I am going to let you in on a little secret I wish someone had told me before I threw one of the more disastrous dinner parties of my short but colorful mid-20s entertaining career: Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin is the absolute EASIEST, most foolproof way to cook juicy, succulent pork.
Follow up advice: do not skip the gravy.
If by some act of the universe you mess up the Instant Pot pork tenderloin (which you will not if you follow this pressure cooker recipe), the easy gravy (which you cook in the Instant Pot while the pork rests) will cover your tracks.
Rich and intensely savory with a touch of tangy sweetness from maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and the pork’s own juices, you’ll want to eat it by the spoonful.
Shortly after college, pork tenderloin was one of the first “grown up” meals I cooked for an “adult” dinner party I was hosting (meaning we drank wine that came in bottles with twist-off tops, instead of in a box).
I had no idea that you can overcook pork tenderloin easily—pork tenderloin is very lean so, unlike fattier cuts like pork shoulder, it doesn’t become more tender the longer it cooks.
I also didn’t own a meat thermometer (the best way to tell if pork tenderloin is done and make sure you don’t overcook it), so that wasn’t auspicious for our pork’s tender future either.
That night ended in pizza. Oops.
Fortunately, my friends are all good sports.
Even more fortunately, I now have this Instant Pot pork tenderloin to rely on!
Despite our rocky start, pork tenderloin is one of my favorite cuts of meat to cook both for dinner parties and for easy weeknight dinners.
- Pork tenderloin is lean, healthy, and a refreshing change of pace from Instant Pot Chicken and Baked Chicken Breast.
- It’s relatively inexpensive, yet it still feels festive. This Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, for example, is fit for special occasions and holidays.
- It is super versatile! Because pork tenderloin is mild, you can flavor it with a wide range of spices, sauces, and rubs.
The biggest hazard to pork tenderloin is overcooking, one of the many reasons I love making pork tenderloin in the Instant Pot. (Or if you’re a grilling aficionado, Grilled Pork Tenderloin is fabulous too!)
why cook pork tenderloin in the instant pot
- Multicookers like the Instant Pot (this is the Instant Pot model I own) lock in moisture, which helps the pork stay juicy.
- It’s a one-pot wonder. Thanks to the sauté function, you can brown the pork, pressure cook it, and even make the gravy all in the same pot.
- All of the cooking juices stay in the pot, so not one drop of flavor is wasted.
- The Instant Pot is hands free! Forget opening and closing the oven door to check the pork’s temperature. You can set it and walk away. (One of the reasons I love cooking Instant Pot Ribs.)
How Long to Cook Pork Tenderloin in the Instant Pot
Pork tenderloins vary in size. While they are usually between 1 ½ and 2 pounds, they can be as small as 1 pound.
- If your tenderloin weighs between 1.5 and 2 pounds. Set your Instant Pot for 3 minutes (the pressure will take about 10 minutes to build, then the timer will start). When the timer is up, allow the pressure to naturally release for 12 minutes.
- If your tenderloin weighs 1.25 pounds or less. Reduce the pressure cook time to 1 minute, followed by the same 12 minutes of natural release.
The biggest mistake when making pork tenderloin is overcooking.
- Use an instant read thermometer to gauge when your pork is done.
- Err on the side of less versus more cooking time. You can always cook the pork longer if needed, but once it is overdone, there is no going back.
- Let carryover cooking be your friend. Pork is considered safe to eat at 145 degrees F. I like to remove mine when the pork reaches 135 to 140 degrees F, then let the carryover cooking finish the rest.
- Speaking of rest—meat needs to rest after cooking to allow the juices to reincorporate into the meat. If you cut it early, you’ll lose that beautiful moisture.
How to Cook the Best Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin
As with much of cooking, the secret to this recipe’s success (in addition to NOT overcooking the pork—hopefully you are seeing the emphasis here) is in building layers of flavor.
For Instant Pot pork tenderloin, that means an easy garlic herb rub, pan searing the outside of the tenderloin in the Instant Pot prior to pressure cooking, and finishing off the recipe with an easy honey Dijon gravy.
- Pork Tenderloin. A lean, boneless cut of meat, pork tenderloin is delicious and tender. It has a very mild flavor, so it’s perfectly suited for spice rubs and sauces. Plus, it’s rich in protein and vitamins.
You can use this recipe to cook 1 or 2 tenderloins at the same time. If making two tenderloins, sear them one at a time and double the olive oil and rub.
- Spice Mixture. A mixture of garlic powder, dried rosemary, dried thyme, salt, and pepper gives the pork an exceptional flavor.
- Chicken Broth. Helps deglaze the pot and builds the foundation for our gravy sauce.
