Are you looking for dinner ideas for Christmas? Roast beef tenderloin is a great alternative and tastes amazing with this red wine reduction and your favorite roasted vegetables.

roast beef tenderloin slices on a plate with mashed potato and roasted broccolini.

If you feel like something a little different for Christmas dinner, beef tenderloin might be the answer. Usually rib roast is what most people will end up cooking and it’s definitely a great choice, (check out this amazing prime rib for inspiration) but for me, the tenderloin is my favorite cut of meat. The tenderloin is a much leaner cut of meat so many cooks will say it lacks flavor, but I say if that’s true, it makes up for it when you eat a piece and it melts in your mouth like butter!

All about roast beef tenderloin

The tenderloin is leaner because it comes from the back of the cow towards the top. Because this muscle area doesn’t get worked much it ends up being a leaner and less tough cut of meat. The chuck, beef round and brisket are all examples of cuts that come from areas of the cow that are worked often like the front of the animal and the upper legs. These require slow cooking to break down the muscle fiber.

The tenderloin isn’t all about the filet mignon steak though because the steaks are just a small part of the beef tenderloin which tapers to a point at one end. This is where you’ll find the best cuts for filet mignon. The upper part of the tenderloin is great for recipes like my roast beef tenderloin

Prepping your roast beef tenderloin

Depending on your butcher, the tenderloin may still have some silver skin on it. This can be trimmed as much as possible but don’t worry if you don’t get rid of every piece. I like to keep my coating simple so a good covering of sea salt and coarse black pepper is all that’s needed with some olive oil to help it stick. It’s important to have the meat at room temperature before searing or placing into the oven. This will help promote even cooking throughout, so try and let the meat rest for up to one hour once seasoned.

beef tenderloin rubbed with salt and black pepper before being cooked in the oven

Searing the tenderloin

Searing the meat helps contain the juices within and also creates a nicely colored and crispy outside. Place an oven safe pan, preferably cast iron on high heat until very warm. Add some olive oil and then place the tenderloin into the pan. It will spit and smoke a bit which is normal. After 1-2 minutes, turn the meat to another side to be seared until most of the outside has been seared. You may have to hold it in place with some tongs.

beef tenderloin in a pan after being seared

Cooking a beef tenderloin

Beef tenderloin isn’t a cheap cut of meat so the last thing you want to do is overcook it. I highly recommend using a thermometer for an accurate interior temperature. I use the Thermapen but any thermometer will work. The meat cooks pretty quickly so keep a close eye on it with multiple temperature checks from the top and from the side. I like my meat to be cooked to medium rare which is between 130-135 degrees F. Follow this steak temperature chart if you like it a little more (or less) done than that. Always be mindful that the steak has enough heat in it to increase the temperature an extra 5 degrees or maybe more. That means to get an idea medium-rare steak, you should think about pulling it from the oven at 130 degrees.

Letting the meat rest

This step is just as important as searing and cooking so don’t try to rush slicing and serving. Meat has to rest to let the juices created while cooking, find their way back into the meat. The juices will gravitate to the outside of the meat. So if you sliced it straight away, those important juices would end up all over your cutting board, leaving behind a dry piece of meat. Don’t worry about the meat getting cold either, it has plenty of internal heat and as long as you tent it after it comes out of the oven, it’ll be fine. Tenting the meat simply means loosely covering the tenderloin with foil.

Slicing your beef tenderloin

A sharp knife is essential. I prefer to use a serrated one like this Wusthof Super Slicer. Slow and easy strokes making sure to let the knife do all of the work for you will create beautiful slices ready to go on the plate. I like slices about a half inch thick but it’s totally personal preference.

roast beef tenderloin being sliced

FAQs about this recipe

Can I grill my beef tenderloin?

Definitely, just heat your grill to a high heat and then sear it on the hot spot that usually every grill has. After searing, move the tenderloin to an indirect heat and cook. Check the temperature frequently until it reaches your desired doneness.

Does the black pepper make it spicy?

No it does not, it has a very mellow flavor.

How do I reheat any leftovers?

To maintain as much pinkness as possible and without overcooking the meat on a reheat, I recommend heating a pan to a very hot heat. Add a drizzle of oil and then place the any slices of tenderloin into the pan. Sear for about 40-50 seconds on each side and serve at once.

Is the tenderloin better than filet mignon?

As the filet mignon comes from the tenderloin, they are both very good sections to eat but the filet tends to be even more tender than the loin side. That’s what make the filet expensive in any good restaurant.

What can I do with any leftover tenderloin?

You could chop up the leftovers and make tacos or shred them into enchiladas. Homemade chili or lasagne would also work, or place the slices on top of a salad.

More fantastic steak recipes

Perfect side dishes for this recipe

Black Pepper Crusted Roast beef Tenderloin

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Author: foodnessgracious
Are you looking for dinner ideas for Christmas? Roast beef tenderloin is a great alternative to prime rib which takes much longer to cook and tastes amazing with this red wine reduction and your favorite roasted vegetables.
Print Recipe


  • 2 ½-3 pound beef tenderloin
  • 1 tsp flakey sea salt
  • 2 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

To make the red wine reduction

  • 2 tbsp butter, divided
  • ¼ cup minced shallot
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • salt and pepper to season


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Rub the tenderloin all over with the salt and black pepper.
  • In an oven safe pan or cast iron pan het the oil until very hot.
  • Carefully place the tenderloin into the pan and sear fpor about 1 minute, then turn it to sear again. Repeat until most of the meat has been seared.
  • Transfer the pan to the hot oven.
  • Roast for 25-30 minutes checking often with a thermometer in the center of the loin from the top and also from the side.
  • Once the tenderloin has reached your desired temperature, transfer the pan to a cutting board and cover the meat loosely with foil.
  • As the meat rests, make the sauce.
  • Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a sauce pan and then add the minced shallot.
  • Cook until the shallot has softened, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the red wine and beef broth then bring to a simmer.
  • Cook util the sauce has reduced by about half and begins to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Season with some salt and pepper and then whisk in the remaining 1 tbsp butter until the sauce has thickened and is slightly shiny.
  • Transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board and at one end, begin to cut into slices.
  • Serve with extra sea salt and pepper, mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables and the red wine reduction.