How to Cook Filet Mignon in a Pan

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A premium cut of  meat, filet mignon is quick to prepare.
A premium cut of meat, filet mignon is quick to prepare. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Filet mignon is an exceptionally tender cut of meat and therefore requires very little cooking time. Pan-searing is a great way to prepare this cut because it sears the outside, trapping all of the juice and flavor inside. Unlike grilling, pan-searing also leaves you with a pan full of brown bits, called fond, that can be used to make a flavorful sauce. Learning how to cook filet mignon in a pan is not difficult if a few steps are followed.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 filet mignon steak
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • Frying pan or skillet
  • Tongs or spatula
  • Aluminum foil

Bring your steak to room temperature and season with salt and pepper.

Add butter to your pan and heat over medium-high until melted.

Add the steak and lower the heat to medium.

Cook the steak on one side for three to five minutes -- closer to three minutes for rare and closer to five minutes for medium.

Flip the steak using tongs or spatula. Cook for three to five more minutes.

Remove the steak from pan and place on a plate. Loosely tent with foil to keep the steak warm.

Let the steak rest for five to 10 minutes.

Slice, plate and serve.

Tips & Warnings

  • Flipping the steak only once allows a beautiful crust to form on each side.
  • Bringing the steak to room temperature, or "tempering," is important. Room temperature meat cooks faster and more evenly than chilled steak.
  • Resting is an important step -- it allows the juices in the meat to settle and redistribute, resulting in a juicier steak. If you cut into it too soon, the juices will run out.
  • A food thermometer is the best way to check your meat's doneness. Rare is 120 degrees Fahrenheit; medium-rare 126 F; medium 135 F; medium-well 145 F; and well-done is 160 F.
  • After removing the pan from the heat, the steak will continue to cook - -this is called "carry-over" cooking. Being aware of this will help you avoid overcooking your meat.
  • Never use a fork to flip your steak. Piercing the meat while it cooks will allow juices to escape, resulting in a dry fillet.

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