatoes.
Another great side dish to go with this roast is roasted Brussels sprouts. You can cook both in the same 350°F oven, cooking the sprouts for slightly longer than the recipe calls for to compensate for the slightly lower oven temperature.
Leftovers keep well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. I actually prefer not to reheat them because I don't want to dry out the meat. But if you'd like to reheat them, do so very gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
One of my favorite lunches is slices of cold roast beef, served with grainy mustard, fresh-cut vegetables, and pickles. These pickled red onions are wonderful.
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Perfect Beef Tenderloin Roast
- 2 lb. beef tenderloin roast
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (not fine table salt)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- Remove the meat from the fridge an hour before you plan to start cooking it.
- Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil (for easy cleanup) and fit it with a wire rack.
- Pat the beef dry with paper towels. If one end is thinner than the other, tuck it underneath and tie with butcher's twine to make sure the roast cooks evenly. You can also ask your butcher to tie it for you.
- Mix the olive oil and the spices, then use your clean hands to rub the beef all over with the mixture.
- Place the tenderloin on the wire rack. Insert a meat thermometer into its thickest part. Place it in the oven and roast it for 15 minutes in the 500°F oven.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350°F. Continue roasting until the meat thermometer registers 130 degrees F (medium-rare), about 20 more minutes.
- Transfer the roast to a cutting board. Loosely cover it with foil and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
- Gently remove the butcher twine (you can cut it with kitchen scissors then gently pull it out of the meat), slice, and serve.