Pan-seared pork tenderloin, finished by baking to your ideal temperature, is tender, juicy, and delicious! With excellent browning from cast iron searing, it is still moist and tender from oven roasting— an easy, 30-minute dinner recipe.
Butter or oil
Seasoning of your choice—Kosher salt and black pepper is enough, but adding garlic powder is suggested.
Table of Contents (scroll for more)
- 👨🍳How to Sear a Pork Tenderloin and Bake in the Oven—Step-by-Step
- ⏰How long does it take to sear and bake pork tenderloin
- 🌡️Levels of Cooked Pork (Doneness)
- ✔️Tips to cook it right every time
- Seasoning options
- Pork Tenderloin Recipes
- Why Use Cast-Iron?
- 🍽️How to Serve
- How to Store Leftovers
- 🐖Pork Tenderloin is Not Pork Loin
- 📖 Recipe
Featured Comment from Curtis:
5 stars. I love this recipe. I make it at least twice a month. The tenderloins turn out juicy and perfect just about every time…
This recipe depends on an old, tried and true method. First, we will sear a pork tenderloin in a cast-iron skillet, creating flavor by causing a Maillard reaction. Then, baked in the oven to bring it up to the final internal temperature.
👨🍳How to Sear a Pork Tenderloin and Bake in the Oven—Step-by-Step
1. Preheat the oven to 400° convection or 425° in a regular oven. Trim by removing the "silver skin" and any trimmable fat. Pat dry with a paper towel, then season with coarse salt, black pepper, or other seasoning.
2. Heat 1-2 teaspoons of butter or vegetable oil in an oven-safe pan (cast iron skillet preferred) over medium-high heat until hot. Sear for approximately 2 to 3 minutes, rotate ⅓, and repeat until all sides are seared.
3. Move the tenderloin and skillet to the preheated oven and cook until an internal temp of 145°-150° (15-17 minutes usually) using an instant-read thermometer.
4. Move to a plate, tent lightly with foil, and rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
For more details, keep reading. See the Recipe Card below for complete instructions and to print.
⏰How long does it take to sear and bake pork tenderloin
After searing on the stovetop for about 6-9 minutes, the baking time will be 15 to 17 minutes to 145° in a 425° oven. It will vary by the tenderloin size, the amount of searing, the beginning temperature of the meat, your pan, and the oven.
Other oven temperatures for medium-rare (145°-150°.)
|6 to 9 minutes
|31 -34+ minutes
|6 to 9 minutes
|6 to 9 minutes
|6 to 9 minutes
Always check the internal temperature and allow for a 2°-4° rise in temperature after cooking. Never cook by time alone, always check early, and thinner tenderloins cook significantly faster.
🌡️Levels of Cooked Pork (Doneness)
|Cooked Pork Level
|Not recommended due to safety.
✔️Tips to cook it right every time
The shape of the tenderloin is a bit odd. It is triangular, not flat, round, or square. So, when cooking pork tenderloin, it needs to be "flipped" by rotating ⅓, not ½, rotation.
The best pan to use is a cast iron 10 or 12-inch skillet, but any oven-safe pan that can move from stovetop to oven will work.
If you don’t have a pan that will work, sear in a stovetop pan and move to a different preheated oven-safe pan like a rimmed baking sheet to finish.
The pan must be hot with a couple of teaspoons of melted butter or oil over medium-high heat when the tenderloin is placed in the pan. It will not sear well if it is not hot at the start of searing.
Sear to approximately the final color you want at the end of cooking.
Just coarse salt and black pepper are acceptable. Much of the taste will come from the searing of the tenderloin, creating a Maillard reaction. A good dose of garlic is required in our house, and I usually use our All Purpose Seasoning - 7:2:2, which has a good amount of garlic powder.
You may use fresh garlic by adding a couple of fresh garlic cloves to olive oil, cooking for a minute or two, and then spreading over the tenderloin as it moves from the stovetop to the oven.
Thyme, smoked paprika, fresh herbs, or other spices can be added before entering the oven.
Pork Tenderloin Recipes
Take it outside with Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Memphis Grilled Pork Tenderloin, or Grilled Pork Tenderloin Medallions. Make a complete meal with Sheet Pan Pork Tenderloin with Potatoes and Carrots.
Why Use Cast-Iron?
While not required for this recipe, cast iron is the best choice for many reasons.
- Cast iron can tolerate both high heat and easily transform from the stovetop to the oven.
- The bottom is very flat and transfers heat across the surface evenly.
- It is naturally non-stick when correctly seasoned.
- It is generally cheap and will last for generations.
🍽️How to Serve
To fancy it up a bit, a pan sauce can be made with the browned bits and juices left in the pan by adding some broth or wine. You may add other seasonings like Dijon mustard or more butter, shallots, or other spices. Whisk together and serve with the slices of tenderloin.
While pork is "the other white meat," for wine, we usually skip white wine and go for a millet or cabernet.
How to Store Leftovers
Seal leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for 4 days or freeze for 3-4 months.
To reheat leftovers just a short time in a microwave works well. Or on the stovetop, if the slices are relatively thin, in a frying pan with a bit of oil over medium heat. You can also reheat in the oven or an air fryer.
Most tenderloins will have a "silver skin" that should be removed. It is some tough connective tissue.
Work a finger or butter knife under the silver skin, then work off the silver skin with a sharp knife and some traction. It may take several times to get most of it. A bit left is not an issue.
According to the USDA, the minimum safe final internal temperature is 145°. At 145°, the center will be a little pink but hot. The pork temperature will rise 2°-4° after cooking, so account for that.
You can cook to a higher internal temperature if you wish.
You must use a meat thermometer or an instant-read thermometer to get the correct final temperature.
🐖Pork Tenderloin is Not Pork Loin
The tenderloin refers to the psoas muscle along the lower back. The psoas is the most tender cut of meat since it is not used for movement. It is chicken tenders in the chicken or beef tenderloin (filet mignon) in cattle.
Over the years, many commenters on this blog have confused pork loin with tenderloin. It is obvious when they have a "4-pound tenderloin"—no, they do not.
The tenderloin usually weighs about 1 to 1 ½ pounds. A huge one could push towards 2 pounds. PLEASE BE SURE YOU HAVE A TENDERLOIN AND NOT A LOIN.
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Pan Seared Oven Roasted Pork Tenderloin
- 1 pork tenderloin - about 1 ½ pounds
- 2 teaspoons butter or vegetable oil
- kosher salt - to taste
- pepper - coarse ground
- garlic powder - optional
- Preheat the oven to 400° convection or 425° in a regular oven. Trim by removing the "silver skin" and any trimmable fat. Pat dry with a paper towel, then season with coarse salt, black pepper, or other seasoning.
- Heat 1-2 teaspoons of butter or vegetable oil in an oven-safe pan (cast iron skillet preferred) over medium-high heat until hot. Sear for approximately 2 to 3 minutes, rotate ⅓, and repeat until all sides are seared.
- Move the tenderloin and skillet to the preheated oven and cook until an internal temp of 145°-150° (15-17 minutes usually) using an instant-read thermometer.
- Move to a plate, tent lightly with foil, and rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
Your Own 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, which has salt, pepper, and garlic powder., But use any seasoning you want.
- Remember that a pork loin is NOT a pork tenderloin.
- 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.
- Many options are discussed in the post. Please check there if you have questions first.
- Serving size note. Pork tenderloin is two large servings or 3-4 smaller servings 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, the second month of this blog. It has had several minor updates but is now a total rewrite of the discussion and new photos.