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If you aren’t cooking with pork tenderloin, you are missing out! Start with this Baked Pork Tenderloin recipe for dinner tonight. It’s unbelievably juicy, melt-in-your-mouth tender, cooks in 15 minutes, and the light, smoky rub gives it a fantastic crust.

Juicy baked pork tenderloin with green benas

Why You’ll Love This Easy Pork Tenderloin

  • Fast. Unlike tough, marbled cuts like pork butt that need to cook for long periods to be tender (see: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork), pork tenderloin is lean, so it cooks quickly and stays tender. A quick sear followed by 10 minutes in the oven, it’s one of the fastest among my 30-minute meals.
  • Versatile. Pork tenderloin is mild, lending itself well to a wide range of flavors. This one has a tasty BBQ-style rub, but it’s certainly not the only option. Check out my go-to Pork Tenderloin Marinade for more excellent variations.
  • EASY. Meat with the word “tenderloin” sounds fancy and intimidating—it’s not! Just rub, sear, and bake.
  • A Nice Change of Pace. I rely on solid Baked Chicken Breast as much as the next person, but it’s nice to switch up your lean protein sources, especially if you are hosting.
  • Good Enough for a Dinner Party. Want to serve something other than chicken for a party, but keeping it more casual than Standing Rib Roast? Bring on the baked pork tenderloin (or Stuffed Pork Tenderloin!).
  • But Simple Enough for a Weeknight. With its fast prep and cook time, pork tenderloin is ideal for healthy meals any night of the week. Want it even faster? Try Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin.
Slices of baked pork tenderloin and green beans on a plate

How to Cook Pork Tenderloin in the Oven

The Ingredients

  • Pork Tenderloin. NOT the same thing as pork loin. This cut is long, thin, and super tender. You’ll often see it sold in packages of 2. If you buy pre-brined, skip the salt in this recipe.
  • Brown Sugar. Brown sugar is the secret to the pork’s caramelized, “crusty” exterior. It also adds a bit of sweetness to balance the smoky and spicy flavors.
  • Cumin. Adds warmth and earthiness.
  • Dry Mustard. Tangy and savory with a hint of heat.
  • Paprika + Chipotle Chile Powder. These two spices both possess the perfect combination of smoky and spicy.

Market Swap

If you prefer less heat, swap the chipotle chile powder for regular chili powder.

The Directions

  1. Trim. Pork tenderloin has a tough membrane called the “silver skin” that needs to be removed.
Two pork tenderloins being coated in smoky spices
  1. Rub. Get the spice mix all over that pork.
Two pieces of meat in a cast iron skillet
  1. Sear. This gives the pork a nice crust and brings out the rub’s flavors even more.
Two baked pork tenderloins on a plate
  1. Bake. Cook pork tenderloin in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes at 400 degrees F.
  2. Let Rest. 10 minutes (even 5 is better than none!).
  3. Slice. We like 1-inch medallions. ENJOY the melt-in-your-mouth goodness!
Three slices of baked pork tenderloin on a plate

Prep This Recipe Ahead

  • Up to 1 day in advance, trim the pork and coat it in the spice rub. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to finish the recipe.

What to Serve with Baked Pork Tenderloin

Easy baked pork tenderloin on a white plate

Leftover Ideas

Thinly slice your leftover pork tenderloin and use it for a pork sandwich (or Air Fryer Grilled Cheese!), dice and add to Homemade Fried Rice, or use them in place of beef in this Corned Beef Hash.

Three plates of baked pork tenderloin and green beans

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Season the Pork Well. Pork tenderloin is bland on its own. Doctoring it up with the below pork tenderloin rub will give it smokiness and depth.
  • Sear the Meat First. Taking a few minutes to sear the outside of the pork on the stove prior to putting it in the oven forms a tasty “crust” that gives the pork an additional dimension of flavor. You’ll feel like a pro!
  • DO NOT OVERCOOK THE MEAT. This is the cardinal rule for lean cuts of meat like pork tenderloin. At 400 degrees F, a 1-pound pork tenderloin will cook in 8 to 10 minutes after being seared on the stove. Unlike tough, fatty cuts of meat (like the shoulder used for Slow Cooker Pulled Pork), leaner cuts like pork tenderloin do not become more tender the longer they cook. Use a meat thermometer to be sure.
  • Let It Rest. Resting lets the juices reincorporate, so be sure to let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. Not letting pork rest and overcooking are the top two reasons why your pork tenderloin is dry.
  • Add Gravy. Did you overcook it (eeeek!)? Don’t panic: add Mushroom Gravy to save the day!

Baked Pork Tenderloin

4.73 from 18 votes
This easy baked pork tenderloin is ready in 15 minutes! Juicy inside with a delicious smoky rub, it's great for fast meals but good enough for company!

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 45 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pork tenderloin about 1 pound; or double the recipe to cook 2 tenderloins
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar light or dark
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder for less heat, substitute regular chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Instructions
 

  • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. With a sharp knife, cut away and discard the silver skin (tough membrane) from the pork.
  • In a small bowl, combine the paprika, brown sugar, salt, cumin, mustard, black pepper, and chipotle powder in a bowl.
  • Heat a cast-iron pan or similar oven-safe, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil and let it warm up for another minute or two.
  • Coat the pork tenderloin on all sides with the spice rub.
  • Once the oil is hot, sear the pork on all sides (be careful to lower the pork into the pan away from you in case of oil splatters). You’ll need about 2 to 3 minutes per side—it can get a bit smoky, so turn on your fan (or open the windows if you don't have one). The pork should have a nice crust but not be all the way cooked through.
  • Transfer the pan to the oven. Bake the pork tenderloin until the internal temperature reaches 135°F on an instant read thermometer, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate, cover, and let rest at least 10 minutes (pork is considered safe to eat at 145°F, but its internal temperature will continue to rise as it rests). Slice the pork into 1-inch medallions. Serve warm, with pan juices spooned over the top.

Video

Notes

  • If cooking 2 pork tenderloins, brown them one at a time, then nestle them into the skillet together to bake.
  • If you can only find a pork tenderloin that is already brined, rinse it off, pat it dry, and omit half of the salt from the rub
  • TO STORE: Refrigerate pork in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently reheat leftovers in a small 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 189kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 24gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 74mgPotassium: 511mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 946IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. Love your recipes. Have had such wonderful luck with Skillet chicken breast and the pork tenderloin recipe from frying pan to oven. Thank you!

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