Tasting the Best: Comparing Ribeye vs Tenderloin Steaks

When it comes to steak, there is no shortage of options to choose from. Two of the most popular are the ribeye and tenderloin. Both cuts offer a unique flavor and texture that can make any meal special. But what sets them apart?

This article will explore the differences between ribeye vs tenderloin and which is best for your next culinary adventure. We’ll discuss each cut’s marbling, texture, and flavor so you can decide which is right for your meal. Understanding the differences between these two steaks allows you to make a more informed decision when it comes time to add beef to your plate.

What is Ribeye?What is Ribeye


Regarding steak, one of the most popular cuts is the ribeye. But what exactly is a ribeye? From my experience as a meat lover and food enthusiast, a ribeye is a cut of beef from the cow’s rib section. It’s known for its marbling, the intramuscular fat that gives the steak a rich flavor and tender texture.

The ribeye is also known by other names such as rib steak, Delmonico steak, or cowboy steak. It can be bone-in or boneless, typically about an inch or two thick.

As for cooking a ribeye, there are many ways to do it, but the most common method is to grill or pan-sear it. Some people prefer to season it with salt and pepper, while others like to use a rub or marinade for added flavor.

A rib eye is often paired with classic sides such as roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables, or a Caesar salad. And don’t forget a nice glass of red wine to complement the rich flavors of the steak.

What is Tenderloin?

What is Tenderloin

Tenderloin is a cow section located near the spine and below the ribs. It is a long and narrow cut that runs from the hip bone to the shoulder blade. This muscle is not used as much as other muscles in the cow, which is why it is so tender and sought after by meat lovers.

The tenderloin is often divided into two parts: the “loin” and the “filet.” The loin refers to the larger end of the cut, which is closer to the hip bone. This part of the tenderloin is less tender than the filet but still has a great flavor and texture.

The filet, on the other hand, is the smaller end of the tenderloin. It is the beef’s most tender and leanest section, making it a popular choice for steak lovers. Filet mignon, a dish made with the filet, is often considered a luxurious and high-end meal.

So, why is tenderloin considered a premium cut of meat? Firstly, it is incredibly tender and has a melt-in-your-mouth texture that is difficult to find in other cuts of beef. Secondly, it is leaner than other cuts of beef, making it a healthier option for those who are watching their fat intake.

Another reason why tenderloin beef is so expensive is that it is a relatively small cut of meat. The cow only has two tenderloins, weighing around 2-3 pounds. This means that there is a limited supply of tenderloin beef, which drives up the price.

The Main Similarities Between Ribeye vs Tenderloin

The Main Similarities Between Ribeye vs Tenderloin

Ribeye and tenderloin are two of the most popular cuts of steak. While they have clear differences, there are also some notable similarities.

Both cuts come from the same region of the cow, the loin, and are known for their tenderness. They are also considered luxury beef cuts and are typically more expensive than other cuts. Both ribeye and tenderloin can be cooked in various ways, including grilling, broiling, and pan-searing. Finally, both cuts can be served with a range of sauces and flavorings, allowing for a personalized dining experience.

Whether one prefers the bold flavor of a ribeye or the delicate taste of a tenderloin, both cuts offer a premium eating experience worth exploring.

What Are The Difference Between Ribeye vs Tenderloin?

What Are The Difference Between Ribeye vs Tenderloin

The ribeye comes from the cow’s rib section and has a generous amount of marbling and muscle stripes, resulting in a high concentration of intramuscular fat. This makes the ribeye very tender and juicy, with a classic marbled appearance. On the other hand, the tenderloin, also known as filet mignon, is the most delicate part of the cow, located at the small end of the cow’s back. It has fewer calories than other cuts of beef and a buttery texture due to its low-fat content. The tenderloin does not have the same marbling effect as the ribeye but is still very juicy and flavorful.

Both cuts can be cooked in various ways, with the ribeye being versatile in presentation and the tenderloin requiring careful cooking to avoid drying out. Ultimately, the choice between ribeye and tenderloin comes down to personal preference and the desired level of tenderness and flavor. Both cuts offer a unique eating experience, with tenderness being their shared trait.


Ribeye steaks often come with bone-in options, while tenderloin (including filet mignon) is typically boneless. The bone-in ribeye steak may offer greater flavor and moisture due to the bone insulating the meat and slowing cooking, but it also adds to the overall weight and price of the steak. Additionally, removing the bone from a ribeye may affect the meat’s tenderness, so it’s important to consider the cooking method and handling of the steak.

