Tenderloin vs Ribeye: Ultimate Guide to Picking the Best Steak

Ribeye and Tenderloin differ in fat content, flavor, texture, bone presence, cost, and cooking methods, catering to personal preferences in steak selection.

ribeye vs tenderloin Tenderloin vs Ribeye: Ultimate Guide to Picking the Best Steak

Are you a steak lover looking for the perfect cut to satisfy your cravings? The world of steaks can be vast and confusing, with many different cuts available, each with their own unique characteristics. Two of the most popular cuts among steak aficionados are Ribeye and Tenderloin, but which one should you choose?

Ribeye is a highly sought-after cut of beef that comes from the rib section of the cow. Known for its rich marbling and robust flavor, Ribeye is often considered the king of steaks by many meat lovers.

marbled raw meat Steak Ribeye on black slate plate, top view of fresh barbecue beef with spices.

The marbling not only gives the steak a juicy texture but also enhances its taste, making it an all-time favorite for those who crave a hearty and flavorful meal.

Tenderloin, also known as filet mignon, is another prime cut of beef that comes from the loin section of the cow. As the name suggests, it is the most tender cut of beef available due to its low muscle usage.

Why Is Tenderloin So Expensive

The tenderloin has minimal marbling and fat content, resulting in a lean and delicate texture that melts in your mouth. Its mild flavor makes it a popular choice for those who prefer a less fatty and more refined dining experience.

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Fat Content

One of the main differences between Ribeye and Tenderloin is their fat content. Ribeye steaks are known for their high fat content, which contributes to their rich flavor and juicy texture. The marbling in a Ribeye steak ensures that the meat remains moist during cooking and provides an intense taste that many meat lovers find irresistible.

On the other hand, Tenderloin has a much lower fat content, making it a leaner cut of beef. Its minimal marbling means that the steak can dry out more quickly during cooking, which is why it is often wrapped in bacon or served with a sauce to help retain its moisture. While the Tenderloin’s low-fat content may make it a healthier choice, some people may find it lacking in flavor compared to the Ribeye.


As mentioned earlier, the flavor of these two cuts of steak is heavily influenced by their respective fat contents. The Ribeye’s high-fat content and marbling give it a bold and beefy flavor that is hard to resist, especially for those who enjoy a full-bodied taste sensation. Many steak enthusiasts consider the Ribeye to be the most flavorful cut of steak available.

In contrast, Tenderloin has a milder flavor due to its low-fat content. However, this does not mean that it lacks taste altogether. The tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture of the Tenderloin gives it a unique appeal that many diners find just as enjoyable as the richer flavors of the Ribeye.

Ultimately, the choice between these two cuts comes down to personal preference and whether you favor a bold, beefy taste or a more subtle and delicate flavor experience.


The texture of Ribeye and Tenderloin steaks also differs significantly due to the differences in fat content and muscle usage. The Ribeye’s marbling creates a juicy and succulent texture that many people find incredibly satisfying. As the fat melts during cooking, it helps to keep the meat moist and tender, resulting in a mouthwatering eating experience.

On the other hand, the Tenderloin’s low-fat content and minimal muscle usage give it an unrivaled tenderness that is hard to find in any other cut of beef. Its soft and delicate texture has earned it the nickname “the king of tenderness,” making it a popular choice for those who value a melt-in-your-mouth sensation when enjoying their steak.


Another factor to consider when choosing between Ribeye and Tenderloin is the presence (or absence) of bone. Tenderloin steaks always come without bones, whereas Ribeye can be found both boneless and with a bone. Many people believe that the presence of a bone can enhance the flavor of the steak.

However, it is essential to note that the difference in taste is minimal and often comes down to personal preference. Some diners may prefer the convenience of a boneless steak, while others may enjoy the added visual appeal and rustic charm of a bone-in Ribeye.


In terms of cost, Tenderloin is generally more expensive than Ribeye. This is because the Tenderloin is a smaller, more exclusive cut of beef that requires more precise butchering techniques. Additionally, its reputation as the most tender cut of steak adds to its premium price tag.

However, both Ribeye and Tenderloin are considered luxury cuts of beef, so you can expect to pay a higher price for either option compared to more economical cuts such as flank or skirt steak.

Cooking Methods

When it comes to cooking Ribeye and Tenderloin steaks, different methods can bring out their best qualities. For Ribeye, grilling, broiling, or pan-searing are excellent options that allow the fat to render and create a delicious crust on the outside while keeping the inside juicy and tender. Be sure not to overcook your Ribeye, as this can cause the meat to become dry and lose its signature flavor.

Tenderloin steaks require a bit more care when cooking due to their low-fat content. Grilling or pan-searing are still suitable options, but it is essential to avoid overcooking the steak, which can cause it to become dry and tough. Wrapping the Tenderloin in bacon or serving it with a sauce can help to retain moisture and enhance its mild flavor.

Alternative Names

When shopping for Ribeye or Tenderloin steaks, you may encounter alternative names for these cuts. Ribeye is also known as Delmonico steak, Spencer steak, or Scotch fillet.

Tenderloin, on the other hand, is often referred to as filet mignon, Chateaubriand, or tournedos. Be aware of these alternative names so you can identify your preferred cut of steak when browsing the meat counter or ordering at a restaurant.

Is ribeye or tenderloin better?

The choice between ribeye and tenderloin depends on personal preference, as ribeye offers a rich, beefy flavor with more marbling, while tenderloin is leaner and more tender.

Are tenderloin and ribeye the same?

No, tenderloin and ribeye are not the same; tenderloin comes from the elongated psoas major muscle and is lean and tender, while ribeye has a higher fat content and more marbling, providing an intense flavor.

Is tenderloin the best steak?

Tenderloin is considered the best steak for those who prioritize tenderness and a buttery texture, but it may lack the rich flavor found in other cuts like ribeye.

What is the tastiest cut of steak?

The ribeye is often regarded as the tastiest cut of steak due to its deep marbling and rich flavor, making it ideal for grilling and slow roasting.

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