The Best Baked Pork Tenderloin Recipe

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There is nothing more comforting than a perfect baked pork tenderloin to bring your family together at the dinner table on a hectic weeknight.

This recipe is the perfect beginner method to make pork tenderloin – with over 5,000 five-star reviews. We’ve been using this recipe for over a decade, and so have Sweet C’s readers!

This is the best-reviewed pork tenderloin – for a reason!

sliced pork tenderloin with parsley on top of aluminum foil
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We add lots of tips in our recipe – so you can make this dish, understand why it works and what each ingredient means to the flavor of a recipe. I also answer questions my friends and family have asked about my recipes, to help home cooks of any skill level better understand the processes we use and why!

carved pork tenderloin sliced and garnished with parsley in a garlic butter gravy on tinfoil

Pork Tenderloin in the Oven

One of my favorite easy recipes has always been an easy baked pork tenderloin – it is hearty, rich and delicious, super easy to make, and so delicious.

I didn’t grow up eating a lot of pork because my dad wasn’t a fan of it – so when I got married and I was making more of the food my husband loved, it took me a while to find a pork tenderloin recipe that didn’t make a huge mess, stick to the pan, dry out completely, or just give super bland flavor – so I worked to make the perfect recipe for super tender, juicy pork like I’d get in restaurants.

We perfected a foil-baking method that steams and roasts a seared pork tenderloin as it cooks – all in a sauce that requires nothing more than some time in the oven.

To make this dish, we’re going to quickly skillet-sear for better color and flavor, 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 – so it works in a large number of diets and eating plans.

For a slightly sweeter kick, check out my Teriyaki Baked Pork Tenderloin recipe.

pork tenderloin sliced and garnished with parsley on tinfoil.

How to Bake Pork Tenderloin

Since tenderloin is a cut of meat that has very little fat, it can become tough very quickly when overcooked – I’m providing my best tips and tricks to bake the perfect dinner, every single time you make it.

  • Extra virgin olive oil – olive oil is a great lightly flavored fat that is perfect for browning pork tenderloin in before baking. Since pork tenderloin doesn’t have much fat, it is helpful to add oil to a pan to help brown it quickly without cooking through, for the best color and extra caramelized flavor!
  • Celtic sea salt and fresh cracked pepper – I find using a high quality celtic sea salt not only improves the flavor of foods, but doesn’t have as high a sodium content as table salt, even though it often has a “saltier” flavor. Likewise, we prefer using freshly cracked pepper for the most intense and flavorful heat from peppercorns.
  • Pork tenderloin – pork tenderloin is a fabulous low carb, lower fat meat that has a classic pork flavor and juicy texture when baked – the meat is easy to pair with other dishes, doesn’t contain much fat or gristle for picky eaters to fuss over, and is easy to prepare for beginners.
  • Butter – butter helps to add flavor and fat to this recipe by acting as a baste for our pork as it cooks in foil after browning, and mixes with pork’s juices and herbs to create a rich delicious garlic butter sauce that is great drizzled over sliced pork tenderloin when it is done cooking.
  • Garlic – garlic has a pungeant, earthy flavor that is a nice addition to pork’s light flavor, making it meatier, and giving a richer, more developed flavor. You can use a couple of teaspoons garlic powder to add even more garlic flavor.
  • Basil*
  • Oregano*
  • Thyme*
  • Parsley*
  • Sage*
  • *OR 2 tbsp Italian Herb Seasoning Blend – you can mix your own Italian Herbs or use pre-mixed herbs, fresh or dried, to flavor pork. Since pork has a light flavor, we’re going with classic Italian herbs that won’t overpower the pork and make a lovely sauce when mixed with butter as pork bakes. See other herb and flavoring ideas below.

Once you’ve gathered all of your ingredients, we’re going to follow this method:

My Pro Tip

Recipe Tip

Be sure to select a pork tenderloin, not a pork loin, when making this recipe. A pork loin will work – but it needs to roast in the oven longer.

Since both are lean cuts of meat, the method is basically the same, just with different timing. Always use an instant-read thermometer to gauge your progress!

