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This baked pork tenderloin recipe is perfectly juicy and melt-in-your-mouth tender. No searing is required, so it’s fast and has minimal prep! It’s ready in just over 30 minutes.
You may also want to try my Crockpot Pork Tenderloin for a similar recipe but in the slow cooker.
Why you’ll love it
What sets apart this roasted pork tenderloin from the rest is the fact it’s made in a single baking dish in the oven with no need to pan sear it in a skillet beforehand, which means you’ll never have overcooked or dry tenderloin. This easy method also has way fewer dishes on busy weeknights.
The buttery juices in this pork tenderloin recipe are irresistible over mashed potatoes, and the homemade spice rub is sweet and savory and packed with flavor from everyday pantry ingredients, so a comforting family meal is effortless. And it goes with everything!
Did you know?
- Searing meat does not actually lock in the juices. That’s a longstanding myth, so we’re not going to do it here. In fact, it can even dry out pork! That sizzling sound, while enticing, actually means juices are being released and cooked off, so there’s really no benefit to searing an extra lean cut of meat like pork tenderloin.
What you’ll need
- Pork tenderloin – it’s very lean, readily available, and cooks fast. We love it for when we need a break from chicken! (But I still love chicken, don’t worry)
- Homemade seasoning rub – brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper
- Butter – I used unsalted since our rub has salt. It helps make the meat even juicier.
- Chopped parsley – totally optional, but it brings a pop of freshness and contrast
Is pork tenderloin the same as pork loin?
- Nope! Pork tenderloin is smaller, extra lean (meaning it has little fat), and cooks faster than pork loin. Despite a similar sounding name, you cannot substitute one for the other since they’re different cuts of meat and are not interchangeable.
How to make baked pork tenderloin
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Prep and dry the tenderloins with paper towel. Add the homemade seasoning rub ingredients to a small bowl and mix. Coat the pork with the spice rub uniformly.
Add the seasoned meat to a 9×13 baking dish, and top with the butter. Bake, let it rest to redistribute the juices, and then slice into medallions. Pour the pan juices over, and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
- Pork tenderloin is very lean! It will dry out if it’s overcooked. Farming practices have changed, and pork is now safe to eat without overcooking it. A little pink is totally fine, and it’ll mean the pork is nice and juicy.
- Pork tenderloins are often sold in packs of two, so that’s why this recipe is written for two (one pound) tenderloins. You don’t need to be spot-on with one pound each.
- Take the guesswork of timing out with an instant read thermometer with a probe. It’ll beep when it reaches the perfect 145F. This is also great to use if you’re working with larger pork tenderloins that fall outside the time guidelines of this recipe.
- Resting it after it’s cooked and before slicing is not a step you want to skip! This is when the juices do get locked in.
Substitutions and variations
- You can definitely change up the rub. It’s not spicy or anything like that as written, so if you want it to be spicy, add in some cayenne pepper. Feel free to customize it to your liking or even use your favorite jarred variety.
- The butter can be replaced with a generous drizzle of olive oil if needed.
What to serve with baked pork tenderloin
- This goes with many side dishes since it’s so versatile. Our kitchen always recommends my Easy Garlic Mashed Potatoes, though!
- Pasta is another choice since creamy sauce will definitely complement it. Try some fettuccine or whatever pasta you have on hand with this Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce or Stovetop Mac and Cheese.
- For vegetable sides, Easy Roasted Green Beans or Easy Glazed Carrots are definitely winners.
Leftovers and storage
- Any leftovers will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container really well.
- Reheat in a small saucepan over a low heat until warmed through. You can also microwave them slowly over a low heat in shorter increments, but be careful since it could dry out when reheating. Definitely use a little additional butter if it needs it.
- Freeze for up to 3 months in individual portions.
Do you agree this is the best pork tenderloin cooking technique you’ve tried? Have any questions? Let me know what you think below! You can also find me on Instagram.
Easy Baked Pork Tenderloin
- 2 pork tenderloins about 1 pound each
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper or to taste
- 1/4 cup butter cut into pats
- Chopped parsley optional, to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400F and move the rack to the middle position.
- Prep the tenderloins by cutting off any excess fat and the silver skin (the tough part that may cover some of each tenderloin). Pat the tenderloins dry with paper towel.
- Add the spice rub ingredients (brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper) to a small bowl and stir together. Coat the tenderloins all over with the spice rub.
- Add the pork tenderloins to a 9×13 (or similar size) baking dish and place the butter pats on top.
- Bake, uncovered, for about 25 minutes or until the pork has reached 145F. Let it rest 5-10 minutes before slicing it into medallions so it remains juicy.
- Pour the pan juices over the pork (they're also great over a side dish like mashed potatoes) and sprinkle with chopped parley if desired.
- Serves 6-8 depending on portion size. Halve all ingredients if you want to make one (one pound) pork tenderloin.
- This recipe is NOT for pork loin, which is a different, tougher cut of meat and will need to be cooked for longer.
- Pork that’s 145F in the thickest part is safe to eat. Farming practices have changed over the years, and it’s no longer recommended to overcook pork. This recipe, by the time it’s finished resting, yields pork that is slightly more cooked than the 145F but may still have some pink in the middle (this is totally safe!). Use an instant read meat thermometer so you never over or undercook meat again.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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