How to Roast Beef Tenderloin in the Oven for an Easy Dinner

Turn any weeknight dinner into a spectacular meal fit for a special occasion with these tips on how to roast beef tenderloin in the oven.

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. Simply pop the beef tenderloin in the oven and roast it at high heat for our quickest, easiest, and most basic method. However, some recipes call for initially roasting the beef at a low oven temperature, then turning up the oven temperature to help the roast brown as it finishes.

Either of these strategies can yield your best-ever beef tenderloin roast—as long as you don't overcook it! We'll show you exactly how long to roast beef tenderloin for the most flavorful results, starting with our fastest and most basic method.

Oven-Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Jason Donnelly

Equipment Needed to Make Oven-Roasted Beef Tenderloin

You'll need a roasting pan or a large, sturdy, shallow pan with a rack set inside to cook beef tenderloin. The pan's sides should be 2 to 3 inches high. If you don't have a roasting pan with a rack for beef tenderloin, you can use a 13x9-inch baking pan with an oven-safe wire rack set inside. You'll also need an oven-going meat thermometer.

A common question beef tenderloin newbies ask is, "Should I roast beef tenderloin on a rack?" The answer is yes! Placing the meat on a rack set in a roasting pan keeps it above the juices. This allows the heat to circulate all around the meat.

How to Cook a Beef Tenderloin Roast–The Fast Way

What temperature should you cook a beef tenderloin? If you stick to our basic high-heat method, 425°F is your number. Here's how to roast beef tenderloin at this temperature.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Place the beef tenderloin on a rack in a roasting pan. (Tip: You don't need to sear beef tenderloin before roasting.)
  3. Insert an oven-going meat thermometer in the thickest part of the roast. (If you don't have an oven-going meat thermometer, you can check the doneness with an instant-read thermometer near the end of cooking time.) Do not add water to the pan, and do not cover the roast.
  4. Roast in the preheated oven until the thermometer reaches the doneness temperatures below. Here's how long to roast beef tenderloin depending on the size of your roast and which doneness you prefer.

For a 2- to 3-pound tenderloin roast:

  • Roast 35 to 40 minutes for medium-rare (135°F)
  • Roast 45 to 50 minutes for medium (150°F)

For a 4- to 5-pound tenderloin roast:

  • Roast 50 to 60 minutes for medium-rare (135°F)
  • Roast 60 to 70 minutes for medium (150°F)

Remove the meat from the oven. Tent with foil and let stand 15 minutes before carving. The beef tenderloin temperature will rise to the standard for medium-rare (145°F) or medium (160°F) while it stands.

How to Make a Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin Roast

Oven-roasted beef tenderloin—the slow way—calls for initially roasting the meat at a low temperature (250°F), then turning up the heat to 425°F to obtain an enticingly brown exterior. Naturally, the beef tenderloin roast time will be different for this two-temperature method than for a single-temp method.

For a 2-1/2-pound beef tenderloin, roast the meat uncovered for 20 minutes at 250°F. Then turn up the heat 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 the oven. Cover loosely with foil. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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

Why We Love Beef Tenderloin

So, what cut is a beef tenderloin roast, and why is it so special? 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. Because it's lean and boneless, it's a cinch to work with. 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.

Beef tenderloin is indeed expensive. Yet the beautiful cut of meat pays you back with the confidence you'll gain when cooking for special occasions. When served a juicy medium-rare or medium, this cut 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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