Filet mignon is one of the most coveted cuts of steak. There’s something magical about how lean yet perfectly tender it is. If you’re looking for a mild flavored delectable melt in your mouth cut that you can consume with some regularity, filet mignon deserves your attention.
Sous vide is the only way to achieve an ideal edge-to-edge cook without fail. We find this all the more comforting given the price point of filet mignon. I don’t care how rich you are, no one wants to drop a pretty penny on some steaks, invest the time and care in cooking them, and be disappointed in the outcome. Keep reading for the foolproof step-by-step recipe.
- Related article: Best Steak Cuts for Sous Vide
Table of Contents
Steak Trimming Notes
I’ve never met a filet mignon that needed trimming. Given how lean filets tend to be, we’d preserve any fat we find. The exception being, if you happen to find a strip of fat running along the side of the steak greater than 1/4 inch thick, trim it to 1/4 inch thick or less before you sous vide; There’s no need to fret over getting the thickness of the fat even. Try not to cut into the meat when trimming.
The basic premise of sous vide cooking utilizes an airtight bag submerged in water to cook at low temperatures for longer periods of time. This type of water immersion technique cooking method requires that sous vide foods are put into watertight tight sealed bags, devoid of as much air as possible.
There are two common practices to bag foods appropriately to cook sous vide: using a vacuum sealer and the water displacement method.
A vacuum sealer is the optimal method to ensure all air is removed from the bag with a tight seal. You can find the right sous vide vacuum sealer for you here.
The water displacement method is an effective and convenient method that can be used with Ziploc or silicone bags. After filling the bag with the appropriate food contents, you lower the bag into the water to displace the air out of the bag and seal on the follow.
Either method can be used for this recipe sous vide.
Sous Vide Cooking Time and Temperature
Our preferred time and temperature for sous vide filet mignon is 127°F (52.8°C) for 2 hours. Given the leanness of this steak, we take a few degrees off what we normally prefer to cook most of our steaks to keep the steak moist. This leads to a perfectly even rosy-red borderline rare+ medium-rare finish.
If you’re in a pinch, reducing the time to 45 minutes will still produce great results. You can extend the sous vide time up to 4 hours to further soften the mouth feel while maintaining a steak consistency. See reference guide below to adjust the time and temperature to your liking.
Filet Mignon Steak Sous Vide Quick Reference Guide
Keep in mind the sear will raise the internal temperature ~3°F.
|Target Doneness||Temperature Range||Cook Time|
|Blue rare||115°F (49°C) to 119°F (54°C)||45 min to 2.5 hours|
|Very rare to rare +||120°F (49°C) to 129°F (54°C)||45 min to 2.5 hours|
|Medium-rare||130°F (54°C) to 135°F (57°C)||45 min to 4 hours|
|Medium||136°F (57°C) to 142°F (61°C)||45 min to 4 hours|
|Medium-well||143°F (61°C) to 155°F (68°C)||45 min to 3.5 hours|
|Well done||156°F (69°C) +||1 to 3 hours|
Sear to Finish Steak
Searing is critical to having your steak be plate ready. Not only does the searing process add color to the dish, but also adds depth of flavor, texture and locks in juices.
The critical steps to get a great crust are:
- Dry the meat thoroughly by patting with a paper towel
- Season the meat generously with seasoning such as salt and pepper
- Use extremely high heat
The first step is easy to forget but crucial. Failure to pat the meat dry inhibits the Maillard reaction needed to create a crust. Seasoning the meat adds flavor and induces the crust. Lastly, using extremely high heat creates the crust.
The three methods we would suggest for the high temperature sear are:
You’ll want to sear for 1 to 2 minutes per side. The less time taken to reach your desired crust, the better. If pan searing, we prefer ghee (clarified butter) or a high smoke point oil such as avocado oil, but regular butter will do. Limiting to the sear to 2 minutes per side should prevent the steak from overcooking.
It requires marginally more work, but searing the steak for 30 seconds to a minute per side, 2 (or more) times each can add more color and texture and further prevent overcooking.
In the searing stage we’re doing our best to preserve the perfectly even doneness of the sous vide beef, while adding color, texture and taste to further its appeal.
Carving a filet mignon isn’t all that complicated, just make sure to cut against the grain to create a tender bite. Cutting with the grain will create extra chew. I prefer half inch thick slices on a filet mignon.
With carving we’re just aiming to maximize the tenderness by minimizing the chew.
Where to Find Quality Filet Mignon
Filet Mignon is a common cut that can be found at your local butcher or grocery shop.
If you haven’t tried ordering online at Crowd Cow, I’d encourage you to do so. They have a large selection of high-quality meats and operate under the core tenents of taste, transparency and convenience. Use this limited time link for $10 off your first Crowd Cow order.
Crowd Cow connects you to 100+ small farms across 23 states. The selection ranges from competitively priced grocery store staples to restaurant quality craft and heritage meats.
Kitchen Equipment Needed
If you’re new to sous vide, we have a great post on sous vide starter kits to get you going equipment wise. Below we summarize the essentials.
