How to Roast Tri Tip in the Oven

Tri tip is one of my most favorite cuts of meat. If you’ve had tri-tip steak, it’s obviously just this same cut of meat, sliced into steaks! Tri-Tip is sometimes known by other names depending on where you live- see below for more info on that. I love it because it’s really flavorful and tender, perfectly sized for a family dinner, and not overwhelming to cook in both size and effort. The total cook time is about 30 minutes and the finished product is worthy of both a casual weeknight dinner and a fancy holiday table. Leftovers are also SO great. We love having tri-tip sandwiches the next day! In this article, I’ll outline exactly how to cook it perfectly in your oven, every time. You can easily add extra flavor like fresh garlic and herbs as well. If you’d like to try this cut of meat on your grill or smoker, click here!

Sliced Tri Tip in a Pan

Ingredients and Equipment

  • Tri Tip Roast – this cut of beef is sometimes known by other names depending on where you live. It’s definitely more common in some areas of the country (like the West coast) than others. I’ve heard it called Santa Maria or Newport Roast (mostly in California), Bottom Sirloin or even triangle roast. It’s easy to spot by its triangle shape. Where I live, I purchase tri tip in a 2-pack at my local Costco. They typically weight between 2-3 lbs, which is a great size to serve 5-8 people. I recently cooked two of them in the same pan, sliced them thin, and it easily fed my extended family of 17!
  • Seasoning – You don’t need anything complicated for a great tri tip roast. Use simple kosher salt and pepper, or salt, pepper and garlic powder, or your favorite steak seasoning. However if you like, it’s a great canvas for a variety of bbq and seasoning rubs.
  • Olive Oil– We’ll use olive oil for the initial searing since it has a higher smoke point than butter.
  • Butter– I use butter at the end to create a pan sauce and add flavor and richness to the finished roast
  • Large Oven Proof Skillet– Ideally you’ll use an oven safe skillet that you can use for a sear on the stove top, and transfer the same pan to the oven to finish cooking. A cast iron pan is perfect. When I cook two at a time, I love using my 14″ Hexclad Skillet.
  • Optional Ingredients: fresh minced garlic and chopped rosemary
  • Instant-Read Digital Thermometer – You’ll need this style of thermometer in order to cook your steak to the proper temperature. If you don’t own one yet, they are reasonably priced and indispensable in the kitchen! Here’s a great option on Amazon. A more expensive option, if it’s in your budget, is this style of meat spike that stays in the oven with your roast and alerts you on your phone the moment it’s ready!

Instructions

  1. Remove tri tip roast from package. Set on a cutting board or other work surface. I like to set a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil on my counter as a work surface because it’s easy to toss after!
  2. Place roast on work surface and sprinkle both sides liberally with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Use clean hands to pat seasoning onto all sides. Alternately you can also use your favorite steak seasoning in place of salt and pepper. I don’t provide an exact amount of seasoning, because it depends on the size of your roast, but it should look about like this:
  1. Heat a heavy-bottomed oven safe skillet on the stove top. A cast iron pan works great here.
  2. Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil and tilt so it covers the whole bottom of the pan.
  3. Sear roast for 3-4 mins on each side, only turning once.
  4. After both sides are quickly seared, you’ll transfer that pan right into the oven.
  5. Cook for about 10mins per pound, until it comes to temperature (see temp guide below). Tri tip is best, and most tender, when cooked to medium rare or less. I like to take mine out at about 138 degrees and let it raise a few more degrees as it rests.
  6. When you take your hot pan out of the oven, place on the stove top (pan is super hot!) and immediately drop several pats of butter into the pan, with a few cloves of smashed garlic. The hot pan will cook the garlic and combine with all those pan sauces for a delicious mixture. This is also when you can add chopped fresh herbs, if you’d like to. My favorite is chopped rosemary.
Cooked Tri Tip Steak
  1. You’ll want to use a pot holder to tilt the pan and spoon those buttery juices over your finished roast.
  2. Then tent the roast with foil and don’t touch it for about 10 minutes. This allows carryover cooking to finish, and lets the juices re-distribute in your roast for the most tender, juicy results.
  3. After meat rests, transfer to a cutting board to slice. I like to return the sliced meat to the pan for serving and spoon the butter mixture over the slices.
Sliced Tri Tip Steak in a cast iron pan

How to Cut a Tri-Tip Roast

One thing to be aware of is that the meat grain in this cut of meat changes in the middle! It’s fairly easy to see both before and after cooking. This is not a perfect graphic, but I thought it might help! The grain of the meat refers to which way the muscle fibers run. If you look at both raw and cooked meat, you can see “lines” running clearly in a direction. In my graphic, the yellow line is about where I notice them changing direction. The white lines show the grain of the meat. Once you spot the grain, you always want to cut perpendicular to it. Do not cut on those white lines below, you’ll cut right across them in the opposite direction! Slicing in the wrong direction, with the grain, will result in really chewy meat.

how to slice a tri tip

Serving Suggestions

Here’s a few ideas of recipes that would pair well with this roast!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do leftovers store well? Yes! We love slicing the leftovers really thin and using it for sandwiches. Sometimes I make extra just for this purpose.
  • How would I reheat this? If you want to reheat, you want to be careful to not overcook it. I like to warm a little butter in a skillet until melted and bubbly, then on very low heat add sliced steak until warmed through. Take off heat immediately.
  • Can I cook more than one of these at a time? Absolutely! As long as your skillet is big enough. I love my 14″ hexclad for cooking two large roasts.
Sliced Tri-Tip in a Cast Iron Pan

How to Roast Tri Tip in the Oven

5 from 7 votes
This steak is easy to prep and on the table in about 30 minutes!  It's great for both weeknight meals, and also fancy holiday dinners.  Leftovers make great sandwiches!

