Many people have the idea that beef tenderloin is one of leanest cuts, but sources seem to contradict each other on this.

Some sources say it has around 7% fat and some sources say it has around 22% fat.(And sometimes the same website can have both such as USDA)

What is the reason for the discrepancy? Are certain parts of tenderloin significantly fattier than the rest?

2 Answers 2


The amount of fat in the tenderloin will vary depending on:

  1. whether the animal is grass-fed (leaner) or fed with grain-based feed,
  2. if the fat cap was left on or trimmed, and
  3. whether it was fed antibiotics (which increases fat content of its meat).

However, in general the tenderloin is a very low-fat, low connective tissue meat. It also doesn't have a lot of flavor. People like it because it's very tender, but I prefer a working muscle that takes more time to cook and has more flavor, or something in-between the two like a rib-eye.


Different grades of beef have different fat contents. In general, prime cuts are about 8-13% fat (or higher depending on the breed/producer), choice 4-10%, and select 2-4%. This, of course, is a generalization, as different cuts contain different fat percentages, but that could be one explanation of the reported variance.


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