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How to Make Pork Tenderloin in the Oven

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Learn how to make pork tenderloin in the oven without drying it out so you can have a healthy dinner on the table quickly and effortlessly.

how to make pork tenderloin in the oven

Every so often, my brain goes totally blank and I can’t come up with anything to cook for dinner. When I do that, I go back to the basics—a protein, grain and vegetable meal that’s simple, delicious and easy to whip up after the kids get home from school.

We also eat a lot of chicken in our house, so breaking it up with different cuts of meat is nice and everyone LOVES a pork tenderloin, so this option is a great one, and honestly, one I should reach too more often.

The great thing about pork tenderloin is how versatile it is. You can season it with so many different rubs, spices and herbs to give it a totally different flavor profile. Rosemary and garlic, or smoked paprika, oregano and cinnamon, or even a simple salt and pepper seasoned tenderloin served with a sauce (this is how I typically make it!).

The trick to perfect baked pork tenderloin is to not overcook it. Who else remembers the overcooked pork tenderloin your mom used to make when you were a kid. It was like shoe leather—you could barely chew it! I used to HATE when pork chop night, but now that I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, pork is a piece of meat I love.

You can cook pork in the oven or on the grill, but for chilly winter days or when I’m feeling lazy, the oven is my go-to, so let’s learn how to make pork tenderloin in the oven so that it comes out juicy, tender and delicious.

seared pork tenderloin

Ingredients You’ll Need

For this simple baked pork tenderloin recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1-2 pork tenderloins, I find that 1 is often not quite enough for our family of 4
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • Any additional spices and herbs of your choice (options: garlic powder, italian seasoning, smoked paprika, onion powder, chili powder or another spice rub you love)

Place the pork tenderloin on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan, and roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F.

Once cooked, remove the pork tenderloin from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. This will allow the juices to redistribute and result in a juicier, more flavorful pork tenderloin. Then, slice and serve your delicious roasted pork tenderloin!

How to Make Pork Tenderloin in the Oven

Roasting pork tenderloin in the oven is such a quick and foolproof way to cook this type of meat. The results are very consistent and result in perfectly cooked pork. The trick is getting your pan super hot so that it creates a nice crust on the outside of the pork, let’s talk about how to do this. This is one of those pork recipes that’s so simple, but shockingly delicious!

season your pork tenderloin

Baked Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Step-By-Step Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F with your cast iron skillet or oven-safe skillet in the oven. We want this to be screaming hot when we add our pork! This super hot oven temperature will ensure that we get a good crust on the outside of the pork instead of steaming it.
  2. While the oven is heating up, prep your pork. Make sure to cut away any silver skin with a sharp knife, or you can ask your butcher to do this, then pat pork dry. If you’re not sure what silver skin is, it’s that tough, white-ish part that’s often on one side of the tenderloin. Then drizzle 1 Tbsp of olive oil, we’ll save the rest for the pan, over the tenderloins, then season pork tenderloin heavily with salt and freshly cracked pepper. If using herbs and dry seasonings, sprinkle those all over after you season with salt and pepper. An added teaspoon of garlic powder is always good in my book! Rub this mixture all over the pork tenderloin, ensuring that it is evenly coated. You can do this up to a day in advance, or right before cooking. You can also use an overnight marinade if you prefer.
  3. When oven is hot, take skillet out with your hot mitts and drizzle remaining oil in the bottle swirl it around and then add your tenderloin(s). You will hear them searing when you add to the pan. Return pan to oven and cook for 10 minutes. 
  4. Open oven and flip your pork tenderloins so they get that same crust on the other side and cook for another 5-10 minutes until you reach an internal temperature of 145°F. We live at a higher altitude, so I actually take it out a little before that, usually around 140-142 because I find that if I let it go to 145 it can get a little dried out.
  5. Remove from pan and cover with foil. Let pork rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  6. Once you’ve let the meat rest, slice it and serve!