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The texture of a ribeye is often described as rich and buttery, with a pronounced marbling of fat that adds juiciness and a desirable flavor. The tenderness of a ribeye is attributed to the muscle fibers being slightly larger than the tenderloin’s, which gives it a more substantial bite. While a tenderloin has a finer texture, it is less fatty than a ribeye. Despite being less marbled, the tenderloin has an exceptionally tender texture, making it a popular choice among steak enthusiasts.

The difference in texture between the ribeye vs tenderloin is a matter of preference, and both cuts deliver a unique experience based on texture alone. While the ribeye may be more substantial in texture, the tenderloin offers a melt-in-your-mouth experience due to its finer texture.

Which Cut Of Meat Is The Most Flavorful, Ribeye Or Tenderloin?

Ribeye is known for its rich, juicy flavor thanks to the high amount of marbling and fat content. On the other hand, tenderloin is a lean cut prized for its tenderness rather than its flavor. Although both cuts are expensive, tenderloin tends to be the more sought-after option due to its reputation as a luxury steak. Ribeye, however, is favored by many steak enthusiasts for its bold taste. When it comes to cooking, both cuts can be prepared in a pan or on the grill, but it is important to note that tenderloin should be cooked no more than medium rare to maintain its tender texture.

Ultimately, the choice between ribeye and tenderloin for a flavorful cut of meat comes down to personal preference and taste.

Fat Content

Ribeye is known for its high-fat content and marbling, which contributes to its bold and beefy flavor. On the other hand, Tenderloin has minimal marbling and fat content, resulting in a lean and delicate texture. While Ribeye’s fat content adds to its flavor, Tenderloin’s low-fat content may make it a healthier option. To retain the moisture of Tenderloin during cooking, it is often wrapped in bacon or served with a sauce.

Ultimately, the choice between the two steaks comes down to personal preference, whether one prefers a bold or subtle flavor experience. Both steaks are considered luxury cuts of beef, but Tenderloin is a smaller, more exclusive cut that requires more preparation, contributing to its premium price.

What Are The Nutritional Differences Between Ribeye And Tenderloin?

What Are The Nutritional Differences Between Ribeye And Tenderloin

Rib steak has more calories than tenderloin, with 291 kcal per 100g, compared to 196 kcal per 100g of sirloin. Ribeye also contains more fat, with 21.81g per 100g, compared to tenderloin’s 15.18g per 100g. However, ribeye steak is also a good source of protein, with 23.69g per 100g. In contrast, tenderloin only has 15.18g of protein in 100g. Tenderloin has lower cholesterol levels and less fat compared to ribeye, but it contains more vitamins B6, B12, iron, and zinc.

Both cuts of meat are great options, as long as the servings are kept to three ounces and the fat content is monitored. Taking into account individual dietary needs, one can make an informed choice between the two cuts of meat.


Regarding marbling, there is a significant difference between Ribeye and Tenderloin. Ribeye is known for its high marbling, which results in a juicy and rich flavor. The marbling in a Ribeye also helps it to remain moist while cooking, providing a satisfying eating experience. On the other hand, Tenderloin has minimal marbling, which contributes to its tender and delicate texture. The lack of marbling in Tenderloin means it has a lower fat content than Ribeye, resulting in a leaner cut of meat.

While the high-fat content in Ribeye contributes to its distinct flavor, Tenderloin’s mild taste allows it to be paired with more flavorful ingredients to enhance its overall taste.

Cooking Methods

There are some notable differences between the two cuts regarding cooking Ribeye and Tenderloin steaks. Ribeye steak is best cooked on a grill using high heat to achieve a perfect sear. A well-seasoned Ribeye should be cooked on each side for 4-6 minutes. It’s essential to let the steak rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

On the other hand, Tenderloin steak is best cooked using dry heat methods such as grilling, broiling, or pan-frying. Unlike Ribeye, Tenderloin should be marinated before cooking to enhance its flavor and can be seared quickly on high heat for 2-3 minutes on each side. Diners can also opt for slow-cooking methods like roasting or braising to achieve tender and juicy results.

Regardless of the cooking method chosen, it is essential to know that both Ribeye and Tenderloin steaks require special attention and should be cooked to their specific cooking times to achieve optimal flavor and tenderness.

Serving Size

Typically, a serving size for beef steak is three ounces, but the cuts are much more significant at many restaurants. For example, a popular U.S. steakhouse offers a 16-ounce Ribeye over five times the suggested serving size. Similarly, one restaurant offers an 11-ounce tenderloin, nearly four times the recommended portion.

Being mindful of portion sizes is essential, as high cholesterol, fat, and sodium levels can affect heart health and blood pressure. Nevertheless, Ribeye and Tenderloin can be excellent choices for those who stick to healthy three-ounce portions, as both cuts are a great source of protein, vitamins, and other essential nutrients.

Which Cut Is Best for Smoking?

When selecting the best steak for smoking, Ribeye is a popular choice among steak enthusiasts due to its rich meaty flavor and thick-defined marbling, which adds lots of flavor and moisture to the meat. In contrast, the tenderloin muscle of the cow provides a buttery smooth texture and is known for its melt-in-the-mouth tenderness. Cut from the tenderloin’s center; the filet mignon is highly regarded for its lean meat and low-fat content.

While each of these cuts has unique features, the choice of the best cut for smoking ultimately comes down to individual preferences. Both ribeye and tenderloin can be cooked to mouthwatering perfection using smoking techniques, ensuring a delicious and satisfying eating experience. Regardless of which cut is selected, investing in high-quality meat and proper cooking techniques will always lead to a delectable smoked steak.

Which Is Better – Ribeye Vs Tenderloin?

Both cuts are of high quality and have unique traits and cooking methods, but they also have some differences. The ribeye comes from the rib section of the cow and has a generous amount of marbling and stripes of muscles, making it very tender and juicy. On the other hand, the filet mignon comes from the small end of the tenderloin located in the cow’s back. It is the most tender part of the cow and has less marbling and muscle stripes.

While ribeye is perfect for those who prefer the flavor, the filet mignon is the better choice for those who prefer the texture. Ribeye is known to most steak lovers as the epitome of steak flavor, and filet mignon is one of the most tender cuts one can sink teeth into. Additionally, filet mignon is more expensive due to its tenderness and a smaller amount per animal, while ribeyes tend to be less costly. Both cuts have unique characteristics, and their choice depends on personal preferences.

How To Cook Ribeye Steak?

As someone who loves a good steak, I must say that cooking a ribeye steak to perfection is an art form. But with these simple steps, you can achieve the perfect medium rare ribeye every time.


  • 1 24-ounce bone-in ribeye steak, 2-inch-thick, at room temperature
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary


  • First, it’s important to start with a good quality ribeye steak. Ensure it’s at room temperature before cooking, and pat both sides dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper, about 1 1/4 teaspoons and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Next, heat a medium cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it’s very hot, which should take 1-2 minutes. Add canola oil to the skillet.
  • Once the skillet is hot, place the steak in the middle and cook, turning every 2-3 minutes. This will help to form a dark crust on both sides of the steak, which should take about 12-14 minutes.
  • After the crust has formed, reduce the heat to medium-low. Push the steak to one side of the skillet and add butter, garlic, thyme, and rosemary to the opposite side. Tilt the skillet towards the butter and cook until it’s foaming, which should take about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Working carefully, spoon the butter over the steak for 1-2 minutes, turning it over once until it reaches an internal temperature of 120 degrees F for medium rare or until it’s cooked to your desired doneness. Let the steak rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
  • Finally, serve the ribeye steak immediately and enjoy the juicy, flavorful goodness that comes with cooking a steak to perfection.
  • Cooking a ribeye steak takes practice, but with these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of cooking a perfect ribeye every time.

How To Cook Tenderloin Steak?

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for a delicious and perfectly cooked tenderloin steak. Now, I share my tried-and-true method for cooking the best tenderloin steak.


Ingredients for cook Steak:

  • 4 6-ounce beef tenderloin steaks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil

Thyme herb butter:

  • 1/4 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Thyme


To make herb butter:

Mix room-temperature butter, garlic, and thyme. Spread a strip about the diameter of a quarter on a piece of wax paper. Roll up and twist ends. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before using.

To Cook Tenderloin Steak:

  • First things first, make sure to remove your steaks from the refrigerator about an hour before you plan to cook them. This will allow them to come to room temperature, ensuring that they cook through evenly.
  • Next, preheat your oven to 400°. While heating your oven, pat your steaks dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Be sure to season generously, and press the salt and pepper if needed to help it stick to the meat.
  • Now it’s time to heat your cast-iron or heavy skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add butter and olive oil; once it’s hot, add your steaks. Sear for 2-3 minutes per side, and spoon the butter over the steaks as they cook.
  • Once you’ve seared both sides of your steaks, it’s time to insert an oven-safe thermometer and set the alarm for your desired temperature. Then, put your steaks in the oven and bake until they reach the desired temperature. This will take between 6-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of your steaks and how hot you want them. Personally, I don’t recommend going over medium for these steaks.
  • Finally, top your steaks with slices of herb butter, cover them with aluminum foil, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
  • And there you have it, a delicious and perfectly cooked tenderloin steak.

Following these simple steps, you can impress your family and friends with your cooking skills. So go ahead and give it a try, and enjoy your juicy and flavorful tenderloin steak!

Are There Any Health Benefits Associated With Ribeye Or Tenderloin?

