How To Cook Fillet Steak In a Frying Pan

fillet steak

Fillet steak is a cut that comes from the lower middle of the back and forms part of the sirloin. It’s a very lean and tender cut of meat. The fillet muscle is partially inactive, which is why it’s so tender. It’s also a costly cut of beef; therefore, it’s considered a premium cut.

In restaurants, we use fillet cut for cooking one-and-a-half-inch thick steaks, filet mignon, chateaubriand, and wellington steaks.

In this article, I’ll show you how to cook a perfect fillet steak and how to buy one. Since we’re going to be using a frying pan for this cooking method, you’ll need a good steak pan. Later in this article, you’ll find a separate section where I’m talking about two different pans for steaks.

HexClad
HexClad 12 Inch Stainless Steel Frying Pan
Best For Steaks
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How To Cook Beef Fillet Steak In a Frying Pan

how to cook fillet steak

Fillet steak is a lean and tender cut of meat. It can be grilled or pan-fried. Since we’re going to pan fry fillet steak, you’ll need only a few ingredients and some essential equipment.

A few important things to keep in mind. It’s best to use a high-quality cut of beef grass-fed preferably since it has more flavor and is more nutritious. A skillet with a thick base or frying pan is necessary because you’ll need to sear fillet steak over high heat. High heat can warp the pan or even damage the interior cooking surface if a pan is too thin.

Follow the recipe below to cook the steak.

Equipment

Ingredient

  • Fillet steak;
  • Kosher salt;
  • Freshly ground black pepper;
  • Cooking oil (light olive oil, grapeseed, or canola);
  • Garlic;
  • Fresh rosemary;
  • Fresh thyme;
  • Butter.

Directions

  1. Take the fillet steak out of the fridge and season it with a generous amount of salt. You can add some freshly ground pepper; however, most chefs tend to leave it towards the end of cooking because the peppercorns burn when on a very high heat creating a bitter taste. Leave the steak to rest at room temperature for about an hour before cooking it. ;
  2. Prepare everything in advance. Wash fresh herbs and peel the garlic. Take out butter from the fridge. Have a probe thermometer and tongs sitting on a countertop. Prepare everything in advance because steak cooks fast depending on doneness. You’ll need to act quickly in order not to overcook the steak;
  3. Pat dry the steak. Using a paper towel, remove moisture from the exterior of the steak;
  4. Preheat the pan. Put a pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Add cooking oil and spread it out across the cooking surface;
  5. Cook the fillet steak. Gently place the steak in a frying pan. Do not drop pit; otherwise, you’ll burn yourself.
  6. Flip the steak. Depending on the doneness, cooking times will differ. I’m cooking my steak medium-rare; therefore, I’ll be cooking around 6 to 8 mins total, meaning I’ll cook around 2 mins each side twice.
  7. Check internal temperature. Stick the probe thermometer into the steak to check the internal temperature. Alternatively, you can use a “finger test method”;
  8. Baste. Halfway through cooking, add butter, herbs, and garlic. Using a tablespoon, baste the steak in hot butter infused with flavors from the garlic and herbs.
  9. Rest. Take the steak out of the frying pan and leave it to rest for about 8 mins. Resting is very important since cutting into the steak straight out of the pan will lose lots of steak juice and flavor.

Steak Temperature Chart

steak temperature chart
  • Rare steak: 125° F;
  • Medium rare steak: 135° F;
  • Medium steak: 145° F;
  • Medium-well steak: 150° F;
  • Well done, steak: 160° F.

Fillet steak’s internal temperature continues to rise for another few minutes after taking it out of the frying pan. If you’re cooking steak to medium, it means you’ll need to take the steak out of the pan when the internal temperature reaches 140° F.

You can use a probe thermometer to check the steak’s doneness. However, it’s not ideal since sticking it into the meat will result in losing some of the fantastic steak juice.

Most chefs and home cooks rely on the “finger test” method. It’s the oldest and most reliable way to check steak doneness. Since you do not stick anything into the steak, it stays intact, meaning you’re not going to lose any juice and flavor.

Please do not cut the steak with a knife to check the doneness. It’ll dry the steak.

Here’s a video explaining how to use a “finger test” method.

How To Buy Good Fillet Steak?

When buying a fillet steak, make sure it’s of the highest quality. You can do that in your local butcher shop or farmers market. Most industrially grown beef is fed with corn or grain nowadays. However, to get the best quality steak for pan-frying, make sure it’s grass-fed.

Grass-fed beef has more flavor than corn-fed or grain-finished cattle. Not only it’s packed with unique flavors, but it’s more nutritious as well.

how to buy good fillet steak

Here’re a few tips on how to buy a good fillet steak:

  • Color is a good indicator of the quality of the meat. Dark red is usually a good sign since it’s grass-fed.
  • Smell. If it smells sour or has an ammonia odor, the steak is not fresh.
  • Marbling. Look for tiny flecks of marbling spread across the fillet steak. Fillet is a lean cut of meat; however, you’ll notice a difference between grass-fed and grain-finished beef. Grass-fed is more marbled.

Best Pan For Pan-Frying Fillet Steak

The best overall frying pan for pan-frying a steak is HexClad 12 Inch Hybrid Stainless Steel Frying Pan. It has a thick bottom that can withstand the high heat required for pan searing. The nonstick coating can withstand high heat without flaking or peeling. It retains and distributes heat well. It’s an excellent and all-around versatile nonstick pan.

best pan for pan frying fillet steak

The best budget option is a cast-iron skillet. It has a thick and heavy bottom. Cast iron retains and distributes heat well. Often I use this Lodge Cast Iron Skillet. It’s excellent for steak and other dishes. Though keep in mind this cast iron skillet is heavy compared to Hexclad.




FAQ

How to cook fillet steak in a regular frying pan?

Preheat the pan to about 450° F and add steak to the pan. Cook it to your liking. Use butter and fresh herbs for basting mid-way through cooking the steak.

How long do you pan fry fillet steak per side?

2 to 4 mins are best for pan frying fillet steak per side. Any more than that, and the steak can burn. At around two and a half minutes, pick the steak up and check if it’s not burning.

How long does it take to cook a fillet steak on the frying pan?

To cook steak rare takes 4-5 mins. To cook fillet medium rare takes 6-7 mins. Medium takes about 8 mins. Medium-well around 9-1o mins. Well done takes about 11-12 minutes.

Can I cook fillet steak in a nonstick pan?

Yes, you can cook fillet steak in a nonstick pan. Make sure it has a thick base and a high-quality nonstick coating. If it has a thin base, it can warp. If a nonstick coating cannot withstand high heat, it can flake or peel.

Can you cook a fillet steak in a stainless steel pan?

Yes, you can cook fillet steak in a stainless steel pan. Many chefs like using a stainless steel frying pan for searing stakes since stainless steel pans are durable and capable of withstanding high temperatures.

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