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Skip the pricey steakhouse, and instead learn how to cook filet mignon in a cast iron skillet! With a few tips and tricks, each piece of steak will have a perfect sear on the outside and a beautiful, tender, pink center. Add a dollop of garlic herbed butter for a decadent and flavorful finishing touch!

Sliced filet mignon on a plate with garlic herb butter

How to Cook Filet Mignon | 1-Minute Video

What’s so special about filet mignon?

Filet mignon, which translates in French to “tender, delicate, or fine fillet,” is a steak cut of beef taken from the end of the tenderloin. The tenderloin runs along both sides of the cow’s spine, and is usually harvested as two long snake-shaped cuts. The tenderloin is sometimes sold whole, but can also be sliced horizontally into round fillets. The cuts from the small, forward end are considered filet mignon.

Filet mignon is generally the most expensive cut of beef, and is so special because it is not only the most tender cut, but it is also relatively scarce because each animal only has a small amount of this particular type of meat. The tenderloin is incredibly tender because the muscle is not weight-bearing, and therefore contains less connective tissue than other cuts of beef.

The Best Way to Eat a Filet Mignon

Most experts would agree that a filet mignon is best when cooked to medium doneness or less — often medium-rare is considered ideal. While the filet mignon is the most tender cut of beef, it’s not necessarily as flavorful as other parts of the animal. As a result, the steak might be wrapped in bacon, served with a sauce, or finished with butter (as shown here) to enhance its flavor. Herbed butter is a classic French accompaniment for filet mignon, because the butter melts into the meat for added juiciness, while the herbs mellow the meat’s fat.

Overhead shot of garlic herb butter

The Best Way to Cook Filet Mignon

A grilled filet mignon is obviously delicious, but there’s something really special about a pan seared filet mignon. This easy recipe will show you how to cook the perfect filet mignon using a cast iron skillet on the stovetop and in the oven. This dual method gives you the best of both worlds: a steak with a nice sear on the outside, and a tender, pink inside that’s cooked exactly to your liking. It really doesn’t get any better than that!

Why do you bake it in the oven?

You need the high-heat of the cast iron skillet on the stovetop in order to achieve a nice sear on the outside of the meat, but you don’t want to leave it on the stovetop for too long or the steak will get charred (in a bad way). Instead, by transferring the pan to the oven, you can finish cooking the steak on the inside without burning the outside of the meat in the process.

Horizontal shot of the best way to eat a filet mignon

Ingredients

If you want to learn how to cook filet mignon, simplicity is the key! A basic cast iron skillet and a handful of fresh, high-quality ingredients is really all it takes. This is a quick overview of what you’ll need to prepare this steak. As always, the exact measurements and specific cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe at the bottom of the post.

  • Salted butter: for finishing the steak.
  • Chives, parsley, rosemary and garlic: to flavor the butter, mellow the fat of the beef, and enhance the meat.
  • Kosher salt: don’t be shy with the salt! A nice, salty crust is imperative for the best sear on your steak.
  • Freshly-ground black pepper: for extra flavor.
  • Vegetable oil: get it nice and hot — until it’s barely smoking — to achieve a nice sear on the outside.
  • Filet mignon: about 2-4 steaks, depending on how many people you plan to serve.

How to Cook Filet Mignon in a Cast Iron Skillet

A cast iron skillet is an ideal tool for cooking the perfect filet mignon, because the heavy cast iron retains and evenly distributes the heat so well — practically guaranteeing a nice sear. By finishing the steak in the oven, you avoid a smoky kitchen and a charred exterior.

