Beef Tenderloin vs. Filet Mignon: Are They the Same?
Whether you’re a beef connoisseur or preparing steak for a special occasion, chances are you’ve wondered about the differences between various cuts of beef, including Tenderloin and Filet Mignon. With the multiple cuts and names, the differences between them—or which cuts work for which dishes—aren’t always clear. Fortunately, beef is a flavorful, versatile ingredient that is easy to prepare—and fun to experiment with in new recipes, especially once you know the basics of beef cuts.
Two of the most common cuts that are often questioned are Filet Mignon and Beef Tenderloin. Since they come from the same area of the animal and have similar properties (like tenderness and leanness), Tenderloin and Filet Mignon are commonly confused as being the same cut.
So, is Filet Mignon a Tenderloin? Is Tenderloin Filet Mignon? The short answer: kind of, but there are some differences.
Are Beef Tenderloin and Filet Mignon the Same Thing? The Difference Between Tenderloin and Filet Mignon
It’s helpful to know some beef basics before we get into the differences between Tenderloin and Filet Mignon. The cuts we see at the meat counter (like steak, roasts, or stew meat) are subprimal cuts. They come from larger areas of the animal, known as primal cuts (i.e., Chuck, Loin, Round).
The Tenderloin comes from the back half of the animal and is cut from the loin and sirloin primals. Beef Tenderloin is a long cut of beef that you can use for a roast, Beef Wellington, or slice into small portions of steak known as “Filet Mignon”. Tenderloin is particularly useful for entertaining guests and special occasions, as you can cut several extremely tender, perfectly portioned, mouthwatering steaks from it.
Filet Mignon is part of the Tenderloin, which is why some see Tenderloin and Filet Mignon as one in the same. Filet Mignon is cut from the tip of the Tenderloin, a delicate and tender area of the loin primal. It’s also an incredibly lean part of the animal, which means you’ll enjoy a fork-tender steak without much fat or connective tissue. These qualities have made Filet Mignon one of the most prized cuts of beef.
What Does “Filet Mignon” Mean?
Now that we know the difference between Tenderloin and Filet Mignon, let’s break down the terminology. Filet Mignon means “small cut,” as it is only one to two-and-a-half inches thick. For this reason, many see Filet Mignon as a luxury cut to be served with fine sides on special occasions. (But there are plenty of delicious, affordable, and easy-to-prepare sides to go along with it. Check out these ideas for sides to pair with Natural Angus Beef.)
Filet Mignon is also referred to as “Tenderloin filet,” “Tenderloin steak,” “tournedos (Tenderloin tips),” or simply “filet.”
How to Prepare Beef Tenderloin
As a longer piece of beef, Beef Tenderloin is excellent for oven roasting or cooking sous vide. To prepare Beef Tenderloin in the oven, preheat your oven to 425°F and cook for 35-65 minutes (cooking times depend on desired doneness and size of roast). For medium-rare, cook to an internal temperature of 135 °F; for medium, 145 °F.
Beef Tenderloin Dishes and Recipes
Regardless of the preparation method, Beef Tenderloin will take your meal up a notch. Top a salad with sliced Tenderloin or make Tenderloin the hero with this recipe for Pepper Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Creamy Horseradish Sauce. View other exclusive Aspen Ridge recipes for Beef Tenderloin.
Preparing Filet Mignon: How to Cut Filet Mignon from Beef Tenderloin, Recipes, and More
While some see Filet Mignon as a luxury item, it doesn’t take a chef to prepare it (or even cut it from the Tenderloin yourself). In fact, like other steaks, preparing Filet Mignon is simple. If you have pre-portioned filets, you can use classic methods like grilling or pan-frying and finishing in the oven. Or you could elect for a more “set-and-forget” method like sous vide or even air frying.
Watch this video to learn how to prepare Filet Mignon in the air fryer:
If you need to cut Filet Mignon from a Tenderloin, use a sharp butcher’s knife to trim the Tenderloin and cut it into two-inch steaks. The tapered end of the Tenderloin is most tender and will result in the steaks closest to pre-cut Filet Mignon (though preparation should be the same for all the filets).
Once you’ve portioned the Tenderloin, you can prepare it using any method above. In addition to Air Fryer Filet Mignon, we recommend these recipes for Tenderloin steaks:
- Tenderloin Steak with Olive and Artichoke Tapenade
- Garlic Steak & Potato Skillet with Demi Glaze
- Beef Cobb Salad
Aspen Ridge® Natural Angus Beef Tenderloin: Unbeatable Tenderness and Flavor for Your Next Dish
Whether you’re cooking Filet Mignon for the first time or serving Beef Tenderloin for guests, choosing Aspen Ridge Natural Angus Tenderloin offers an excellent eating experience. Raised without antibiotics or added hormones and sourced from Angus cattle raised under Certified Humane® standards, Aspen Ridge offers Tenderloin and Filet Mignon that are a cut above. Learn more about our story, Beef Tenderloin products, and why Natural Angus beef delivers unmatched flavors, every time.