Pork tenderloin is good, but pork tenderloin with marinade is even better! With just the right balance of savory, tangy, and sweet flavor, this Pork Tenderloin Marinade is the first step to an incredible dinner.
Why You’ll Love This Marinated Pork Tenderloin Recipe
- It Gives Your Pork Tenderloin Exactly What It Needs. Which is to say: flavor. Pork tenderloin is fabulous—if you need convincing, see my Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin, Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, and Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin. The problem, though, is that unlike bacon and ribs, tenderloin isn’t a particularly flavorful cut of pork. You need to add that flavor, and this marinade is a great way to accomplish it. It’s bold, it’s garlicky, and it’s even a little bit sweet thanks to the addition of maple syrup.
- Practically Effortless. Like my Grilled Shrimp Marinade and Flank Steak Marinade, this pork tenderloin marinade comes together with a brisk whisking, and then it does all the rest of the work for you. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a Strawberry Mojito while the pork soaks in all that wonderful flavor. Then throw it on the grill, in the oven, or sear it in a pan or skillet.
- Pantry Staples. You probably have everything—or at least almost everything—on hand in your kitchen to make this recipe. No obscure spice blends you’ll never use again! Just the basics here.
- Versatile. Use it for Smoked Pork Tenderloin, Grilled Pork Tenderloin, or Baked Pork Tenderloin. However you make it, your cooked pork tenderloin going to be delectable, especially when paired with a side like Grilled Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potato Salad, or Roasted Red Potatoes with fresh rosemary or a squeeze of lemon juice.
How to Make Pork the Best Tenderloin Marinade
- Pork Tenderloin. An under-rated option for healthy weeknight meals, pork tenderloin cooks quickly and is an excellent source of lean protein.
- Garlic. I like the pungent flavor of fresh garlic in this recipe instead of garlic powder.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. ACV pairs beautifully with pork.
- Dijon Mustard. Adds a little pep to your step—and your pork tenderloin marinade.
- Pure Maple Syrup. The darker the syrup, the more intense the maple flavor will be.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Oil helps the marinade’s flavors penetrate better.
- Kosher Salt and Black Pepper. Always essential! You can add red pepper flakes too for an extra kick.
- Prep the Pork. Dry the pork and trim it, then place it in a zip-top plastic bag.
- Whisk. Mix together all the ingredients.
- Marinate. Pour the marinade into the bag with the pork and chill for 2 hours or up to a day.
- Cook. Let the pork come to room temperature for 30 minutes, then grill, bake, or smoke. ENJOY!
- To Store. You can refrigerate unused pork tenderloin marinade in an airtight container or jar for up to a week.
- To Freeze. Transfer the marinade to an airtight container or zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
Meal Prep Tip
When I’m making this pork tenderloin marinade, I like to scale up the recipe and make some to pop in the freezer for later.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Measuring Cup. Liquid measuring cups are great for mixing marinades because the spout makes it easy to pour.
- Mason Jar. If you plan on making your marinade in advance or prepping extra for freezing, these smaller size and larger size jars are great for storage.
- Baking Dish. To catch any moisture or leaks from the zip-top bag.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Don’t Over Marinate. Although you might think more time in the marinade will mean a more flavorful pork tenderloin, after a day the acid from the vinegar will begin to break down the proteins in the meat, causing it to have an unappetizing soft texture.
- Flip It. If the meat isn’t completely submerged in the pork tenderloin marinade, flip it at least once during the marinating time to make sure the flavors soak in evenly.
- Discard the Excess. Never reuse marinade! Once the marinating time is finished, the marinade has done its job and leftovers should be discarded.
- Don’t Watch the Timer. No matter how you decide to cook your marinated pork tenderloin, it’s important to use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness instead of monitoring the cooking time. When the meat thermometer reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F, it’s done—I remove the pork from the heat at 135 degrees F, since the pork’s temperature will rise as it cools.
- Don’t Skip Resting. Cover the pork tenderloin with aluminum foil and let it rest before slicing and serving so the juices have a chance to reincorporate into the meat.
Pork Tenderloin Marinade
- Pat the pork dry and trim away the sliver skin (the tough piece of membrane that is on one end of one side of the tenderloin). Trim away excess fat. Place the pork in a sturdy ziptop bag.
- In a small bowl or liquid measuring up with a spout, stir together the marinade ingredients.
- Pour the marinade into the bag, then seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Move the bag around a bit so the pork is evenly coated, then place the bag in a shallow dish.
- Marinade pork tenderloin for at least 2 hour or up to 1 day in the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes prior to cooking. See Baked Pork Tenderloin, Grilled Pork Tenderloin, and Smoked Pork Tenderloin for three excellent ways to make pork tenderloin.
- Recipe from my Grilled Pork Tenderloin
- TO STORE: You can refrigerate unused pork tenderloin marinade in an airtight container or jar for up to a week.
- TO FREEZE: Transfer the marinade to an airtight container or zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Marinades are an excellent way to tenderize pork tenderloin, particularly if they contain apple cider vinegar, as this pork tenderloin marinade recipe does. Apple cider vinegar not only helps with tenderness, it also adds flavor.
Different cuts of pork can withstand different marinating times, but pork tenderloin should not be marinated for more than 24 hours.
Marinating pork is not necessary, but it does improve its flavor. This is particularly true of pork tenderloin, which tends to be a less flavorful cut.
Using a fork to poke holes in the meat can help the marinade soak in faster. Some people also use vacuum sealers to aid in marinating, but there’s debate about whether this is actually effective.