A whole beef tenderloin roast may be the most beautiful recipe you make all year!
Not joking, and definitely not an exaggeration. Cooking tenderloin is hands off (yes, you read that correctly!) and foolproof. The oven does all the hard work by slowly cooking the roast at a low temperature for a little over an hour. When finished, thinly slice and serve with our insanely flavorful homemade Parmesan cream sauce (though this gorgonzola cream sauce would be equally as amazing!)
There is nothing — we repeat nothing! — more elegant. Go ahead and show off to your friends and family for the holidays. We promise we won’t tell them how simple it really is!
If you’re looking for another holiday entrée, be sure to check out our Standing Rib Roast!
This recipe has two main parts.
What you’ll need for the roast:
- A whole beef tenderloin, tied with kitchen twine (approximately 5 ½ lbs)
- Unsalted butter, melted
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
What you’ll need for the parmesan cream sauce:
- Heavy cream
- Garlic cloves
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Dijon mustard
- Chopped parsley
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
In addition to the parmesan cream sauce, we recommend serving the tenderloin with sautéed shiitake mushrooms. For that you’ll need butter, a shallot, and shiitake mushrooms. The mushrooms add a lovely earthiness to the dish that is beautiful when paired with the sliced filet!
How To Cook Beef Tenderloin
Low temperature in an oven! We cannot recommend this method enough. Tenderloin is approximately 1000x easier to make than a roast turkey, making it a serious contender for holiday entertaining, with practically no stress tied to it.
Allow meat to rest at room temperature for about 1 hour before you begin. You ready?!
First, have your butcher tie the beef tenderloin together with kitchen twine. They’ll make sure the “tail” of the meat (not actually the tail, just a thinner part of the tenderloin) is tucked neatly underneath and secured. Why does this matter? More even cooking. You wouldn’t want a portion of the filet (the thinner end) to cook before the other. This helps ensure a beautiful medium rare throughout.
Next, melt some butter. Place the roast on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet, then pour the melted butter on top. Season the tenderloin aggressively with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Filet has next to no fat, which is both a blessing and a curse. While it is tender for sure, the meat really needs to be seasoned generously to help amp up the flavor.
Pop the beef tenderloin roast into an oven preheated to 275 F. Now go pour yourself a glass of wine, the oven will take care of the rest!
Cook Time For Beef Tenderloin
A 5 ½ lb whole beef tenderloin will cook for approximately 1 hour 15 minutes at 275 F.
For medium rare, look for an internal temperature of 130 F. If it’s a little under, don’t worry — the beef will continue to cook and rise in temperature while it rests.
We recommend the Thermapen MK4 to check for doneness on all meats!
Allow the whole beef tenderloin to rest for about 10-15 minutes before slicing.
How thick should you slice beef tenderloin?
While individually cut filet mignon steaks can be a hearty 1 ½” thick, a whole beef tenderloin can be cut into ¼ – ½” thick slices. A single serving is roughly 2 slices of tenderloin.
Whole Beef Tenderloin vs. Filet Mignon
Whole beef tenderloin is truly a showstopper. It’s just as easy (if not easier?!) then cooking and serving individual steaks.
Filet mignon are merely the steaks cut from the whole tenderloin. You can expect to get approximately 10-12 individually cut filet mignon (about 1 ½” thick) from a 5 ½ lb whole beef tenderloin.
For this recipe, however, we’re not cutting and cooking individually portioned steaks. The cooked beef tenderloin will be cut into slices about ¼ – ½” thick before serving.
Keep the sides easy: a perfect baked potato and either a simple spinach salad or roasted broccolini will do the trick!
Easy, luxurious, and completely attainable for home cooks. Make this once and you will never look back!
If you make this Beef Tenderloin recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below.