Best Tips for How to Roast Pork Tenderloin in the Oven

Preheat the Skillet

Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C) and place an oven-safe skillet or cast-iron skillet in the oven to preheat as well. This is how to achieve that great crust.

Season Well

Pork on its own isn’t the most flavorful cut of meat, so make sure that you season it generously. Always use salt and pepper and consider adding other spices and herbs like garlic powder, and herbs like thyme or rosemary.

easy dinner prep

Don’t Overcook

Once seared, insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the thickest part of the pork tenderloin. Make sure not to touch any bone or the pan, as this can give an inaccurate reading. Remove pork tenderloin as soon as it reaches 145°F to ensure you don’t overcook it and dry it out.

easy dinner idea

Plan for Rest Time

Don’t forget to schedule in time for the pork to rest as your planning out your other side dishes. Allow 10 minutes for resting. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist and flavorful result.

By following these steps and using an instant-read thermometer, you’ll get, juicy pork tenderloin every time. If you know your oven runs a bit hot, start checking the internal temperature a little bit sooner to make sure you don’t overcook.

What Temperature Should You Bake Pork Tenderloin?

To cook pork tenderloin in the oven, I recommend a temperature of 450°F. This will help create that crisp exterior, while maintaining a juicy interior. A hot oven and higher temperature allows for a shorter cook time, which means less time for your pork to get cooked to oblivion. 

How Long to Cook Pork Tenderloin in Oven?

At this temperature, it typically takes about 15-18 minutes to bake your pork tenderloin to the internal temperature of 145°F. Again, every oven is slightly different, so if yours runs hot, check the temperature earlier and if your oven runs cooler, it may take a few extra minutes to reach that temperature.

What Should It Look Like When Done?

When your pork tenderloin is done, it should have a nicely browned outer crust, and be lightly pink and moist in the interior. The best way to determine if you’ve hit that sweet spot is to use an instant read thermometer and wait until it hits 145 degrees F.

how to roast pork tenderloin in the oven

What To Serve Alongside Pork Tenderloin?

This is totally up to you, but I wanted to share some favorites of ours in case you’re struggling with ideas. 

One of my go-to side dishes for roasted pork tenderloin is roasted sweet potatoes and roasted broccolini. Even some simple sautéed green beans makes for a great side dish! My kids love both of these so that feels like a win. All you need is a sheet pan!

Additionally, a simple mixed green salad with a tangy vinaigrette is a perfect compliment to any roasted dish, and provides a nice balance to the richness of the pork.

One of our favorite sauces to serve alongside pork tenderloin is this Raspberry Chipotle Sauce. It’s so flavorful and has just enough kick! Adding this sauce to the table makes dinner even easier because there’s less seasoning to do.

Leftover Ideas & Storage

Leftover pork tenderloin can be used in a variety of delicious ways. One easy option is to use it in a pork sandwich, either cold with some mustard and pickles, or warmed up with some melted cheese. Another option is to incorporate the pork into fried rice, adding a savory and meaty flavor to the dish. You can also dice the pork and add it to a salad for a protein-packed meal. We often cut it into small pieces and send it with our kids to school since and they always gobble it up!

To store leftover pork tenderloin in the fridge, allow it to cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place it in an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. If you want to store it for a longer period, it can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. Simply wrap it well in plastic wrap and aluminum foil before placing it in a freezer-safe bag or container.

When reheating the leftovers, it’s important to avoid drying them out. The best way to do this is by using a gentle reheating method, such as placing the pork in a covered dish with a little bit of chicken broth or sauce and warming it in the oven at a low temperature. Once reheated, the pork tenderloin can be enjoyed on its own, or used in a new dish such as tacos or a stir-fry. 

This cooking method of making pork tenderloin in the oven is super simple and works with any type of seasoning. It results in amazing pork that has a crisp exterior and juicy meat, and is super easy because it’s all done in the oven. It’s a family favorite in our house so I hope you guys try this one out and love it as much as we do!

BTW, pork and pineapple tacos, and easy healthy soup recipes to try.

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