Perfect pork every time - The Best Baked Garlic Butter Pork Tenderloin recipe ever - cooked in a rich buttery garlic sauce and oven roasted to tender perfection in a simple recipe that is perfect for beginner or experienced home cooks!
This dish comes together in under an hour – great for meal prep for weekday lunches, and makes amazing leftovers for a healthy, low carb keto or paleo diet eating plan, too!
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One of my favorite easy recipes has always been an easy baked pork tenderloin – its hearty, rich and delicious, super easy to make, and soooooo delicious.
This version is an incredibly versatile dinner that tastes great with a ton of different preparations – and is great on its own, with veggies, in stir frys and salads, or even sandwiches and wraps!
We're going to quickly pan sear and then pop it into the oven where it cozies up to the most amazing garlic butter seasoning - making it's own gravy right in the pan.
This dinner is naturally gluten and grain free, and is also naturally low-carb.
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Serve this dinner with sautéed vegetables (this easy pan fried broccolini or this roasted green bean salad are favorites of mine), lighter air fryer french fries, or alongside cauliflower rice, rice pilaf, or some loaded nacho fries!
Pork Tenderloin vs. Pork Loin
I get a lot of questions on this recipe on whether to use a tenderloin or loin - and what the difference is between tenderloin and loin since they are similar cuts from the pig, and can both be used in this recipe.
The two cuts are from similar areas (off the back of the pig), and are both leaner and respond to the same cooking methods, but a pork tenderloin is much longer and skinnier than a pork loin.
Loins tend to be much fatter, much heavier, and over 3 lbs – while a tenderloin will be longer, skinnier, and around 1-2 pounds.
For this recipe, I am calling for a Pork Tenderloin – but a loin will also work with the modification for time below.
How To Use Pork Loin Instead of Pork Tenderloin
To make this recipe with a pork loin, which is larger and thicker than a tenderloin, continue with the recipe exactly as called for below, but plan on an additional 10-30 minutes (this will vary wildly depending on your pork loin - I always advocate for cooking off temperature, rather than time, when cooking meat.)
Simply check your meat's internal temperature as it bakes, and monitor for doneness.
You’re looking for slightly pink meat in the middle, as food safety rules have changed and pork no longer needs to be cooked all the way to fully opaque and white in the middle.
How To Keep Pork From Drying Out
Since tenderloin has little fat, it can become tough very quickly when overcooked - I'm providing my best tips and tricks to keep your meat tender and moist below:
Marinate Before Cooking
Marinating or brining a tenderloin before cooking will always help to soften the meat and keep it from drying out.
I love using a bottle of simple Italian Dressing or a cup of olive oil with some lemon juice, salt, and pepper for an easy overnight marinade.
I'm not calling for marinade in this specific recipe because we're wrapping it in foil and slathering it in butter so it cooks in its own sort of gravy (I designed this recipe to taste great even if you didn't remember to marinate) - but if you'd like to kick your pork tenderloin up a bit, marinating makes this recipe even better.
Look for "Pre-Seasoned" Cuts of Meat
Pre-seasoned tenderloins from your grocer are often dry-brined with salt beforehand, so it doesn't need additional marinating or brining.
While I prefer to make my own marinade and seasonings so I can control the flavor, if you always forget to marinate or just don't have time, this is a great way to skip that step.
Pork dries out very quickly when overcooked - and the meat can become tough and very chewy.
I often pull mine at 140-145 degrees and tent with foil to continue carryover cooking as it rests for about 10 minutes before serving.
You can let it rest for up to 15 minutes before serving while you finish up some side dishes, too!
Tips to a Perfect Baked Pork Tenderloin:
These tips for how to cook tenderloin in the oven will help you get a perfect dinner, no matter what herbs or marinades you use with it.
I like to take these tips to make all sorts of flavor combinations in addition - you can make this recipe with all sorts of herbs and spices!
Brown Pork Before Baking
Get a good sear in a cast iron or heavy pan before baking.
Getting a good sear first helps seal in the juices from the pork tenderloin and brings a rich, caramelized flavor that makes the pork tenderloin irresistible!
Let Pork Rest After Cooking
Let it rest for 5-10 minutes after removing form the oven to lock in the juices - don't cut too early, or they will all run out!
Not cutting pork tenderloin too early is one of the most important tips - let your dinner rest and tent in foil before cutting.
Cook to 145 Degrees
With newer guidelines for animal care, trichinosis is a much smaller risk than it used to be - and the USDA's guidelines to cook pork have dropped to 150 degrees internal temperature.
This might look a touch pink - pink pork is no longer an indicator of "doneness", or that the pork is unsafe to eat.
Remember that if you're checking the cooked temperature with a thermometer, you can be sure your meal is fully cooked - without worrying about the doneness.
Don't overcook out of fear and turn your dinner tough and dry!
How To Store, Freeze, and Reheat Leftovers
If you love this easy recipe, but can't eat it all, never fear - it is beautiful and delicious as leftovers.
Since we're baking this dinner in a garlic butter sauce, it will already have a leg up in staying juicy and tender when reheated.
Follow the steps below for perfect reheated leftovers - and for best results, do not reheat in the microwave.
I know in offices there is limited space, so obviously you'll go ahead and heat in thee microwave if you have nothing else to use (and it will still be great!) but for the absolute best results, reheat in the oven, while wrapped in foil and heat to piping hot.
To Store Leftovers
Place in an airtight container and keep in refrigerator for up to three days.
To Freeze Leftovers
To freeze so you can eat later, place in a plastic bag or wrap in plastic wrap and keep in freezer for up to three months.
