Perfect Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloin

By: Cassy Joy Garcia

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Today we're walking you through cooking perfect pork tenderloin in the oven every time! With this guide, you'll never have to sit through a dinner of dried-out, flavorless pork tenderloin again.

3 baked pork tenderloins on a stainless steel sheet pan

Pork tenderloin has long been one of my go-to dinners. It's affordable, it cooks up quickly, it tastes great and is perfect for leftovers, and it for some reason feels a little fancier than our typical fare – making it perfect for a dinner party or a family weeknight dinner. However, it took me a while before I finally figured out to cook a juicy, flavorful pork tenderloin. Without the right technique, you can easily end up with dried-out, bland pork, but today we'll show you exactly what you need to do to get the best pork tenderloin in the oven every time!

What’s the difference between pork loin and pork tenderloin?

First things first, let's clear up a common confusion! While they may sound the same and are actually cut from the same part of the pig, pork loin and pork tenderloin are NOT the same things. Here's a comparison of the two:

  • Pork loin is a larger cut of meat that is usually sold as a 3-5 pound roast. It is fattier than pork tenderloin, usually comes with a fat cap on top, and can come as either boneless pork loin or bone-in. You can find our favorite pork loin recipe here.

  • Pork tenderloin is a smaller cut of meat that usually weighs around one pound. The tenderloin is from a muscle that runs along the spine of the pig and isn't used for movement. As a result, it's much more tender than other cuts of meat. Pork tenderloin is also a lean cut of meat and has a very mild flavor.

How to Prepare Pork Tenderloin

As mentioned before, pork tenderloin is a very lean cut of meat – but what exactly does that mean? In addition to being a low-fat choice of protein, it is also very low on flavor. If you want a flavorful pork tenderloin, we recommend marinating it or seasoning it heavily. The good news is that since it is so mild, pork tenderloin takes on flavor easily – you just have to give it a little time. While you can certainly add flavor by using a spice rub, we love adding flavor by marinating pork tenderloin in one of our 3 delicious pork tenderloin marinades – Balsamic and Rosemary (a delicious blend of herbs, garlic powder, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and olive oil), Maple Dijon (a great sweet and savory combo), or Sesame Ginger (a tasty Asian-inspired choice that includes soy sauce or coconut aminos, honey, and red pepper flakes)! Allow your pork to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or, if you have the time, up to 24 hours.

3 sliced pork tenderloins on a dark wood cutting board

How to Cook Pork Tenderloin in the Oven

While we also love grilling pork tenderloin (or even cooking it all day in the slow cooker), today's technique is dedicated to how to roast pork tenderloin in the oven, because it's the most accessible cooking method year-round. Once you have marinated your pork tenderloin, it's time to get cooking! Just follow the steps below to perfect pork tenderloin.

Step 1: Sear the Pork Tenderloin

Our main goals with pork tenderloin are to build flavor and not overcook it. Searing the pork tenderloin goes a long way to building flavor! It caramelizes the marinade, creating a delicious golden brown crust on the outside. It also helps seal the juices before you bake it.

To sear the pork tenderloin, grab your favorite cast iron, or another heavy-bottomed, oven-safe pan, add about 1/2 tablespoon of oil, and heat it over medium-high heat. Then, take your pork tenderloin and let the excess marinade drip off, and place it in the pan and sear for about 3-4 minutes, until browned. After 3-4 minutes, flip the pork tenderloin over and sear for an additional 3-4 minutes, until browned. While you can sear it on all 4 sides if you'd like, we find that searing on two sides works just fine!

Step 2: Bake the Pork Tenderloin

Now that the pork tenderloin is seared, you can either bake it in the same pan you seared it in, or transfer it to a rimmed baking sheet. Brush the pork tenderloin with additional marinade, then bake in a preheated oven at 425°F for about 15-20 minutes, until the pork reaches a temperature of 145°F, then remove it from the oven. Cooking the pork tenderloin at the high temperature of 425 degrees F helps it cook quickly and prevents it from drying out.

Step 3: Rest the Pork Tenderloin

Finally, you'll want to let the pork tenderloin rest for about 8-10 minutes before serving, if you skip this step and cut into it immediately, the juices will run out of it and you'll be left with dry pork.

How do you know when pork tenderloin is done?

My #1 tip for cooking this perfect pork tenderloin recipe in the oven is to buy a meat thermometer! Even better, if you can buy an in-oven thermometer that will beep as soon as the pork reaches the desired temperature, you will have perfect pork every time. I frequently use my in-oven thermometer for pork loin and tenderloin, chicken breast, and roasting whole chickens and can't recommend it enough!

Pork Tenderloin Temperatures

You'll know the pork is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. According to the USDA guidelines, cooking pork to 145°F is medium-rare. The pork will still be a little bit pink but is totally safe to eat. However, if you want to cook it a little bit more you can go up to 155°F, if desired, but know that the pork will continue to cook a little bit more after being pulled out of the oven.

How can I tell if pork tenderloin is done without a thermometer?

If you don't have a thermometer, follow the recommended cooking time (15-20 minutes), then pull the pork out of the oven and touch the thickest part of it. You can get a good gauge on how done it is by following the finger test – just remember you're looking for medium-rare to medium here! Finally, when you slice into it, the pork should be light pink and very juicy. If it looks undercooked, put it back in the oven for a few minutes.

