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Yummly's Secrets to Making Perfect Beef Tenderloin

Imagine a perfectly medium-rare beef roast, with a deeply flavorful red wine-mushroom sauce. With our step-by-step Guided Video Recipe and the Yummly Smart Thermometer, you’ve got this!

Photo by Sher Castellano

At least once this holiday season, you owe yourself and your clan a pull-out-the-stops dish, one that everyone will still be talking about and sighing over next December. Our Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce won’t fail to deliver. A whole beef tenderloin, which is a gorgeous, ultra-tender cut of meat, is always impressive (once sliced it’s known as filet mignon). With this recipe you’ll nail the temperature at a perfect medium-rare throughout, thanks to the low-and-slow cooking technique and the Yummly® Smart Thermometer. Then there’s the sauce, with concentrated, layered flavors that go on and on. 

How to make the ultimate roast beef tenderloin 

Like all of our Guided Videos, this one is a Yummly original created by our team of contributors. Martha Holmberg, the talented cook behind it, is the author of Modern Sauces, among many cookbooks, and she taught us how to coax out deep flavors and get foolproof results at every step of the recipe, even if this is your first time roasting beef tenderloin. 

While you’re going to need a few hours total time to make the beef tenderloin recipe, the results will be totally worth it. So let’s head to holiday cooking school and see how it goes together. 

Jump ahead to:

Start with a red wine-mushroom sauce >>

Load up your roast with flavor >>

How to cook beef tenderloin to a perfect medium-rare >>

Get our best beef tenderloin recipe >>


Start with a red wine-mushroom sauce

Creating the sauce is a several-step process that involves some prep time, but the good news is it reheats beautifully if you want to make it a day or two ahead.

1. Saute mushroom stems with tomato paste and seasonings

A picture of sprinkling chili flakes into a pan with mushroom stems and tomato paste

Begin building the flavors of the sauce by cooking the mushroom stems with tomato paste, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and a little sugar to encourage caramelization. 

2. Add red wine, and simmer to concentrate 

Next add a dry but fruity red wine such as gamay or Côtes du Rhône — plus a splash of balsamic vinegar — and cook down to intensify. 

3. Stir in sauteed mushroom caps and shallot for body

After thickening the red wine reduction with a flour-butter roux, you’ll saute the mushrooom caps and a shallot to concentrate the flavors. Combine the mixtures to create texture in the sauce and to continue building the flavors.

4. Blend in Worcestershire, Parmesan, and pepper for umami

A picture of pouring Parmesan cheese into a pan with a mushroom wine sauce

That taste we call umami that some describe as “savory” gets further deepened with the addition of Parmesan, Worcestershire, and black pepper. A big pat of butter pulls the flavors together and gives the sauce a silken finish. (Holmberg prefers salted butter, but you could use unsalted butter if you prefer.)


Load up your roast with flavor

A generous spoonful of that gorgeous sauce will certainly seal the deal, but Holmberg likes to infuse the beef tenderloin itself with garlic and herbs, using a couple of clever techniques.

1. Slip slices of garlic into the meat

A picture of a beef tenderloin with slivers of garlic inserted into the meat

Here’s a trick to add to your repertoire. With a small, sharp knife, cut slits into the piece of meat. Thinly slice several cloves garlic and then stuff each slit with a piece of garlic.

2. Tuck herb sprigs under the butcher’s twine

A picture of a tied beef tenderloin with herbs sprigs tucked under the butcher's twine

After rubbing the roast all over with kosher salt, some black pepper, and a little extra-virgin olive oil, tie it snugly with butcher’s twine (see how in the recipe video). Then slip in fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs. A sheet pan (aka a rimmed baking sheet) works great for cooking; you don’t need a roasting pan for this recipe.



How to cook beef tenderloin to a perfect medium-rare

If you’ve shopped for a beef tenderloin roast, you know it’s a pricey cut of meat, and so you might be concerned about how to cook it to the right doneness. We’ve got two solutions for that: the magic of the low-and-slow method, and the reliability of the Yummly Smart Thermometer.

1. Try slow roast beef tenderloin

The cooking method of roasting beef tenderloin at a gentle 275° rather than the typical high heat has several advantages. The meat cooks more evenly, meaning you achieve medium-rare throughout, rather than getting a rare center and a well-done outer ring. The meat also takes longer to cook (about an hour total cook time), so it’s more forgiving; it doesn’t go from done to overdone in a flash. Finally, there’s no need to bring the meat to room temperature or sear it before it goes in the oven (but do preheat the oven).

2. Cook beef tenderloin to 135° for medium-rare 

Whether you define perfect roast beef as medium-rare or a doneness on either side of that, you’ll need an accurate meat thermometer to tell you when you’ve reached the right internal temperature. Our Yummly Smart Thermometer is a wireless meat thermometer that takes the guesswork out of cooking. Using the free Yummly app on your mobile device, you’ll tap to select beef and choose your preferred doneness. Then you’ll insert the stainless steel probe into the thickest part of the meat, following the picture on the app. 

Pre-set programs on the app will guide the way from there. As you cook, alerts and timers will give you temperature readings, keep track of the cooking time, and tell you when you should remove the beef tenderloin from the heat to rest — so you avoid overcooking. Let the roast rest on a cutting board while you reheat the sauce, then slice and serve.


Get our best beef tenderloin recipe

The beef tenderloin recipe is perfect for Christmas dinner or any other special occasion you’re dreaming up for this season. As for the sides, you can keep them simple: maybe mashed potatoes or crispy roasted potatoes, green beans, and a big green salad, and perhaps a dollop of horseradish cream sauce if you like. Once you’re ready to start cooking, just go to the recipe and click the blue Make it Now button to launch the video. 

Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce


If you're thinking about holiday gifts for the meat-lovers in your life, may we suggest the Smart Thermometer? It works beautifully for grilling as well as roasting, and you can put it to work for pan-seared meat on the stovetop, too. 


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