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For more easy holiday dinners, check out the following:
- Roast rack of lamb
- Flanken ribs
- Slow baked salmon with herb shallot butter
- Skillet chicken with white beans
- Braised beef pappardelle
Beef Tenderloin Recipe with Parmesan Cream Sauce
For the beef tenderloin
- 5-6 lb whole beef tenderloin
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 2 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper plus more for serving
- Flaky sea salt for serving
For the parmesan cream sauce
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 3-4 sprigs tarragon
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 2 Tbsp parsley finely chopped
- 1 ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
For the sautéed mushrooms, optional
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 5 oz baby shiitake mushrooms stems removed
- 1 medium shallot minced
- ½ tsp kosher salt
Cook the tenderloin
- Allow beef tenderloin to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking. Preheat oven to 275F then line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment.
- Place tenderloin on prepared baking sheet. Melt 4 Tbsp butter, then pour on top of tenderloin. Season on all sides with 2 Tbsp kosher salt and 1 tsp black pepper. Cook, undisturbed, in preheated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until internal temperature of 130 F is reached (for medium rare). Begin checking temperature at 1 hour. To do this, place meat thermometer into end of tenderloin, inserting into the thickest part of the beef. Note that the temperature will continue to rise a bit as it rests.
Sautéed shiitake mushrooms (optional)
- Heat 2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet. Add mushrooms and cook undisturbed until browned and crispy, about 2-3 minuted per side. Add minced shallot, then season with ½ tsp kosher salt. Transfer to a bowl and set aside while you make the cream sauce.
Make the parmesan cream sauce
- Place 3 cups heavy cream in a large sauce pan, then add smashed garlic cloves and 3-4 sprigs tarragon. Bring to a boil, then reduce until thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Cream will eventually bubble up, so make sure your pan is not too small. Use a slotted spoon to remove garlic and tarragon, then discard.
- Add 2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, 2 Tbsp chopped parsley, 1 ½ tsp Dijon, ½ tsp kosher salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper, then stir to combine.
- When ready to serve, slice tenderloin into pieces ¼" – ½" thick. Plate, then serve with parmesan cream sauce spooned on top (or on the side) along with sautéed mushrooms and shallots. Sprinkle the steak with flaky sea salt and black pepper just before serving.
- Cooked beef tenderloin will last up to 5 days in a refrigerator. Store parmesan cream sauce separately.
- Nutrition facts assume all of parmesan cream sauce will be consumed, but you will very likely have leftovers. Take that into account if looking at nutrition facts.
This recipe was ridiculously good, very forgiving, and feeds an army!
Had to substitute rosemary for the tarragon – but the sauce was still delicious. Will definitely be making again!
ari | well seasoned says
Hell yes! The kind of dinner we love to serve, because it is crazy easy to make, but seriously impressive. Rosemary was a great substitution! xo, Ari
Maureen F L Webber says
I only did one thing different as I live alone, I used slices of the tenderloin only. And then I made a quarter of the sauce, that really rocked. Not sure what else it can go on because I have some left over, but it was awesome the tarragon nicely infused in there and the garlic is hinted but not overwhelming. I used mini Portobello mushrooms because that is all I had. Did enough to use on toast the next day. All in all an excellent meal.
Ari Laing says
I could put that parmesan cream sauce on everything!! Such a special occasion meal for sure. Glad you loved! xo, Ari
I have been making beef tenderloin for Christmas Eve for years. We generally have cocktails and appetizers for a good hour and a half before dinner.
I was wondering if I could do the beef ahead of time, wrap in foil, then slice so I wouldn’t be fussing during the cocktail hour.
Ari Laing says
You absolutely can make this ahead of time! I would take it out at 1 hour, just to be safe that you don’t overcook it when reheating. Let it cool completely to room temperature, then wrap in foil. When you go to serve it, you can either slice it and reheat in a preheated oven or just pop the whole thing back in for 10-15 minutes. The risk with slicing the meat before heating it is that it is more likely to overcook. My recommendation would be to leave it whole!
Also, you can make the sauce earlier in the day and just set it aside on the stovetop. It will absolutely solidify in the saucepan, but it’s very very easy to reheat over medium heat when ready to serve. If you find it’s a touch too think, add a splash of water and stir or whisk to help loosen it up. ENJOY!!! One of my all time favorite recipes!! xo, Ari