April 28, 2022

Montreal Spiced Pan Fried Beef Tenderloin

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A dish that is worth definite praise, this pan fried beef tenderloin recipe results in a cut with a crisp outer layer, a tender inside, and full flavour by using Montreal Steak Spice as the star. Perfect for a special occasion.
Pan Fried Beef Tenderloin sliced with broccolini on a black plate. Greenery and pine cones on a grey napkin in the background.

This recipe yields three servings of Beef Tenderloin with leftovers, unless someone wants seconds! Four to five servings with a side: lobster, shrimp, crab, scallops—the world is your oyster!

Using the centre cut helps to ensure streamlined portions and an evenly cooked piece of meat.

Now, I have a confession to make before we start this journey of creating this unforgettable meal. I had the pleasure of eating my first beef tenderloin steak at a restaurant years ago, and I had no idea what the best “doneness” was for it to be cooked. Growing up I was used to eating meals of meat and poultry closer to the charred side rather than juicy. Therefore I ordered a well done steak.

When it arrived the presentation was beautiful and it looked delicious. I must add that the lighting in the restaurant was quite dim. As I sliced into my steak and it was crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside, and seasoned to perfection. At that point I realized what I had been missing out, but not anymore and I haven’t looked back!

Growing up I begrudgingly ate beef that was stewed on the stove for many hours. It was incredibly spiced, however I had no interest in eating steak—I guess it was because my family never cooked it. The saying is true: “you cannot miss something that you have never had.”

Let’s fast forward to a month after that unforgettable dinner. I decided that I was going to try and replicate the same steak recipe. So I bought a small beef tenderloin steak and I walked home full of enthusiasm and excitement. As it was my first time pan frying steak I had no idea how long to cook it. What started off as a once tender piece of meat finally looked like a hockey puck when I took it off the stove to eat it. I thought I had sliced and bitten into a well spiced tire.

All of the meticulous instructions that my father had given me over the years about how to prepare and cook a steak were all forgotten. It was a major disappointment, but I was not deterred. I was determined to achieve the same quality of steak that I had that first time.

After years of practice, I can now say with confidence that I am able to cook a delicious steak. I would like to share my take on that unforgettable dinner which I hope you will enjoy.

Fun Fact

Montreal Steak Spice

Beef tenderloin or Filet has long been considered one of the best cuts of meat. In this recipe we will be using Montreal Steak Spice and other various spices, however I would like to talk about the origin of this versatile spice blend.

One version of this delicious flavour creation is that it was originally introduced by chance from a man named Morris “The Shadow” Sherman that worked in the boiler room at the renowned Schwartz’s Deli which is known for its smoked meat sandwiches Montreal and founded by Rueben Schwartz. Mr. Sherman used a special pickling spice for giblets then he started adding it on the smoked meat at the deli. After, patrons were coming back for more of this flavourful smoked meat.

It is said to have been brought to North America by Romanian Jews. Moreover, the real location for the introduction of the famous blend caused a rivalry. Who had the best smoked meat? Montreal or New York City?

There are a couple of renowned Deli’s in New York City. Katz’s Delicatessen is the most well known however, Montreal also houses legendary smoked meat delicatessens. Schwartz’s, Dunn’s, Reuben’s are just a few notable landmarks.

Montreal Steak Spice is not only for steak, you can use it with various ingredients. Incorporate it with grilled veggies such as peppers, asparagus, cauliflower “steak’’, a pork recipe, slow cooked game meat or seafood.

It should be added to an ingredient that will compliment it. For example, I would not use it with a mild flavoured or delicate textured staple because the subtle aspects would be lost. If you choose to use Montreal Steak Seasoning on a delicate ingredient such as seafood, I recommend that to use it sparingly for the best results.

What you’ll need to make Montreal Spiced Pan Fried Beef Tenderloin:

  • Beef tenderloin (whole or cut into individual steaks)
  • The best Montreal steak spice
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Seasoning salt
  • Chilli flakes or cayenne pepper *optional
  • Dried thyme *optional
  • Olive oil
  • Dried parsley *optional
  • A frying pan or cast iron pan large enough to hold steaks or centre cut tenderloin (whole). These are the pans that I frequently use when preparing this dish and other recipes that require the use of high heat, being transferred into the oven and providing the best heat  distribution. Le Cruset 10 inch Non-Stick Frying Pan or Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
Pan Fried Beef Tenderloin ingredients

* I have not received compensation for any of the ingredients that are used in this recipe. Each ingredient listed is what I prefer to use . 

