An easy recipe for oven-roasted pork tenderloin. Simply rub the pork with a tasty dry rub, quickly sear, then bake in a hot oven. It's juicy and delicious!
I've been making a couple of pork recipes often lately. One of them is this one. The other is bacon-wrapped tenderloin. Both are excellent and - just as important - very easy to make.
Even though pork tenderloin is quite lean, even leaner than pork chops, I really like it. It's tender and flavorful as long as you don't overcook it. If you're looking for a fattier cut, though, pork shoulder is best - try these pork shoulder steaks, they're amazing!
The ingredients you'll need
The list of ingredients is short and simple - oil, spices, and pork. Here's what you'll need to make roasted pork tenderloin (the exact measurements are included in the recipe card below):
Avocado oil: This neutral-tasting oil has a high smoke point, making it very appropriate for high-heat roasting.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you might want to reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Spices: Garlic powder, dried oregano, ground cumin, dried thyme, and smoked paprika. Make sure they are fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
Fresh pork tenderloin: Pick one that weighs about 1.25 lb. I get them at my local supermarket or at Whole Foods.
How to roast pork tenderloin in the oven
It's easy! You simply rub the pork with a tasty rub, quickly sear it in a skillet, then transfer to the oven to finish cooking. Here are the basic steps - the detailed instructions are in the recipe card below:
1. You start by mixing together the salt, pepper, and spices.
2. Rub this seasoning mixture all over the pork.
3. Sear the pork in a hot skillet on all sides.
4. Roast in the oven until fully cooked, 20-30 minutes at 450°F depending on its size and on your oven's temperature.
5. Let it rest before slicing.
As an alternative to searing in a skillet then roasting in a pan on a rack, you can also sear the meat in an ovenproof skillet, then transfer the skillet to the oven for roasting.
It's OK if your pork is pink!
In 2011, the USDA lowered its temperature recommendation for cooking whole cuts of pork, from 160 degrees (dry, tough, completely white meat) to 145 degrees (juicy, and slightly pink in the center) with a 3-minute rest period.
This change means that a cut of pork may still look pink when it reaches 145 degrees. That, says the USDA, is OK.
After years of being conditioned to expect pork to appear white when fully cooked, this change is not easy for many of us. But this is a good change: meat cooked to medium is nice and juicy, while well-done meat is very dry.
Let the meat rest before slicing
As with most whole roast recipes, it's important to allow the meat to rest before slicing it. This allows the juices to redistribute and settle and ensures succulent, juicy meat.
How to serve roasted pork tenderloin?
With any side dish you like! It's such a versatile main course. But since I cook this dish in a 450°F oven, I like to serve it with a side dish that I can cook in the same oven. So I often serve it with one of the following:
What about leftovers?
Leftovers keep fairly well in the fridge for 3-4 days, in an airtight container. Although they tend to dry out a bit when reheated so they're not as good as when served fresh.
When you rehat them, do so very gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power. I do like them with mayonnaise or Dijon mustard and with a sliced tomato in a sandwich made with 90-second bread or in a lettuce sandwich.
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Roasted Pork Tenderloin
- 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 ¼ lbs. pork tenderloin
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a roasting pan with foil. Fit it with a rack and lightly grease the rack with 1 teaspoon avocado oil.
- In a small bowl, use a fork to mix together the kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, cumin, thyme and smoked paprika.
- Sprinkle the seasoning mixture all over the pork tenderloin, then use your hands to rub it in, making sure it adheres.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. Add the avocado oil and brush to coat. Gently place the pork tenderloin in the hot skillet. Sear 2 minutes on the first side, without moving, to form a nice well-browned crust.
- Use tongs to gently flip to the other side, and sear 2 minutes on that side as well. Finish by searing the two remaining sides, 1 minute each.
- Turn the heat off. Use tongs to transfer the seared pork tenderloin to the prepared roasting rack. Place in the hot oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 145 degrees F (medium), 20-30 minutes. If roasting for longer than 20 minutes, cover the pork loosely with foil to prevent the top from burning.
- Remove the pork tenderloin from the oven. Loosely cover it with foil and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving.