Best Baked Pork Tenderloin
Dec 05, 2022, Updated Jan 31, 2024
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Tender, juicy, delicious and delicious with a crunchy crust – the best baked pork tenderloin recipe ever has loads of garlic butter flavor baked to perfection in less than 40 minutes!
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Easy Garlic Baked Pork Tenderloin
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.
This is a great recipe to try if you’ve never cooked pork before, as it is perfect for even beginner home cooks – though the flavor is rich enough to please even those with a lot of experience cooking! This recipe has been one of the top rated on the internet for some time now – with over 3 thousand five star reviews! It’s no secret why- this method brings perfect, tender, juicy pork that is easy to whip up and melt in your mouth delicious.
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. For a slightly sweeter kick, check out my Teriyaki Baked Pork Tenderloin recipe.
You can also find some of our favorite pork recipes – like our garlic pork chops, air fryer pork chops, crunchy baked pulled pork, slow cooker pork steaks, and more in our complete pork recipe archives.
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, so it can get a sear on all sides before going into the oven, 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. More intense salty taste, with less sodium. 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.
- *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.
Once you’ve gathered all of your ingredients, we’re going to follow this method:
- 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.
Tips and Tricks to Bake Pork Tenderloin & FAQs
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!
My Pro 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. Always use a meat thermometer to gauge your progress!
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.
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.
Don’t overcook. Pork dries out very quickly when overcooked – and the meat can become tough and very chewy. I pull my tenderloin at 140 degrees and tent with foil to continue carryover cooking as it rests for about 10 minutes before serving.
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.
Add different spices to your taste. 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 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!
Cook to 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.
What temperature should I cook pork at?
This recipe calls for baking pork at 350 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!
When cooking a lean cut of pork like tenderloin, it’s generally recommended to cook it at a temperature of 350°F to 375°F (175°C to 190°C). However, cooking at a higher temperature of 400°F (200°C) can also be done if desired, as long as the cooking time is adjusted accordingly.
Cooking at a higher temperature will result in a faster cooking time, but it can also cause the pork tenderloin to dry out if not carefully monitored. 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 removing it from the oven, regardless of the cooking temperature used.
This recipe can be cooked using either a fast or slow cooking method, depending on personal preference and the recipe being used.
Fast cooking methods like grilling or roasting at higher temperatures are great for getting a crispy exterior and locking in the juices, resulting in a flavorful and tender pork tenderloin. Methods like this recipe typically involve cooking the tenderloin for a shorter period of time, such as 15-20 minutes at 375°F for a 1-pound tenderloin.
Slow cooking methods like braising or slow-roasting at lower temperatures are better for achieving a more tender and juicy dinner. These methods typically involve cooking the pork for a longer period of time, such as 1-2 hours at 325°F (160°C) for a 1-pound tenderloin.
Ultimately, the best cooking method for cooking will depend on personal preference and the specific recipe being used.
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.
Pork can be slightly pink and fully safe to eat as long as it has reached 145 degrees internal temperature.
Pork needs to reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees to remove the risk of foodborne illness, but this will sometimes still have a light pink color.
Remove baked pork tenderloin from the oven at 140 degrees as it will carryover cook to 145 degrees as it rests before serving.
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.
If your tenderloin has a large silver skin you may remove it, however, this method will give you tender pork regardless.
Reheat individual slices of pork for about 30 seconds in the microwave.
What to Serve With Baked Pork Tenderloin
Serve this dinner with 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 alongside cauliflower rice, rice pilaf, 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.
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- 1 bottle Italian Salad Dressing (optional marinade)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
- 2 lb pork tenderloin
- 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
- (Optional) Place pork tenderloin in a Ziplock bag or bowl and cover in the Italian Dressing, marinate for 12-24 hours.
- 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 meat 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 145 degrees internally at the widest, thickest part of the tenderloin (about 25 minutes for a 2lb roast)
- 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.
Pork tenderloin might look pink in middle - if thermometer reads 145 degrees in center of tenderloin, it is fully cooked, regardless of color.
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Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 3 oz
Amount Per Serving Calories 344Total Fat 19gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 131mgSodium 1400mgCarbohydrates 2gFiber 1gSugar 0gProtein 40g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.