This is the BEST recipe for pan-seared filet mignon. While the process is quick and easy, the result is restaurant-worthy melt-in-your-mouth steak. The filet comes off the pan cooked to medium-rare with a gorgeous crisp golden crust. Served with an herby white wine Crème fraîche sauce, this is perfect filet mignon at home!
Table of Contents
How to Cook Filet Mignon in a Cast-Iron Skillet
Pan-searing is one of the best and easiest ways to create dang good filet mignon! In less than 45 minutes, you can serve perfectly cooked filet mignon.
- Preheat a cast-iron skillet in the oven. (This will heat the pan evenly and get it ripping hot without smoking out your house).
- Meanwhile, season the steaks with salt and let rest. Measure out and prep the ingredients for the sauce.
- Once the oven has preheat to 500-degree, pat the steaks dry and season with pepper.
- Carefully (using pot holders!) transfer the cast-iron skillet to the stovetop over medium-high heat.
- Add oil to the hot skillet and heat just until smoking.
- Add steaks and cook, without moving them, for 2 minutes.
- Flip the steaks and cook on the second side for 2 minutes, without moving.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook, flipping every 2 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the centers registers 135ºF. Let steaks rest, tented for 5–10 minutes to allow the internal temperature to rise to 145ºF for medium-rare (per USDA).
Tips for Cooking Steak
High-quality beef: since the hero of this dish is the beef, it’s important to use fresh, high-quality beef, which supports farmers and ranchers. Did you know, 91% of beef farms and ranches are family-owned? All the more reason to add beef to your weekly meal plan!
Use thick-cut steaks: thick-cut steaks (1 to 1½-inches thick) allow you to achieve a crisp golden crust while also cooking the steak to medium-rare. It will be much harder to get that crust without over-cooking the meat if thinner steaks are used.
Bring meat to room temperature: bringing the beef to room temperature before cooking helps it to cook at a more even rate throughout. The recipe is written and designed to help you do that without having to think ahead.
Season generously: as with most meat, but beef especially, it’s imperative that you season the steaks well before cooking. Salt of course makes things taste good, but it also highlights and enhances the other flavors of the dish.
Salt the meat then let it sit: salt draws out moisture and moisture inhibits browning. To create a golden and crisp crust, it’s important to salt the steaks and let them rest before cooking.
The rest time will draw out the moisture prior to cooking so you can soak it up with paper towels. If the meat is seasoned right before searing, it will release moisture into the pan—effectively ruining any chances of searing.
Crème fraîche Steak Sauce
One of the cowbells of this recipe is the tarragon crème fraîche sauce. This elegant sauce is creamy, savory, and well-balanced from the dry white wine, fresh tarragon, and cracked black pepper.
Crème fraîche is sold in small plastic containers, much like cottage cheese, and can be found in the specialty cheese or dairy section of your grocery store.
If you’re a horseradish lover, go ahead and add a teaspoon or two of prepared horseradish to the sauce. Use prepared horseradish that’s sold in the refrigerated section, but not the cream-style horseradish.
If you aren’t a tarragon fan, use fresh parsley, thyme or chives instead.
Variations on This Recipe
- Add horseradish to the Crème fraîche sauce.
- Add (or swap in) fresh chives, parsley or thyme.
- Use red wine instead of white wine for a rosy sauce.
- Add capers to the Crème fraîche sauce.
- Skip the sauce and finish the steaks with an herbed butter.
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Pan Seared Filet Mignon with Tarragon Crème fraîche Sauce
- 4 (6- to 7-ounce) center-cut filets mignons, (ideally, 1 ½ inches thick), trimmed
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ½ cup Crème fraîche
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
- Black pepper
- Heat oven to 500ºF with rack set in middle position; set a 12-inch cast-iron skillet on rack to preheat in oven.
- Meanwhile, season steaks with salt and let sit at room temperature.
- Once oven reaches 500ºF, pat steaks dry with paper towels and season with pepper. Carefully remove skillet from oven (using potholders) and place on stovetop over medium-high heat; turn off oven. Add oil to skillet and heat until just smoking.
- Cook steaks, without moving, until lightly browned on first side, about 2 minutes. Flip steaks and continue to cook until lightly browned on second side, about 2 minutes.
- Flip steaks, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, flipping every 2 minutes, until steaks are well browned and meat registers 130ºF–135ºF (for medium-rare), 6–8 minutes (cook time will depend on thickness of steak. Thinner steaks will take less time). Transfer steaks to a plate or serving platter; tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest while making sauce.
- Add shallot to drippings in skillet; cook over medium-high heat until softened, stirring constantly, 2–3 minutes. Whisk in wine, broth, and Crème fraîche, scraping up any browned bits.
- Bring mixture to simmer, then reduce heat to medium, and cook, whisking frequently, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, stir in any accumulated meat juices, and continue to cook until sauce coats the back of a spoon, 1–2 minute. Off heat, whisk in tarragon and ¾ teaspoon pepper; season with salt to taste.
- Serve steaks with sauce.
This sponsored post is in partnership with the Iowa Beef Council. As always the thoughts, opinions, recipe, photos and content are all my own.