Don’t forget about pork tenderloin! A versatile, healthy cut of pork, it’s good enough for company and quick-cooking enough for a weeknight. With a flavorful marinade that makes the pork incredibly juicy, this Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin is the perfect way to enjoy it.
Unlike tough, fatty cuts of meat that need time to break down (like Slow Cooker Pulled Pork) lean cuts like pork tenderloin benefit from either:
- Fast, high cook temperatures, like the ones you’ll see in Baked Pork Tenderloin and Grilled Pork Tenderloin.
- Or, you need a method that adds juiciness to the pork another way like Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin and Stuffed Pork Tenderloin.
Since the air fryer is essentially a high-powered convection oven, its intense heat makes it perfect for the hot-and-fast method of cooking juicy pork tenderloin.
Everything You Need to Know about Juicy Pork Tenderloin
As we’ve discussed, for juicy pork tenderloin, you need to use a high temperature—but that’s not all!
The most important aspects of making juicy, not dry pork are:
- Avoid overcooking the meat.
- Let the meat rest.
Pork tenderloin only needs 11 to 14 minutes to cook in an air fryer at 400 degrees F.
- Most pork tenderloin weighs between 1 and 1 ½-pounds. It is often sold in packs of two.
- If you’d like to cook a larger amount of pork, you can use kitchen twine to tie two tenderloins together to make a thicker meat “log.”
- If your pork tenderloin is larger than 1 ½ pounds, you’ll need to add time to the recipe. Estimate between 18 and 22 minutes to air fry a 2-pound pork tenderloin.
Resting is mandatory.
- Resting meat is critical for it to taste moist.
- While the meat rests, the juices reincorporate.
- If you cut meat right after cooking, all of those yummy juices will escape onto the plate and your pork will taste dry.
The best way to know if pork is cooked is to use an instant read digital thermometer.
- Per the FDA, pork is considered cooked at 145 degrees F. HOWEVER, its internal temperature will rise as it rests.
- I recommend removing pork at 135 degrees F, then letting it rest for 10 minutes. You’ll have perfect, juicy pork every time!
- Pork Tenderloin. Packed with lean protein and iron, pork tenderloin is an excellent choice for a healthy meal. Since this recipe ensures it will be juicy and flavorful, it’s also sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
- Olive Oil + Balsamic Vinegar. These two ingredients add moisture to the pork and help it taste delicious. The vinegar will also help tenderize the pork while it’s marinating.
- Garlic. For scrumptious garlicky flavor.
- Fresh Rosemary. Woodsy, peppery, and delicious with pork.
- Dijon. Dijon tastes fantastic with pork and gives it a little tang.
- Dry and trim the pork. Place it in a baking dish.
- Stir the remaining ingredients together in a bowl.
- Brush the mixture over the pork. Let marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature or up to 1 day in the refrigerator.
- Cook the marinated pork tenderloin in the air fryer at 400 degrees F. About 11 to 14 minutes is how long a pork tenderloin takes in the air fryer. Transfer the pork to a plate to rest for a few minutes. Slice and ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate pork in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Very gently rewarm the pork in a skillet or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze pork in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Up to 1 day in advance, prepare the recipe through Step 2. Let the pork marinate overnight in the refrigerator, then prepare as directed.
Take inspiration from my Steak Sandwich and use leftovers to make an air fryer pork tenderloin sandwich with pork tenderloin slices, caramelized onions, and cheese.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin
- Vegetables. Pair this air fryer pork tenderloin recipe with Grilled Asparagus, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, or Roasted Mushrooms.
- Salad. Try Apple Walnut Salad or Brussels Sprouts Slaw.
- Grains. Creamy Polenta with Zucchini and Tomatoes or Farro Risotto would be tasty with pork tenderloin recipes.
- Potatoes. Air fryer pork tenderloin and potatoes is a pairing that’s certain to please! Grilled Potatoes or Mashed Sweet Potatoes would be scrumptious.
- With Applesauce. Pork and applesauce are wonderful together! Try my Crockpot Applesauce or Instant Pot Applesauce.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Air Fryer. The model I own and love for air fryer recipes. The air fryer basket is dishwasher safe.
- Instant Read Thermometer. The best way to know when your pork is done. (See the blog post above for different meat thermometer options.)
- Baking Dish. A great place for the pork to marinate.
Air fryer pork tenderloin: where quick and dirty meets DELICIOUS!
Frequently Asked Questions
While I highly recommend using Dijon mustard, you could try swapping stone ground mustard instead.
I don’t recommend letting your pork marinate for more than a day ahead of time, as the meat can start to break down and become mushy if it’s left too long.
There are countless side dishes that would pair well with pork tenderloin. Some of our favorites are Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, Lemon Rice, Crockpot Mashed Potatoes, Roasted Green Beans, Roasted Carrots, Grilled Broccoli, and Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts.
As long as your pork tenderloin registers 145 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, it’s ok for it to be a little pink.
No, I would not recommend preparing this recipe with frozen pork tenderloin. However, you can certainly use a frozen pork tenderloin once it is fully thawed.
Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin
- With paper towels, pat the pork dry. Cut away the silver skin, the shiny tough membrane you'll see on the side. To cut it away: slip a thin, sharp knife underneath it to cut away one end of it from the meat. Hold this loose end and gently pull it up and off of the meat with one hand while cutting it away with the other. Discard. Transfer the pork to a baking dish.
- In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, garlic, rosemary, Dijon, oil, salt, and pepper.
- Brush it all over the sides of the pork. Let marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes (or up to 30 minutes), or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. When ready to cook, let the pork come to room temperature first.
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°F. Add the pork (cut it into half crosswise if it is too large and add it in two pieces; check the cook time 2 minutes early). Air fry for 11 to 14 minutes, until the pork registers 135°F on an instant read thermometer (pork is considered cooked by the FDA at 145°F, but its temperature will continue to rise as it rests; I find if I leave pork in all the way until it hits 145, it tastes dry).
- Remove the pork to a plate. Cover and let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into slices and enjoy!
- TO STORE: Refrigerate pork in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Very gently rewarm the pork in a skillet or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze pork in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Up to 1 day in advance, prepare the recipe through Step 2. Let the pork marinate overnight in the refrigerator, then prepare as directed.
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