Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine and Garlic

One and half pounds of beef will comfortably feed four people; two pounds will feed six. You can stretch it to feed a few more people if you are serving the tenderloin with several other dishes on the table.

When buying your tenderloin roast, make sure the butcher removes the silver skin. Also ask them to truss the roast with twine. You can do both of these steps yourself, but it's one less thing for you to worry about back home!

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds center-cut beef tenderloin (See Recipe Note)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup tawny port wine
  • 4 to 5 medium cloves garlic
  • 5 to 6 sprigs fresh thyme, plus extra to serve

Special equipment:

Method

1 Sear the beef tenderloin: Sprinkle the tenderloin with salt and a generous amount of pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot enough, a drop of water should sizzle and quickly evaporate on contact.

Sear the tenderloin in the pan until it's dark brown all over, 1 to 2 minutes on each side and both ends. Transfer to a plate or cutting board and allow to cool slightly.

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Port, Garlic, and Thyme Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Port, Garlic, and Thyme

2 Make the port-garlic sauce: While the pan is still hot, add the butter and garlic. Cook until the garlic is golden and fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds.

Add the port wine and use a stiff spatula to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the wine come to a simmer, then remove from heat.

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Port, Garlic, and Thyme Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Port, Garlic, and Thyme

3 Seal the tenderloin in a zip-top freezer bag: Make sure the tenderloin and sauce are no longer steaming. It's fine if they are still quite warm, but they can melt through the bag if they're still steaming hot.

Place a gallon-sized zip-top freezer bag on your counter and flip the zip-top edge outward, forming a cuff around the bag. This helps the bag stay open and upright as you fill it.

Transfer the tenderloin to the bag and pour the sauce over top. Lay 5 or 6 sprigs of thyme over the top of the tenderloin.

Fill a stock pot with 5 or 6 inches of water. Slowly submerge the tenderloin in the water, using your hands to help push out all the air from the bag as you go. When you reach the top of the bag, zip it closed.

Lift the tenderloin out of the water and place it on a towel while you heat the water for the sous vide.

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Port, Garlic, and Thyme Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Port, Garlic, and Thyme

4 Heat the water for sous vide cooking: Place your Joule or other sous vide immersion circulator in the stockpot of water. Set the sous vide immersion circulator to heat the water to 133°F for rare beef, 140F for medium-rare (my preference), 149°F for medium-well, or 167°F for well-done.

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Port, Garlic, and Thyme

5 Cook the tenderloin sous vide for 2 1/2 to 3 hours: When the water has heated to its required temperature, lower the tenderloin into the water so that it is entirely submerged. It's ok if the top of the bag pokes out of the water as long as the tenderloin itself is submerged.

Cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, but avoid cooking for much longer or the beef will start to get a little soft and mushy.

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Port, Garlic, and Thyme

6 Sear the tenderloin a second time: When the tenderloin is done, lift it from the water and place the bag on a kitchen towel. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles and evaporates on contact.

Use tongs to lift the roast from the bag and transfer it to the skillet. Be careful—it will sputter! Sear for 30 to 60 seconds on all sides, until the outside is even more deeply browned and a crust has formed.

Transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board and rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Port, Garlic, and Thyme

7 Deglaze the pan: With the pan still over medium-high heat, pour in the sauce directly from the bag into the pan (discard the sprigs of thyme). Simmer for about a minute and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Carefully transfer the sauce to a serving cup.

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Port, Garlic, and Thyme

8 Slice and serve the tenderloin: Cut through the twine and discard. Slice the tenderloin either into thick "filet mignon" steaks (one steak per person), or into thinner "roast beef" slices (3 or 4 slices per person). Serve immediately with the sauce.

Sous Vide Beef Tenderloin with Port, Garlic, and Thyme

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Comments

  • Olenka

    Be aware – the temperatures provided are for the big chunk of roast, not individual filet mignon cuts. For individual portions use Joule Sous Vide guide: “If you prefer your steak rare, simply set your sous vide device to 126 °F / 52 °C , 129 °F medium rare, for a medium steak, try 133 °F / 56 °C, while 140 °F / 60 °C is the choice for lovers of medium-well steak.” And I usually cook mine depending on the thickness: 0.75 inch – 45 min, 1 inch – 1 hour, 1.5 inches – 1.5 hours, 2 inches – 2 hours. These are Joule guides and when followed my steak always comes out perfect. My favorite is rare to medium rare.

  • Melissa Holton

    I have made this several times! It is my go to for impressing guest with little effort! I have my butcher trim and tie and then they will even made hamburger out of the trimmings!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Kathleen

    The temperature was wrong. 140 for medium rare at 2.5 hrs produced a well done tenderloin. While favor was still good, it was a very expensive cut of meat to eat well done. Not a touch of pink. Very disappointed. Will cook at 133 going forward.

    • Fred

      Something else happened. Not possible for 140 to produce well done. Doesn’t matter the time cooked. You sure your searing process didn’t go too long?

