Easy Christmas Dinner Beef Tenderloin Roast

Recipe Pin
3 hours 20 minutes
10 servings

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My easy Christmas Dinner Beef Tenderloin Roast is a largely hands-off meal that’s BIG ON FLAVOR featuring the pièce de resistance of holiday centerpiece roasts, a whole tenderloin. This filet mignon beef tenderloin recipe, effortlessly prepared in a single roasting pan, captures the essence of special occasions like a holiday feast, ensuring every bite celebrates the season’s finest flavors.

A cooked roast tenderloin on a cutting board, with a knife.

For a full list of everything Christmas, including this beef roast Christmas dinner, check out my complete holiday menu. I offer ideas for Christmas dinner main course, desserts, and sides. A Southern Christmas Dinner Menu & Southern Christmas Recipe Ideas

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Have you ever wondered why Santa is so jolly? Rumor has it that he knows the secret to a no-fuss, impressive Christmas dinner – a perfectly roasted beef tenderloin. Now, I’m not saying I’ve got Santa’s secret recipe, but this might be the next best thing. Prepare to dazzle your guests and perhaps even the man in red himself with this delectable feast. As it roasts, the blend of freshly ground black pepper and fresh garlic promises a visually stunning and flavorful meal. Nothing promises joy like a beef roast for Christmas dinner!

The tradition of serving beef at Christmas, while timeless, allows for a touch of modern elegance. Incorporating elements like a red wine reduction can elevate the meal, blending the old with the new. Or serve with this Creamy au Jus using the beef drippings. I serve with my Whipped Horseradish Cream for that sharp flavor pairing I crave! The beef tenderloin roast, with its simple, savory goodness, stands as a testament to the joy of the season and the bonds that food can forge.

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Why You’ll Love This recipe!

Unmatched Flavor – Generously seasoned and perfectly cooked, every bite of this delicious beef tenderloin is a prized, juicy delight. 
Effortlessly Elegant – Christmas beef tenderloin looks like a masterpiece on any table, embodying the spirit of Christmas without hours of prep. 
Crowd-Pleaser – Whole beef tenderloin is a universal favorite – even picky eaters can’t resist its charm.
No Searing – Baking soda raises the pH level of a big cut of meat, ensuring rich browning and crust development without the mess in a cast iron skillet.
Roast Alone or Over a ‘Rack’ of Baby Potatoes – choose to roast baby potatoes beneath the roast and scratch a side dish off your already lengthy to-do list.


Beef Tenderloin Ingredients

Because this method requires few ingredients, the quality of the beef is paramount. If you belong to a big box store, shop them for the highest quality filet mignon roast beef tenderloin you can afford. Treat the kitchen twine as a “must have” as it is as important as the ingredients themselves.

Ingredients required to roast a whole beef tenderloin in the oven.
  • Beef Tenderloin Roast – Prime or Choice grades offer the best marbling and flavor.
  • Kosher Salt
  • Finely Cracked Pepper
  • Baking Soda – A little-known secret to tenderize the meat.
  • Olive Oil – Required for creating a flavorful ‘crust’ on the surface of the beef.
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See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.

Variation: Adding Potatoes

Roast potatoes beneath the beef as a side dish. Use the layer of potatoes as a rack in lieu of a metal rack insert. Ingredients required for roasting the potatoes are as follows:

  • Baby Red Potatoes – Perfect as a “roasting rack” for the beef. Yukon golds are a fine alternative.
  • Scallions – Fresh! An aromatic “bloomed” together with fresh garlic and smoked paprika to flavor the potatoes.
  • Garlic – Fresh!
  • Smoked Paprika – Use sweet or hot or both.
  • Aleppo pepper – Introduces a unique warmth and slightly fruity heat, subtly enhancing the meat’s flavor without overwhelming it.
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Tip: Let the Salt Do It’s Job!

Allow roast to sit at room temperature for at least one hour for the salt to equitably draw, then redistribute moisture throughout the roast. Do not skip this crucial step!


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This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!

How to Cook a Beef Tenderloin Roast

This Christmas Dinner Beef Tenderloin Roast will earn you bragging rights even before you know how you did it.

A woman trying off a beef roast in preparation for roasting it.

