Pan-Seared Filet Mignon

PREP TIMEREST TIMECOOK TIMETOTAL TIME
5 mins45 mins to 24 h10 mins1 to 24 hours

A pan-seared filet mignon, basted with butter, garlic, and fresh herbs for better flavor, is one of the best ways to prepare this cut of meat. My recipe doesn’t just give you the basics; it also provides insider tips to ensure it turns out perfectly every time. Learn how to do it all in a cast-iron skillet—no oven needed.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Filet mignon (at least 1.75-2.5 inches thick, ideally around 2 inches)
  • 1 tablespoon high-smoke point oil (I recommend avocado oil)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 2 thyme or rosemary springs

The Tools You’ll Need

  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Tongs
  • Instant Read Thermometer

How to Cook Filet Mignon on a Stove

Here is a detailed, step-by-step guide, complete with explanations and photos, on how to cook a filet mignon in a skillet on a stove.

Note: For this recipe, I used a 2-inch thick filet mignon. To get that ideal combo of a nice crust and a rare or medium-rare center, aim for a filet mignon that’s at least 1.75 to 2.25 inches thick. Two inches is best.  If you go with a thinner, like 1-inch filet mignon, you won’t get a good crust while keeping it rare or medium-rare. On the other hand, if you use a 3-inch thick filet, you’ll likely end up with a burned crust and an undercooked center.

Ingredients: Black pepper, garlic, salt, butter, avocado oil, rosemary, and filet mignon
Ingredients: Black pepper, garlic, salt, butter, avocado oil, rosemary, and filet mignon

Step 1: Prepare the Filet Mignon

First, remove the filet mignon from the refrigerator and pat dry thoroughly with a paper towel. Once the steak is dry, it’s time to salt it. The timing of the salting depends on when you plan to sear the filet mignon.

  • Option 1: Remove the filet mignon from the refrigerator, season it generously on all sides with salt, and let it rest on a wire rack for at least 45-60 minutes. After that, you’re ready for the next step.
  • Option 2 (Highly Recommended): Salt the filet mignon on all sides and place it on a wire rack in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The next day, remove the steak and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking. You’ll notice that the steak’s surface is drier after 24 hours of salting, which is ideal for pan-searing.

Note: A dry steak surface will give you a better sear. Don’t start cooking the steak within 5 to 45 minutes after salting. Salt draws moisture to the steak’s surface, especially in the first 5-15 minutes after salting, so searing during that time won’t give you good results. But don’t worry; wait at least 45 minutes, and the steak will reabsorb the moisture, additionally making the steak even tastier. That’s why it’s a good idea to let the steak rest in the fridge for a day after salting. By the next day, the surface will be completely dry, and the steak will taste much better thanks to the dry brining with salt.

Salt seasoned filet mignon
Salt seasoned filet mignon
filet mignon, 5 minutes after salting
Filet mignon, 5 minutes after salting
Filet mignon, 24 hours after salting
Filet mignon, 24 hours after salting

Step 2: Preheat the Cast-Iron Skillet

Place the cast-iron skillet on high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add a tablespoon of refined avocado oil and wait another minute. By then, the skillet should be about 400-500°F. While the pan is heating, season your filet mignon with finely ground pepper on all sides.

Note: Be careful when you put the filet mignon in the hot pan; it will be extremely hot. Make sure you use oil with a high smoke point. Refined avocado oil is perfect because it has a smoke point of just over 500°F. If you’re in a rush at the store, it’s easy to accidentally grab unrefined avocado oil, which isn’t suitable for this recipe since it has a smoke point of only 350-375°F. So, please double-check the label.

Filet mignon seasoned with ground black pepper
Filet mignon seasoned with ground black pepper
Cast iron skillet heated to 472.2°F.
Cast iron skillet heated to 472.2°F.

Step 3: Place the Filet Mignon in the Skillet

Carefully place the filet mignon in the skillet and gently press it down to make good contact with the pan. Flip the steak every 30 seconds until its internal temperature reaches about 90°F. Then, lower the heat to medium-low and move on to the next step.

Note: An instant-read thermometer is your best friend to monitor the steak’s internal temperature. In my experience, the filet mignon reached 90°F in 4-5 minutes. But remember, that’s just an estimate. Cooking times can change based on a bunch of factors. Always rely on the thermometer for accuracy rather than the estimated cooking times you find online.

Step 4: Baste the Filet Mignon with Butter

Add butter, rosemary, thyme, and a few crushed garlic cloves to the pan. While the butter melts, sear the sides of the filet mignon for about 30 seconds on each side. Once done, move the filet mignon to the top edge of the pan, letting the butter, herbs, and garlic collect at the bottom.

