This pork tenderloin marinade is freaking amazing! With honey, soy sauce and garlic, it's sweet, sticky, tangy and kid-approved!
You guys know I love my marinades, but there is nothing more disappointing than taking the time to marinate your meat and then not being able to taste it, am I right?
Well. This pork tenderloin marinade is definitely not meek, and it's going to add flavor to your dinner!
With sweet honey, tangy soy sauce, and a punch of umami from fish sauce (which I promise does not taste fishy at all!), this marinade gives so much flavor to the tenderloin!
Not only is it delicious, but super easy to mix up. All you need is five minutes to get your meat into the marinade and you are set.
Don't forget to pin this post to save it for later!
Why this pork tenderloin marinade is so freaking amazing
- you can mix it up in 5 minutes from pantry staples
- it actually gives a ton of flavor to the pork tenderloin
- brushing some of the reserved marinade on the tenderloin gives it a sticky, delicious glaze
How to make it
I know I'm talking 'the best' but honestly I'm picky about my marinades. This pork tenderloin marinade is freaking delicious!
- shake up your marinade ingredients- soy sauce, honey, fish sauce, lime juice, chili powder, ground coriander and garlic.
- pour half the marinade over your pork tenderloin. You can marinate in a reusable silicone bag or a baking dish. If you use a baking dish, I'd flip the tenderloin over halfway through the marinating time. *reserve half the marinade for brushing onto the pork while cooking*
- marinate for 24 hours. I know I know, you want a 2 hour marinade but trust me, you're going to get SO MUCH more flavor if you take the full 24 hours to marinate.
- cook it up- I grilled my tenderloin, brushing the reserved marinade on as it cooks. You can also roast it in the oven (find cook times for pork tenderloin in the oven here!)
Can I skip the fish sauce in this marinade? I know I'm going to get asked this question because fish sauce freaks people out. The answer is I haven't tried without, but I bet you could swap the fish sauce for an equal amount of reduced sodium soy sauce to replace the umami flavor it gives to this marinade.
How long can I marinate this pork tenderloin? Disclaimer: I have only tried marinating for 24 hours. According to the USDA, you can safely marinate pork for up to 5 days! Isn't that crazy?
Personally, I would take a close look at the marinade ingredients. Are there any acids? (lime, lemon juice, vinegar, etc). If so, I would personally only do up to 48 hours, as acids run the risk of breaking tender cuts of meat (like pork tenderloin) down and make them 'mealy'.
Can I freeze pork tenderloin in a marinade? Yes yes and YES. I LOVE freezing meat in a marinade. If you have an already frozen pork tenderloin, do not thaw, simply add the marinade to the bag and pop it back into the freezer. OR you can add the marinade to the bag as you pull it out of the freezer.
How do I cook the pork tenderloin?
I've written this as a grilled pork tenderloin recipe, however you can actually cook it a few different ways.
- Grilled pork tenderloin- grill over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side, then for another 15 or so minutes (depending on the size of your tenderloin) over lower heat, brushing with reserved marinade and flipping every 4 minutes
- Instant Pot pork tenderloin- I have not tested this recipe in the Instant Pot but feel like it would work well. I don't even think you'd need to marinade. I would cook your tenderloin according to this Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin post. After cooking, remove the tenderloin to rest, add 1 tablespoon cornstarch (mix it into 2 tablespoons water), and set the Instant Pot to simmer for 1-2 minutes to thicken.
- Oven Roasted- bake at 400°F for 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your tenderloin (see more descriptive information here). I'd brush with the reserved marinade 2-3 times during the cook time.
Whichever method you use, check the internal temperature of your pork tenderloin using a good digital thermometer and make sure it's at least 145°F.
Tips & equipment
- I shake my marinade up in a ½ pint jar, but this salad dressing shaker works great as well
- I marinate my pork tenderloin in an 8 x 8 inch baking dish or reusable silicone bag
- looking for more easy marinade recipes? Check out this Shortcut Jamaican Jerk Chicken Marinade, this Balsamic Salmon Marinade and this Super Easy Chipotle Chicken Marinade
Freaking Amazing Pork Tenderloin Marinade
- 1-2 lbs pork tenderloin
- ½ cup honey
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (I prefer reduced sodium; see * for gluten-free)
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 lime (juiced)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ½ tablespoon ground coriander
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- hot red pepper flakes to taste ~½ tsp for mild spice, increase for more
- cilantro leaves
- Shake together all marinade ingredients in a jar or salad dressing shaker.
- Pour half of the marinade over a pork tenderloin in a bag or baking dish. *Reserve half the marinade to brush on the pork tenderloin as it cooks.
- Marinate for 24 hours. If marinating in a dish, be sure to flip the tenderloin halfway through.
- Heat a grill to medium-high heat. When the grill reaches 500°F, remove the pork from the marinade and discard the used marinade.
- Grease the grill carefully with oil. Place the pork tenderloin on the grill and cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side, until nicely seared.
- Reduce grill heat to medium (400°F) and cook pork tenderloin, brushing it with the reserved marinade each time you flip. Flip every 4 minutes, until cooked through (roughly 15-20 minutes)
- Pork tenderloin is cooked through when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. Remove from heat and cover with a baking dish to let it rest for 5-10 minutes. *If you want it to be slightly pink in the middle, remove the tenderloin when it is at 130°F as it will keep cooking as it rests.
- Cut the tenderloin against the grain, brush with any leftover marinade (if desired) and enjoy.
- Pork tenderloin is never as good as it is when it's freshly cooked, however you can store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.