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.
A great version of a classic Iowa and Indiana comfort food. But 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, so it 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.
This recipe is my Crispy Oven Fried Chicken that meets my Iowa Fried Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich with some great taste in an easy recipe to make and scale to your needs.
Serve with Baked French Fries, Microwave Corn on the Cob, or Fresh Spinach Salad.And check out other pork sandwiches, like Grilled Memphis Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches, Crock Pot Shredded Pork Tenderloin, Crock Pot Pulled Pork Loin, and Crock Pot Pulled Pork Butt.
- Pork tenderloin
- Panko bread crumbs
- Pantry ingredients—egg, milk, butter, seasoning salt, pepper
👨🍳How to Make Bake Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
- Preheat the oven
- Trim and cut pork tenderloin into four equal pieces. Butterfly the pieces and then flatten them.
- Set up a dredge line. Tray 1—egg and milk. Tray 2—flour, panko bread crumbs, seasoning salt, and black pepper.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of butter on a large baking tray in the oven for a few minutes.
- Coat the meat with the egg wash and then the flour mixture.
- Let rest on a cutting board or plate for 5 minutes, then place on the tray with the melted butter.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown.
- 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," tastier, and my preferred meat for home-cooking tenderloin sandwiches. But since the meat is smaller in diameter, I butterfly slices and flatten them.
About Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches
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.
I hear 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.
🍽️Serving and leftovers
There are several things you can do to help the breading stick better.
1) Be sure the meat is dried with paper towels before starting the breading.
2) Shake off the excess egg wash and breadcrumb mixture while coating.
3) Let the tenderloin set for 5-10 minutes after breading to help it adhere better.
4) When you flip the tenderloin, use a fork on the edge of the meat.
Serving is on a soft white bread bun with only lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle. Side dishes are usually French fries or similar things.
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.
This recipe is listed in these categories. See them for more similar recipes.
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
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.
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.
I have some boneless thin cut pork loin chops. Would I be able to use these and maybe cut down on the cooking time? How long would you recommend cooking them?
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
Welcome to the blog.
Almost all "pork tenderloin sandwiches" are really thin cuts of pork loin but then mechanically tenderized. So yes, they will do. If you have a way to mechanically tenderize, do it but will probably be tender anyway.
How long to cook? The same, the meat is really a bit overdone once the breading is nice which is the end point of cooking.
Looking forward to making these. One question before I do, does the butter splatter all over the oven? Thank you.
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
Welcome to the blog.
I have several recipes using this method and we see no splatter. We are using standard sheet pans with a side that is about an inch or a little less.
We make this recipe frequently and my wife will even surprise me with it.
Soooo good!! Even my hubby, who often prefers the deep fried comfort these provide, loved them! Instead of gf flour mix I used cornstarch mixed with the panko. They were crispy and juicy but not greasy at all. Definitely will be my go to when I have that craving!
I used this as a main course instead of sandwiches.. I was thinking schnitzel. This was really good. I made it Gluten free by using brown rice flour and gluten free bread crumbs along with the seasoning I did season the pork with Hog Waller before I dipped in corn starch, then egg, then seasoned crumb/ flour mixure. I baked it the same but broiled on low for a couple of minutes per side at the end.. my husband and I both really liked them. Plus I used both tenderloins in the package so I have leftovers!! Love that!
I'm planning to make these sandwiches but wondered if I can freeze 2 of them with the breading already on them but uncooked.
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
You need the breading to set up well and it should work.
So, make them up with the breading being sure to have them very dry with a paper towel before the egg wash. After breading, let them sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes then freeze between layers of wax paper. It should work.
I would put them in the oven froze since the meat should still cook well being so thin. Be sure to get to 165 due to the egg in the coating.
That is my suggestion. If you test it, please report back, I would love to know.
Thanks for your feed back, Dr. Dan, I froze the extras with the breading and stuck them in a freezer container with wax paper between them. I will let you know how they turn out after I cook them. I just wanted to say these were delicious. I used one of those tenderloins that is already marinated in the package. I used Mesquite so it had plenty of spicing on it already which I think is the way to make these more flavorful. I was skeptical at first but will definitely repeat next time. Thanks so much for a really good recipe that steps outside the norm here in the South.
Well, Dr. Dan, just wanted to let you know that I cooked the frozen cutlets and they worked great! Tasted every bit as good as the original.
I'm in love with my air fryer. Do you think this would work in an air fryer. I'm in Knightdale, NC. There used to be an old family owned place called Bar-B-Que Lodge, that made the most amazing tenderloin sandwiches. Alas, they have retired and closed. Can't tell you how many times my husband and I have driven by the old place wishing we could get one of their sandwiches. They deep fried it (obviously...it's the South) and served it on plain toasted white bread (and I'm a wheat bread lover). Had tremendous flavor...all from the spicing they used, which I believe was only salt and pepper.
Love your blog and have used many of your recipes. When I have a big party to cook for I turn to you first and then multiply ingredients. Thank you sooo much.
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
Welcome to the blog. Glad you have been enjoying it.
