How to Cook Perfect Beef Tenderloin in an Instant Pot

Beef tenderloin is considered one of the most tender cuts of beef. It’s very lean and tender, though it lacks the fat marbling that gives flavor to fattier cuts like ribeye. While often prepared in the oven, cooking beef tenderloin in an instant pot results in a tender, juicy, and flavorful dish in a fraction of the time.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll share my tips and tricks for making the best beef tenderloin in an instant pot. You’ll learn how to choose the right cut, prep it, season it, and cook it to perfection every time. I’ll also provide timing guides so you can adapt this recipe for different sizes of tenderloin.

Benefits of Cooking Beef Tenderloin in an Instant Pot

Here are some of the main benefits of using an instant pot to cook beef tenderloin:

  • Speed – The pressurized environment allows the meat to cook very quickly, in under 30 minutes compared to over an hour in the oven. This makes it great for weeknight meals.

  • Tender and juicy – The moist heat of the instant pot cooks the meat evenly and prevents it from drying out. The result is incredibly tender and juicy beef.

  • Enhanced flavor – Cooking in the instant pot allows the meat to absorb all the flavors from aromatics like garlic herbs and wine.

  • Easy – Simply throw everything in the pot, set it, and walk away. No need for constant basting or temperature monitoring.

  • Versatile – Make Beef Wellington or sliced tenderloin steaks. The meat shreds easily for sandwiches too.

Choosing the Right Cut of Beef Tenderloin

For this recipe, you’ll want to look for a whole untied beef tenderloin, preferably with the fat cap still attached. The fat cap helps keep the meat moist and adds flavor. Plan on 1/2 to 3/4 pound of tenderloin per person.

You can also use a tenderloin roast, which is the center cut of the tenderloin, tied into a cylinder shape. This cooks a little more evenly since it’s the same thickness throughout.

Avoid pre-cut tenderloin filets or medallions. They’ll overcook very quickly in the instant pot.

Preparing Beef Tenderloin for the Instant Pot

Prepping the beef tenderloin is easy:

  • Trim – Trim off any excess fat and silver skin. Leave the fat cap intact if present.

  • Season – Generously season all over with salt and pepper. You can also rub on fresh herbs, garlic, mustard, etc.

  • Sear – Quickly sear the tenderloin on all sides in a skillet on the stovetop. This adds flavor and color.

  • Deglaze – Add wine, stock or water to the skillet to lift up the browned bits. Pour this over the tenderloin.

  • Add aromatics – Stud with whole garlic cloves and fresh herbs before cooking.

How to Cook Beef Tenderloin in an Instant Pot

Cooking beef tenderloin in the instant pot is simple:

  • Liquid – Add 1/2 cup liquid like wine, broth or water to the pot. This steams the meat.

  • Trivet – Place tenderloin on a trivet or steamer basket if you have one.

  • Seasonings – Add aromatics like garlic, herbs, onions, etc.

  • Pressure cook – Lock the lid and pressure cook on high for time based on size.

  • Natural release – Allow pressure to release naturally for at least 10 minutes.

  • Rest – Let meat rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Instant Pot Beef Tenderloin Cooking Times

The cooking time will vary based on the size and shape of your tenderloin.

For a whole untied tenderloin cut in half, pressure cook for:

  • 1 – 1.5 lbs: 9-12 minutes
  • 1.5 – 2 lbs: 12-15 minutes
  • 2 – 3 lbs: 15-18 minutes

For a tenderloin roast tied into a cylinder shape, pressure cook for:

  • 1 – 1.5 lbs: 14-17 minutes
  • 1.5 – 2 lbs: 17-20 minutes
  • 2 – 3 lbs: 20-25 minutes

Use a quick-read meat thermometer to confirm it reaches 145°F for medium rare doneness.

