Pork Tenderloin can be incredibly tender and delicious when covered in an easy homemade dry rub and citrus, seared to perfection, and finished in the oven!
This is one of my favorite dinner recipes because it's super tasty and easy to make. I served it with Roasted Spaghetti Squash and homemade gnocchi!
There are so many ways you can cook a pork tenderloin.
It is one of the easiest cuts of meat to work with and will turn out perfectly if you follow the right recipe!
This is one of my favorite ways to make this easy dinner and we never end up with leftovers!
- Pork tenderloin. Since this cut of meat is small, I usually need to buy two for my family of four.
- Olive oil and limes. The olive oil prevents sticking when you sear and also provides great flavor. The lime juice gives just the right amount of acid to make the meat even more tender and balance out the saltiness of the dry rub.
- Dry rub. This is my absolute favorite blend of seasonings and works great on pork, chicken, and beef. The ingredients I use are in most pantries and include: garlic powder, pepper, salt, mustard powder, chili powder, cumin, thyme, brown sugar, and paprika.
How to cook the BEST pork tenderloin:
This is one of my favorite recipes because it's so quick and easy, plus the entire family loves it.
- First step is optional but encouraged. Remove any fat or silver skin on the tenderloin. When I do this, I know that every bite will be perfect. Plus, this cut of meat doesn't need the fat to make it taste good.
- Next step is to pierce the tenderloins all over and then rub with olive oil and lime juice. By piercing with a sharp knife, you allow the acid and oil to sink into the meat.
- Mix up the amazingly delicious One Spoon Dry Rub and rub all sides of the dry roast.
- Preheat your oven so it's ready to go. Get a large oven safe pan, skillet, or dutch oven screaming hot on the stove and then sear the tenderloin.
- When it's time to turn the meat, insert a thermometer and finish cooking in the oven.
- Allow the meat to rest on a clean cutting board before slicing. Perfection!
What is the difference between pork loin and pork tenderloin?
Although the names are very similar, they are two entirely different cuts of meat and they are definitely not the same.
Both cuts are from the loin which runs down the back, but they are completely different in terms of look, taste, and how you cook them.
Pork loin, or pork loin roast, is most similar to the meat on a pork chop. If over cooked, it will be incredibly dry.
Pork tenderloin is generally longer, thinner, and darker in color when compared to a pork loin. Think of it as the pork version of filet mignon. It costs a little more than a pork loin, but is the most tender part of the pig and is quick and easy to cook.
How do you know when pork tenderloin is done?
I always use a thermometer when I cook most cuts of meat.
It's difficult to tell you how long to cook pork tenderloin because there are too many variables: How large is the cut of meat? How cold was it when you started cooking? How efficient is your oven?
I aim to cook my pork tenderloin to 145 degrees F. You can either remove it from the oven right when it hits 145 or you can take it out a few degrees early since the temperature will continue to rise as the meat rests.
What does pork tenderloin look like when done? The meat will be white to slightly pink, but the juices should be clear when sliced.
- 2 pounds pork tenderloin (see note)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
One Spoon Dry Rub blend (link in notes):
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon paprika
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Use a sharp knife to carefully remove any silver skin or excess fat. Pierce tenderloin all over with a fork or sharp knife. Rub oil and lime juice onto all sides of the meat.
- Whisk together seasonings. Spread spice blend mixture over tenderloin(s), patting it onto the surface of the meat on all sides. I will usually roll the tenderloin around on the cutting board to pick up any oil or spices that didn't stick.
- Heat oven safe dutch oven or frying pan over high heat. Sear all sides over high heat until crisp and browned on the outside. Insert meat thermometer, transfer pan to oven and continue cooking until an internal temperature of 145 degrees F is reached. This may take anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on how long you seared the tenderloin on the stove top.
- Transfer meat to a cutting board to stop the cooking process and allow tenderloins to rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice into 1 inch pieces. Spoon any remaining juices from the pan, if any, over the slices, serve with additional lime if desired, and serve.
- Pork tenderloin is a small cut of meat and most are right around a pound, so I used two tenderloins for this recipe and it's enough to feed my family of four. This recipe easily doubles.
- I remove the silver skin and fat because this cut of meat is tender enough that it doesn't need any additional fat to make it delicious. I like knowing that every bite will be solid meat.
- The spice blend is my versitile One Spoon Dry Rub: https://selfproclaimedfoodie.com/one-spoon-dry-rub/
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