The BEST Pork Tenderloin recipe prepared with a simple marinade, seared and baked until tender and juicy.
Pork tenderloin is a lean and tender cut of meat that comes from the backbone of the pig, while pork loin is a larger and more marbled cut taken from the top of the backbone.
Why I love this recipe:
- Flavorful & Juicy – Gone are the days of dry meat! This pork tenderloin is perfectly flavored in our marinade and just melts in your mouth. It will be the highlight of your meal.
- Impressive – Serve it for guests, a holiday meal, or even just a Sunday dinner. Everyone will be impressed and enjoy it!
- Easy – It takes minutes to throw it in the marinade and can marinate overnight.
How to cook Pork Tenderloin:
Marinate: A good marinade is essential to add lots of flavor and tenderness to the pork tenderloin. We use equal parts lemon juice and olive oil with LOTS of garlic and some herbs.
Sear: Place the marinated pork on a very hot grill or in a very hot pan on the stove, to give it a nice sear on all sides. Rotate it as you go, untiYou want all side of the meat to. Generally speaking, the more color you get on the sear, the better the flavor.
When searing meat, you are NOT trying to cook it through, you are simply looking for the sides of the meat to form a brown, crusty layer.
Bake: Bake it in a baking dish covered with tinfoil at 325 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until you reach your desired doneness, between 145° F – 160° F (refer to doneness photo, below). Use a meat thermometer, to check it. Don’t overcook the pork tenderloin or it can be dry and chewy!
Rest: Allow the tenderloin to rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting it. Like all meat, allowing it to rest allows the juices to penetrate back into the meat. If you cut into it too soon, the juices will run out and your meat will be tougher and chewier.
Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:
To Make Ahead: Marinate the pork 2 to 24 hours ahead of time.
To Freeze: Freeze the pork tenderloin in the marinade for up to 4 months, in an airtight freezer container. Thaw completely in the fridge before cooking. You can also freeze leftover cooked pork, and it to soup, like this Easy Pho or use it to make a Cuban sandwich.
Where Should I Buy Pork Tenderloin?
I buy pork tenderloin from Costco, because they’re great quality tenderloins you get 4 tenderloins for about $1.99/lb.
Internal Cooking Temperature for Pork Tenderloin:
The National Pork Board recommends cooking pork tenderloin to an internal temperature of between 145° F – 160° F. Use a meat thermometer, to ensure it’s cooked perfectly. The picture below gives a great illustration of how pork should look when it’s finished cooking.
Image credit: Pork Checkoff
Serve with some tasty side dishes:
- Roasted Vegetables
- Perfect Mashed Potatoes
- Italian Caprese Salad
- Fresh Fruit Bowl
- Artisan No Knead Bread
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- 2 pork tenderloin (about 2.5 pounds total)
- Your favorite pork tenderloin marinade or rub
- Marinate pork tenderloin (here is my favorite marinade recipe), or rub it with your favorite seasonings, at least 2 hours before cooking.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Heat a grill or grill pan over very high heat.
- Once the grill is hot, place the tenderloins on the hot, greased grill and sear over high heat, rotating the meat every 1-2 minutes, until well browned on all sides.
- Place pork tenderloins in a baking dish and cover the pan with tinfoil. Bake for about 18-25 minutes, or until you reach an internal temperature of between 145° F – 160° F, depending on how well done you like your meat.
- Remove from oven and allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
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I originally shared this recipe May 2019. Updated March 2023.
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