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Pan sear filet mignon in a cast iron skillet once and you will NEVER grill it again (unless you HAVE to grill it), I promise. This method is very simple and locks in all of the juices and flavors. There are plenty of ways to cook filet mignon but this recipe is by far my favorite along with reverse searing. If you go out to a nice steakhouse then this is most likely the method they are using to cook your steak.
The overall consistency and predictability of this technique are what make this recipe work so well. I’ve followed it to the T with great success with hundreds of steaks. If you’ve ever overcooked an expensive cut of beef, then this recipe is for you.
The secret to cooking the perfect filet mignon is to combine pan searing with an oven finish. Why is this the best way to cook filet mignon? This method gives your filet a golden caramelized exterior with a perfectly juicy and tender inside that’s evenly cooked throughout. A cast iron skillet allows you to easily transfer your steak from the stovetop to the oven, making this a really easy filet mignon recipe to master.
I’ve tried cooking filet mignon strictly on the stovetop for 6-7 minutes per side, but it tends to overcook the steak and sometimes burns the outside of your filet. The oven is better at providing indirect heat while pan-searing gives you the much desired, grilled, and slightly charred exterior.
Sear filets 2 minutes per side on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet on high heat with butter or oil and then immediately transfer to a preheated oven at 415°F. I typically bake filets for about 5-6 minutes for medium-rare. That’s the beauty of cast iron, you can easily transfer from stovetop to oven. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend picking one up.
Carefully timing your cook time for steak always yields consistent results. It may sound like overkill, but I use my phone to time each side on the skillet and then in the oven. If you really adhere to cooking times I promise you will never overcook a steak again.
The timing/temperature chart below corresponds to the pan sear/oven method in this recipe. It’s a great guide assuming you choose a steak of similar size and thickness as listed in the recipe. I recommend a digital thermometer to verify your desired level of doneness.
|Doneness||Temperature Range||Oven Duration|
|Very Rare/rare||120°F to 125°F||4 minutes|
|Medium rare||125°F to 130°F||5-6 minutes|
|Medium||135°F to 140°F||6-7 minutes|
|Medium well||145°F to 150°F||8-9 minutes|
|Well done||160°F and above||10+ minutes|
Cast iron is really versatile and can be used for so many different recipes. There are lots to choose from. Any oven-safe pan should do the trick, however, as a disclaimer, I based the cook times and results on cast iron. Not every pan will yield identical results.
If you don’t have an oven-safe pan, you sear your filets on the stovetop and then transfer them to a baking sheet lined with a wire rack. This method works really well at keeping your steaks elevated from the direct heat while in the oven. Just note, this will likely add additional baking time as described in the recipe and cooking chart above. Plan on 2-3 additional minutes in the oven.
The legend, Anthony Bourdain once said, the most important aspect of cooking any steak is the rest period after you take it off the heat. Letting a steak rest for 5-7 minutes before cutting is critical for two reasons. One, it continues to actually cook the steak. Second, the juices evenly distribute throughout the meat, yielding the perfect bite every time. Always let your steaks rest!
The only filet mignon recipe you will ever need. Never grill steak again—the fail-proof method to cooking the perfect filet mignon.
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