Oven Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches are great tasting with crisp breading. A healthier version of that great Iowa comfort food. Perfect for a retro lunch or easy dinner.
Panko bread crumbs
Pantry ingredients—egg, milk, butter, seasoning salt, pepper
Featured Comment from Sheila:
"5 stars Soooo good!! Even my hubby, who often prefers the deep fried comfort these provide, loved them!"
A great version of a classic Iowa and Indiana comfort food. But it is much healthier than the traditional fried pork tenderloin filet for the classic sandwich. And it is much easier to cook and clean up than fry.
It uses pork tenderloin instead of pork loin, which is more tender and has an excellent taste. These pork tenderloin sandwiches are so good my wife makes them for me, and she will have a "double" sandwich.
👨🍳How to Make Bake Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
Preheat oven to 350° convection or 375° conventional.
Trim a pork tenderloin of any visible fat and the silverskin. Cut the tenderloin into four approximately equal pieces by weight. Next, “butterfly” the pieces. Do this by cutting ¾ of the way through and folding it back to double the size. On the thinner end, which would be longer, do two cuts, one-third on opposite sides of the meat.
Next, cover it with plastic wrap or place it in a zip lock bag and pound it to about ½ inch thick or thinner if you want.
Place 4 tablespoons of butter on a large baking tray and place in the oven for a few minutes to melt the butter.
Set up two pans. In the first, combine one egg and ¼ cup milk. Whip well. In the second pan, ½ cup flour, ½ cup Panko bread crumbs, one tablespoon seasoning salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.
Dry the meat very well with paper towels, then start with coating the meat with egg wash. Shake to remove excess.
Coat well in the flour mixture and shake off excess.
Place on the tray with the melted butter. Let them set for 5 minutes or so to help the coating stick.
Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot.
For more details, keep reading. See the Recipe Card below for complete instructions and to print.
✔️Tips to make it right every time
- The meat is done before you have the proper browning. It stays moist in the breading, so all is well, but go by crispiness and color, not temp on this one.
- The spicing is a bit bland, but that is the norm for these. Feel free to go wild with the spicing since this can handle it.
- Saltine crackers are frequently used to replace bread crumbs.
- The meat used commercially is almost always pork loin, which has been mechanically tenderized. Hard to duplicate at home.
- If you live in Iowa or other midwest states, you may be able to buy pre-breaded tenderized pork loin for these sandwiches.
- I suggest using pork tenderloin, which is more "tender" and tastier. It is my preferred meat for home-cooked tenderloin sandwiches. But, since the meat is smaller in diameter, I butterfly slices and flatten them.
Make your own comfort food with this breaded tenderloin sandwich. A classic from Iowa and Indiana made with a flattened pork filet coated with breadcrumb crust and pan-fried.
How to keep the breading attached?
There are several things you can do to help the breading stick better.
- Be sure the meat is dried with paper towels before starting the breading.
- Shake off the excess egg wash and breadcrumb mixture while coating.
- Let the tenderloin set for 5-10 minutes after breading to help it adhere better.
- When you flip the tenderloin, use a fork on the edge of the meat.
How to serve pork tenderloin sandwiches?
Serving is on a soft white bread bun with only lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle. Side dishes are usually French fries or similar things.
Storing leftovers and reheating
Leftovers are good for 3 days refrigerated airtight. You can also freeze for 2-3 months after cooking.
To reheat, thaw if frozen, then reheat in a 350° oven covered with foil for about 20 minutes. A microwave can be used, but it may affect the texture.
For you non-Iowans, this is a small-town classic. Many small towns in Iowa, Indiana, and other states have restaurants that will claim to have the best, most award-winning, or the biggest tenderloin sandwich.
You don't need to say pork; it is understood as "a tenderloin sandwich." The pork producers have a yearly contest to pick the best restaurant version. There are websites dedicated to this much-celebrated delicacy.
The Des Moines Register has a yearly roundup of the best tenderloin sandwiches in the state. It is a much-coveted award that will be talked about for decades. It has been, and always will be, a much-loved Iowa tradition.
Indiana has the same passionate love for the tenderloin sandwich, which is embedded in their Hooser hearts. In the interest of Midwest comradeship, they may use my recipe.
Oven Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
- 1 pork tenderloin
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup milk
- 4 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup AP flour
- ½ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon seasoning salt - Lowery's or similar
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat oven to 350° convection or 375° conventional.
- Trim a pork tenderloin of any visible fat and the silverskin. Cut the tenderloin into four approximately equal pieces by weight. Next, “butterfly” the pieces. Do this by cutting ¾ of the way through and folding it back to double the size. On the thinner end, which would be longer, do two cuts, one-third on opposite sides of the meat.
- Next, cover with plastic wrap or place in a zip lock bag and pound to about ½ inch thick or thinner if you want.
- Place 4 tablespoons of butter on a large baking tray and place in the oven for a few minutes to melt the butter.
- Set up two pans. In the first, combine one egg and ¼ cup milk. Whip well. In the second pan, ½ cup flour, ½ cup Panko bread crumbs, one tablespoon seasoning salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.
- Dry the meat very well with paper towels, Then start with coating the meat with egg wash. Shake to remove excess.
- Coat well in the flour mixture and shake off excess.
- Place on the tray with the melted butter. Let them set for 5 minutes or so to help the coating stick.
- Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot.
Your Own Private Notes
- Get the thickness of the tenderloin down to at most ½ inch, but thinner is ok.
- You can use tenderized pork loin for this.
- This is bland, so add spices if you want.
- The coating will stick much better if the meat is very dry before coating and you let them set for a few minutes before cooking. Also, when doing the flip, use a fork on the edge.
- Leftovers should be good refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for 3-4 months.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally Published March 8, 2014. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.