How to Use Leftover Pork Tenderloin

We love using leftover pork tenderloin because it stays tender even when reheated! Next time you make pork tenderloin, consider making a double batch so you can use the rest for leftovers. Our favorite way to use it is in a stir fry, but you can also season it and use it to make tacos, make fried rice, or thinly slice it for sandwiches (it would be especially perfect in a Cuban sandwich).

We hope this guide to cooking the perfect pork tenderloin inspires you to give pork tenderloin a try!

More Pork Recipes

Pork Chop and Apples with Cinnamon

Balsamic Pork Loin Roast

Herbed Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Loin

Best Pork Chops Ever

Honey Mustard Pork Roast

BBQ Pork Plantain Pizza

Meal Prep Cuban Pork Casserole

Mustard Pork Tenderloin Bake


Perfect Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloin

Say goodbye to bland, boring pork tenderloin with this recipe for flavorful, juicy, oven-roasted pork tenderloin!

  • Author: Amber Goulden
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes + 30 minutes to marinade
  • Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25-30 minutes + marinating time
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American



For the Pork Tenderloin


  1. Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade of your choice, then set aside.
  2. Trim the silver skin off of the pork – the silver skin is the white, tough strip of connective tissue that runs about halfway down the pork tenderloin. Once you have removed it, season pork tenderloin with 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.
  3. Pour the marinade over the pork tenderloin. Refrigerate for 30 minutes up to 24 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 F, then heat a cast iron or another heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the pan, then, once hot, remove the pork tenderloin from its marinade and let the excess drip off, then place it in the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until browned, then cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, until browned.
  6. Remove the pork tenderloin from heat, then brush it with additional marinade. Transfer the pan to the oven, or place the pork tenderloin on a rimmed baking sheet, and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the pork has reached an internal temperature of 145 F. The best way to ensure your pork cooks to the perfect temperature is by using an in-oven thermometer, or by pulling it out at the 15 minute mark, checking the temperature, then returning to bake for another 2-3 minutes until it reaches the desired temperature.
  7. Remove from oven, let rest for about 8-10 minutes, then slice and serve!

Keywords: pork, pork tenderloin, oven, honey mustard, asian, ginger, sesame, balsamic, herb

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Recipe rating

  1. Caroline says:

    Doing this recipe today for the 3rd time. It’s so good, and we use the dijon mustard marinade recipe from Fed and Fit too! Yummy!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      I used that one too for New Year’s day! So yummy!

  2. John Boye says:

    Everyone loved this – the best food I’ve made in a long time. Your thorough explanations and techniques made me confident to try this easy and delicious recipe. It provided 2 extra benefits – new favorite recipe, and I was able to claim success on preparing a delicious meal!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Wahoo! So glad to hear that, John!

  3. sharron says:

    Cook covered or uncovered ??

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:


  4. Carolyn Lund says:

    Just getting ready to cook!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:


  5. Susie Q says:

    I have it marinating NOW! My question is: Can I use my cast iron enameled dutch oven to cook or does it have to be a short rimmed pan?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      An enameled dutch oven will work, Susie!

  6. Paul says:

    I chose the sesame ginger option and it turned out phenomenal!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Wahoo! So glad to hear that, Paul!

  7. Jen says:

    My husband loves this recipe! I have made it several times to rave reviews. Also have made your baked turkey tenderloin with garlic herb marinade. Success!

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      I’m so glad to hear that, Jen! Thanks so much for the comment!!

  8. Carol Cross says:

    I have a 2 lb tenderloin. Do I just double the time in the oven?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Your best bet is actually to use a meat thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature (you’re looking for 145°F as the internal temp) so you don’t overcook it!

  9. Ann says:

    Can I cook the marinade and use as a sauce?

    1. Brandi Schilhab says:

      I don’t see why not!! Enjoy!

  10. Phyllis Brown says:

    After I sear the Pork Tenderloin….can I let the tenderloin sit till I am ready to bake meat? Would like to have searing done before company arrives.

    1. Phyllis Brown says:

      PLEASE I NEED ADVISE! Having company tomorrow nite & have never seared pork tenderloin before.
      Can I sear Tenderloin early before company arrives & bake it later? Thanks

    2. Brandi Schilhab says:

      Sure, I think that’ll work just fine, Phyllis!

  11. K says:

    35 min is way too long!!
    Pork is supposed to be cooked to medium these days supposed to be cooked to medium. Trichinosis isn’t a threat anymore.

    1. Melissa Guevara says:

      You are right! 35 minutes is way too long! The recipe instructions call for 15-20 minutes of cooking time, but I just realized that the cooking time on the top of the recipe card was listed inaccurately. I’ve adjusted the card and hope that your tenderloin comes out delicious and juicy next time! ~Melissa

  12. Pork Caesar says:

    Great quick way to cook pork tenderloin!

    1. Melissa Guevara says:

      Thank you for taking the time to share! -Melissa

  13. Julie says:

    Excellent recipe! Had so much flavor from the marinade. My grill kind of sucks and the heat is uneven when cooking, so I had to cook it at a lower heat for longer. When the pork was perfect on the outside and not quite done on the inside I finished it off in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes. Served with baked potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts. Will definitely be making again, thanks so much!

    1. Melissa Guevara says:

      Sounds delicious! Glad you enjoyed. Thank you for taking the time to share with us. -Melissa