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lb Tri-Tip Roast which is simply the size of most tri tip roasts, the exact size is not important!
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper OR your favorite steak seasoning
  • olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • optional: 4 cloves garlic pressed or finely minced
  • optional: fresh herbs like finely chopped rosemary

Instructions

  • Preheat oven with rack in the middle, to 425 degrees.
  • Place tri tip on a cutting board or work surface.  Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and black pepper, or steak seasoning, if using.
  • Heat a large, oven proof skillet (cast iron is an excellent choice) to medium heat on the stove top.  When hot add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat bottom of pan.
  • Add roast and sear each side for 2-3 minutes, until a deep golden brown crust forms.
  • Transfer skillet to oven and cook until an instant-read digital thermometer inserted in the thickest portion reaches temperature (see guide below).  Usually about 10-12 minutes per pound. I pull mine between 138°- 140°
  • While roast is cooking, make sure to have your butter ready, as well as garlic and herbs if using.
  • Remove roast and immediately add 4 tablespoons butter (and minced garlic, if using) to hot skillet.  Mix it around a little to melt and let the garlic cook. 
  • Using a potholder or towel (remember that skillet is HOT) tilt the pan and use a spoon to spoon the garlic-butter-pan juices over the top of the roast a few times. **Alternately- you can remove your pan from the oven and place on stove top and immediately remove roast from pan and set on a cutting board and tent with foil.  Then place your butter/garlic/herbs into the pan on the stove top and cook.  At this point with your roast removed, you can turn your pan on low heat if needed, without overcooking your meat.  I sometimes do this if I’ve let my roast cook a little longer than I had planned, or if my pan doesn’t seem hot enough to be cooking my garlic. Then simply return sliced meat back to warm pan, or spoon buttery juices over sliced meat.
  • Tent Skillet with foil and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  • To serve, place steak on a cutting board and slice against the grain (see photo guide in article, and note that meat grain changes direction in this cut of roast).  I like thin slices, about 1/4 inch, but slice however thick or thin you like!
  • Use a wooden spoon or heat-proof rubber spatula to stir butter and juices in pan and then spoon over sliced meat.  Alternately you can place the sliced meat back into the pan with juices to serve (this is what I usually do!)

Notes

Tri Tip is best when cooked a little more rare, meaning it’s still pink inside.  Keep in mind that the thinner end pieces will be more done, and the thicker middle will be less done, so it often as something for everyone of varying tastes!  If you start slicing and realize the center isn’t as cooked as you like, slice the ends and pop the middle back in the oven for a few minutes. 
I’m providing a temperature range since it’s difficult to hit an exact number.  If you’re shooting for a specific done-ness, I’d aim for the very middle of the range. My personal preference is to pull my roast at 138°-140°. After resting it is at the low end of medium and high end of medium rare. I don’t recommend cooking any cut of steak well done. 
Rare: 120°-130°
Medium Rare: 130°-140°
Medium: 140-150°
Medium-Well: 150-160°
Well-Done: 160-165°
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: tri tip roast
Author: Sara Wells
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Well and simply described! A true sign of one who really knows what they are talking about! Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this tonight 5_22_24 and it turned out so good I could have eaten it all. It was only 20ounces so I cooked it in the oven after I browned it for 15 minutes and I didn’t take it out of the pan I just texted it in the pan for 10 minutes . Cooked the garlic and rosemary with the butter for a few minutes then added some sliced yellow potatoes into the sauce and cooked them till they were browned and a little crispy and they were delicious. I will be making a sandwich tomorrow for lunch. I have never cooked a tribtip before and I’m 82. Now I will buy it again. So good.
    .

  3. 5 stars
    Was amazing . So good! couldn’t get to my barbaque. Found this recipe made it! It’s a keeper..

  4. This was delicious and easy. The tips on cooking and time were a big help. Add butter and herbs at the end was a hit!

  5. We love Tri`Tip and I am making your recipe right now. I do have one question though, many recipes say to cut the fat off of the meat before cooking~do you? Personally, I feel the fat adds to the meats flavor. Would love to know how you feel. Thanks, Linda O.

    1. Hi Linda! Generally when I purchase tri-tip it is already trimmed so I do not trim off anything additional. If you like the added flavor the fat adds, feel free to leave it or trim minimally.

  6. Do you use trimmed or not- trimmed tricut for this recipe? Both an option where I live.

  7. Is there another cut of meat that would be similar? I live in Georgia and can’t seem to find tri tip or bottom sirloin.

    1. You can use this cooking method on almost any similar roast, like rib roast or beef tenderloin!

  8. 5 stars
    We made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing! It cooked faster than I expected, so the meat was medium well. It was still so tender and the butter/garlic/rosemary sauce at the end was delicious. We wished we had some crusty bread to scrape the pan. Thank you!

  9. Tri tip is one of our favorite cuts of meat. When we moved out of California I had no idea it’d be so hard to find! Thanks for the recipe, I’ll hunt one down and try this one out.

    1. I think California made this cut popular! It’s pretty common on the west coast, but I hear from people out East it’s not as common. Hope you can find it!

    2. I live in North Carolina and find that in areas where you have a lot of relocated Yankees and Californians, the Walmart will have tri tip. I hope this helps.