Are There Any Health Benefits Associated With Ribeye Or Tenderloin

Ribeye and tenderloin cuts have their unique flavors and textures, but as someone who values their health, I can’t help but wonder which cut is better for me. So, are there any health benefits associated with ribeye or tenderloin?

First, it’s important to note that ribeye and tenderloin are high in protein, an essential nutrient for building and maintaining muscle mass. However, ribeye tends to have a higher fat content than tenderloin, which may not be ideal for those watching their fat intake or trying to lose weight. On the other hand, the fat in ribeye does add flavor and tenderness to the meat.

In terms of vitamins and minerals, both cuts contain iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, which are important for energy production and immune function. However, ribeye tends to have slightly more iron and zinc than tenderloin. Additionally, ribeye contains a small amount of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against cell damage.

One factor to consider when choosing between ribeye and tenderloin is the cooking method. Grilling or pan-searing ribeye can cause the fat to melt and drip onto the heat source, creating smoke and potentially harmful compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs are known to cause cancer in animals, but the link between PAHs and cancer in humans is still being studied. Conversely, Tenderloin is leaner and less likely to create smoke or PAHs when cooked.

Both ribeye and tenderloin can be part of a healthy diet if consumed in moderation and prepared using healthy cooking methods. Choosing leaner cuts of meat and pairing them with plenty of vegetables can help balance the fat and protein intake. As for me, I’ll continue to enjoy both ribeye and tenderloin, but maybe opt for tenderloin more often to keep my fat intake in check.

How Does The USDA Grading System Differ For Ribeye And Tenderloin Beef Cuts?

How Does The USDA Grading System Differ For Ribeye And Tenderloin Beef Cuts?

The USDA grading system is an important standard for the quality and safety of beef products in the United States. The grading system evaluates beef based on two main characteristics: tenderness, juiciness, and flavor, referred to as quality grade, and the amount of usable lean meat, yield grade.

When it comes to beef cuts, such as ribeye and tenderloin, the grading system can differ. The ribeye is known for its high degree of marbling, the small threads of fat interspersed within beef between the muscle fibers. This marbling is key to the ribeye’s flavor and tenderness, so the USDA assigns a higher quality grade, usually prime or choice. The tenderloin, on the other hand, contains less marbling and is known for its leaner meat. This means the USDA grading for the tenderloin typically falls within the lower end of the choice grade range.

What Are Some Common Misconceptions When Choosing Ribeye And Tenderloin Meats?

When it comes to choosing between ribeye and tenderloin, there are some common misconceptions that people often have. Let me share some insights based on my experience.

Misconception #1: Ribeye is always better than tenderloin.

While ribeye is known for its rich flavor and marbling, it’s not always the better choice. Tenderloin, on the other hand, is leaner but has a more delicate flavor. It depends on your preference and how you plan to cook it. If you’re looking for a steak with an intense beefy flavor, go for ribeye. But if you prefer a more subtle taste or want to cook it with a sauce, tenderloin might be a better option.

Misconception #2: All ribeye steaks are the same.

Ribeye comes in different grades and cuts. The most common ones are USDA Prime, Choice, and Select. Prime is the highest quality with the most marbling, while Select has less marbling and is leaner. Also, ribeye can be cut from different parts of the rib section, such as the ribeye cap and steak. The cap has more marbling and is considered the most flavorful part, while the steak is leaner. Knowing these differences can help you choose the right ribeye for your taste and budget.

Misconception #3: Tenderloin is always tender.

While tenderloin is called “tender” for a reason, not all cuts are equally tender. The closer the cut is to the head of the tenderloin, the more tender it is. Cuts from the tail end can be tougher and less flavorful. Additionally, tenderloin can be overcooked easily due to its lean nature. To avoid ending up with a dry and tough steak, it’s important to cook it properly and not overdo it.

Misconception #4: Ribeye and tenderloin are interchangeable.

While both ribeye and tenderloin are beef cuts, they have distinct differences in flavor, texture, and cooking methods. Ribeye is generally best suited for grilling and searing, while tenderloin is better for roasting and broiling. They also have different fat content and tenderness levels. Substituting one for the other can result in a different taste and texture and may not deliver the desired results.


In conclusion, ribeye and tenderloin have unique characteristics that make them great choices for steak dinners. Whether you prefer the bold, juicy flavor of ribeye or the tender, mild flavor of tenderloin, both cuts are sure to please. So, the next time you’re at the butcher shop or a steakhouse, consider ribeye vs tenderloin and choose the one that best fits your taste.

Now that you know Ribeye vs Tenderloin, we hope you’ll try this recipe! Let us know how it turns out by leaving a comment below.


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