Trussing the Roast

Step 1. Rinse the beef tenderloin with cold water and dry it well. Combine 2 1/4 teaspoons of Kosher salt with 1 rounded teaspoon each of black pepper and baking soda. Lay the roast on a clean surface, then rub the mixture all over it, making sure to cover the ends. Roll the roast over any leftover mixture on the surface to coat it fully. Begin tying the roast with 10″ lengths of kitchen twine, starting at the center and spacing ties every 1 1/2 inches toward the ends. For any thin ends, fold them under and secure with twine for uniform cooking.

Step 2. Your priority is to create a uniform appearance of the roast from end to end, using the twine to ensure it cooks evenly. After tying, trim and discard any excess twine.

Beef tenderloin rubbed with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and trussed with kitchen string.

Step 3. Let the beef rest at room temperature for at least one hour, allowing the salt to draw out and then redistribute moisture evenly throughout the meat.

Step 4. Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush the surface of the meat with a tablespoon of olive oil.

Image of a woman holding a roasting pan with meat in it.

Roast the Beef

Step 5. Place an oven-safe rack insert into the roasting pan and place the tenderloin roast atop the insert. No part of the roast should be touching the roasting pan. Load the roast into the fully pre-heated oven and set the oven timer for 5 minutes before reducing to 300°F. Do not open the oven door, rather allow the temperature to drop back gradually while the meat cooks.

Variation: Adding Potatoes

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a roasting pan on medium-high. Add scallions, garlic, smoked paprika, Aleppo pepper (if using), and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Stir until fragrant.
  • Cook the potatoes in the pan for 2 minutes, stirring. Turn off the heat, add water to deglaze the pan, scraping up the fond. Then, roast the potatoes uncovered in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Take the potatoes out of the oven and lower the temperature to 300°F. Cluster the potatoes in the center of the pan to act as a rack for the beef. Coat the roast with olive oil and set it on the potatoes, ensuring it doesn’t touch the pan itself.
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Tip: The Difference Between ‘Cook To’ and ‘Rest To’

It’s important to understand both the “COOK TO” temperature (when you remove it from the oven) and the “REST TO” temperature (the final temperature after resting). Meat keeps cooking even after it’s taken out of the oven. If you prefer more well-done sections of roast, test your ends first. If more time is needed, read the temperature every 6 minutes. Ovens vary widely so use a meat thermometer (I have linked the thermometer I use in the recipe card. It features Bluetooth capability via an app on my phone so I can remotely monitor temperature from anywhere) to gauge temperature accurately.


Step 6. Roast the beef until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center shows 125°F for rare, then remove it from the oven. For additional doneness, keep cooking, checking every 6 minutes until it reaches your desired temperature. Once done, remove the beef, double wrap it in foil, and let it rest for 20 minutes to reach its “rest to” temperature, ensuring juices redistribute. This crucial step ensures perfect tenderness. After resting, remove the twine, slice in 1/2″ slices and arrange on a pretty platter. Serve with au jus or Whipped Horseradish Cream if desired. NOTE: Do not open the oven door during the roast all but for turning the roasting pan halfway through cooking to promote even doneness.

A rare beef roast, sliced, on a cutting board.

Above photo represents beef cooked to 125°F and rested to 130°F. It is sliced from the exact center of a 3-pound tenderloin roast. So, very rare, very pink in the middle.

Slices of medium-rare beef cut from a roast on a cutting board.

Above photo of same roast represents beef cooked to 135°F and rested to 140°F. It is sliced from just outside the middle. Both ends of this same roast (not pictured) cooked to 143°F and rested to 146°F and had no visible ‘pink.’

Step 7: Remove the meat from the oven. Double wrap in heavy-gauge aluminum foil and rest for 20 minutes to allow the meat to arrive at its ‘rested to’ temperature and the juices to equitably redistribute throughout. Slice into 1/2-inch slices and arrange on a festive platter. Serve with au jus using the beef drippings, or horseradish sauce if desired.

What to Serve with Beef Tenderloin at Christmas

Accompaniments

Side Dishes: Green Beans with Toasted Pecans, Creamed Pearl Onions, and Southern Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Crust are all PERFECT sides to start with.

