This Pork Tenderloin Recipe (Dutch Oven or Air Fryer) is made with a homemade rub for the tenderloin and so its crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
As a cut cherished for its tenderness and versatility, the pork tenderloin has become a favorite on dinner tables across the globe. Whether you're a seasoned cook or a culinary enthusiast looking to impress, mastering the art of preparing this delectable dish will undoubtedly elevate your cooking prowess.
This pork tenderloin has the crispiest crust and loaded with spices. It is a great for meal prepping and having them as left overs. It is hearty, rich and delicious. If you have never made pork tenderloin recipe before, this is a great beginners recipes and you don’t need must experience cooking. I love making this for family dinners. You can substitute the brown sugar with erythritol for a keto alternative.
- What is Pork Tenderloin?
- Why you will love this recipe
- Pork Tenderloin Recipe Ingredients
- How to make Pork Tenderloin
- What to serve with Pork Tenderloin
- Pork Tenderloin Recipe Variations
- How to store Pork Tenderloin
- Pork Tenderloin Recipe Top tips
- Pork Tenderloin Recipe (Dutch Oven or Air Fryer)
What is Pork Tenderloin?
Pork tenderloin is a cut of meat that comes from the muscle running alongside the backbone of a pig. It is a lean and tender piece of meat, making it one of the most sought-after cuts in the pork industry. Pork tenderloin is long and narrow in shape, typically ranging from 1 to 1.5 pounds in weight. Due to its tenderness and mild flavor, pork tenderloin is a versatile cut that can be prepared in various ways, such as grilling, roasting, pan-searing, or even being used in stir-fries. It's important not to overcook it, as it can quickly become dry and tough.
Why you will love this recipe
- Flavorful and Balanced: The combination of brown sugar, paprika, cumin, oregano, and other spices creates a well-balanced and flavorful rub that enhances the natural taste of the pork tenderloin.
- Tender and Juicy: Pork tenderloin is a naturally tender cut of meat, and when cooked properly, it becomes even juicier. The spice rub adds to the succulence of the meat, making it a delightful eating experience.
- Easy to Make: This recipe is relatively simple and doesn't require complicated cooking techniques. With just a few basic steps, you can have a delicious pork dish ready to serve.
Pork Tenderloin Recipe Ingredients
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Pork Tenderloin
- Brown sugar
- Black pepper
- Onion powder
- Ground cayenne
- Olive oil
See recipe card for Pork Tenderloin Recipe quantities.
How to make Pork Tenderloin
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Trim the pork tenderloin of any fat. Coat the pork tenderloin with olive oil. Rub the spice mixture on the entire pork tenderloin.
- Air Fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Add the tenderloin into the air fryer and air fry for 20 minutes, until the internal temperature is 145°F.
- Dutch Oven: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the dutch oven on the stove and sear the pork over high heat on all sides until nicely browned. Transfer to the oven in the dutch oven, cover, and roast for 20 minutes. If you are using a cast iron, you can cover with aluminum foil.
Take the pork tenderloin out and wrap in aluminum foil.
Let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
What to serve with Pork Tenderloin
- Roasted Vegetables: Roast vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, or bell peppers in the oven with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. The natural sweetness and caramelization of the roasted veggies go wonderfully with the pork.
- Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes make a comforting and classic side dish that complements the tender pork. You can also try mashed sweet potatoes for a slightly sweeter twist.
- Green Beans Almondine: Lightly blanched green beans sautéed in butter with toasted almonds add a crunchy and nutty element to the meal.
- Grilled Asparagus: Grilled asparagus spears seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper provide a fresh and vibrant side to the pork tenderloin.
- Brown Sugar: You can replace brown sugar with an equal amount of granulated sugar or coconut sugar if you prefer. Keep in mind that the flavor may vary slightly with different sugars.
- Paprika: If you don't have paprika, you can use smoked paprika for a smokier flavor or substitute it with chili powder if you want a bit more heat.
- Cumin: Ground cumin adds earthy warmth, but you can substitute it with ground coriander for a milder citrusy flavor.
- Oregano: If you don't have oregano, dried thyme or rosemary can be good alternatives. You can even use Italian seasoning, which typically contains a blend of herbs.
- Onion Powder: If you don't have onion powder, you can finely mince fresh onion or use garlic powder instead for added flavor.
- Ground Cayenne: Adjust the amount of ground cayenne or omit it altogether if you prefer a milder flavor.
- Olive Oil: Any other cooking oil like vegetable oil, canola oil, or grapeseed oil can be used as a substitute for olive oil.
Pork Tenderloin Recipe Variations
- Honey Mustard Glazed Pork Tenderloin: Create a sweet and tangy glaze using a mixture of honey, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, and a splash of soy sauce. Brush the glaze over the pork tenderloin before roasting it in the oven.
- Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin: Mix together finely chopped fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, and rosemary with breadcrumbs, garlic, and olive oil. Coat the pork tenderloin with this herb mixture and then roast it until it forms a flavorful crust.
- Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin: Marinate the pork tenderloin in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, minced ginger, and garlic. Grill or bake the marinated pork until it's tender and caramelized.
- Maple Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin: Combine maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Use this glaze to coat the pork tenderloin before roasting or grilling it.
If you have some leftovers, you should shred the pork and make these Pork Birria Tacos. Just start at step number 4.
- Dutch Oven: A Dutch oven is a heavy, thick-walled pot with a tight-fitting lid. It's ideal for slow-cooking and braising dishes like pork tenderloin.
- Tongs or Fork: For handling the pork tenderloin while searing and transferring it in and out of the Dutch oven.
- Meat Thermometer: To ensure that the pork tenderloin reaches the proper internal temperature for doneness (145°F/63°C).
- Cutting Board and Knife: For slicing the cooked pork tenderloin before serving.
- Air Fryer: An air fryer is a countertop appliance that cooks food by circulating hot air around it, producing a crispy exterior without the need for much oil. Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. I used my Instant Pot with the air frying feature but I hear the Ninja Air fryer works well too.
How to store Pork Tenderloin
- Refrigeration: If you have purchased fresh pork tenderloin and plan to use it within a few days, store it in the refrigerator. Keep it in its original packaging if unopened, or transfer it to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag if opened. Make sure to place it on a plate or tray to catch any potential drips.
- Freezing: If you want to store pork tenderloin for a longer period (up to 6 months), you can freeze it. Wrap the pork tightly in plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or freezer paper. Alternatively, place it in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag and remove as much air as possible before sealing. Remember to label the package with the date to keep track of its freshness.
- Optimal Temperature: Ensure that your refrigerator is set to 40°F (4°C) or below to keep the pork at a safe temperature and prevent bacterial growth.
- Refrigeration Time: For fresh pork tenderloin, it's best to use it within 2 to 3 days after purchase. If frozen, consume it within 6 months for the best quality.
- Safe Handling: Always follow safe food handling practices when dealing with raw pork. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw pork away from other foods, especially those that won't be cooked before consumption.
- Thawing Frozen Pork Tenderloin: When ready to use frozen pork tenderloin, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Avoid thawing at room temperature, as this can lead to uneven thawing and potential food safety risks.
- Cooking from Frozen: If you're in a hurry, you can cook frozen pork tenderloin directly in the oven or air fryer. Just ensure it reaches a safe internal temperature (145°F/63°C) before consuming.
- Leftovers: If you have cooked pork tenderloin leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consume within 3 to 4 days.
Pork Tenderloin Recipe Top tips
- Marinate for Flavor: For extra flavor, consider marinating the pork tenderloin before cooking. Use a marinade made with your choice of herbs, spices, citrus juices, soy sauce, or even a combination of sweet and savory ingredients. Marinating for at least 30 minutes (or even overnight) can enhance the taste and tenderness of the meat.
- Brine for Moisture: If you have the time, consider brining the pork tenderloin. A simple brine solution of water, salt, sugar, and optional herbs or spices can help the meat retain moisture during cooking, resulting in a juicier end product.
- Don't Overcook: Pork tenderloin is a lean cut and can become dry if overcooked. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C) for safe consumption. Cooking beyond this point can lead to dryness, so monitor the temperature closely.
- Sear for Flavor: Before roasting or grilling, sear the pork tenderloin on all sides in a hot skillet with a little oil. Searing adds a delicious crust and enhances the overall flavor of the dish.
- Rest Before Slicing: After cooking, let the pork tenderloin rest for a few minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to redistribute within the meat, ensuring a juicier and more tender result.
- Use a Rub or Spice Blend: Create a rub or spice blend using your favorite herbs and spices to add depth of flavor to the pork tenderloin. The combination of spices like paprika, garlic powder, cumin, and black pepper works well, but feel free to get creative and tailor it to your taste.
- Tie the Tenderloin: Pork tenderloins can have a tapered end, which can cause uneven cooking. To ensure even cooking, consider tying the tenderloin with kitchen twine to create a more uniform shape.
- Adjust Cooking Time: The cooking time may vary depending on the size and thickness of the pork tenderloin. Always use a meat thermometer to gauge doneness rather than relying solely on time.
- Add Sauces or Glazes: Elevate the flavor by brushing the cooked pork tenderloin with a glaze or sauce. Whether it's a honey mustard glaze, a balsamic reduction, or a fruity salsa, the added sauce can complement and enhance the dish.