Baked Turkey Breast Tenderloin with Garlic Herb Marinade

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This roasted turkey breast tenderloin is so easy to prepare and made super flavorful thanks to the brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and herb marinade!

top view of two sliced turkey breast tenderloins sitting on a white plate on a marble surface

This unsuspecting turkey tenderloin may very well be the best turkey I've ever had! It's delicious enough to be the centerpiece for a smaller Thanksgiving but easy enough for a weeknight if you're looking for a change from your typical protein. The quick marinade infuses it with tons of flavor and locks in the moisture, making for totally crave-able turkey.

If you've never cooked turkey tenderloin before, have no fear! It's very similar to making pork tenderloin and is done in just a few simple steps.

What is turkey tenderloin?

Glad you asked! Turkey breast tenderloins are super tender, lean cuts of turkey breast, and typically range in size from a half-pound to 1 full pound per tenderloin. Because they’re super lean, you’ll need to be careful to not overcook your turkey tenderloin as this can result in a really dry end product. They also don't have a ton of flavor on their own, so you'll want to use plenty of seasoning.

Is turkey tenderloin the same as turkey breast?

Not quite! The turkey tenderloin is a portion of the turkey breast and it is boneless and skinless. A turkey breast, on the other hand, is usually bone-in, skin-on. We have a great roasted turkey breast recipe if you're looking for one!

Should you marinate turkey tenderloin?

We think marinating turkey tenderloin is a fantastic idea. As mentioned before, because this cut is super lean, it dries out REALLY easily and is lower on flavor. Luckily, a flavorful marinade can prevent that and give you really delicious, well-seasoned meat!

How to Keep Turkey Tenderloin Moist

When cooking turkey tenderloins, there are two things that we always do to ensure the moistest, juiciest meat possible. First, we let our tenderloins sit in a marinade for at least 30 minutes (longer if we have time). This guarantees a really great flavor, and it goes a long way in helping the meat to stay moist and tender. We also like to sear the tenderloins in a skillet before sticking them into the oven to bake. Searing the meat not only caramelizes the marinade, but it also locks in a ton of moisture!

top view of two raw turkey breast tenderloins and all of the marinade ingredients sitting on a marble surface

Garlic Herb Turkey Tenderloin Ingredients

You’ll just need a few pantry and fridge staples to make this ultra-flavorful marinade!

  • Turkey Breast Tenderloins – to start, you’ll need to grab 2 turkey breast tenderloins that are about 1 pound each. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – to really help to break down and tenderize the meat, you’ll also need 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
  • Brown Sugar – 1 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar,…
  • Dijon Mustard – …1 tablespoon of dijon mustard,…
  • Garlic Cloves – …3 minced garlic cloves,…
  • Fresh Thyme – …a ½ tablespoon of fresh chopped thyme,…
  • Fresh Rosemary – …a ½ tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary,…
  • Sea Salt + Ground Pepper – …1 teaspoon of sea salt, a ¼ teaspoon of black pepper, and… 
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – …2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil combine to create a really flavorful marinade. You’ll also need a tablespoon of EVOO for searing the herby tenderloins.
two turkey breast tenderloins marinating in a herb marinade in a glass bowl
top view of two marinaded turkey breast tenderloins searing in a cast iron skillet
two seared turkey breast tenderloins in a cast iron skillet

How to Cook Turkey Breast Tenderloin

Though this easy turkey tenderloin recipe requires a little bit of searing before the oven does the work, it's still totally doable! Here's how you'll throw this one together:

  1. Whisk Together the Marinade – in a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, garlic, seasonings, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until evenly combined.
  2. Coat the Turkey Tenderloins – place turkey tenderloins in the bowl with the marinade and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or up to overnight) to let the flavors infuse.
  3. Preheat the Oven – when you’re ready to cook the tenderloins, preheat the oven to 400°F.
  4. Sear the Tenderloins – heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a cast-iron skillet (or another oven-safe skillet) over medium-high heat. Once hot, place the tenderloins in the pan and sear for 2-3 minutes per side (you may need to work in two batches to prevent overcrowding).
  5. Bake – transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin registers 165°F.
  6. Let Rest, Slice, and Serve – remove the turkey from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes, then slice, serve, and enjoy!