Enhancements: Whipped Horseradish Cream, Au Poivre Sauce, or Creamy au Jus which happens to also be gluten free.

Wine and Beer Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic choice, its full body and tannic structure complement the richness of the beef tenderloin, while Merlot is great for those preferring something a bit softer, and with a smoother finish.

In terms of beer, Stout with its roasted flavors and often chocolate or coffee notes, a stout can complement the charred exterior of a roast beautifully. My personal favorite, a Belgian Dubbel which is rich and complex with flavors of dark fruit and spices. It pairs well with the hearty and subtle sweetness of the meat.

Jenny’s Recipe Pro Tips

  • Season Generously – Don’t skimp on seasoning with salt and pepper; it’s key to flavor.
  • Monitor Closely – Use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking. Keep in mind the beef will continue to increase in temperature by 3 to 5 additional degrees while it rests beneath foil.
  • Temperature Matters –
    • 120°F to 130°F – Rare
    • 130°F to 135°F – Medium Rare
    • 135°F to 145°F – Medium
    • 145°F to 155°F – Medium Well
    • 155°F and Up – Well
  • Rest Before Slicing – This allows juices to redistribute, making the meat moist and flavorful.

Recipe FAQs

What is the best cut of beef roast for Christmas dinner?

A filet mignon roast, also called beef tenderloin roast, is considered a superior cut of beef to serve at Christmas. Purchase a Prime or Choice cut when selecting your roast.

How much beef tenderloin per person for Christmas dinner?

Factor 8 ounces of beef per person. This recipe, using a 3-pound roast will feed 6 adults.

How would one cook a whole beef tenderloin in an oven at home without any special equipment or techniques?

To achieve whole beef tenderloin perfection in your home oven without special equipment, liberally apply the seasonings specified along with the key ingredient, baking soda. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes per pound of meat.

More Christmas Recipes to Embrace!

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After trying this recipe, I would love to hear your thoughts! Consider leaving a star rating in the recipe card located below or sharing your feedback in the comment section. Your reviews and comments are highly valued and appreciated.

A whole beef tenderloin roast on a cutting board being sliced.

Christmas Dinner Beef Tenderloin Roast

Jenny DeRemer
This beef tenderloin roast is the star of any Christmas dinner, offering a succulent, melt-in-your-mouth experience. This easy-to-follow recipe ensures a beautiful presentation and a deliciously memorable meal, making your holiday dinner both stress-free and spectacular.
4.60 from 47 votes
Servings: 10 servings
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Resting Time 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings
Calories 516 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 3 pounds beef tenderloin roast Prime or highest quality you can afford
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil

Variation: Adding Potatoes

  • 3 pounds baby red potatoes washed and patted dry
  • 5 large scallions chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika use sweet or hot or a combination of both
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ to ¾ cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper optional; for added smoke, heat, and sweetness

Instructions
 

  • Rinse and pat the beef dry. Remove any silver skin if necessary. Combine 2 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and the baking soda and stir together. Liberally coat the roast all over including the ends with the seasoning.
  • Using 10" lengths of kitchen twine, begin tying off the roast directly in the center. Tie every 1 1/2" inches working your way outward from center to end to end. If an end is very thin, bend it back and tuck it alongside the roast, securing with the twine. You want the overall look of the roast to be equal from end to end, and the twine will aid in the even cooking. Snip off any long pieces of twine after tying and discard.
  • Allow roast to sit at room temperature for at least one hour for the salt to equitably draw, then redistribute moisture throughout the roast.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a meat rack into the roasting pan. Brush the roast with a tablespoon of olive oil and place the roast directly on top of the rack. No part of the roast should be touching the roasting pan. Load the roasting pan into the fully preheated oven and set the timer for 5 minutes. When 5 minutes is up, lower temperature to 300°F.
  • Roast the beef until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center shows 125°F for rare, then remove it from the oven. For additional doneness, keep cooking, checking every 6 minutes until it reaches your desired temperature. Once done, remove the beef, double wrap it in foil, and let it rest for 20 minutes to reach its "rest to" temperature, ensuring juices redistribute. This crucial step ensures perfect tenderness. After resting, remove the twine, slice in 1/2" slices and arrange on a pretty platter. Serve with this Creamy au Jus using the beef drippings, or my Whipped Horseradish Cream if desired. NOTE: Do not open the oven door during the roast all but for turning the roasting pan halfway through cooking to promote even doneness.