  • Prep. 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.
  • Sear. In a large pan, heat oil until shimmery. Add to pan, and cook on all sides until dark golden brown.
  • Bake. 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 145 degrees internally at the widest, thickest part of the tenderloin (about 25 minutes for a 2lb roast).
  • Rest. When pork has come to temperature, remove and let rest, tented with foil, for at least five minutes to lock in juices.
  • Enjoy! Slice against the grain and serve immediately.
sliced pork tenderloin in a foil pouch with butter and garlic

Tips and Tricks to Bake Pork Tenderloin & FAQs

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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!

Pork loin vs tenderloin. 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 tenderloin is much longer and skinnier than a 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. If you’re going for a one-pot pork loin dinner, please check out my knockout Garlic Herb Butter Pork Loin and Potatoes recipe!
  • To make this recipe with a loin, which is larger and thicker than a tenderloin, continue with the recipe exactly as called for below, but plan on an additional 20-30 minutes (this will vary depending on your loin – I always advocate for cooking off temperature, rather than time, when cooking meat, but this time-frame should help you plan your dinner around.)

How to store leftovers. If you love this easy recipe, but can’t eat it all, never fear – it is beautiful and delicious as leftovers.

  • In the fridge. Place all leftovers in an airtight container and keep in refrigerator for up to three days.
  • In the freezer. 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.

How 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. Of course, you can always microwave to piping hot, too.

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) – if you’d like to kick your dinner up a bit, or are trying a different technique, marinating makes this recipe taste even better.

Remove silver skin. If your tenderloin has a large sliver skin (the tough, white membrane that is often trimmed off and removed by many grocers, but is sometimes still left on), you can remove it by making a small slit with a sharp knife and pulling the membrane off the tenderloin to remove before marinating and cooking. This process is just like removing silver skin from ribs.

Brown before roasting. 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 and brings a rich, caramelized flavor that makes this recipe irresistible! Searing meat before baking also helps it look less gray, giving it a much more appetizing appearance.

Let rest. Let meat rest for 5-10 minutes after removing from the oven to lock in the juices – don’t cut too early, or they will all run out!

Done at 145 degrees. The USDA set the guideline of 145 degrees as a safe temperature for pork consumption. This might look a touch pink – pink pork is no longer an indicator of “doneness”, or that the tenderloin is unsafe to eat, as long as it has reached 145 degrees. Don’t overcook out of fear and turn your dinner tough and dry!

Remove pork at 140 degrees. Cooking to 145 means removing tenderloin from the oven at 140 degrees – as it will carryover cook the additional 5 degrees in the foil as you let it rest.

Try other herbs & spices. Add a couple teaspoons garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, rosemary – even some mustard – to customize your own flavors! You want 1-2 tablespoons of seasoning total, so you can mix and match your favorites as you’d like.

Make gravy. Combine pan sauce drippings with a simple roux in a pan with some broth to make a rich, decadent gravy. Simmer on the stove at medium-high heat, whisking frequently, until thickened.

Go by temp, not by time. I get a lot of comments from readers saying they loved the recipe, but it took longer or shorter. ALWAYS go by the temperature from an electronic meat thermometer, rather than your clock. Tenderloins can vary wildly in size and shape, and are often confused with larger pork loins. The time in the recipe is simply a guideline – do not use it as the rule!

pork tenderloin in garlic butter on aluminum foil

Recipe FAQs


What temperature should I cook pork at?

This recipe calls for baking pork at 380 degrees in a foil pouch.
While this is lower than many roast pork recipes, it works with the pouch to keep your pork from drying out and staying tender and juicy!

Is it better to cook a pork tenderloin at 350 or 400?

We have in the past called for 350 degrees for this recipe, but after reader feedback have adjusted the recipe to be 380 degrees – high heat, but not so hot the outside cooks and dries out while the middle takes longer to come to temperature.

It’s important to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) in the center before eating.

Should pork tenderloin be cooked fast or slow?

This recipe will result in juicy, tender pork tenderloin medallions – for a pork tenderloin steak – so we are cooking it fast, like a steak.

Pork tenderloin is great in a slow cooker, too – but will have a different texture. The outside sear won’t be as crisp, and the meat will have a softer texture.

Should I Use Fresh or Dried Herbs?

You can use either fresh or dried herbs in this recipe.
If using fresh, you might want to add a bit more, since dried herbs are more intense.

Can Pork Be Pink?

Pork can be slightly pink and fully safe to eat as long as it has reached 145 degrees internal temperature.