Part to the "feature" of this recipe is getting some oil (butter in this case) into the taste. For me, that needs to be there. Not as much as deep frying but still some. Just the taste I was going for, call it Iowa 1960s.
I just don't see that working well in an air-fryer.
Let me know if you try it but it does work great in the oven.
What timing for this recipe! I am making breaded pork tenderloin as one of the entrees for my father's 90th birthday. I have never oven fried it before and have been experimenting with two failures. Will the meat still stick to the pan causing the breading to fall off even when baking in butter? Can non-stick foil or parchment paper be lined into the pan and then melt the butter?? Just trying to avoid a catastrophe for 35 guests! Also, would prefer to use fine breadcrumbs rather than Panko. They still should brown and crisp up nicely...right? I have researched this for hours and your site is the best method thus far, but just worried about sticking to the pan! Any advice would be appreciated!
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
Welcome to the blog.
First rule. NEVER do a new recipe for an important event. So you need to test your plan.
Let's first talk about the coating coming off you meat. The meat must be DRY to start. This recipe uses an egg wash then coating of flour/breadcrumbs/seasoning. I have never had the coating come off but during the flip, always use a fork to stab the edge. Never grab with something. The egg with the flour will basically make glue. If you want it to stick better, let it set for about 5 minutes on a cutting board before putting it in the butter and cooking.
You can also do a triple dip coating. Dry, flour (with some spices if you want), egg wash second, final coating with flour, breadcrumbs and spices. Then wait 5 minutes before starting to cook.
Now the pan. I just use a sheet pan with the melted butter. It is a fair amount of butter. You could use parchment paper but probably not needed. The non-stick foil should be fine also. But I have never had it stick and I have done this recipe quit a few times.
Plain bread crumbs should be fine but I like the texture of the Panko. Like most pork tenderloin sandwiches, they are bland so you might want to add some more spicing.
Again, test, test, and test more.
Hope that helps.
Lynn Graham Corbett
I love pork tenderloin sandwiches and like mine with just lots of pickles. Can't wait to try this recipe tomorrow. Used to get them at home in Indiana but not so much in Texas. So hungry...yum!
I am from Missouri. Tenderloins are definitely a staple at my house. But I dont think of the PT sandwich as comfort food. For me, put a slice of bread, Tenderloin, top with mashed potatoes and gravy. Nice hot comfort food! Pairs well with a side salad. I normally just cook mine in a cast iron on top of the stove with some butter. I'd be willing to bet the taste and texture come out the same. Great idea with the oven...less to worry about with the kids.
Welcome to the blog.
I haven't done a stovetop cooking of PTs since this recipe. It is reliable and easy. You will find the main difference is tenderloin vs. loin. I prefer the tenderloin myself. But you can use the traditional pork loin if you want. (Hit up HyVee for that).
Have a great holiday and thanks for the note.
Oh my...you must've created this recipe with me in mind, Dan! Am making for supper tonight. I have turned my hubby into a T-sandwich lover (he's from Arkansas and never even tasted one until he married me, poor fella)! I'm serving mine topped with mayo, onions, frilly leaf lettuce and thin slices of tomato. Worth saving my Weight Watchers points for! Hey, thx SO much for posting this oven-fried, healthier version!
Forgot to mention... I cut the recipe in half since I was only making 2 and then did them in the cast iron skillet in the oven. Easy clean up and kept my iron skillet "seasoned".
Trying this tonight for supper! I'm cheating, however... Fareway has a very highly respected meat department. I got their pre-tenderized pork loins, so I can eliminate the first couple of steps. Just wish I had a fresh Iowa tomato from the garden to complete the sandwich. Will have to keep this recipe handy for August.
UPDATE: This was amazing! Will definitely be making this again and again! Will have to stock up on the tenderized pork loins when they come on sale and store in the freezer. How do I rate this a 5-star recipe?
Love love love this recipe. We have made it many times and I always love it. I’m not sure why it is called an Iowa sandwich though. I’m from Nova Scotia, Canada.
You nailed it! This works exactly as described!!
My wife lives this one enough to make it herself. Now that is high praise.
Thanks so much for the note.
These are so delicious! First time I made them, followed recipe exactly. Second time I cut the seasoned salt back a bit as a preference. They bake up golden and crispy. Better than fried in my opinion! Thank you!
I have been doing Weight Watchers for the past 'month and a half which means we have gone out to eat about 1/10 as much as we used to. I have been trying to find recipes that recreate some of our favorites. There is a particular hole in the wall breakfast place we liked to go on the weekends so my husband could get his beloved pork tenderloin sandwich. He challenged me to find a recipe that's as good as it and I found your recipe.
He told me this recipe was better! Thank you son much for this alternative!
For any of you WW people out there, I used 3 butterfly pork chops (1.5 lbs) cut in half to make 6 servings so each serving came out to be 10 smart points.
Husband approved is always important. In my case, it is wife approved to the point she will even make it.
Thanks for the note.
Thx, Kim, for the WW Points value! I've been on the plan for 6 months, and like you, enjoy converting my fave recipes to WW friendly ones!!
Thanks for the prompt response. Your answer makes perfect sense.