Try to freeze in small batches - ideally, you will freeze in individual servings, or the amount you will need to reheat.
If you freeze a large tenderloin and go to thaw and reheat it, you shouldn't freeze again afterwards - so try to freeze only as much as you will be eating again when reheating in each freezer bag.
To Reheat Leftovers
Let frozen leftovers thaw naturally in the refrigerator overnight, and bake at 350, wrapped in foil, until piping hot when ready to serve.
If reheating from the refrigerator, bake at 350 in a foil pouch until piping hot.
You can also pan-fry slices of pork tenderloin in a bit of butter or olive oil - simply cook on medium until very hot - and serve.
Pork can be microwaved to reheat - but it can dry out and make meat tougher, so I'm adding a few ideas to keep it tender, juicy, and delicious in the next sentences.
I opt for a toaster oven when possible, since it heats more evenly and you can keep the pork in a foil pouch - but I understand in offices this isn't always an option.
If you can pick toaster oven over a microwave, add meat to a foil pouch with a pat of butter and heat at 350 until hot (this will vary wildly on the amount of pork you reheat, so I am not giving a time.)
If you're microwaving, I reccomend saving some of the garlic butter sauce from cooking and making sure to spoon it over the pork you will be microwaving later - it will help keep all that delicious butter on the meat so it doesn't dry out.
Again, the timing will vary wildly based on the amount you reheat - but always microwave in 30 second bursts, and flip/rotate on dish so it can heat evenly.
If you think your meat looks like it's drying out before it's fully reheated, put a pat of butter on the top, or drizzle a little chicken stock or gravy over it and continue microwaving to hot.
To Make This Baked Pork Tenderloin Recipe You'll Need:
While this easy recipe requires no special equipment, there are a couple tried and true kitchen favorites that help making this dish so much easier - no matter your experience level in the kitchen!
Any large baking sheet, casserole dish, or oven-safe vessel will work - make sure it has a bit of a lip in case you spill a little of the garlic butter out of the foil pouch when cooking or moving the baked pork tenderloin in/out of the oven.
I personally love cooking in foil pouches to help lock in all of the amazing garlic and butter flavor - as well as to let the steam inside the pouch cook the pork even faster.
If you're concerned about cooking with aluminum foil, you can use parchment paper and fold into a little pouch, or just skip it entirely and bake your pork on a baking sheet that has been lightly greased, or the pan you use to sear it (as long as the handle is oven-safe, of course!)
-Large Skillet or Frying Pan
For the best flavor, I reccomend pre-searing baked meats in a frying pan before baking.
This step helps to add a rich, meaty flavor and a nice crust on the outside - plus pre-searing helps meat not look grey.
I look for pans that are oven-safe, since I often like to sear meats and then pop them in the oven to cook.
Pans that are cast-iron, steel, or enamel are always my first picks for their natural nonstick properties that make cooking pork and all types of meats and vegetables a breeze.
Since this recipe starts off in a heavy pan and is transferred to a baking sheet, a large set of tongs helps to transfer the meat from the pan to the baking sheet without burning your hands.
Look for tongs coated in silicone at the tips for more nonstick lifting - I love using those when cooking fish, shrimp, and scallops!
A high quality digital meat thermometer is an essential tool in my kitchen - while you can go by time of a recipe, a thermometer is the only way to tell when your meat is done to perfection, until you get used to cooking this cut over and over.
I look for thermometers that are rapid-read and produce quick results, since I want to keep all the heat from escaping the oven and don't want to just have it hanging open for minutes on end.
The Best Baked Garlic Pork Tenderloin Recipe
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Do you love Pork Chops? Want to make this recipe but you only have pork chops - please head here for my Baked Garlic Pork Chop Recipe.
Grill masters - be sure to check out my never-dry Grilled Pork Tenderloin recipe for temperature and cooking times.
Pressure Cooker Aficionados - to make this pork tenderloin in an Instant pot, please check out my Best Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin recipe ever - which lists complete cooking times and pressure release instructions.
These recipes are so simple, easy, and BURSTING with flavor - they are guaranteed to knock your socks off!
The Best Baked Garlic Butter Pork Tenderloin recipe ever - perfect pork seared in a rich buttery garlic sauce and oven roasted to tender perfection.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp celtic sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
- 2 lb pork tenderloin, optional: pre-marinate pork before cooking
- 4 tbsp butter, sliced into 4-6 pats
- 2 tbsp diced garlic
- 1 tsp dried basil*
- 1 tsp dried oregano*
- 1 tsp dried thyme*
- 1 tsp dried parsley*
- 1/2 tsp dried sage*
- *OR 2 tbsp Italian Herb Seasoning Blend
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- In a small bowl, combine garlic, basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, and sage. Set aside.
- Generously season meat with salt and pepper.
- In a large pan, heat oil until shimmery.
- Add to pan, and cook on all sides until dark golden brown.
- Transfer to baking sheet.
- Generously coat with herb mix.
- Place pats of butter on top of the pork.
- Wrap in foil, bake until meat is 150 degrees internally at the widest, thickest part of the tenderloin (about 25 minutes.)
- When pork has come to temperature, remove and let rest, tented with foil, for at least five minutes to lock in juices.
- Slice against the grain and serve immediately.
- To store leftovers, place in an airtight container and keep in refrigerator for up to three days.
- To freeze leftovers, place in a plastic bag or wrap in plastic wrap and keep in freezer for up to three months.
- To reheat, let thaw naturally in the refrigerator overnight, and bake at 350, wrapped in foil, until piping hot when ready to serve.
Amount Per Serving Calories 449Saturated Fat 13gCholesterol 188mgSodium 253mgProtein 47g
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