Filet au Poivre – Filet Steak in Peppercorn Sauce
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The Filet au Poivre, or Steak au Poivre dish has become immensely popular in recent times. We wanted to share our take on this famous, and delicious Steak dish from France. It has all the markings of a classic French steak recipe: Loads of flavor. Loads of Cream, and a generous amount of beautiful Pepper

This is such a fun recipe to make, and we assure you it will taste unique to any other Steak dish you’ve tried. The depth of flavor is so pronounced with spice, sweet, salt, and tanginess. However, all those completely different flavor profiles magically balance so perfectly in this dish. So, it’s Filet au Poivre time!

This is a Pepper forward recipe, don’t get that mistaken!

So, when you’re making a dish called Filet au Poivre, or Steak au Poivre then Pepper is the name of the game. In fact, the words ‘au Poivre’ are French for “served with a generous amount of Pepper”. So please, don’t shy away from the Pepper when making this recipe. It does seem like a lot, but the Pepper is what makes this dish unique and gives it its unique flavor characteristics

Pepper can have quite a strong flavor so if you love Pepper then this is the dish for you. Even if you are a little bit more reserved about eating Pepper, we highly recommend you try this dish. The Filet au Poivre recipe really highlights Pepper as the star of the dish and helps you to appreciate just how flavorful this wonderful ingredient is

The complimentary ingredients in the dish help to balance out some of the harshness of the Black Peppercorns, so while there is a lot of Pepper in the dish it won’t overwhelm your palate

Filet au Poivre peppercorn close up
Try adding some Szechuan Peppercorns into the sauce for a unique and tasty spin on the delicious Filet au Poivre recipe

Try substituting about 1 tbsp. of Black Peppercorns with Szechuan Peppercorns for a unique twist on the classic Filet au Poivre

This is a fun little unique twist that we’ve tried with our Filet au Poivre Steak recipe, and it worked out unbelievably well. Szechuan Peppercorns are widely available in most supermarkets; however, you may need to head to specific Asian Grocery Stores if your local place doesn’t sell them

What they add is such a unique flavor as well as a ‘tingly’ sensation when you eat them. There truly is no other ingredient like it. Our recommendation is to use it a little sparingly, and in combination with regular Black Peppercorns. We went with 1 part Szechuan Peppercorns for 3 parts Black Peppercorns

Cognac or Brandy adds a sophisticated richness to the sauce

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of adding liquor to the hot pan, it’s perfectly fine to do so. The Alcohol will burn off very quickly and what you are left with is a deliciously sweet addition to the sauce

You can get fancy and flambé the dish, which involves tipping the pan to expose the Cognac to the open flame. Honestly though, we found the recipe doesn’t need it. Just add the Cognac or Brandy and reduce it like you would any other liquid and you’ll get a great result

Our cooking technique to guarantee a perfect medium rare Beef Tenderloin Filet every time

Beef Tenderloin Filet can be quite a challenging cut of meat to cook given it’s unique shape. If you’re cooking large cuts, which is what this recipe asks for, you will have a Filet which is almost square in shape. Here are our tips to ensure a perfectly cooked Beef Tenderloin Filet every time

1. Tie the Steak with string so it maintains its shape

Beef Filet tends to break apart at times when it is being cooked. Namely because it is quite a delicate cut of meat compared to say a Ribeye or NY Strip. Simply tie some cooking string around the sides of the Steak tightly and it will maintain its shape when cooking. Just remember to cut the string and discard before serving!

2. Cook the Steak with a very hot pan

To get that beautiful, dark crust on your steak you must cook it in a very hot pan. The pan should be smoking before you put the Steaks on it to achieve a great sear. We like to add a little bit of Vegetable Oil to the pan and get that smoking hot before adding the Steaks. Once you’ve got a lovely sear you can drop the heat down to medium to ensure the rest of the steak gets cooked perfectly

3. Sear the first side for 2 minutes, then 1 ½ minutes on each of the remaining 5 sides

Follow this approach and you’ll not only achieve a perfect internal temperature of 110 F, but your steak will be cooked evenly. Unlike other cuts of Steak, Filets need to be cooked on all 6 sides given it’s unique shape. When the steak is resting it will continue to cook, so removing it from the heat at 110 F will hit 120 F when it’s time to eat. Perfect Medium Rare Steak

4. Baste with Butter and Herbs

Not only does basting the Steak with Butter and fresh Herbs add a delicious flavor to the Steak, but it also helps with the cooking process. Ladling searing hot Butter on the top of the steak cooks the top the Steak while the bottom is being seared. So, it helps with a more even cook of the Steak, as well as giving it a beautiful caramelization

Filet au Poivre perfectly cooked medium rare
Follow our technique and steps to guarantee a perfectly cooked Filet au Poivre every time

Adding Dijon Mustard and Lemon Juice to the Filet au Poivre Sauce just before serving completely transforms this dish

