Roasted Tri Tip

January 16, 2022

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Oven Roasted Tri Tip! It’s a simple recipe that doesn’t even require a smoker or grill. Tri tip is coated with a simple spice rub and baked in the oven until it’s nearly cooked through, then it’s finished in a hot cast iron pan for a beautifully browned sear. 

Roasted tri tip on a white plate shown with serving suggestion of baked potato and steamed green beans.

Easy Tri Tip Roast

This has been a go-to recipe at our house for the last few months because it’s incredibly easy to make, you only need a handful of ingredients, and it’s made with a less expensive cut of beef.

You can usually find tri tip quite a bit cheaper than most steaks (which are getting very expensive lately). We just buy a 2-pack at $7.99 per pound at our local Costco and freeze the second one for later (for best quality use frozen tri tip within 3 months).

The key to a good tri tip is in the seasoning and the cooking method. Here we give it a nice spice rub for added flavor, let it rest at room temp a while, then roast it in a moderately heated oven, and last finish it by reverse searing (baking then skillet browning) for a few minutes in a scorching pan.

It’s the perfect beef roast!

Close up photo of thinly sliced roasted tri tip.

What is Tri Tip?

  • Tri tip is a cut of beef that comes from the bottom of the sirloin of a cow. It is usually cut in a triangular shape.
  • You’ll find it has a nice beefy flavor and great tender texture when cooked to a medium doneness.
  • Its name comes from its triangular shape and the fact that it’s cut at a tapered tip, at the very tip of the sirloin.
  • Options available are select, choice and prime grades. Select is lowest quality, choice is good quality, and prime the best quality. I recommend buying only choice or prime.

Tri Tip Roast Ingredients

  • 2 to 2 1/2 lb tri tip
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Roasted Tri Tip Ingredients

How to Cook a Tri Tip Roast in the Oven

  1. Make tri tip spice rub, spread over roast: In a small mixing bowl whisk together salt, pepper, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika and garlic powder. Rub over entire tri tip coating every surface.
  2. Let the tri tip rest: Let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours then let rest at room temperature 1 hour. During last 15 minutes of resting preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Prepare baking pan: Place roast on an oven safe wire cooling rack then place rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Place probe thermometer in roast: Insert an oven safe food probe thermometer into roast into center of thickest portion (I like to set thermometer to 120 degrees).
  5. Bake until nearly done: Bake tri tip in preheated oven until it is about 5 degrees shy of target temperature, about 40 to 55 minutes (bake time will vary quite a bit based on thickness of roast and desired doneness).
  6. Preheat skillet: Near the end of baking preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stovetop for about 5 minutes. Turn on exhaust fan.
  7. Add 1 Tbsp vegetable oil to the skillet.
  8. Brown roast on all sides: Sear the tri tip in the skillet until evenly browned all sides about 4 to 6 minutes total (it should rise about 5 more degrees while searing), and tri tip has reached desired doneness (I like to cook to 130 to 135 degrees).
  9. Rest off heat then slice: Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Slice thin then serve.

Collage of six images showing how to make and bake roasted tri tip.

Possible Variations

  • Use a different spice rub, it can even be a store-bought blend.
  • If you have extra meat use it in sandwiches or tacos the next day.
  • You can trim away the narrow end before seasoning and cooking and reserve it for a different use. This portion will cook faster and does end up fairly well done (the kids don’t mind it though).
  • Tri tip can also be baked lower and slower at 275 degrees. You’ll just need about 15+ additional minutes on the cook time.

Helpful Tips for the Best Tri Tip

  • Look for a tri tip marbled with some fat for a more tender end result.
  • If time allows let the spice rub rest on the tri tip overnight for a juicier roast and a little more flavor absorption.
  • Don’t test for doneness based on interior color, rather use a food thermometer. It makes a world of deference in achieving proper doneness and not over cooking (and you won’t lose moisture by cutting into it early).
  • Recommended is an oven probe thermometer that will monitor the temperature constantly. I love this one from Thermoworks though you can find a less expensive one on Amazon and other retailers.
  • When slicing be sure to pay attention to the direction of the grain of the tri tip. Usually there will be two areas with grain heading in different directions so you’ll want to slice at that point first where the direction changes then thinly slices pieces from there.

Overhead photo of tri tip being cut on a black cutting board with a chefs knife to the side.

More Beef Recipes We Think You’ll Love

Close up photo of thinly sliced roasted tri tip.
5 from 3 votes

Roasted Tri Tip

It's a simple recipe that doesn't even require a smoker or grill. Tri tip is coated with a simple spice rub and baked in the oven until it's nearly cooked through, then it's finished in a hot cast iron pan for a beautifully browned sear. 
Servings: 5 to 6
Prep15 minutes
Cook1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 to 2 1/2 lb tri tip*
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions

  • In a small mixing bowl whisk together salt, pepper, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika and garlic powder. Rub over entire tri tip coating every surface.
  • Let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour, or cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours then let rest at room temperature 1 hour. During last 15 minutes of resting preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place roast on an oven safe wire cooling rack then place rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Insert an oven safe food probe thermometer into roast into center of thickest portion. Set thermometer about 5 degrees shy of desired doneness temperature.
  • Bake tri tip in preheated oven until it is about 5 degrees shy of target temperature,** about 40 to 55 minutes (bake time will vary quite a bit based on thickness of roast and desired doneness).
  • Near the end of baking preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stovetop for about 5 minutes. Turn on exhaust fan.
  • Add 1 Tbsp vegetable oil to the skillet.
  • Sear the tri tip in the skillet until evenly browned all sides about 4 to 6 minutes total (it should rise about 5 more degrees while searing), and tri tip has reached desired doneness (I like about 130 to 135°F).
  • Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes (it should rise about 5 more degrees). Slice thin then serve.

Notes

  • *Look for a tri tip that's a few inches thick and fairly even in size through the length so it cooks more evenly. Also look for one well marbled with fat for a more tender texture.
  • If the tri tip has silver skin if it is still attached but leave excess fat for moisture (unless there's a big slab of fat you can trim some of that away).
  • **Final target temps to watch for at the end of searing are 120 to 125°F for rare, 130°F for medium-rare, 135 to 140°F for medium.
  • Note for food safety that the FDA recommends tri tip should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees and a 3 minute rest time. Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness.
Nutrition Facts
Roasted Tri Tip
Amount Per Serving
Calories 315 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 118mg39%
Sodium 1034mg45%
Potassium 615mg18%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 38g76%
Vitamin A 319IU6%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 49mg5%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.