Sous Vide Machine
A sous vide cooker is the one piece of equipment that is critical to purchase to cook sous vide. It’s a portable machine that clamps onto a container to circulate, heat and regulate the water bath to the desired temperature.
Immersion circulators include the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker series and the Breville Joule Sous Vide Cooker. For a more complete comparison of sous vide cookers see our review of the 10 best sous vide machines.
Sous Vide Container
You don’t technically need a separate container and can use any metal pot at home, but I prefer a sous vide container. They’re lightweight, transparent and designed with sous vide cooking in mind.
We’ve reviewed the best sous vide containers to help you find one that best meets your needs.
If you’re serious about sous vide, a vacuum sealer deserves serious consideration. A vacuum sealer will eliminate the vast majority of sous vide bag issues that can cause your sous vide cook to go wayward.
Bonus, it will benefit you well beyond sous vide and likely pay for itself in short order. Check out our research on the best sous vide vacuum sealers.
Cast Iron Skillet
Not really unconventional, but if a cast iron skillet isn’t a part of your kitchen arsenal, it should be for sous vide. The heat retention of cast iron will go a long way in pan searing, which is the most common and versatile form of searing sous vide cooked food.
Sous Vide Filet Mignon Recipe
- Sous Vide Cooker
- Sous Vide Container
- Vacuum Sealer optional
- Vacuum Seal Bags or Ziploc like bags
- Skillet or grill
- 1 filet mignon 1.5 – 2 inches thick
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1 fresh rosemary sprig optional
- 1 fresh thyme sprigs optional
- 1 garlic clove (minced or smashed) optional
- 1 tbsp ghee (or butter) for a skillet finish or extra virgin olive oil for a grill finish
- Set the sous vide machine to 127°F / 52.8°C to preheat the water.
- Season and bag the filet mignon generously with salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary and thyme sprigs.
- Seal the bag and cook in the sous vide container for 2 hours.
- When the filet mignon is ready, take it out of the vacuum sealed bag. Pat dry the filet mignon.
- Put a pan on high heat and sear the filet mignon on all sides with ghee, 1 to 2 minutes per side including edges (~5 minutes total). Alternatively, sear the steak with olive oil over a grill.
- When ready to eat, finish with salt and be sure to slice the steak against the grain. Enjoy your perfectly cooked sous vide filet mignon immediately!
Like most steak, we’d recommend red wine as a perfect beverage pairing for this meal. Given the mild flavor of a filet mignon, reds with a softer tannin structure pair beautifully; aged (10+ years) Bordeaux, Rioja Reserva or Gran Reserva, softer Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc, Pinot Noir and Merlot are great choices.
Additional Filet Mignon Information
Why’s It Called Filet Mignon?
Filet mignon is French for ‘small filet’. Fun fact, in France filet mignon usually refers to a filet of pork tenderloin, not beef tenderloin.
Other Names for Filet Mignon
A steak as beloved as the filet mignon naturally is going to go by more than one name. Tenderloin steak is the most commonly used alternate name in the U.S. Other names used around the world are: filet de boeuf (France), fillet steak (UK, Ireland, South Africa) and eye fillet (Australia, New Zealand).
Filet mignons come from filets of the small end of tenderloin (psoas major) of cattle. The tenderloin only amounts to 2-3% of cattle, which helps explain why the filet mignon is often the most expensive steak on the menu.
The tenderloin is a non-weight bearing muscle that gets next to no exercise. This keeps the tenderloin (and its filets) tender, despite the lack of intramuscular fat.
Both T-bone and Porterhouse steaks include filet mignon and strip steak within a larger cut. What are the differences of Porterhouse vs T bone?
Filet Mignon Sous Vide FAQs
We recommend 2 hours for a 1.5 inch to 2.5 inch filet mignon. The window for that thickness is 45 minutes to 4 hours. For a one inch filet mignon you can go as short as 30 minutes.
Set the temperature to 127°F / 52.8°C for a borderline rare+ medium-rare filet mignon. Because the steak is so lean, we think this produces the best texture for this cut.
Yes! The filet mignon is more about texture than it is about robust taste. It’s a very lean cut. The combination of lean yet extremely tender beef is special.
Two hours is what we would recommend. You can go as short as 45 minutes or as long as a 4 hour cook.
Sous vide at 127°F / 52.8°C temperature for 45 minutes. Sear the meat to finish after patting dry.
If you’re in the mood for an interesting short read, see The Colonel in the Kitchen: A Surprising History of Sous Vide.
Other Sous Vide Steak Recipes
Check out these other sous vide recipes for more tasty dishes:
- Sous Vide Wagyu Steak Recipe
- Sous Vide Ribeye Steak Recipe
- Sous Vide Smoked Brisket – You Won’t Screw it Up
- Sous Vide Flank Steak Recipe
Only one question for you before you get started. Do you know how to tell if steak is bad? We’re not into putting you in the hospital.