Coffee Crusted Beef Tenderloin

Beef tenderloin is one of my favorite “fancy dinners” to make at home. In the grand scheme of things, it is relatively simple and is, of course, delicious.

coffee crusted beef tenderloin


Beef Tenderloin Recipe

A beef tenderloin roast, along with Prime Rib, and any sort of seafood, is probably thought to be some of the most quintessential “celebratory dinner ideas out there.

A beef roast, any piece of meat that can be cooked and feed multiples, is ideal seeing that it is tender and can be cooked easily and expeditiously. A steak, on the other hand, is a smaller cut intended for just one.

end view of a crusted tenderloin

But they are, of course, expensive, and therefore folks seem to be intimidated to cook them for fear that they won’t do it correctly and ruin a pricy piece of meat.

Buying Beef Tenderloin

Sometimes I find mine on sale and then I buy more than I need. I cut it each piece into three or four large portions and then freeze it for the date that I do need it. Prices will skyrocket around the holidays, just an FYI.

You can also ask your butcher to go ahead and trim it and tie it. HAving them weigh it after they cut off the excess fat and silver skin will reduce the cost a little.

tied beef tenderloin in spice mix

The cut is worth the money. So buttery and tender, you might not even need a knife. And that is also why a lighter rub is perfect.

Beef Tenderloin Cut

What is beef tenderloin? It is a narrow, tube shaped muscle that runs along the loin. It doesn’t get much exercise, which is why it is so tender. Although it is encased with fats, the cut itself is very lean, so it is also the healthiest cut of beef.

As a whole roast, it is referred to a tenderloin, but cut into individual steaks they are referred to as filet mignon or eye fillet.

Beef Tenderloin Rub

While delicious with little more than a sprinkle of salt and pepper, I like to perk a tenderloin up a bit. Doing this will give it a nice crust, or as it is known in the culinary world, a bark.

spice rub for beef tenderloin recipe

There are many delicious steak rubs out there, but a coffee crust is one of my favorites. Fragrant coffee balanced with sugar, salt, smoked paprika and pepper gives this beef a nice, dark crusted, but a succulent and juicy interior.

You might have seen this in upscale restaurants marketed as a kona crusted steak. Kona is a specific type of coffee from Hawaii and you can certainly use it or any other high grade coffee beans.

Beef Tenderloin in the Oven

For this roast, I prefer to cook it in the oven, however any roast, especially with a rub, can benefit from a quick sear in a hot cast iron pan to take advantage of the Maillard reaction.

A chemical reaction in amino acids and sugar, searing it on high heat will produce a markedly different acidic flavor than simply roasting with the same crust.

close up of bark on a roast

After searing, the roast is transferred to a hot oven for about 10 minutes before the temperature is reduced for the rest of the roasting. The whole process is relatively quick and easy. For medium rare, start to finish, it will take about 40 minutes (including resting time).

Beef Degrees of Doneness

  • Rare – 125°F (cool red center)
  • Medium Rare- 135°F (warm red center)
  • Medium- 145°F (rosy pink center)
  • Medium Well- 150°F (slightly pink center)
  • Well Done- 160°F (little to no pink)

Grilled Beef Tenderloin

Can I make this recipe on the grill? The quick answer is YES! In fact, this coffee rub tastes great on any cut of beef including New York strips, ribeyes and porterhouses.

cross sectional view of a beef tenderloin cooked to medium rare

To create the maillard effect on the grill, place it on direct heat for about 10 minutes, rotating to get all sides. Then change to indirect heat, lower the temperature and grill for about 40-45 minutes or until desired doneness is achieved. Then let it rest.

Coffee Rubbed Steaks

Coffee Crusted Beef Tenderloin became a favorite after my visit to Certified Angus Beef last year. Chef Tony and I whipped up beef carpaccio, but first rubbed it down with coffee and granulated honey. It was a magical combination.

close up of sliced coffee crusted beef tenderloin with pea shoots and tomatoes

The sugars create a sticky rub that caramelizes immediately under heat. In fact, after it is released from the plastic wrap it will be dark and sticky, which is exactly what you want.

I like using a coarse salt and sugar for a little bit of grit and texture. Much of it will dissolve in the natural juices, but some will remain for impact.

Picking a Coffee

You don’t need to get fancy here, but I do recommend using fresh beans opposed to breaking open a Keurig cup.

Two reasons for this include that fresh beans are more aromatic and also heavier in flavor and also that grinding your own beans will result in a much finer blend. While I want grit in my sugar and salt, I don’t necessarily want it with the coffee.

served and sliced crusted tenderloin

You only need 2 tablespoons, so go to the coffee section and purchase about 4 tablespoons fresh beans. Stick with something classic. Vanilla beans aren’t great of beef.

