A super easy pork tenderloin recipe, this pan-seared oven-roasted pork tenderloin is done in 30-minute. A great budget-friendly healthy dinner for two, you will repeat over and over.
When I grew up, and I believe my wife also, pork was the cheapest pork chops, usually way overcooked in a black iron skillet.
We did some pork when the kids were little and usually bought chops, but at least we didn't overcook it. But they hated them anyway.
We upgraded years ago to pork tenderloin (i.e., "porkies"). A marked improvement. This is my standard go-to method of cooking a pork tenderloin for the last 20 years.
Yep, really that good. You can eat this over and over, we do.
This recipe depends on an old but true method. First, we will be searing the pork tenderloin creating flavor by causing the Maillard reaction. Then we are going to finish cooking the tenderloin in an oven to bring it up to the final internal temperature.
The tenderloin refers to the psoas muscle along the lower back. The psoas is generally most tender cut since it is not used for movement. It is chicken tenders in the chicken or beef tenderloin (filet mignon) in cattle.
A Pork Loin is NOT a Pork Tenderloin!
Over the years on this blog, many commenters seem to get pork loin and pork tenderloin confused. It is obvious when they have a “4-pound pork tenderloin”. No, they do not.
A pork tenderloin usually weighs about 1 to 1 ½ pounds. A very large one could push towards 2 pounds. PLEASE BE SURE YOU HAVE A TENDERLOIN AND NOT A LOIN.
A Pork Tenderloin is a Triangle
The shape of pork tenderloin is a bit odd. It is not flat, round, or square. It is more of a triangle. This simple fact is important in cooking the tenderloin on the grill or in this recipe.
We do not flip the tenderloin; we rotate it by ⅓ to cook each of the three sides. It sounds unimportant, but it really is important to get the best results.
🥘What Pan to Use?
The best pan to use will be safe both on the stove-top and in the oven. I usually use my 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Most stove-top skillets will work since most are oven safe also. But you need to know for sure.
If you are unsure of your pan is oven-safe, then use a stove-top skillet and place an oven-safe baking dish in the hot oven while you sear the tenderloin. Then transfer the seared tenderloin to the preheated pan to finish cooking.
Just salt and pepper are fine. A lot of the taste will come from the searing of the tenderloin creating a Maillard reaction.
In our house, a good dose of garlic is required, and I usually use our All Purpose Seasoning - 7:2:2 which has a good amount of garlic powder.
I have included an option to use fresh garlic. Or you can season to your taste.
📖Other Pork Tenderloin Recipes
🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Trim the pork tenderloin well. Remove the "silver skin" and any trim-able fat. Preheat oven to 375° convection or 400° in a regular oven.
Salt and pepper all sides.
1-2 teaspoon of vegetable oil in an oven-safe pan (cast iron is good here) over medium-high heat until hot. Sear for approximately 2 ½ to 3 minutes and rotate ⅓ and repeat until all sides are seared.
Optional for fresh garlic. While searing, crush 2 cloves garlic and add to 1 tablespoon olive oil. You can spread it on top just before moving the tenderloin to the oven.
When searing is done, remove from heat and coat with the olive oil/garlic mixture you are using the garlic. You can also add other seasonings at this point.
Move to the preheated oven. Using a thermometer, cook until an internal temp of 140°-150° (15-20 minutes usually). Tent lightly with foil and rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Pan Seared Oven Roasted Pork Tenderloin
- 1 ½ pound pork tenderloin - about 1 ½ pounds
- kosher salt - to taste
- pepper - coarse ground
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- Trim the pork tenderloin well. Remove the “silver skin” and any trim-able fat. Preheat over to 375° convection or 400° in a regular oven.
- Salt and pepper all sides. I like to use my Homemaked Seasoning 7:2:2 which also has garlic powder.
- 1-2 teaspoon vegetable oil in an oven-safe pan (cast iron is good here) over medium-high heat until hot.
- Sear all sides (3) of the tenderloin for approximately 2 minutes per side. Get close to the final color you want.
- Optional. While searing, crush 2 cloves garlic and add to 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add to the tenderloin just before moving it to the oven.
- When searing is done, remove from heat and coat with the olive oil/garlic mixture if you are using the garlic. You can add other spicing at this time if you want.
- Using a meat thermometer, cook until an internal temp of 140°-150°. About 15-20 minutes.
- Tent lightly with foil and rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
My Private Notes
- Cast iron works very well here or another oven safe pan. If you do not have an oven safe pan, sear on the stovetop then transfer to a preheated oven pan.
- I like to use my All Purpose Seasoning; 7:2:2 for the seasoning.
- I have included an option for real garlic.
- Remember that a pork loin is NOT a pork tenderloin.
- A pork tenderloin is a triangular shape so sear all three sides.
- Be sure to rest the meat after cooking for 5 minutes or a bit more so the fluid will reabsorb into the meat.
- Pork tenderloins are usually sold two in a package, the second one will freeze well for 3-4 months.
- Serving size note. A pork tenderloin is two large servings or 3-4 smaller one and is a bit dependent on the size of the tenderloin. They will range from slightly over 1 pound to almost 2 pounds.
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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Editor's Note: This recipe was originally published on February 15, 2010, which was the second month of this blog. It has had several minor updates but now a total rewrite of the discussion and new photos.