Gabriel Woods
Published by Gabriel Woods
Last Updated On: September 14, 2023

As a six-year carnivore dieter, I love pork tenderloin because it's affordable and has a mild flavor, making it a versatile canvas for different marinades.

After years of trying different cooking methods, I’m finally confident to share the best ways to cook pork tenderloin to get the juiciest meal every time.

Let's get started.

Quick Summary

  • The best ways to cook pork tenderloin include baking, grilling, slow roasting, and sous vide.
  • The perfect cooking temperature for a tender, well-done pork tenderloin is 145°F.
  • Always use an instant meat thermometer to read the internal temperature of your pork tenderloin.

6 Ways To Cook Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is a long cut of pork meat, also known as the Gentleman's cut, pork filet, or pork steak [1]. Pork tenderloin is a super delicious quick-fix meal for those busy days.

Here are six ways to prepare pork tenderloin.

1. Grilling

A top view of grilled pork tenderloin

Grilled pork tenderloin is an easy recipe you can make in less than 40 minutes.

Here's how.

  • Pat dry the pork tenderloin and trim any excess fatty skin.
  • After removing the silver skin, massage the tenderloin with olive oil and a dry rub of your choice. I love using a mixture of salt and sugar for seasoning and caramelization. Also, dry rubs are great for grilling tenderloin because they keep the meat moist and help to form a crisp crust.
  • Place the marinated pork tenderloin on the grill and cook it for 20 to 25 minutes or until you get an internal temperature of 145°. Make sure you flip the meat once, halfway through the cooking time.
  • Remove and serve warm with your favorite side.

2. Slow Cooking

If you want a set-and-forget kind of cooking, then slow cooking is the way to go.

  • After marinating your pork tenderloin, sear the meat on both sides for a nice crust.
  • Add your beef stock or any liquid you have on hand to a crock pot or slow cooker. If you want a more versatile and colorful dish, you can throw in some veggies like peas and carrots.
  • Put in the pork tenderloin and let it cool for 1-2 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat.
  • Serve with your favorite side dish, and enjoy. I like to pair mine with sweet potatoes or kale salad.

3. Baking

A top view of baked pork tenderloin on a white plate

Baking is one of the easiest ways to make juicy pork tenderloin. Here's a detailed guide on how to do so.

  • Preheat your oven to 375°.
  • Trim off any extra skin and whitish fat from the tenderloin's exterior. The fat marbling skin may make the tenderloin chewy if left on. To ensure a consistent shape, fold the tenderloin's thin ends beneath; doing this also helps your tenderloin to cook more evenly.
  • Marinate the meat with your favorite spice blends and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 40 minutes. I love using aromatics like thyme and rosemary sprigs, lemon zest, and fresh chili pepper for some heat.
  • After marinating, sear your tenderloin on a hot skillet for a minute or two on each side. This gives the meat a crispy exterior and leaves the interior juicy and flavorful.
  • Tent the meat with aluminum foil and place it on a baking sheet. Toss in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145°.
  • Remove and let it sit for a few minutes before slicing it against the grain. Letting the pork tenderloin sit allows the meat to soak in the juices.

Tip: I love to pair baked pork tenderloin with garlic mashed potatoes or some fresh lemon pea salad. If you have any leftover pork tenderloin, store it well in food-safe containers.

4. Air Frying

An air fryer is one of the best kitchen investments you can make.

Here's how to make air-fried pork tenderloin in 20 minutes or less.

  • Set your air fryer to 400° and preheat it for 4-7 minutes. Then set the cooking time to 20 minutes.
  • Coat your meat with olive oil and rub any other spices you have. You can use paprika for smokiness and some chili powder for heat.
  • Place the meat in the air fryer and let it cool until the cooking time is complete.
  • Once done, let the cooked pork tenderloin sit for 5 minutes before slicing. In my experience, this meal goes well with roasted baby potatoes and fresh broccoli.

Also Read: How to Prepare Ribs for Air Frying

5. Sous Vide

A close up shot of sous vide pork tenderloin

Sous vide is like a jack of all trades when it comes to cooking tenderloin. Flavor-wise, aromatics or spices can be added to the sous vide bag with the pork to infuse flavor into the meat.