Variation: Adding Potatoes

  • In a roasting pan over a stove top burner, bloom the aromatics by first heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the scallions, garlic, smoked paprika, Aleppo pepper (if using), and 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir until fragrant.
  • Add the potatoes whole and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. As fond begins to build up on the bottom of the roasting pan, turn off the heat and add the water into the roasting pan, scraping the bits of fond to loosen. Place the potato mixture into the oven for 15 minutes uncovered.
  • Remove the potatoes from the oven. Reduce heat to 300°F. Stir and gather the potatoes into the middle of the roasting pan.
  • Brush the beef with a tablespoon of olive oil and place the roast directly on top of the potatoes. No part of the roast should be touching the roasting pan.
  • Place back into the oven. Roast the beef until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center shows 125°F for rare, then remove it from the oven. For additional doneness, keep cooking, checking every 6 minutes until it reaches your desired temperature. Once done, remove the beef, double wrap it in foil, and let it rest for 20 minutes to reach its "rest to" temperature, ensuring juices redistribute. This crucial step ensures perfect tenderness. After resting, remove the twine, slice in 1/2" slices and arrange on a pretty platter. Serve with this Creamy au Jus using the beef drippings, or my Whipped Horseradish Cream if desired. NOTE: Do not open the oven door during the roast all but for turning the roasting pan halfway through cooking to promote even doneness.

Notes

Kitchen Twine is a “Must Have” as it’s as important as the ingredients themselves.
It’s important to understand both the “COOK TO” temperature (when you remove it from the oven) and the “REST TO” temperature (the final temperature after resting). If you prefer more well-done sections of roast, test your ends first. If more time is needed, read the temperature every 6 minutes. Ovens Vary Widely so use a meat thermometer to gauge temperature accurately. Meat continues cooking even after it’s taken out of the oven. Know your preferred ‘doneness’ in advance by following this guide:
  • 120°F to 130°F – Rare
  • 130°F to 135°F – Medium Rare
  • 135°F to 145°F – Medium
  • 145°F to 155°F – Medium Well
  • 155°F and Up – Well

The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.

Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 516kcalCarbohydrates: 24gProtein: 28gFat: 34gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 857mgPotassium: 1107mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 718IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 40mgIron: 5mg
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Recipe Rating




34 Comments

  1. Made this for my birthday and everyone enjoyed this roast. So flavorful, tender and juicy! This shouldn’t be just called “Christmas” beef roast. It should be called “perfect-for-any-occasion” beef roast!5 stars

  2. The family had seconds, then thirds, and THEN there were no leftovers for the crostini recipe you mentioned! Followed the recipe step by step. The Aleppo pepper was kind of a perfect ingredient that I have never cooked with before. This is my forever all occasion beef roast now – thanks.5 stars

  3. Decided to make a beef roast for mum’s birthday and perfectly enough I found this recipe! My whole fam keeps bothering me to make this recipe now. This is absurdly easy and absolutely perfect for so many other occasions. Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  4. When I search ‘beef tenderloin how to cook’ this came up on page 1 despite being labeled Christmas. I feel like this is so year-round. EVERYBODY – and I mean everybody – absolutely raved. The beef tenderloin roast was so juicy and flavorful. I added Aleppo pepper, and it added an extra kick to the potatoes. Great recipe.5 stars

    1. Ritz, you’ve made my day 😉 I wrote this post when I was a baby blogger and foolishly labeled it ‘Christmas.’ This method though, is doable for a group, large or small, with so little hands-on time required, and definitely something that is spot on year-round. Thanks for popping ’round to leave this nice comment! Jenny

  5. My husband did an amazing job seasoning the beef and roasting it with baby potatoes on the side. I always found cooking a whole beef tenderloin intimidating, but this recipe made it a breeze. It’s surely is not Christmas but this beef tenderloin roast is perfect for any occasion! I’ll be making this again on my son’s birthday!5 stars

  6. I loved how juicy and tender the beef was! I had this for dinner last night and it was so delicious! Plus, it really works all year round, not just for Christmas!5 stars