What temperature should turkey tenderloin be?

According to the FDA, turkey, and all poultry, should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 F.

top view of two turkey breast tenderloins (one sliced and one whole) laying on a cutting board next to a knife

How do you know when turkey tenderloin is done?

Using a meat thermometer is the absolute best way to guarantee a safely-cooked but also still moist and juicy turkey tenderloin! You’ll know the tenderloins are ready to come out of the oven when the internal temperature at the thickest part of the turkey reads 165°F. If you don't have one on hand, you'll know that the turkey is done when you cut into it and the juices run clear.

top view of two plates with sliced turkey breast tenderloin, semi homemade stuffing, and green beans

More Turkey Tenderloin Flavors

Though this perfectly herby turkey tenderloin recipe is our FAVORITE, these other marinades from our pork tenderloin marinade recipe would also be delicious and make for an easy recipe any night of the year!

  • Balsamic Rosemary – this marinade is equal parts sweet and tangy and is loaded with fresh rosemary flavor. 
  • Maple Dijon – this marinade is pretty much a universal crowd-pleaser. 
  • Sesame Ginger – this marinade is super delicious and gives you a really great reason to cook up turkey tenderloins year-round! 

We hope you enjoy this Garlic Herb Turkey Breast Tenderloin recipe on special occasions and on ordinary evenings alike!

Print

Baked Turkey Tenderloin with Garlic Herb Marinade

side view of two sliced turkey breast tenderloins sitting on a white plate

This turkey tenderloin is moist, tender, and ultra-flavorful thanks to a marinade of apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, and fresh herbs!

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 5 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 turkey breast tenderloins, about 1 pound each
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, garlic, seasonings, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until evenly combined. 2. Place the turkey in the bowl with the marinade and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight, to let the flavors infuse.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  3. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a cast iron or other oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat.
  4. Once hot, place the tenderloins in the pan, working in two batches if needed to prevent over-crowding. Sear for 3-4 minutes per side, until browned.
  5. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin registers 165 F.
  6. Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Notes

  • For Whole30 and low-carb: Omit the brown sugar
  • For Paleo: Use coconut sugar or honey in place of the brown sugar
  • For Low-FODMAP: Omit the garlic. You can use 1 tablespoon of garlic-infused olive oil in its place.

Keywords: turkey, turkey breast, turkey tenderloin, garlic herb turkey

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  1. Barbara says:

    Served this to guests last night — it was SO DELICIOUS! I am not a fan of turkey, it always seems dry and tasteless. But this! This was tender, moist and tasty! Bonus — it was so easy to prepare!!! Everyone at my dinner table raved about it! I will most definitely make this again and again!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      That makes us so happy, Barbara! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!!

  2. Carrie says:

    Curious what your thoughts are about doing this in the sous vide? Would you still sear before-hand?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      We haven’t tried it, Carrie! I think that typically with this method, you sous vide first and then sear afterward – again, we haven’t tried it, so we can’t say for sure how it’ll turn out!

  3. Reene says:

    The marinade was so flavorful that no gravy was needed. And the turkey was very moist. I used a cast iron pan so next time I will either cook it at 350 deg or at 400 deg for 20 mins.

  4. Chriss & Marleny says:

    Happy Thanksgiving To You & Yours Cassy Joy!

    We have never written a review for a recipe…..but had to on this one! OMG,this was the BEST turkey we have EVER had,period! Tender,juicy,savory!!! We basically followed your recipe your to a ‘T’…..except we did actually use about 2/3rds of the salt quantity and marinated it for about 1.5hrs prior to searing and then baking.

    Thank You SO MUCHO!!! Can’t wait to try more of your delish/healthy looking recipes!!

    Sincerely,
    Chriss & Marleny