10 Steps to Perfect Pan-Seared Filet Mignon
- by Omaha Steaks
The filet mignon has grown to be one of the most popular steak cuts – the most tender you can find anywhere. Cut from the heart of the tenderloin, it’s an elegant steak with fork-tender texture and mild flavor. It’s a steak that is designed to impress.
Cooking this decadent steak can be intimidating, but we’re going to show you in 10 simple steps how to pan-sear a perfect filet mignon. This is technically the sear roasted technique, but our chefs recommend this cooking method using your stove and oven for the absolute best pan-seared steak experience. Your steak will have a beautiful crust and be infused with amazing flavors. Get ready to experience the juiciest, most tender, and mouthwateringly delicious filet mignon you’ve ever cooked.
How to pan-sear a filet mignon
1. Start with a well-trimmed, aged filet mignon
To deliver an incredible end product, it’s critical to start with a phenomenal cut of beef. With over a century of experience, Omaha Steaks beef is the best. Our beef is hand-selected for the highest quality, aged 21+ days for maximum tenderness, and expertly trimmed by master butchers. We offer four incredible cuts of filet mignon – bacon-wrapped, butcher’s cut (double trimmed), triple-trimmed, and Private Reserve. You can learn more about each cut in our comprehensive filet mignon butcher’s guide.
2. Thaw steak completely and bring to room temperature
Thaw steaks completely using our steak thawing guide. Then, set them out at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to climatize before cooking. Bringing your steak to room temperature will allow the meat to cook more evenly from edge to center.
3. Season steak or dry brine
Salt steaks with a coarse sea salt just before putting into the pan. If you would like to add other seasonings, save them for the end (step 7) – they will burn during searing. Alternatively, if you have more time, you can dry brine your filet mignon on a baking rack set over a baking rack. A dry brine allows the meat to absorb the natural juices, resulting in a more tender steak. To dry brine, simply season generously with salt on both sides and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least one hour or even overnight. If you dry brine, we still recommend bringing the steak to room temperature before cooking.
4. Preheat your oven-proof pan
Use an oven-proof skillet – nothing fancy needed to achieve a perfect pan-seared filet mignon. An all-around stainless steel with a metal handle or a cast iron are great options. However, any skillet with an oven-proof designation will suffice.
For this step, you want your skillet HOT! This will create a beautiful crust on your steak. Preheat an oven-safe skillet on medium-high/high heat for at least 5 minutes. If you are using a cast iron skillet, you will need to preheat the pan for at least 10 minutes. While your pan is heating, set your oven to preheat at 300°F.
5. Sear steak in pan
You have the perfect seasoned Omaha Steaks filet mignon and your pan is preheated. It’s time to start the cook. Add high smoke point oil or fat to the pre-heated skillet. Grapeseed oil, canola oil, ghee, duck or pork fat are good choices. Let the oil or fat get hot – you should see shimmering in the oil, or even a few wisps of smoke. Now, place the filet mignon in the searing hot pan. Cook the steak 3 minutes per side, or until it develops a beautiful brown crust.
6. Add butter, garlic, and fresh herbs to pan
Now that you’ve developed a beautiful crust, let’s add some flavor. Place a dollop of butter atop each steak, a few crushed cloves of garlic and a sprig of fresh thyme or rosemary in the pan. You can use one of our compound butter recipes for additional flavor profiles. Filet mignon is a lean cut of beef and a little butter will add incredible, mouthwatering richness as it melts into the steak.
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7. Place steak in preheated oven and cook to 10 degrees below desired doneness
Once you’ve seared your steak and added aromatics, place the oven-proof skillet on the center rack of your preheated oven. Use our cooking chart and steak doneness guide to help with this last cooking step. Cook the steak in the oven until your meat registers 10°F below your desired doneness measured with a meat thermometer. Our chefs recommend medium-rare doneness with a warm red center for a juicy, flavorful steak.
- Rare: 120°F
- Medium-rare: 130°F
- Medium: 140°F
- Medium-well: 150°F
- Well: 160°F
8. Remove steak from oven and return pan to stove
After roasting the the steak in the oven, remove your skillet and place your pan on the stove over medium-high heat to baste your steak. Be careful – the handle is HOT. This final step will give your steak a great crust and add flavor to your steak.
9. Baste your filet mignon with butter in pan
Basting your steak will add moisture to the surface and infuse the flavors from the aromatics and butter into your filet mignon. To baste, tilt the skillet toward you, using an oven mitt and with a large spoon, continually baste the steak with the butter in the pan. Continue basting until butter smells nutty and is beginning to brown, about one minute.
10. Rest the steak
We’re almost done cooking the best filet mignon you’ll ever have, but this last step is very important. Let your steak rest after cooking so it can reabsorb and redistribute the juices, so every bite is tender and delicious. Remove the steaks completely from the pan and let rest 5 minutes per inch of thickness or 10 minutes per pound.
Enjoy your perfectly cooked filet mignon. Bon Appétit!
History of Filet Mignon
First referenced in 1906’s “The Four Million,” by O. Henry, the “dainty fillet” was a main course employed throughout the novel underscoring moments of romance between two lovers. Now, more than a hundred years later, fillet de bouef is still found at the center of our most intimate evenings — whether it be Valentines seated in the finest of dining establishments or a rustic date night for two over the flames of a backyard barbeque.
The smallest end portion of a cattle’s psoas major muscle (an elongated, non-weight bearing muscle located near the spine) represents what we recognize as the most succulent and tender cut of beef known to man.
Although incredibly tender, filets contain incrementally less intramuscular fat as compared to other popular cuts such as, the strip or ribeye steak — but, when cooked appropriately can be sliced with a dull butter knife. To compensate for this absence of fat marbling, the steak is liberally seasoned, often wrapped in bacon, gently prepared to a medium-rare and plated with a simple glaze or sauce.
- 10 Amazing Filet Mignon Recipes
- How to Grill a Filet Mignon
- Perfect Sous Vide Filet Mignon: A How-to Guide
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2014 and has been updated for freshness and comprehensiveness.