- Soy Sauce. For rich umami flavor. Use low sodium soy sauce so the sauce doesn’t become too salty.
- Honey or Maple Syrup. Either honey or maple syrup will add the perfect amount of natural sweetness and pair nicely with the herbs and spices in the pork rub.
- Dijon Mustard. A tangy and delicious complement to the pork.
- Cornstarch Slurry. The cornstarch slurry helps thicken the gravy sauce to luscious, flavorful perfection.
- Let the pork come to room temperature. Stir the seasoning ingredients together in a bowl.
- Whisk the gravy ingredients together in a separate bowl (minus the cornstarch). Trim and dry the pork. Rub it with olive oil.
- Add the seasoning to the pork.
- Sear the pork in the Instant Pot. Transfer it to a plate.
- Add the broth to the Instant Pot, scraping along the bottom of the pot to remove any stuck-on bits.
- Place the pork in the pot and pressure cook on HIGH for 3 minutes. Let naturally release for 12 minutes.
- Check the pork for doneness. Cook for additional time if needed, then set the pork aside to rest.
- Turn the Instant Pot to sauté, add the slurry, then make the gravy. Cut the pork into slices, serve with the gravy, and DIG IN!
While you can cook meat from frozen in the Instant Pot, I don’t recommend making this Instant Pot pork tenderloin frozen, as it would hinder your ability to sear the pork and add the spice rub.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin
- Potatoes. Instant Pot pork tenderloin and potatoes would be delicious! Try Instant Pot pork tenderloin with these Roasted Sweet Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes in Oven. Crock Pot Baked Potatoes or Oven Baked Potatoes would also be tasty.
- Salad. Apple Walnut Salad and pork tenderloin would be a perfect match.
- Veggies. Pair this recipe with a healthy side like Roasted Asparagus or Roasted Broccoli and Carrots, or Baked Carrots.
- To Store. Refrigerate pork in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F. In a pinch, the pork can also be reheated 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.
Add thinly sliced leftover pork tenderloin to a sandwich. Or, dice up the pork and add it to your favorite stir fry (like this Vegetable Lo Mein).
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Instant Pot. One of my most-used kitchen appliances.
- Instant Read Thermometer. The easiest way to ensure your meat is cooked through.
- Measuring Spoons. This set is perfect for measuring spices.
Whether it’s your first time cooking pork tenderloin or you’re an old pro, this honey garlic pork tenderloin in the Instant Pot is a mini triumph. Successful dinners (with or without boxed wine) ahead!
Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin
PORK & SEASONING:
- 1 pork tenderloin 1 ½ to 2 pounds*
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil divided
PRESSURE COOKING LIQUID & GRAVY:
- ¾ cup low sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch combined with 2 tablespoons water to create a slurry
- Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- While the pork rests, in a small bowl stir together the garlic powder, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients but the cornstarch slurry: chicken broth, soy sauce, honey, and Dijon.
- Cut away and discard the silver skin from the pork tenderloin. Pat it dry with paper towels, then rub with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil.
- Sprinkle the seasoning mixture all over the outside of the pork.
- Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté. Let heat for 1 minute, then add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil. Add the pork and sear on all sides until lightly browned. Remove to a plate.
- Pour in the chicken broth mixture. With a wooden spoon, scrape along the bottom of the Instant Pot to deglaze. Keep scraping and make sure there are no stuck-on bits of food to avoid the "burn" warning.
- Return the pork to the Instant Pot, coiling it to fit as needed. Close and seal. Cook on HIGH (manual) pressure for 3 minutes.** (Do not be tempted to add more time or the pork may be dry.) Let naturally release for 12 minutes.
- Test the pork for doneness with an instant read thermometer. Pork is considered cooked at 145 degrees F (if you are close, the resting time will carry it over). If needed, lock the lid back in place and continue to cook in the residual heat for 2 to 3 minutes more.
- Remove the pork to a cutting board or serving platter, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the gravy.
- Press “Cancel” on the Instant Pot, then press “Sauté.” Stir in the cornstarch slurry. Let come to a simmer, stirring very often, then press “Cancel.” The gravy will continue to thicken with the residual heat. Stir it periodically.
- To serve, cut the pork crosswise into ½-inch slices. Top generously with the gravy and enjoy!
- *You can also use this recipe to cook 2 tenderloins at the same time. Double the seasoning mixture and olive oil, then brown and cook the pork as directed (no need to add to the cooking time).
- *If your tenderloin weighs less than 1.25 pounds, reduce the pressure cook time to 1 minute.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate pork in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F. In a pinch, the pork can also be reheated 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.
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