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This Garlic Herb Butter Beef Tenderloin Roast recipe makes a delectable, melt-in-your-mouth cut of meat that is practically tender enough to cut with a butter knife.
Looking for an impressive but easy main dish to serve for a holiday gathering? Don’t miss my Prime Rib Roast with Horseradish Sauce, Rosemary & Garlic Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb, Brown Sugar Glazed Ham, Slow Cooker Korean Beef Short Ribs (Kalbi), or Alaskan King Crab Legs.
Beef tenderloin is truly a special occasion recipe, the kind you save for holidays like Christmas, dinner parties, or other times when you are celebrating. Sometimes we use it to make How to Make Beef Wellington, but most often we prepare it this way with garlic and herbs.
This premium cut of meat is on the expensive side, so it’s probably not your everyday kind of dinner idea, even if the recipe is easy enough for a weeknight.
What is Beef Tenderloin?
Beef tenderloin is a large cut of meat that, when sliced into steaks, is perhaps better known as filet mignon. It’s known for being incredibly tender with wonderful flavor.
A beef tenderloin roast is a lean cut of meat, with very little fat or marbling compared to other cuts. Because of that, you want to be careful not to overcook beef tenderloin or it will dry out and be tough.
You can buy beef tenderloin at the butcher’s counter of your local grocery store. I typically see beef tenderloin roasts that are either 2-3 pounds (perfect for a smaller group) or much larger ones between 4-7 pounds. This garlic herb butter beef tenderloin recipe will work for either size, but it’s written for a smaller 2-3 pound roast. Just double the amounts if you are serving a larger group.
How to Prep Beef Tenderloin
The first thing to do with your beef tenderloin roast is to remove the silver skin and any excess fat.
Silver skin is a thin layer of connective tissue on the top of a beef tenderloin and often the butcher will remove it for you.
But it’s easy to remove on your own. All you have to do is slip a sharp knife underneath the silver skin and slice close to the meat while pulling on the silver skin to remove it.
Then tie up the beef tenderloin using kitchen string, starting at one end and making loops around your hand that you can slide over the tenderloin every inch or so. This will help the beef tenderloin cook more evenly, especially if one end is thicker than the other.
Larger, whole beef tenderloin roasts have a thinner “tail” piece that can be folded over and tied up to make an evenly sized roast that will cook much better throughout.
How to Cook Beef Tenderloin
Beef tenderloin cooks best using high heat. If the weather is nice, you can grill it to a beautiful medium-rare. But I typically make beef tenderloin more often during winter months in the oven by first searing it in a hot pan on the stove top to develop an outer crust before finishing it in a 450 degree F oven.
First, I like to season the whole piece of meat with a nice sprinkle of salt and pepper. Be sure to let it sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes to take the chill off before you cook it.
Then heat up a large skillet or pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, place the seasoned beef tenderloin in it and let it sear for 2-3 minutes on 3 sides. We aren’t trying to cook it through, just to develop a nice, flavorful crust to the tenderloin.
Lay the tenderloin on the final side (it will sear on it’s own once in the oven) and rub with garlic herb butter. I find that a simple garlic herb butter rub gives the best flavor to a beef tenderloin roast.
It’s easy to make by simply mashing softened butter with finely chopped garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and of course, kosher salt and black pepper.
Set aside half of the garlic herb butter to spread on the roast when it comes out of the oven for an extra flavor boost.
How Long to Cook Beef Tenderloin
Because the size of your beef tenderloin can vary, it’s difficult to give a really reliable time frame for how long to cook it. The better approach is to use a reliable digital meat thermometer and go off temperature.
Beef Tenderloin Temperature Guide
- Rare (120-125 degrees F)
- Medium-Rare (130-135 degrees F) – bright pink and very juicy
- Medium (135-140 degrees F) – the meat will be a nice rosy pink (my preference)
- Medium-Well (140-145 degrees F) – still has a pinkish hue, but not as noticeable
- Well-Done (150 degrees F)
That said, my beef tenderloin roast took about 27 minutes to reach 138 degrees F, which is a perfect medium, leaving the center of the tenderloin a nice rosy pink color. This was in a 450 degrees F oven after first searing the beef tenderloin in a hot pan.
Remember that both ends of the roast will be a little more done than the middle, so there is some leeway for folks who prefer a slightly more well-cooked piece of meat, while still making sure the middle is a nice, juicy medium.
Also, keep in mind that the beef tenderloin needs to rest for 10-15 minutes after removing from the oven to allow the juices to redistribute. During this resting period, the temperature will actually continue to rise up to 5 degrees, which is why I recommend removing the roast at any point between 135 and 140 degrees F.
How Much Beef Tenderloin Per Person
I always plan on 4-6 ounces of beef tenderloin per person when figuring out how many people I will be able to serve from one beef tenderloin. Obviously, this depends on your family’s appetites, but for us, a 2-3 pound beef tenderloin roast will easily feed 6-8 guests.
What to Serve with a Beef Tenderloin Roast
- Scalloped Potatoes [Au Gratin Potatoes]
- Oven Roasted Asparagus with Garlic, Parmesan, & Lemon
- Fruit Salad with Marshmallows and Whipped Cream
- The BEST Homemade Mashed Potatoes!
- Winter Pear, Pomegranate & Swiss Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
- Easy Creamy Corn Casserole
- Cranberry Jello Salad with Cream Cheese Topping
- Easy Rice Pilaf with Orzo Pasta
- Haricot Verts with Dijon Vinaigrette
- or any of my delicious salad recipes!
Garlic Herb Butter Beef Tenderloin Roast
- 2-3 pounds beef tenderloin roast, trimmed and tied
- Salt & pepper
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
Garlic Herb Butter
- 4 Tablespoons salted butter room temperature
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon chives finely chopped
- Remove the beef tenderloin roast from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting. Trim the silver skin (a thin, white layer that should be removed before cooking) and tie the beef tenderloin. If one end is more tapered than the other, bend it under the roast and secure it when tying so the roast is an even thickness throughout.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Pat the beef tenderloin dry and season by sprinkling with salt and pepper on all sides. Prepare the garlic herb butter by combining the butter, garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper in a bowl and mashing with a fork. Divide in half, setting part of the garlic herb butter aside in a separate bowl for after the roast is done cooking.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet or heavy pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, place the roast into the skillet and let it sear on each of three sides for 2-3 minutes. Turn the roast over with tongs to the final side, then turn off the heat and rub the beef tenderloin all over with half of the garlic herb butter mixture.
- Transfer the beef tenderloin to the oven in the skillet it was seared in, or place in a roasting pan first if you don’t have an oven-safe skillet.
- Cook for 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of your roast, until an oven-safe meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin registers between 135 and 140 degrees F for medium doneness. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise another 5 degrees after it is removed from the oven while it is resting before slicing.
- While the meat cooks, combine all of the ingredients for the horseradish sauce in a bowl and keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Remove the beef tenderloin roast from the oven and slather with the reserved garlic herb butter mixture, then let the meat rest 10 minutes before slicing.
- Serve with horseradish sauce, if desired.
- Beef Tenderloin Temperature Guide: Rare (120-125 degrees F); Medium-Rare (130-135 degrees F); Medium (135-140 degrees F); Medium-Well (140-145 degrees F); Well-Done (150 degrees F).