How to cook pork tenderloin in the oven- sharing the best temperature and important steps to ensure perfectly cooked, juicy pork!
Pork tenderloin is the cut we reach for time and time again. Why? Because it is quick to cook, and if you cook it right, it ends up perfectly tender and juicy.
After sharing how to cook asparagus the other week, this week we are talking how to cook pork tenderloin!
Similar to chicken breast; pork tenderloin is lean, and prone to overcooking. And when overcooked? It gets dry dry dry.
Today I'm sharing my fail-proof oven recipe with you and three tips for perfect, juicy pork.
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Reasons to love this recipe
- it is ready in under 35 minutes
- it is low carb, paleo and gluten-free
- for very little effort, you get an amazingly delicious result!
Pork tenderloin sizes can vary, even within the same package. The most accurate way to know if your pork is ready is to check the internal temperature.
3 Tips for Perfect Pork Tenderloin
For this recipe, I tested several different variables.
Like my perfect baked chicken breast, I tested three temperatures to cook the pork tenderloin: 350°F, 400°F and 450°F. The pork cooked at 350°F was noticeably dryer than the hotter temps, possibly because it was in the oven for longer.
I can't honestly say I noticed a huge difference between 400 and 450, but I settled on 400°F because it is less prone to overcooking (because it can happen quickly towards the end of the cook time!).
- The takeaway: I recommend cooking your tenderloin at 400°F.
2. Time/Internal Temperature
It is recommended that you cook your tenderloin to an internal temperature of 145°F-160°F. The pork pictured in these photos was cooked to 145°F and is slightly pink in the middle. If you want it to be less pink, cook to 155°F!
Not all tenderloins are the same size, therefore, they will all require slightly different cook times. I recommend investing in a good digital thermometer so you can tell exactly when your pork tenderloin is cooked to 145°F.
How long to cook pork tenderloin at 400°F?
- For under 1 lb, I would check at 20 minutes (none of my tenderloins were under 1 lb so this is strictly an estimate)
- For 1 lb, the cook time is roughly 25 minutes to get to an internal temperature of 145°F
- For 1 ½, check at 30-35 minutes
Just like for perfect baked chicken breast, it is important to rest your pork tenderloin. If you cut into your tenderloin right after baking, all that delicious juice is going to run out everywhere and it will end up completely dry.
Resting allows the juices to settle evenly in the meat.
- cover with a baking dish and rest for 10 minutes before serving
How to cook pork tenderloin in the oven
There really are a million ways you can cook it, but I find simple is best.
- brush tenderloin with olive oil
- rub with spices (this rub has onion & garlic powder, salt, pepper, basil and oregano)
- roast in the oven until it reaches 145°F-160°F
- rest for 10 minutes (covered with a baking dish)
- slice and enjoy with a squeeze of lemon juice
How long do you cook pork tenderloin in oven at 400°F? It will really depend on the size and shape of your pork tenderloin, which is why I recommend investing in a good digital thermometer. Cook to an internal temperature of 145°F- 160°F.
Can I marinate the pork? Absolutely! I bet one of these 7 Chicken Marinades would go great with pork.
Can I cook it in the Instant Pot? YES. Check out this Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin with Soy Ginger Sauce.
Can I cook it in the slow cooker? Yes, HOWEVER beware that it will end up shredding. Personally I really enjoy the texture of sliced pork tenderloin and like to save the tougher cuts like pork shoulder for shredding. Check out my slow cooker pulled pork recipe here.
Serve it with
- Skillet Sesame Snap Peas
- Cauliflower Rice or Perfect Fluffy Rice
- Instant Pot Mashed Cauliflower
- Spiralized Cucumber Salad
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
- One of these 3 Broccolini Recipes
- Our Staple Kale Salad
Tips & equipment
How to Cook Pork Tenderloin
- 1- 1 ½ lb pork tenderloin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 lemon (sliced)
- Heat oven to 400°F.
- Brush pork tenderloin with olive oil
- Stir together all spices, and rub all over the pork tenderloin
- Roast in the pre-heated oven until the internal temperature reaches 145°F- 160°F. * check at 20 minutes for tenderloins under 1 lb* check at 25 minutes for 1 lb tenderloins* check at 30 minutes for over 1 lb
- When pork tenderloin reaches 145°F- 160°F, remove from oven, and cover with a baking dish. Rest for ten minutes.
- Slice and serve with lemon slices.