Regarding texture, sous vide allows for completely uniform, edge-to-center cooking, leaving your pork tenderloin juicy.

  • Preheat your kitchen water bath to 160° for a well-done pork tenderloin.
  • Season the meat liberally with salt and pepper.
  • Place the meat in the sous vide bag and add your favorite spices as well. I like to go in with fresh herbs and shallots. Seal the bag and place it into the water bath.
  • Cook for 4 hours for a well-done pork tenderloin.
  • Once you remove the meat from the sous vide bag, I like to sear it on a hot skillet for a minute or two for a crispy crunch.

6. Slow Roasting

Cooking pork tenderloin by slow roasting creates a delicious meal that's full of flavor.

  • Start by preparing a dry rub using your favorite pantry spices like onion powder, thyme, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Spread the mixture evenly over the pork loin.
  • In a large cast iron skillet, heat the oil and place pork tenderloin to sear for about 3-6 minutes per side.
  • Make a sauce by combining vegetable oil, brown sugar, mustard, and soy sauce in a mixing bowl.
  • Brush the sauce over the seared pork tenderloin and save 3 tablespoons of the sauce for the vegetables.
  • Roast the pork tenderloin for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables (carrots, potatoes, and bell peppers), combine them with the saved sauce, and stir fry for a few minutes.
  • Remove roasted pork tenderloin from the oven; arrange vegetables in a single layer around it; cover with foil and cook until the meat registers a 145° internal temperature. Let the pork tenderloin rest for a few minutes before serving.

"When estimating the cooking time for a slow roast pork tenderloin, always go for 20 minutes per pound of pork meat."
- Raymond Blanc, Executive Chef

Temperature For Pork Tenderloin

A close up shot of cooked pork tenderloin slices

Fresh slices of pork tenderloins should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145° F [2]. This is considered the safe pork tenderloin temperatures.

I recommend using a digital kitchen thermometer to determine when your tenderloin is well done accurately. To get accurate results, you probe the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the pork tenderloin.

Also, if the pork can still has a pink color, it's safe to consume as long as it has reached the safe 145° temperature.

Tips For Making the Perfect Pork Tenderloin

Here are my tips for making the perfect pork tenderloins every time.

  • Use a sharp knife to trim off the silver skin on the pork tenderloin to avoid a chewy texture and uneven cooking.
  • Regardless of the favorite pork recipes you’re following, always sear your pork tenderloin for a few minutes on each side before cooking. This gives you a delicious crispy bite.
  • Strive to marinate the tenderloin meat overnight to allow the spice aroma to infuse well into the meat.
  • When making a marinade, combine your spices well with a thickening agent like Dijon mustard or Worcestershire sauce. These sauces will ensure the spices stick to the roasted pork tenderloin and yield a delicious crispy crust.
  • Always go for fresh herbs over fried herbs. Dried herbs tend to scorch easily under high heat.

Related Articles:


How Do You Cook Pork Tenderloin Without Drying Out?

You cook pork tenderloin without drying out by using the correct heat temperature and timing your cooking well. Also, when grilling, use indirect heat to avoid drying out the meat.

Should I Cover My Pork Tenderloin in the Oven?

Yes, you should cover your pork tenderloin in the oven. This prevents the meat juices from drying out because of the hot oven air. Always tent your tenderloin with aluminum foil before tossing it in the oven.

Is It Better To Cook Pork Tenderloin Fast or Slow?

It's better to cook pork tenderloin slow for more delicious and tender results. Although some recipes call for fast tenderloin cooking under high heat, I don't recommend doing so because tenderloin is a slice of lean meat and can dry out pretty fast under high heat.

Choose Slow Cooking Methods for the Best Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is a pretty versatile cut of meat that you can prepare in various ways, including grilling and baking.

However, the success of any pork tenderloin recipe lies in the quality of the meat you use. This is why it's essential to source the best pork tenderloin meat from a reputable company like ButcherBox.

Having used ButcherBox for over three years, I can safely say they offer hormone and antibiotic-free pork meat from heritage pigs. Also, if you don't want pork, you can take advantage of their vast meat assortment, including chicken, turkey, beef, and seafood.


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