Tips from Expert Chefs: Cooking a Filet Mignon to Perfection

One of the most luxurious cuts of beef is filet mignon. Synonymous with upscale fine dining, a filet mignon is actually something that you can prepare at home. However, it's important to handle this high-end cut of beef properly in order to achieve the right texture and flavor. Fortunately, this guide has all the expert advice you need to learn how to cook filet mignon as a home chef.

What Is Filet Mignon?

Before you start preparing to cook this cut of beef, it helps to understand exactly what it is and why it's so special.

There is only a very small amount of filet mignon that can be harvested from each carcass. The limited availability is part of why it's such a highly sought after cut. It also is why it is generally more expensive per ounce compared to other cuts of beef.

Filet mignon has a milder taste, so it has less of that rich, earthy flavor that some other cuts have. This makes it popular for pairing with interesting sauces, seasonings and marinades. It also has very little connective tissue, which makes it especially tender and smooth. It has that almost melt in your mouth, buttery quality that makes for a decadent dining experience.

Types of Filet Mignon

There are a number of filet mignon options available. USDA Prime filet mignon is one of the most popular choices and also one that is more widely available.

For a truly luxurious cut of beef, choose an authentic Wagyu filet mignon. Wagyu is available from Japan, Australia and America, but the Japanese Wagyu is considered to be the best in the world. An A5 Japanese Wagyu filet mignon features the highest grade possible in one of the finest cuts, so it's truly a feast worth splurging for. The marbling on Wagyu beef is unmatched, so it amplifies the buttery, tender quality of a filet mignon.

Filet Mignon Cooking Methods

There are a number of ways you can approach the cooking process for filet mignon. Grilling and broiling are two options that can be interesting to try. Those with the proper equipment may want to try a sous vide filet mignon, which helps to infuse more flavor into the beef.

However, experts generally agree that no cooking method is superior to pan searing and roasting. This is a process that begins by searing each side of the filet mignon in a hot pan before moving it into an oven. The filet then remains in the oven until the desired temperature is reached.

Proper Cooking Temperature for Filet Mignon

The filet mignon is one of the most luxurious cuts of beef available, so chefs almost always insist on serving it rare to medium rare. Beyond that, you may be sacrificing some of the tender and juicy texture that makes this type of beef so mouthwatering.

For a rare filet mignon, you'll need the internal temperature to reach about 125° Fahrenheit. For medium rare, the temp should be about 135° Fahrenheit. However, it's important to take the filet mignon out of the oven when it is about 5 or so degrees below the desired temp. The filet will continue to cook a bit as it rests, so make sure you don't leave it in the oven for too long and risk overcooking it.

How to Cook Filet Mignon

Now that you're ready to enjoy a filet mignon, it's important to start by taking it out of the refrigerator before you plan to begin cooking. By allowing it to come to room temp, you'll be better able to achieve a consistent doneness level throughout the filet.

The filet mignon recipe below features a very simple and straightforward preparation in order to let the natural flavors really stand out. However, keep in mind that filet mignon takes well to a variety of sauces and marinades, and you can try different herbs and seasonings to suit your palate. For Japanese Wagyu, do not add butter as it will be plenty rich without.


  • 2 filet mignons, approximately 6-8 oz each
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Take the filet mignons out of the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature.
  2. Season each filet with salt and ground black pepper.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  4. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat for 5 minutes. Add the oil to the pan when there are a couple of minutes left to go.
  5. Place the filets in the skillet and sear on one side.
  6. Flip the filets over and add the butter, rosemary and garlic to the pan.
  7. As the other sides of the filet mignons sear, continually baste them by spooning the butter over the surface.
  8. Remove the skillet from the stovetop and place it in the oven. Leave it in until the filet mignons reach the desired internal temperature (about 120° F to 130° F, depending on whether you prefer rare or medium rare).
  9. Take the skillet out of the oven and transfer the filet mignons to a plate. Allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.