Roasting whole beef tenderloin is weeknight easy but weekend special. Here's how to roast a beef tenderloin in the oven for impressive results any day of the week.

By Wini Moranville
Updated September 11, 2019
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When it comes to roasting a whole beef tenderloin in the oven, there are two ways to go about it: fast or not-so-fast. Some recipes call for searing the meat on the stove top, then cooking it quickly at a high oven temperature. Other recipes skip the searing step and call for roasting the beef at a low oven temperature, then turning up the oven temperature to help the roast brown as it finishes in the oven.

Either strategy can yield your best-ever beef tenderloin roast—as long as you don’t overcook it! Pay close attention: Our recipes show you exactly how long to roast beef tenderloin for the most flavorful results.

We’ll start with step-by-step instructions for slow-roasted beef tenderloin, then we point the way to recipes that show how to roast beef tenderloin at a higher heat in the oven.

How to Make Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin

This whole roasted beef tenderloin calls for slowly roasting the meat over a bed of fresh herbs to infuse it with fragrance and flavor, then turning up the heat for an enticingly browned exterior. Here’s what you’ll need to make 8 servings with this start-slow method.

Get Our Oven-Roasted Beef Tenderloin Recipe

1 2.5-pound beef tenderloin

2 Tbsp. cooking oil

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. cracked black pepper

½ tsp. sea salt or kosher salt or ¼ tsp. salt

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

4 sprigs fresh oregano

4 sprigs fresh thyme

Step 1: Ready your Roast

Preheat oven to 250°F. Drizzle tenderloin with cooking oil. Rub minced garlic evenly over the surface of the meat. Sprinkle with pepper and salt.

Step 2: Ready your Pan

Place rosemary, oregano, and thyme sprigs in the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Add a roasting rack. Place meat on rack.

Buy It: Oven Roast Rack, $5.48, Amazon

Step 3: Follow Our Beef Tenderloin Roasting Time Guidelines

Roast meat, uncovered, 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425°F. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of meat registers 135°F (about 30 to 40 minutes). Remove from oven. Cover loosely with foil. Let stand 10 minutes. Slice and serve with fresh thyme springs.

Use This Roasting Times Guide to Roast Just About Anything

Test Kitchen Tip: Cooking a beef tenderloin roast in the slow cooker is not recommended. That’s because a slow cooker uses moist heat for cooking. Dry heat works best for a beef tenderloin, which makes the oven your best option for roasting. On the other hand, your slow cooker is perfect for making all kinds of other pot roasts!

Cooking Beef Tenderloin Roast at High Heats

If you prefer a shorter beef tenderloin roast time, turn up the oven heat (we're cooking at 425°F) and follow the same steps as above, decreasing roasting time until it reaches your desired doneness. Or choose one of the following recipes.

Holiday Beef Tenderloin

While this whole roasted beef tenderloin recipe was designed with holidays in mind, in our book any day you serve this lavish dish will automatically feel like a holiday. Our recipe gives you a choice of beef tenderloin roast temperatures, telling you exactly how long to cook the roast for either medium-rare or medium doneness.

Get Our Holiday Beef Tenderloin Recipe

Beef Tenderloin with Parmesan-Herb Stuffing

After you’ve mastered the basics of how to cook beef tenderloin, take your expertise to the next level with this recipe. Here, the meat gets stuffed, roasted, and sliced into beautiful Instagram-worthy spirals.

Get Our Beef Tenderloin with Stuffing Recipe

Test Kitchen Tip: Another way to serve beef tenderloin is to choose filet mignon steaks. Also known as beef tenderloin steak, filet mignon is cut from beef tenderloin. It cooks even more quickly than a whole roasted beef tenderloin, but it's just as impressive!

Related: How to Cook Beef Tenderloin to Succulent Perfection

About Beef Tenderloin

Beef tenderloin comes from the loin—under the backbone and tucked between the rib and sirloin. Since this area doesn't get much of a workout, the meat is the most tender cut of beef available and is also the most expensive. Thanks to being lean and boneless, it's a cinch to work with. Plan on four servings per pound. For a smaller roast, ask for a center-cut roast.

It’s true that beef tenderloin is expensive. Yet the beautiful cut of meat pays you back in the confidence you’ll gain when cooking for special occasions. This cut—when served a juicy medium rare or medium—never fails to impress beef-lovers. Think of a roasted beef tenderloin as your entertaining go-to when only the best will do.

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