How Do I Bake Filet Mignon?

Eugene P.

Filet mignon is a cut of meat that is finely marbled and does not have a large amount of fat around it to keep the cut moist. To bake filet mignon so it is not dry, the temperature of the oven should be high and the outside of the fillets should be quickly seared. Adding fat to the outside of the fillet also can help to keep the cut moist while it is cooking, as can marinating the meat ahead of time. Traditional recipes such as beef Wellington bake fillet mignon surrounded by moist ingredients so moisture is kept inside the meat. Once the baking process is done, the meat should be allowed to rest so it is juicy and tender when cut into.

A slice of bacon is often wrapped around a filet mignon medallion.
A slice of bacon is often wrapped around a filet mignon medallion.

One of the most beneficial steps that can be taken before starting to bake filet mignon is to bring the cut to room temperature. This will allow the heat to easily transfer from the outside to the inside of the cut while it is cooking, preventing the exterior from drying out before the center has cooked. A room-temperature fillet also can make it easier to achieve good medium and rare results from the steak.

A filet mignon should be pan seared before baking to preserve moisture in the meat.
A filet mignon should be pan seared before baking to preserve moisture in the meat.

To bake filet mignon in a way that keeps it moist and tender, moisture can sometimes be added to counteract the dry heat of the oven. One classic preparation is to take each fillet and wrap its outer edge in bacon. Some chefs wrap the entire piece of meat in a weave of bacon to ensure that no single part dries out completely, although this can overwhelm the natural beef flavor. Another method is to marinate the meat so some flavor and moisture enters the muscle fibers, which can help if the meat is seared before being placed in the oven.

Adding a cold filet to a hot oven can sometimes cause the outside layer to dry out considerably before the internal temperature has been raised enough to be safe. One solution is to bake filet mignon only after the surface has been seared or introduced to some heat. This can be achieved either by frying each side of the filet in a very hot oiled pan for a few minutes on each side or by placing the meat in an oven that is set to a very high temperature. After a crust has formed on the outside, it takes only a few more minutes in a moderately hot oven to bake filet mignon.

When the meat has finished cooking to the desired temperature, it should be removed from the oven and allowed to rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices inside to redistribute throughout the cut. The resting period is a vital step in the process required to bake filet mignon. For this reason, it is sometimes beneficial to remove the filet from the oven when it is just a little underdone so it will complete cooking outside the oven and be perfectly cooked when served.

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