Flavoring Ideas for Instant Pot Beef Tenderloin

One of the benefits of the instant pot is that it really boosts flavor. Try these tasty flavor ideas:

  • Fresh herbs – Rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano
  • Aromatics – Garlic, shallots, onions
  • Wine or stock – Red wine, beef broth, mushroom broth
  • Spices – Pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, mustard
  • Sauces – Horseradish cream, béarnaise, red wine reduction

Serving Suggestions for Instant Pot Beef Tenderloin

Beef tenderloin is very versatile. Here are some serving ideas:

  • Whole roasted – Carve into slices and serve with sauce and sides.

  • Steak – Slice tenderloin into 1-inch steaks and sear in butter or oil.

  • Sandwiches – Shred with forks and pile high on rolls with condiments.

  • Salad – Chill and slice over fresh greens for an elegant salad.

  • Beef Wellington – Wrap in puff pastry after cooking and bake briefly.

Common Questions about Instant Pot Beef Tenderloin

Is beef tenderloin worth the price?

Beef tenderloin is one of the priciest cuts, but for a special occasion it’s worth it. It’s extremely tender and lean. The instant pot helps make a cheaper cut like eye round more tender.

Should you sear beef tenderloin before instant pot?

Yes, searing adds great flavor and color. It only takes 2-3 minutes per side in a very hot skillet. Make sure to deglaze the skillet to get all those browned bits.

What setting on instant pot for beef tenderloin?

You’ll want to use the Manual or Pressure Cook setting on High pressure. Make sure the vent is sealed, not venting.

How can you tell when beef tenderloin is done?

Use a digital meat thermometer to check for doneness, looking for 145°F for medium rare. It should feel firm but still have a bit of bounce when pressed.

Should you let beef tenderloin rest after instant pot?

Yes, always let it rest for 5-10 minutes to allow juices to redistribute. The temperature will rise a bit more as it rests.

Instant Pot Beef Tenderloin Recipe

This recipe uses wine, garlic, herbs and broth to give you a restaurant-worthy beef tenderloin feast with minimal effort.


  • 2 lbs beef tenderloin
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary


  1. Pat tenderloin dry and season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in skillet over high heat. Sear tenderloin on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  3. Add garlic to skillet and cook 1 minute. Deglaze with wine, scraping up any browned bits.
  4. Pour wine mixture over tenderloin in instant pot. Add broth.
  5. Add thyme and rosemary sprigs.
  6. Pressure cook on High for 15 minutes, followed by 10 minute natural release.
  7. Remove tenderloin to cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest 10 minutes.
  8. Slice tenderloin into 1/2 inch slices and serve with pan juices.

The beef tenderloin comes out perfectly cooked edge to edge, incredibly tender and bursting with flavor. The wine and herbs give it a savory depth while keeping it nice and lean.

I like to serve the sliced tenderloin with buttery mashed potatoes or pasta tossed with the pan juices. A green veggie like broccoli or green beans completes the meal.

For special occasions, it’s nice to make a more elaborate dish like Beef Wellington using the cooked tenderloin. Just wrap it in prosciutto, puff pastry and bake for an elegant presentation.

Instant Pot filet mignon and potatoes – Instant Pot Beef Tenderloin


Which cooking method is best for beef tenderloin?

The food web and a great many cookbooks (very many of them highly reputable) recommend blasting a tenderloin in a hot oven, 450–500°F (232–260°C), for a relatively short time to cook it, followed by a counter rest.

Does beef get tender in Instant Pot?

Steam penetrates food easily under pressure. So connective tissues in cubes of beef for soups or stews soften in 15 minutes or less, and a pot roast will be medium-rare in 30 minutes.

How long does it take for meat to cook in the Instant Pot?

Cooking Time
Pressure Release Method
Whole Chicken
6 minutes per pound
Chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
4 minutes
5-10 minute NPR
Chuck Roast
20 minutes per 1 inch of thickness (so 3 inch roast would be 60 minutes)
Pork Shoulder
15-20 minutes per 1 inch of thickness

Why is my beef tough in Instant Pot?

To prevent a chewy beef steak, you need to avoid using too much high-pressure heat. Of course, start with pressure cooking your roast (that’s why you’re using the Instant Pot anyway), but keep that high-pressured phase to a few minutes only.

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