  • Steve

    Hi Emma. I have 6.5 lb beef tenderloin and I am wondering about the cooking temperature and time for such a large piece of meat? Also, should I triple the rest of the ingredients since my tenderloin is approximately 3 times the size listed in your ingredients?

    Thanks

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Steve! Cooking temperature will be the same. I’d recommend cutting your tenderloin into a two or three equal-sized pieces and cooking them that way (each sealed in its own bag). This will ensure that everything cooks evenly at the cooking times recommended in the recipe and also that you are able to easily seal the tenderloin in the plastic bags. This said, there is another reader on this comment thread who said he cooked a 6 lb tenderloin and didn’t indicate that he cut it into pieces or changed the cooking time, so you’d probably be ok leaving it whole, too! (the reader is Shelton — see his comment below!) And yes, go ahead and triple the amount of everything else so that you have enough liquid surrounding the beef as it cooks. Enjoy! Let us know how it turns out!

  • Mindy

    This recipe was amazing!! Made this for a dinner party and everyone loved it. And the sauce was so good you could drink it! Definitely keeping this one and highly suggest trying it out! Thank you for sharing!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Shelton

    I’ve done this a few times already but with 1-2 lb tenderloins. Just did a 6 pound tenderloin yesterday for Christmas Dinner and basically tripled the port wine steps… everyone RAVED!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • [email protected]

    Does the cooking fine change for a 4lb tenderloin? Can’t wait to try.
    Thanks

  • Susan

    Hi – I will have a 6 pound bison tenderloin, should I cut it into smaller pieces before the sous vide? And is the cooking time the same? Also, due to the lower fat content, is the 140 degree setting still accurate for a medium rare roast? Thank you so much.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Susan! Wow, bison tenderloin! Sounds fantastic! Yes, I’d cut it into smaller portions — three 2-pound portions sounds good, though I think that two 3-pound portions would also be fine. This is mostly to allow you to seal the meat properly in the bags and also to fit them into your stock pot (or whatever container you’re using), and it also ensures that everything cooks evenly.

      I checked the Joule app and they do actually have a few cooking temperatures and times listed for bison! It looks like they recommend a slightly lower temperature in general for medium-rare bison — 131F for bison chuck roast and flank, and 133F for sirloin steak. I think I’d probably do 133F, or up to 136F for slightly more toward medium (they list medium at 140F). For cooking time, they recommend 24 hours for chuck roast, 8 hours for flank, and 2 hours for sirloin. For a big tenderloin roast, I’m thinking 8 or 10 hours. (Beef Tenderloin can go up to 7 hours, according to one of their other guides — I think that information is new since I first wrote this article. This makes me feel more positively about a longer cooking time for your leaner bison tenderloin.)

      I hope this helps! Please let me know how it turns out!

  • Mercedes

    Do you think I could do 2.5 lb beef?

  • Ranae

    Hi I am curious if you think I could do the first sear and then the seasoning and then freeze it. Just to give me extra time over the busy christmas days, I fill my chicken and then freeze with no side effects so am hoping this may be the same. Thanks

  • NJ Kris

    Was looking for something to make for Father’s Day this Sunday. I think I found a winner! I’ll sous vide up the tenderloin in my Coleman Party Stacker cooler and sear it in my giant cast iron skillet heated up on the gas grill. Never did a sous vide tenderloin before, but if my steaks and chops done this way are any indication of how this will turn out, this is going to be a ‘UGE hit!

  • Christie

    This recipe made me look like a star chef. Guests all loved it.

    Thanks

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Charles Brown

    Made this recipe yesterday and it was a tremendous success. The meat was tender and juicy and the double searing gives it a deep and complex flavor. The Port Wine reduction added an excellent complement.

    I will make this recipe again many times in the future. Thank you for sharing.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Sean Mahan

    Looks really delicious! And taking just over two hours to cook, it definitely goes to my list of “Trying soon”

  • Jason M

    Can anyone recommend something to use instead of port? My wife is sober and typically cooking with wine is not a problem but I’d imagine this process doesn’t cook the alcohol out.

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Jason! What about reducing a cup of good-quality grape juice down to 1/2 cup, and then using that? I feel like that would have a similar fruity, sweet, rich flavor to port. Let us know if you give it a try!

  • Asami

    So do you re-use the plastic bags? I think sous vide cooking sounds interesting but even more plastic? No thanks

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Asami! You can definitely re-use the bags! I don’t usually re-use them for sous vide cooking because I think the seams start to get a little weak, but do reuse them for regular kitchen things like storing leftovers, washed greens, and so on. I actually re-use my plastic bags for a LONG time!

  • Baquist

    I recently started with sous vide cooking, and love every beef recipe I’ve tried. The one quibble I’ve had is that no gravy/sauce I’ve made from the juices in the bag taste quite right. The rarer the meat the more the juice ‘curdles’ and looks revolting. I’m going to try making the sauce first next time – sounds like a brilliant idea. Thanks!