Internal Temperature Guide


120 degrees Fahrenheit / 49 degrees Celsius
130 degrees Fahrenheit / 54.4 degrees Celsius

Medium Rare

130 degrees Fahrenheit / 54.4 degrees Celsius
140 degrees Fahrenheit / 60 degrees Celsius


145 degrees fahrenheit / 63 degrees Celsius
155 degrees Fahrenheit / 68.3 degree Celsius

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Montreal Spiced Pan Fried Beef Tenderloin

  • Author: Jordana Eloise
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 35 servings 1x


A dish that is worth definite praise. This pan fried beef tenderloin recipe results in a cut with a crisp outer layer, a tender inside, and full flavour by using Montreal Steak Spice as the star. Perfect for a special occasion.


Units Scale
  • Centre cut beef tenderloin,1.75 lbs, 794 grams, 28 ounces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Montreal steak spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme *optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chilli flakes *optional


  1. First, take the meat out of the fridge so that it can come up to room temperature. This is an important step which prevents the meat from seizing up when it is seared in the pan. If you were to take the steak out of the fridge then put it in a hot pan and sear it, the result would most likely be a tough steak.
  2. Optional: soak the meat in salted water, then rinse and pat it dry. It is very important to dry the steak thoroughly. If your steak has any moisture it will not sear properly and the seasoning will not adhere to the steak.
    Whole and Raw Beef Tenderloin Soaking in Salted Water in White Bowl
  3. Allow the steak to come to room temperature. This will take at least an hour depending on the size of the steak and the temperature of your home. I usually check every thirty minutes. My rule of thumb is to take the steak out of the fridge one hour before I would like to cook it. 
  4. Pat the meat again with paper towels before seasoning.
  5. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  6. Preheat a pan that is large enough to properly sear the steak. Set the stove to medium and then after five minutes increase the temperature to medium high. 
  7. Season the meat with the seasoning blend of the first four spice ingredients and any optional spices that you want to include.
    Raw Unseasoned and Seasoned Whole Beef Tenderloin on a Cutting Board on a Grey Textured Background
  8. After seasoning the steak, immediately put it in the preheated pan with olive oil and sear on all sides. Make sure to add the piece of meat to the pan shortly after you add the oil—olive oil has a low smoke point and you do not want it to burn, which will impart a burnt flavour to the meat. You can add a bit of butter if you prefer but it really isn’t necessary if you don’t dilly–dally before adding the meat to the pan. Also, if you season the steak and let it sit for an extended period of time before you put in the pan you will find that it will not sear because the salt in the seasoning will pull out any moisture from the meat. If the steak starts exuding moisture, the seasoning will come off the steak and stick to the pan and quite likely burn. It has happened to me many times. 
  9. Once you have seared the meat, turn the heat down to medium to continue the cooking process for 5 minutes if you are searing an individual steak and 10–12 minutes if you are searing a whole tenderloin.
    Whole - Partially Seared Beef Tenderloin in a Cast Iron Pan on the Stove
  10. At this point you will want to preheat the oven to broil so that it is ready to put the meat in the oven during the last ten minutes of cooking.
  11. Don’t forget to insert the food thermometer in the centre of the meat before placing it in the oven. Place the pan with the tenderloin in the preheated oven until the outside looks nicely browned–about ten minutes. After the first five minutes, start looking at the thermometer to see what the reading is. You want to take the steak out of the oven before it reaches the temperature of the doneness that you want for your finished steak because the meat will continue to cook while it is resting.
  12. After you have cooked your meat to your preferred doneness, cover it with a piece of aluminum foil or a plate so that it can rest and the juices can redistribute.
  13. Place your serving plates in the oven so that they will be warm when you put the steak on it. It is so much better to eat your meal, especially one like this, on a warmed plate. 
  14. Once the meat has rested and the juices have redistributed it’s ready to be sliced, served and enjoyed!
    Montreal Spice Pan Fried Beef Tenderloin featured


Q: Can this recipe be converted to a vegetarian version?
A: Absolutely! You can use portobello mushroom, cauliflower steak or a steak used with pulses as an alternative. The recipe instructions and ingredients would remain the same except for the use of beef. The cooking time would also need to be adjusted.

Q: Can this recipe be created with another ingredient, like chicken, pork or game meat? 
A: This recipe is designed for mixing things up. If you would like to use another main ingredient, go for it! The ingredient list can be adjusted for your tastes. 

Q: Do I really need to preheat the pan before cooking the steak or other selected ingredients? 
A: Yes! It is very important to heat the pan you are using before cooking anything that you want to sear. This will lock in the juices in your ingredient. It helps it from drying out and it creates that delicious crisp crust on the outside. 

Q: How do I know when my steak is cooked to my liking? 
A: The best solution is to invest in a meat thermometer. It will save you from a lot of disappointment when preparing various cuts of meat. A good rule of thumb is to take the meat out of the oven or off the stove before the optimal temperature is reached because it is important to allow it to rest before serving. This gives the meat a chance to relax and redistribute its juices so that it doesn’t end up dry when you cut into it.

  • Prep Time: 60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10–25 minutes


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