Tilt the pan and use a spoon to baste the steak with the melted butter for about 30 seconds on each side. If basting isn’t your thing, you can gather the butter in one spot and flip the steak every 30 seconds. Either way, you’ll get almost the same delicious results.

While cooking, monitor the steak’s internal temperature. Remove the filet mignon from the pan when it’s 20°F below your target temperature. For low medium-rare doneness (130-135°F), take the filet mignon out of the pan when it reaches 110°F. Due to carryover cooking, the temperature will rise by 20-25°F as the steak rests for about 7 minutes.

Note: Add butter, garlic, and herbs to the pan when the steak reaches an internal temperature of 90°F, no earlier. Butter has a lower smoke point, around 300°F, so if you add it too early, you risk burning it. Many folks mess this up, which messes up the steak’s flavor.

Filet mignon, seared in a cast iron skillet with butter, rosemary, and garlic.
Filet mignon, seared in a cast iron skillet with butter, rosemary, and garlic.
Baste the filet mignon with the melted butter
Baste the filet mignon with the melted butter

Step 5: Let the Pan-Seared Filet Mignon Rest

Don’t cut into the filet mignon immediately after removing it from the pan. Let it rest for 6-7 minutes. This allows the meat to relax and the internal temperature to reach the perfect doneness. If you cut into it too soon, the steak will be undercooked. Trust me, those extra few minutes make a big difference. See my full guide on How Long to Rest Steak After Cooking to learn more.

After those 6-7 minutes, slice the filet mignon however you like and serve it with the leftover butter, seared garlic, and herbs.

Internal Filet Mignon Temperature 121°F
Internal Filet Mignon Temperature 121°F
Pan-seared filet mignon; rare doneness
Pan-seared filet mignon; rare doneness
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pan seared filet mignon

Pan-Seared Filet Mignon

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  • Author: Adam Wojtow
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Rest Time: 24 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 hours 15 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A pan-seared filet mignon, basted with butter, garlic, and fresh herbs for better flavor, is one of the best ways to prepare this cut of meat. Learn how to do it all in a cast-iron skillet—no oven needed.


Ingredients

  • Filet mignon (at least 1.75-2.5 inches thick, ideally around 2 inches)
  • 1 tablespoon high-smoke point oil (I recommend avocado oil)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ stick of unsalted butter
  • 23 garlic cloves
  • 2 thyme or rosemary springs

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Steak: Remove the filet mignon from the refrigerator and pat it dry with a paper towel. Once the steak is dry, it’s time to salt it. The timing of the salting depends on when you plan to sear the filet mignon.

    Option 1: Season generously with salt and let it rest on a wire rack for 45-60 minutes.

    Option 2 (Highly Recommended): Season with salt and refrigerate on a wire rack for 24 hours. The next day, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.

  2. Get That Skillet Hot: Place the cast-iron skillet on high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add a tablespoon of refined avocado oil and wait another minute. By then, the skillet should be about 400-500°F. While the pan is heating, season your filet mignon with finely ground pepper on all sides.
  3. Sear the Steak: Carefully place the filet mignon in the skillet and gently press it down to make good contact with the pan. Flip the steak every 30 seconds until its internal temperature reaches about 90°F. Then, lower the heat to medium-low and move on to the next step.
  4. Baste the Steak: Add butter, rosemary, thyme, and crushed garlic to the pan. While the butter melts, sear the sides of the filet mignon for about 30 seconds on each side. Once done, move the filet mignon to the top edge of the pan, letting the butter, herbs, and garlic collect at the bottom.

    Tilt the pan and spoon the melted butter over the steak for 30 seconds per side. Alternatively, gather the butter in one spot and flip the steak every 30 seconds.

    Monitor the steak’s internal temperature and remove it when it’s 20°F below your target. For low medium-rare (130-135°F), remove at 110°F. Let the steak rest. Due to carryover cooking, the temperature will rise by 20-25°F as the steak rests for about 7 minutes.

  5. Rest the Steak and Serve: After removing the filet mignon from the pan, let it rest for 6-7 minutes. This helps the meat relax and reach the perfect doneness. Once rested, slice the filet and serve with the leftover butter, seared garlic, and herbs.

More Pan-Seared Steak Recipes To Try

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Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam Wojtow is a Polish entrepreneur and writer who founded Steak Revolution in 2020 because of his passion for steaks. Adam has been cooking steaks for over five years and knows a lot about them, including the different types of steak cuts, how long to cook them, and the best ways to cook any steak.

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