Searing Beef Tenderloin in Advance: Is It Possible and How to Do It Right

As an avid home cook and food blogger, I’m always looking for ways to make holiday meals less stressful. Preparing beef tenderloin for a crowd can be daunting, so I wondered – can you sear the tenderloin in advance? After testing it out, the answer is yes – with a few tips and tricks.

In this article I’ll explain the benefits to searing ahead share my technique for success, suggest how long you can leave it rested, and answer some common questions. Let’s cook!

Why Sear Beef Tenderloin in Advance?

Searing the tenderloin a day or two before serving has several advantages

  • Saves time – You can focus on sides or other dishes come dinnertime rather than last-minute searing

  • Adds flavor – A good sear gives great caramelized flavor even if cooked hours before.

  • Lets it rest – The rested, cooked meat retains moisture for a tender, juicy result.

  • Cooks evenly – Searing in advance ensures even, consistent doneness when roasted later.

For these reasons, searing in advance is a great option, especially when cooking for a crowd.

How to Sear a Tenderloin Ahead of Time

When searing a tenderloin prior to fully cooking, follow these steps:

  • Pat dry and season – Make sure the meat is dry before searing. Generously season with salt and pepper.

  • Choose oil with high smoke point – Use avocado, grapeseed or refined coconut oil so it doesn’t burn.

  • Get the pan rip-roaring hot – Use a heavy pan like cast iron. Heat until oil just starts smoking.

  • Sear all sides – Place tenderloin in pan and sear until nicely browned, about 1-2 mins per side.

  • Rest on a rack – After searing, transfer to a rack over a pan and allow to rest until cooled.

  • Wrap and refrigerate once cooled – Wrap in plastic and refrigerate. Consume within 2 days.

How Long can Seared Tenderloin be Refrigerated?

For food safety, sear tenderloin 1-2 days before serving. Here are some resting timelines:

  • 1-2 hours – Great if finishing same day
  • Overnight – Up to 24 hours refrigerated
  • 2 days – Max time before quality declines

The rested, seared meat keeps well wrapped in the fridge but shouldn’t be pushed beyond 2 days.

Oven Roasting the Pre-Seared Tenderloin

When ready to serve, preheat your oven to 400°F. Unwrap the chilled, seared tenderloin and place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Roast to desired doneness, about 15-25 minutes. An instant read thermometer should read:

  • Rare: 120-125°F
  • Medium Rare: 130-135°F
  • Medium: 140-145°F
  • Medium Well: 150-155°F

Once cooked, let rest 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving. The pre-seared exterior will have lovely caramelized flavor!

Serving Suggestions and Side Dishes

The rich, elegant taste of roasted beef tenderloin goes well with many sides, like:

  • Horseradish mashed potatoes
  • Sauteed mushrooms
  • Roasted asparagus
  • Creamed spinach
  • Scalloped potatoes
  • Honey-glazed carrots

Simple pan sauces are also delicious, or serve with a red wine reduction or chimichurri sauce.

Common Questions about Pre-Searing

Here are some frequently asked questions:

What about pre-searing in the sous vide?

You can certainly pre-sear, chill, then sous vide cook as well. Follow the same resting guidelines.

Can you reverse sear after chilling the pre-seared tenderloin?

Absolutely! Roast in the oven until nearing desired temp then finish with a hot sear just before serving.

Should you chill it uncovered or wrapped?

Wrapped is best to prevent drying out. Cover tightly in plastic wrap after fully cooled.

Can you freeze a pre-seared tenderloin?

For best quality, thaw frozen meat before searing. Freezing after searing may compromise texture.

What about pre-searing thinner cuts like filet mignon?

Go for it! The same method works for any beef tender cuts. Just adjust cook times as needed.

Putting It All Together

Searing beef tenderloin in advance not only saves you time on the big day, but locks in flavor and juiciness too. Follow my steps for properly searing, chilling, and roasting the pre-seared meat. Resting up to 2 days keeps the tenderloin moist and tender.

BEEF TENDERLOIN ROAST | easy, foolproof recipe for Christmas dinner

Leave a Comment