How to Cook Filet Mignon Like the Restaurants

by Pamela

filet mignon, cast iron skillet, how to cook filet mignon, how to cook filet mignon in a cast iron skillet

It’s Valentine’s Day. Did you jump through the hoops as is prescribed by well…just about everyone or did you decide to forge your own path and take matters into your own hands. If it’s the latter, I applaud you. If it’s the former…I feel for ya. Today’s post might just save your ass if you tried to make dinner reservations and couldn’t get in (you really can’t wait until the day of to get reservations). This “how to cook filet mignon” post is how most restaurants will be cooking their filet’s tonight…and every other night. There’s no reason why you can’t too.

You can toss those filets on the grill, but don’t you want that nice crispy crust on you’re meat? Yeah you do! The only way you get that is if you pan sear. Grab your cast iron skillet, toss it (okay…place it) on your burner and get it rip roarin’ hot. On a side note…if your steaks are more than 1-2 inches thick (like the one’s in this video) pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees at the same time you start heating that skillet.

To make your life easier, you should let your steaks come to room temp before cooking them. (So don’t drop your pan on the heat until your steaks have come to temperature.) I really shouldn’t drink wine when I write my posts…but I digress. Sprinkle some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides of your meat and pat it into the surface a bit. Now drop those bad boys into that rip roaring hot skillet and listen to that sizzle.

Don’t play with your food! Let the filet mignon sit in the pan for 3-4 minutes before flipping it over. First, you want that nice crust to form. Second, if you try to flip it too soon it will stick and tear. Yes, meat has a sort of built in timer to tell you when it’s done. Once it forms a nice crust, you can easily move the meat. Now flip it over and cook the other side for 3-4 minutes. (This will get you medium rare on a 1-2 inch steak.)

Lift up the steaks to make sure there’s a nice crust then drop a chunk of butter into the pan. Next, toss in 2 or 3 fresh thyme sprigs followed by a couple of nice fat cloves of garlic. Push the butter around so that it gets under both of the filets. Now comes the good part!

Grab a spoon and tilt the pan, it’s time to baste. You want to scoop up all the melted buttery goodness and drape it over the tops of those steaks. Keep doing it. Brush the garlic into the butter pool to add even more garlicky flavor to the steaks as you baste them. Once they’re good and basted you can remove the pan from the heat and place the filet mignon on a plate to rest for 10 minutes. If you cut into it sooner than that, you’re going to release all the juices onto the plate.

If the filet mignon you’re working with is between 2-3 inches (like mine in the video) you’re going to take them off the stove top and pop them into the oven for about 3 minutes. This will help cook the inside to medium rare. You don’t want to cook thick filets entirely on the stove top or the outside will be like a charcoal briquette while the inside is perfect. You want that filet mignon perfect inside and out. Once you take it out of the oven let it sit for 10 minutes so that all of the juices can re-distribute.

If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can use another heavy bottomed skillet. Don’t have one of those, but you do have a pot? Great…you can make another delicious filet mignon recipe by poaching it in red wine. Just click on this filet mignon link for the recipe.

How to Cook Filet Mignon Like the Restaurants Do
Prep time
Cook time
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Now you can cook filet mignon just like they do at your favorite restaurant. Add a glass of wine for the perfect romantic dinner. Watch the how to video.
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2
  • 2 1-2" Thick Filet Mignon
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Large Cloves Garlic
  1. Bring filets to room temperature.
  2. Place cast iron skillet on stove top and turn heat up to high.
  3. Add salt and pepper to both sides of filets.
  4. Once pan is rip roarin' hot, drop steaks into pan.
  5. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side (for medium rare). Add 2 minutes per side for every level of doneness beyond medium rare.
  6. Once crust has formed on second side, add butter to pan.
  7. While it's melting, add thyme and garlic to pan.
  8. Swirl butter around pan to coat undersides of meat.
  9. Tilt pan and spoon melted butter over top of the steaks.
  10. Move the garlic cloves into the melted butter to add even more garlic flavor to the steaks.
  11. Remove pan from heat and place filets on a large plate.
  12. Let rest for 10 minutes, so that the juices can re-distribute in the meat.
  13. Serve.
If filets are 2-3" thick, pre-heat oven to 500 degrees when you put the pan on to heat up. When done basting steaks, pop them in the oven for 3 minutes to bring meat to medium rare.


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John@Kitchen Riffs February 16, 2014 at 10:16 am

I usually cook my steak this way, too. And always use the oven method when it’s thick. Tip: if you’re cooking really thick burgers, the same method works beautifully (sear on stovetop, finish in oven). Good post — thanks.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef February 15, 2014 at 9:05 pm

I saw this video the other day and went out and bought steak for dinner. 🙂

Pamela February 15, 2014 at 9:59 pm

I LOVE that Maureen! 🙂

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