The Classic French Chateaubriand

Medium-rare classic French chateaubriand sliced on a wooden cutting board

The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Rest Time: 15 mins
Total: 65 mins
Servings: 2 to 3 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
766 Calories
60g Fat
9g Carbs
39g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 3
Amount per serving
Calories 766
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 60g 77%
Saturated Fat 24g 122%
Cholesterol 165mg 55%
Sodium 873mg 38%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 39g
Vitamin C 4mg 19%
Calcium 49mg 4%
Iron 6mg 33%
Potassium 864mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The meaning of the French term chateaubriand can be confusing. Depending on whom you ask, it can either refer to a cut of steak or the method of roasting a beef tenderloin. Despite this confusion, rest assured that when you order a chateaubriand from a French restaurant menu, you will receive a beautiful center-cut piece of beef tenderloin (usually enough to serve two), along with a classic red wine sauce.

Beef tenderloin is one of the most expensive pieces of beef but for a good reason. The cut lives up to its name, providing the most naturally tender, succulent piece of beef available. Note that a filet mignon, another pricey steakhouse cut, is from the smaller end of the beef tenderloin.

This chateaubriand recipe is a traditional version of the restaurant favorite. The lusciously tender beef is seasoned very simply, roasted to perfection, and then sliced on the diagonal. Be sure to make the easy shallot and wine sauce to accompany the meat and serve with chateau potatoes for authenticity. Chateaubriand is a perfect roast for the French Christmas table. 


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"The seared tenderloin was a perfect medium-rare after 15 minutes in the oven. For the sauce, I used fresh tarragon, a packet of French-style demi-glace concentrate, and pinot noir for the red wine. It was amazing! I will probably use the sauce recipe whenever I cook a beef roast or steak." —Diana Rattray

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 pound beef tenderloin (center cut)

  • Salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and divided

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped

  • 1/2 cup medium-bodied dry red wine

  • 1/2 cup demi-glace

  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for classic French chateaubriand recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Evenly season the beef with salt and pepper.

    Beef tenderloin seasoned with salt and pepper on a cutting board lined with greaseproof paper

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) set over medium-high heat until cloudy and bubbly.

    Melted foaming butter in a cast-iron skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  4. Place the seasoned meat in the pan and brown for 3 minutes without moving the meat. Using tongs, carefully turn the tenderloin on its side and brown for 3 minutes more. Repeat the same browning process on all exposed surfaces of the meat.

    Seasoned tenderloin browned in butter in a cast-iron skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt 

  5. Transfer the tenderloin to a rack placed in a roasting pan and put in the oven. (Set aside the skillet with any accumulated juices for making the sauce.) Roast the beef to your desired doneness, about 15 minutes for medium-rare, 20 minutes for medium, and 23 minutes for medium-well.

    Browned tenderloin on a metal rack placed over a roasting pan

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  6. Remove the meat from the oven and transfer to a warm serving platter. Lightly tent the meat with foil and let it rest for 15 minutes.

    Aluminum foil covering cooked tenderloin on a serving platter

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  7. While the tenderloin is resting, make the wine sauce. Combine the shallot with the juices in the skillet and sauté over medium heat until the shallot is soft and translucent.

    Finely chopped shallot fried lightly brown in cast-iron skillet with meat juices

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  8. Pour the wine into the skillet and bring the sauce to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

    Sauce with wine and loosened browned bits from pan bottom boiling in cast-iron skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  9. Continue boiling the sauce until it reduces by half.

    Wine sauce browned and reduced by half in cast-iron skillet

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  10. Add the demi-glace to the sauce and continue boiling the mixture until slightly thickened.

    Demi-glace stirred into wine sauce with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  11. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon softened butter and tarragon. Taste and season with salt and black pepper as needed.

    Butter and chopped tarragon added to wine sauce off the heat; small bowls with salt and pepper to the side

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt

  12. Slice the meat on the diagonal and serve with the wine sauce. Enjoy.

    Medium-rare chateaubriand thickly cut into diagonal slices on a wooden cutting board with a bowl of wine sauce to the side

    The Spruce Eats / Victoria Heydt


  • If you do not have demi-glace, you can substitute with one (16-ounce) can of top-quality beef consommé or beef broth, reduced by half.
  • It is essential to let the chateaubriand rest. This will allow the meat juices to be reabsorbed and redistributed in the meat and enable clean slicing.

What Is a Medium-Bodied Wine?

Wines with an alcohol content between 12.5% and 13.5% are considered medium-bodied.