How to Pan Sear Filet Mignon

Reading Time: 4 minutes Back to 4 minutes version
pan seared filet mignon served on platter
Photo by Kurman Communications, Inc. licensed under CC BY 2.0

It’s tough to beat a filet mignon hot off the grill, but grilling steak isn’t always the easiest or most convenient option. Try pan-seared filet mignon instead when you want a home-cooked filet mignon without the fuss of firing up the grill. It still cooks relatively quickly compared to sous-vide and reverse-searing, but it yields equally delicious results.

This guide explains everything you need to know to learn how to pan sear filet mignon.


Before cooking filet mignon, you should set aside one hour of preparation time. During this time, you’ll season the steaks with salt on both sides and let them rest at room temperature for 45 minutes. Then, prepare a cast-iron skillet with high-heat oil, like extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil, allowing it to heat thoroughly before placing steaks inside. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Before adding steak to the skillet, season it with black pepper and your choice of other herbs and spices, like steak seasoning or thyme.

Cooking Time

Pan searing filet mignon is just one part of the cooking process. Searing generally takes 4-5 minutes. Then, you’ll move the filet mignon into the oven to finish it off. Depending on your preferred doneness level, filet mignon cooks for up to 20 minutes in the oven after searing. For medium-rare, expect it to take between 5-8 minutes.

Filet Mignon Pan Searing Tips

Follow the tips below as you learn how to pan sear filet mignon.

Prepare Steaks Properly

Filet mignon should have 30-45 minutes of resting time at room temperature before cooking to help the steaks rise in temperature for a more even cook inside and out. Right after removing them from the refrigerator, salt them on both sides to allow them to brine. 

Just before searing, pat the steaks dry to remove any condensation that forms during the resting process. This will help them crisp up in the pan. Then, season with any other seasonings you’d like, like thyme or black pepper.

Resting After Cooking

Filet mignon needs to rest again after they come out of the oven. This 5-10-minute resting period allows the temperature to rise a bit more without more cooking. Juices also reabsorb back into the steak while resting. Keep the steaks on a clean plate or cutting board with foil loosely tented over them as they rest.

Always Check with a Thermometer

We recommend cooking filet mignon to medium-rare, but you’re welcome to cook it to your preferred doneness level, like medium, medium-well, or well-done. Regardless of how done you like your steak, it’s crucial to use a thermometer to check its doneness before serving. For medium-rare, your thermometer should read 125 degrees. As it rests, it will reach a final temperature of 130-135 degrees. Steaks should reach 135 degrees for medium, 145 degrees for medium-well, or 155 degrees for well-done before removing them from the oven.

Choosing the Right Cut of Filet Mignon

Different types of filet mignon can yield different flavors and textures. For example, a more affordable cut at the grocery store could save you money, but you may not get the tenderness and taste you wanted. 

For the best results, choose filet mignon that’s labeled as Premium Angus, USDA Prime, or Wagyu. These are the top tiers of steak reserved for those with the best marbling, color, and overall quality. Also, look for steaks that have been wet-aged or dry-aged. The aging process occurs over several weeks to enhance the quality of filet mignon.

Filet Mignon Pan Searing Instructions

Learn how to pan sear filet mignon using the steps below.

Step 1: Prepare for Cooking

Remove filet mignon from the refrigerator and place them on a clean plate or cutting board. Salt steaks generously on all sides. Leave at room temperature for 45 minutes. Toward the end of that time, heat a cast-iron skillet with oil or butter over medium-high heat. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Step 2: Sear Filet Mignon

Right before searing, sprinkle black pepper on all sides of the steak. Place steaks in the preheated skillet, searing for 2-3 minutes on each side until a golden-brown crust forms. If desired, use tongs to place steaks on their sides to sear around the edges, holding them in place for about a minute before moving to the next edge portion.

Step 3: Cook in the Oven

Transfer the skillet and steaks into the oven on the middle rack. If using a non-oven-safe pan, move the steaks to a lightly greased baking sheet first. Cook for 5-8 minutes for medium-rare, or 10+ minutes for medium or higher doneness levels. Use a thermometer to check that the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees for medium rare (135 degrees for medium, 145 degrees for medium-well, or 155 degrees for well-done).

Step 4: Finish Up

Move steaks to a clean plate or cutting board. Tent a piece of foil over the steaks loosely. Rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. If desired, add a pat of butter to the top of each steak just before serving.

Filet Mignon Pan Searing FAQ’s

How long should I sear filet mignon?

Filet mignon usually needs 2-3 minutes on each side to sear in a cast iron skillet. Make sure the pan is heated up thoroughly before adding the steaks for the best results.

What’s the best pan to use to sear filet mignon?

Use a cast-iron skillet or another oven-safe pan to sear filet mignon. Oven-safe pans work best for filet mignon because you can transfer them directly to the oven to finish cooking the steaks after searing.

What oil should I use to sear filet mignon?

Use an oil with a high smoke point, like a high-quality extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, or avocado oil. These oils don’t break down as easily in high temperatures and don’t add unwanted flavors to your filet mignon.

Should I sear the outer edges of filet mignon?

It’s completely optional to sear the outer edges of filet mignon. However, many cooks prefer to do so, as it adds a crispy crust to each bite of the steak and helps lock in juices during the cooking process.

Your Guide to Pan-Searing Filet Mignon

We hope our guide was helpful to you as you learn how to pan sear filet mignon. Browse the Chicago Steak Company’s selection of mail-order filet mignon steaks to get high-quality filet mignon delivered to your home. We offer USDA Prime, Wagyu, and Premium Angus filet mignon steaks that have undergone our wet-aging and dry-aging processes for enhanced flavor and texture.