When is pork tenderloin done cooking?

Remove the pork from the oven at 140 degrees, opening a small bit of the foil pouch to release steam, rest, and carry over cook until the meat is 145 degrees internally after a 10-15 minute resting period.

How can I reheat pork?

Pork can be reheated in a foil pouch, baked in the oven at 350 degrees until it reached 140 degrees F.
It can also be pan fried with a little butter, or microwaved, to reheat. Use or reheat pork within 3-4 days.

Do I need to remove silver skin from pork tenderloin?

If your tenderloin has a large silver skin, you may remove it. However, if you don’t want to remove the silver skin, this method will give you tender pork regardless.

baked garlic pork tenderloin sliced and garnished with parsley on tinfoil.

What to Serve With Baked Pork Tenderloin

Serve this dinner with veggies, no knead bread, sautéed vegetables (this easy pan fried broccolini or this roasted green bean salad are favorites of mine), lighter air fryer french fries, or perfect buttery soft Parker house style dinner rolls!

We also LOVE to spoon Zhoug (Skhug) Sauce over pork – this tangy spicy cilantro sauce is heaven.

If you’re looking for a pork chop version, please check out my guide to cooking pork chops, as well as this garlic butter pork chop recipe that is super simple and a huge family favorite!

a slice of baked pork tenderloin on foil pouch

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Print

Best Baked Pork Tenderloin

The Best Garlic Baked Pork Tenderloin recipe – delicious easy melt in your mouth tender pork tenderloin baked to perfection in a buttery garlic sauce.
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine American
Keyword baked pork tenderloin, easy, foil pouch, garlic butter, oven, pork, pork tenderloin, roast pork
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 344kcal
Author Courtney ODell

Ingredients

Instructions

  • (Optional) Place pork tenderloin in a Ziplock bag or bowl and cover in the Italian Dressing, marinate for 12-24 hours.
    raw seasoned pork tenderloin
  • Preheat oven to 380 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 meat to pan and quickly sear on all sides until dark golden brown.
    pan with browned pork tenderloin in it
  • 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 145 degrees internally at the widest, thickest part of the tenderloin (about 30 minutes for a 2lb roast)
    browned pork tenderloin on a piece of foil on a baking sheet
  • 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 380, wrapped in foil, until piping hot when ready to serve.

Video

Notes

Pork tenderloin might look pink in middle – if thermometer reads 145 degrees in center of tenderloin, it is fully cooked, regardless of color.
This recipe should be gauged on TEMPERATURE – not time – as tenderloin shapes and weights vary wildly.

Nutrition

Serving: 3oz | Calories: 344kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 131mg | Sodium: 1400mg | Fiber: 1g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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509 Comments

  1. Linda Lester says:

    Had to put back in the oven…25 minutes is not long enough. I know you say 145° doneness temp, but for anyone reading this and you don’t have a meat thermometer…for your safety, I would cook a bit longer. Smells so yummy, can’t wait to try this?

  2. Julie says:

    I, too, thought it was called for too much butter. 4 ounces is a whole stick. Maybe it was to read 4 tablespoons. I used less than half of the butter it called for. But SO good. It is company worthy and I will be making it for guests in the future. Thanks for posting.

  3. Elena Thomson says:

    I HAVE STRUGGLED WITH THIS CUT. THIS CAME OUT GREAT. I WILL BE MAKING IT AGAIN FOR SURE. pTHANKS A MILLION

  4. Lexi says:

    Made this tonight, adjusted for a 3.5 lb. Tenderloin. It was amazing! I just have one question – isn’t 4oz of butter an entire (American-sized) stick of butter? That seemed an awful lot to me, so I put just under 2oz on my tenderloin (I couldn’t get all the pats to fit on top). Is 4oz a typo? I feel like I could do 1oz (2Tbs.)and it would come out just as good.

    Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  5. Kathryn says:

    I don’t usually comment/review. But… I made this tonight looking for something different from the usual options I use for pork loin. My husband rated it 8.5/10 which is almost unheard of! Served it with steamed baby potatoes, carrots and cavolo nero with lemon garlic butter.

    I will be trawling the rest of your recipes. 😉

    1. Kim Boner says:

      Seriously, 8.5 out of 10, Sorry, just made me laugh, most people either say yeah, cook it again or ditch the recipe, they don’t use a scale