Any Steak aficionados will know that Dijon Mustard is Steaks best friend. Whether you’re basting a whole Filet in Mustard to make a Beef Wellington, or simply serving a generous dollop of Dijon on the plate alongside Beef – it’s a ‘must have’ in our household when eating Steak

Adding Dijon Mustard to the Creamy Peppercorn Sauce adds a beautiful dimension of flavor to the dish. Dijon Mustard is quite a sharp flavor, which is a perfect complement to the rich, creaminess of the Cream

Lemon Juice is an absolute necessity in the Steak Filet Au Poivre recipe for the simple reason it helps to balance out the dish. This is a critical ingredient for a dish with so much punchy flavor. Between the richness of the Cream, and immense flavor the Pepper brings to the dish – there needs to be a balance on the other side of the flavor spectrum

This is where the Lemon Juice comes in. The acid of the Lemon Juice helps to mellow out the flavors a touch. This is a critical step, because by mellowing out those immense flavors, it allows them all to sit in harmony together in the dish. Each flavor will be elevated by about 1000% when you add the Lemon Juice. If you’re not sure, just try the dish without it first. Squeeze some Lemon Juice over the Sauce then try again, you’ll see what we mean. A complete game changer!

If you have a Spice Grinder it will take a lot of the work out of crushing the Peppercorns

There’s a couple of methods to grind whole Peppercorns for this recipe. The best method is to use a Spice Grinder if you’ve got one. They’re fantastic, and take all the hard work out of grinding the Peppercorns

You can use a Mortar and Pestle as well, another classic way to grind Peppercorns. It does take a lot more effort however, especially given the quantities of Peppercorns in this recipe. We’d recommend grinding them in batches to make it a little easier

Filet au Poivre beautiful plate
Picture perfect – a stunning Filet au Poivre dish with a side of French Fries

The last method is the classic ‘Put the Peppercorns in a Towel and bash them’ method. It works very well! Just bash them with a rolling pin or the back of a sturdy saucepan. Also make sure you’re using a solid bench too!

We would not recommend adding the Peppercorns to a hand grinder. The reason being is the hand grinder will only produce a very fine Pepper consistency, which is not what we want for this recipe. You want roughly ground Peppercorns, so there is still somebody and texture to them. So sadly, the good old Pepper grinder isn’t the one to use

Recipe Details


2 people

Prep time

10 minutes

Cooking time

20 minutes

Total time

30 minutes

Filet au Poivre – Filet Steak in Peppercorn Sauce Recipe


  • 2 large Beef Tenderloin Filets 6 – 8 oz. each
  • 4 tbsp. Whole Black Peppercorns (optional: substitute 1 tbsp. with Szechuan Peppercorns)
  • 200g / 7 oz. Heavy Cream
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Cognac or Brandy
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 Shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs of Thyme
  • 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 tsp. Vegetable Oil
  • Salt


  1. Before cooking the Steaks be sure to take them out of the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to bring them up to room temperature. Season them liberally with Salt on all sides
  2. Crush the Peppercorns in a Mortar and Pestle or Spice Grinder. Do not crush them to a powder, just coarse enough to still have some pronounced texture to it. You can also crush them under a kitchen towel with a saucepan
  3. Spread two thirds of the crushed Peppercorns on a plate then press the Steaks down on the Peppercorns to generously coat them on all sides
  4. Place a large Cast Iron Pan over high heat and add the Vegetable Oil. Once the pan is smoking, add the Beef. Cook for 2 minutes on high, drop the heat to medium then cook on each of the remaining 5 sides for 1 ½ minutes each
  5. Halfway through cooking the Steak add the Butter and Thyme. Once the Butter melts, baste the Steak liberally with the Butter as you continue to cook it. Once the internal temperature reaches 110 F. remove the Steaks from the pan and let them rest. The Steak will continue to cook when resting and achieve a perfect medium rare

Filet au Poivre butter basting
Baste the Filet Steaks with Butter and Thyme for the most beautiful flavor

Instructions Continued

  1. Remove the Thyme then in the same pan add the Shallots and cook for 2 minutes, mixing occasionally. Add the Garlic, then 1 minute later add the Cognac and cook until the alcohol burns off (about 1 minute). Add the Chicken Stock, Heavy Cream, and remaining Peppercorns
  2. Bring to a light simmer stirring constantly. Continue to cook the sauce for approximately 10 minutes until it has thickened and can coat the back of a spoon. Add the Dijon Mustard and mix through for 1 minute
  3. Finish the Sauce by adding the Lemon Juice. Check for seasoning and add additional Salt if requires. Serve the Sauce alongside the Steak with a side of Fries

We hope you’ve enjoyed making this delicious Filet au Poivre – Filet Steak with Black Peppercorn Sauce recipe. We love French food, and we’ve got a bunch of other delicious French recipes we’d love for you to check out. Here’s a few of our favorites:

Happy Cooking

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