Benefits of Tying Your Roast

Don’t skip this step! There is a very important reason people tie their roasts.

Before you start, please make sure you know how to tie your roast! If you are still a bit intimidated, you can also ask the person behind the meat counter to help you out with it. They are most often happy to oblige.

close up of tied beef tenderloin roast

It may seem like a throwaway step, but I can assure you it is not. A nice tenderloin is not an evenly shaped piece of meat. and it is also a loose cut. Ladies, think of it as shapewear. Without it, you are all wiggly and jiggly. But with it, you are tight and taunt.

This can create an unevenly cooked piece of meat. It also allows you to wrap the thin tail of tenderloin (unless you have a center cut) around to make it more uniform for the whole roast.

Let it Rest

Another step that should not be skipped under any circumstance, is letting the meat rest once it is out of the oven before carving into it. This allows the juices to reabsorb back into the meat giving you and your guests a juicy bite.

plate of seared beef tenderloin with tomatoes and scallions

Please remember that the temperature will continue to rise while resting, so take it out about 5-10 degrees before it hits your desired level of doneness.

Steak Sauce

What sauce should I serve with steak? If your steak needs one at all, I suggest a light sauce that complements without overpowering the flavor of the bark or the beef. I served my tenderloin with a balsamic reduction, but other enjoy a horseradish sauce or my copycat Peter Lugers sauce.

gold spoon with balsamic reduction sauce


Any steak is well dressed with a side of potatoes, but I also like to elevate it with blistered tomatoes and charred scallions.

charred scallions

Here are some other favorites:

bread in a loaf pan

Cheddar Beer Bread

Rich, buttery and cheesy, this easy to make Cheddar Beer Bread only requires 5 ingredients and NO RISING TIME!
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This EASY Ranch Rice recipe is a super versatile side dish that will add gentle flavor to any dinner you are serving. A great way to use a pantry staple! #ranchrice #ricerecipes #ranchricerecipe #easyricerecipes

Ranch Rice

Calling all ranch fanatics! This Ranch Rice is super easy to make and adds fun flavor to your meals. No more boring rice recipes!
See The Recipe!
fork digging into a baked potato

Air Fryer Baked Potatoes

Air Fryer Baked Potatoes make the fluffiest potatoes with the crispiest skin in a fraction of the time of an oven!
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coffee crusted tenderloin for Pinterest
plate of seared beef tenderloin with tomatoes and scallions

Coffee Crusted Beef Tenderloin Recipe

4.68 from 25 votes
Coffee Crusted Beef Tenderloin will add a whole new flavor dimension to your roast! Serve with delicious whipped horseradish sauce.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 8


  • In a small bowl, Kosher salt, coffee ground, sugar, black pepper, smoked paprika and garlic powder in a small dish. Stir.
  • Rub your roast with the spice mixture.
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Unwrap your roast and heat a large cast iron pan to smoking point. Lightly grease with vegetable oil. Sear all sides of the roast for 1 minute. Transfer to a baking sheet, preferably with an elevated surface like a broiler pan or rimmed baking sheet with a rack.
  • Turn oven temperature down to 350 degrees for the remainder of cooking, approximately 25 minutes. Exact cooking times will vary based on your desired level of doneness and the size of your roast. Please use a thermometer to check temperature for accuracy.
  • Remove and lightly cover with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Slice into individual portions and serve with balsamic reduction sauce.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments and ratings!


Calories: 355 kcal, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Protein: 20 g, Fat: 28 g, Saturated Fat: 10 g, Cholesterol: 79 mg, Sodium: 1800 mg, Potassium: 354 mg, Sugar: 2 g, Calcium: 11 mg, Iron: 2.7 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 355
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef tenderloin, coffee crusted beef
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Serving platter with sliced beef tenderloin recipe, charred scallions and blistered red tomatoes
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.68 from 25 votes (21 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

    1. 5 stars
      I made this for Christmas and it was amazing! The blend of flavors was superb. I’m making it again this evening for guests because this recipe is a must share!

      1. 5 stars
        Yay! Thank you, Barbie for coming back to let us know. One of our favorite too, in fact I think I’m going to try the same rub on a prime rib.

  1. My worst nightmare is overcooked beef tenderloin! This is a perfect medium rare, and that coffee rub sounds delicious 🙂 taking the fear-factor out of crazy expensive beef. Thank you!!!