How to marinate beef tenderloin: method, tips and recipes

How to marinate beef tenderloin: method, tips and recipes

Always season beef before cooking for extra flavor.

Seasoned and marinated proteins, whether chicken, pork, fish or beef, can transform a tough piece of meat into a velvety, melt-in-the-mouth morsel. If you season beef before cooking it, for example, the end result will be tender and juicy.

Smaller cuts tend to dry out during cooking, such as round or sirloin steaks. But when you’re cooking beef, which is a naturally tender cut, marinating adds more flavor to the meat.
The process of marinating beef tenderloin is very simple. Preparing them days in advance will not only make the end result tastier, but it will also save you time preparing your meal.


Marinate the beef in a mixture of salt, fat, and acid in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours. It is not recommended to marinate the meat for more than 24 hours, as it will make the meat mushy.

Add seasonings, spices, and herbs to your beef marinade for more flavor.

How to season beef tenderloin

  • A bowl or dish for seasoning

  • Beef
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • Red wine or white vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • garlic
  • shallot
  • Brown sugar
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Prepared radish
  • Dijon mustard
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Ground black pepper
  • Whisk
  • tongs
No marinade is complete without a few basic ingredients: salt, oil, and acid. All other ingredients can be omitted or included depending on your flavor preferences.
The salt and acid in the marinade are needed to break down the beef proteins, which is what makes the meat tender. Using other ingredients such as sugar or honey, lemon juice, vinegar, herbs, and spices will help you flavor the tenderloin even more.
Follow these steps to marinate beef:
  1. Place the extra virgin olive oil, wine or vinegar, salt, and any other ingredients you are using (such as garlic, onion, garlic powder, rosemary, sage, or pepper) in a large dish. Whisk together until well combined.
  2. Dry the beef steak with a paper towel.
  3. Place your beef in the mixture and move it with tongs to coat it evenly.
  4. Leave the beef to marinate for six hours or up to 24 hours. Uncover it once an hour, if possible, and turn the meat. Use a turkey scoop to baste the beef with the seasoning each time you turn it.
  5. Take the beef out of the refrigerator about an hour before you plan to cook it so that the meat comes to room temperature. Leave it in the marinade during this time.

Tips for seasoning beef

1. Do not marinate beef for a long time

Seasoning is a great technique for adding delicious flavor and texture, but you don’t want to overdo it.

Don’t leave it in the marinade for more than 24 hours, or the protein fibers will break down too much and cause the meat to become soggy and mushy.
Depending on the flavor you want, there are various spices you can add when marinating meat. Garlic is a popular ingredient, because it goes perfectly with any type of meat.
Chopped herbs (basil, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme), cumin, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, and chili powder are all great seasonings to add when marinating beef.

How to cook marinated beef

There are several different ways to cook marinated beef. Depending on the size, a tenderloin can be cooked relatively quickly (usually less than 30 minutes) for a weeknight meal, or it can be cooked low and slow (perfect for holiday recipes).

Here are some common cooking methods for marinated beef:
  • Grilling:‌ Grill the sirloin over high heat for 4 or 5 minutes on each side, turning it in between. This will give you a tender, medium-rare piece of meat, retaining all the juices and flavours.
  • Roasting (slow):‌ With slow roasting, searing is optional but highly recommended! Roast seasoned beef in the oven at 225°F for about 50 minutes per pound for a medium-rare roast.
  • Grilling:‌ Grill the sirloin for 20 to 25 minutes per pound (turning it every few minutes, so it doesn’t burn) over medium heat. Cooking it directly over the flame will give you that (slightly) charred crust.
  • Convection oven:‌ You can cook beef in a convection oven at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes per pound.

Tips for cooking beef tenderloin

To make sure your seasoned beef comes out tender, follow these additional tips:

1. Use a meat thermometer

Don’t rely on your eyes or the timer to determine when your beef is fully cooked. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature and ensure the tenderloin is cooked to the desired temperature.

Even after you take it out of the oven, your steak will continue to cook slightly while it is “resting.” To make sure they’re cooked to your liking, take them out when the internal temperature is 5 to 10 degrees cooler than your desired doneness.
Here’s a quick guide to cooking temperatures for beef tenderloins from My Chicago Steak:
  • rare:120 F to 125 F after the meat has rested. Remove the roast from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 115°F.
  • Medium-rare:130 to 135 F after the meat has rested. Remove the roast from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 125°F.
  • Intermediate:140 to 145 F after the meat has rested. Remove the roast from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 135°F.
  • Medium well:150 to 155 F after the meat has rested. Remove the roast from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
  • I did well:160 to 165 F after the meat has rested. Remove the roast from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 155°F.

Safe internal temperature for beef

It is recommended that beef be cooked to a safe internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a medium-rare steak, according to the USDA.

Some people like their steak cooked at a cooler internal temperature. Just be aware that eating undercooked meat increases your risk of foodborne illness.

Always let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes after removing it from the heat. If you cut them too early, all the juices will run out, and you will lose them. Resting helps keep the beef tender and flavorful by allowing the juices to settle into the meat.

What to serve with beef tenderloin

Just like wine, there are certain foods that complement your tenderloin. Fortunately, endless options pair well with perfectly marinated beef.

Depending on your preferences, you can prepare a lighter dish like a salad or pair the juicy meat with something heartier, like roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes.
Here are some of our favorite dishes you can make using beef:

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