  1. Prepare garlic herb butter and set aside.
  2. Bring steaks to room temperature on the counter for about 30 minutes.
  3. Season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Sear steaks in hot oil in a cast iron skillet for 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Transfer the skillet to a 425° F oven for about 3 more minutes, or until the steaks reach the desired temperature.
  6. Rest for about 5 minutes, then top each steak with a dollop of herbed butter.
Process shot showing how to cook filet mignon in a cast iron skillet

Temperature

The total cooking time will vary depending on the size, thickness, and temperature of your meat when you cook it, as well as on your preferred level of doneness. A meat thermometer is always the best way to know when your steaks are ready to come out of the oven. Here’s what you’re looking for:

  • Rare (a cool red center): 125° F – 130° F
  • Medium-rare (a warm red center): 135° F
  • Medium (a warm pink center): 145° F

What to Serve with Filet Mignon

This versatile meat pairs well with a variety of sides. We like to complete the meal with a starch (like pasta, bread or potatoes), as well as a vegetable or salad. Here are a few ideas:

Square shot of pan seared filet mignon on a plate with butter

Tips for the Best Filet Mignon Recipe

  • Cook about 2-4 steaks, depending on how many people you plan to serve. If you’re only cooking two steaks, you can cut the butter, garlic and herbs in half — you won’t need as much as called for in the recipe.
  • When cooking 4 steaks, you’ll need to use a large enough cast iron skillet that you can comfortably fit all 4 without crowding. If your skillet isn’t big enough, just cook the steaks in two separate batches.
  • Don’t be shy with the kosher salt. You need enough to coat the meat on both sides, which will help the filet mignon develop a nice seared crust in the pan.
  • Sear the steaks in vegetable oil (rather than butter or olive oil), because the vegetable oil has a higher smoke point. You can add that great butter for flavor at the end!
  • The total cooking time will vary depending on the size, thickness, and temperature of your filet mignon when you cook it. As a result, a thermometer is the best way to know when your meat has reached its ideal temperature.
  • Check the temperature of your meat before you transfer the skillet to the oven. If the filet mignon is within about 5-10 degrees of your desired temperature, you may need even less than 3 minutes in the oven. If your steak isn’t done after 3 minutes, check every minute or so to avoid over-cooking.
Front shot of pan seared filet mignon on a plate served with green beans

More Steak Recipes to Try

Sliced filet mignon on a plate with garlic herb butter

How to Cook Filet Mignon in a Cast Iron Skillet

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 11 minutes
Resting Time 5 minutes
Total: 31 minutes
Servings 2 – 4 people
Calories 519 kcal
Skip the pricey steakhouse, and instead learn how to cook filet mignon in a cast iron skillet! You'll love the garlic herbed butter on top.

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2-4 filet mignon steaks (about 6 ounces each and 1 ½ inches thick)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425° F. In a small bowl, combine butter, chives, parsley, rosemary and garlic. Set aside.
  • Allow the steaks to sit on the counter and come to room temperature for about 20-30 minutes. Liberally season the meat on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until barely smoking. Sear the steaks for 3-4 minutes per side, then place the pan in the oven for about 3 more minutes, or until the steak reaches the desired temperature — about 125-130° F for rare (a cool red center), 135° F for medium-rare (a warm red center), or 145° F for medium (a warm pink center).
  • Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes, then top with a dollop of the garlic herb butter and serve.

Video

Notes

  • Cook about 2-4 steaks, depending on how many people you plan to serve. If you’re only cooking two steaks, you can cut the butter, garlic and herbs in half — you won’t need as much as called for in the recipe.
  • When cooking 4 steaks, you’ll need to use a large enough cast iron skillet that you can comfortably fit all 4 without crowding. If your skillet isn’t big enough, just cook the steaks in two separate batches.
  • Don’t be shy with the kosher salt. You need enough to coat the meat on both sides, which will help the filet mignon develop a nice seared crust in the pan.
  • Sear the steaks in vegetable oil (rather than butter or olive oil), because the vegetable oil has a higher smoke point. You can add that great butter for flavor at the end!
  • The total cooking time will vary depending on the size, thickness, and temperature of your filet mignon when you cook it. As a result, a meat thermometer is the best way to know when your meat has reached its ideal temperature.
  • Check the temperature of your meat before you transfer the skillet to the oven. If the filet mignon is within about 5-10 degrees of your desired temperature, you may need even less than 3 minutes in the oven. If your steak isn’t done after 3 minutes, check every minute or so to avoid over-cooking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1steak with 1/4 of the butterCalories: 519kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 38gFat: 40gSaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 170mgSodium: 298mgPotassium: 613mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 972IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 3mg
Keyword: how to cook filet mignon, pan seared filet mignon
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, French
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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