This juicy and flavorful Baked Pork Tenderloin is full of smoky, sweet spices and cooked to tender perfection in the oven. It makes a quick and healthy weeknight dinner that the entire family will love!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
It’s perfect for busy weeknights! What I love most about this recipe – besides how incredibly delicious it is – is how easy it is to throw together and get this one-pan dinner into the oven! It’s a great healthy dinner option for any night of the week.
The brown sugar rub is easy and delicious – You likely have all the spices you need for the brown sugar rub already on hand in the spice cabinet! With just a few simple ingredients, this rub is perfect for everything from chicken breast to skirt steak!
This baked pork tenderloin goes well with various sides – this dish is so versatile in that you can serve it with all of your favorite healthy side dishes! Some of our favorites are this roasted broccolini or this brussels sprout salad.
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- Pork Tenderloin – Make sure it’s a tenderloin! See the notes below for the difference between a pork loin and a tenderloin. I love to stock up when they’re on sale since this is a favorite family recipe that makes excellent leftovers.
- Olive Oil – I buy mine at Costco. You can also substitute this for avocado oil.
- Brown Sugar – Brown sugar in the rub caramelizes and forms a crust outside of the pork that is so delicious. For a strictly paleo option, try coconut sugar!
- Cumin – This is used in the pork rub and provides the perfect smokey flavor!
- Cinnamon – The subtle sweetness of cinnamon is great to add to savory dishes as well.
- Dry Mustard – This is made from mustard seeds and adds so much flavor. If you don’t have this spice on hand, you can substitute for one tablespoon of dijon mustard or another grainy mustard.
If you’re a fan, garlic powder and onion powder would be great additions to this rub as well.
How To Make Pork Tenderloin With Brown Sugar Rub
Here’s how to make the perfectly tender oven-baked tenderloin every time!
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Pat the pork dry with paper towels and remove the band of silver skin on the pork with a sharp knife. This will help the spice rub to penetrate the meat better! Feel free to cut away any other excess fat if you’d prefer as well!
- Cut the tenderloins in half, making four equal size pieces.
- Mix the spices for the rub in a small bowl and rub all over the pork tenderloin, making sure to coat all sides, nooks, and crannies.
- Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a cast iron skillet or dutch oven on medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot, place the pork tenderloin pieces into the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, making sure to sear all sides. We are just browning here; they will finish cooking in the oven.
- After browning on both sides, place the pan in the hot oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 140-145 degrees F. I highly recommend using an instant-read thermometer to ensure the pork doesn’t overcook and become tough.
- Remove the pork from the oven and place it on a cutting board. Tent with foil and let the pork tenderloin rest for ten minutes while the juices redistribute. Don’t skip this step! Allowing the pork to rest will result in juicy tenderloin!
- Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Baked Pork Tenderloin
- Pat the pork dry. Patting the pork dry will help the rub to better stick to the pork giving the best results for the crispy (and delicious) outside!
- Use a cast iron skillet to sear the pork. Searing the pork will add extra flavor and seal in the juices prior to roasting. I cannot emphasize how much I love my cast iron skillet for this purpose. It creates the perfect sear and easily goes from stovetop to oven for perfectly cooked meats like this.
- Use a meat thermometer. This is critical to ensuring that you do not overcook your pork tenderloin. The Palermo Meat Thermometer is so easy to use, and you can use it when cooking indoors or grilling outdoors. Make sure you are inserting the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat for an accurate reading.
- Allow the pork to rest. The best way to ensure juicy and tender pork is to allow the pork to rest on a cutting board after pulling it out of the oven. Doing so will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the pork rather than flowing away as soon as you cut into it.
Leftovers and Storage
This pork tenderloin recipe makes delicious leftovers and is just as good the next day! To store it, simply place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Avoid reheating pork at a high temperature. You can place the pork in a baking dish and reheat in the oven at 325 degrees F, or you can saute it in a pan for a crispier piece of pork.
My favorite way to enjoy this pork recipe leftover is to put in a quesadilla and load it up with cheese. This is also a great recipe to add to salads, make pork tacos, or even sandwiches!
What To Serve With This Pork Tenderloin
This easy pork tenderloin recipe goes well with a variety of side dishes! Whether you’re serving it up for a dinner party or a busy weeknight, these are some of our favorite sides to serve alongside this juicy pork:
- Roasted Green Beans
- Kale and Apple Salad with Maple Mustard Dressing
- Roasted Mini Potatoes
- Seasoned Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Best Broccoli Ever
Frequently Asked Questions about Pork Tenderloin
- How do you keep pork tenderloin from drying out?
The best way to ensure that the pork doesn’t dry out while baking is to use an instant-read meat thermometer and remove it from the oven as soon as it reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Second, make sure you let it rest on a cutting board for a few minutes while it’s covered with aluminum foil.
- How long do you cook pork tenderloin in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit?
Again, I highly recommend cooking pork recipes to temperature and using a meat thermometer rather than cooking to time, but generally, the cook time should be around 20-25 minutes.
- What is the difference between pork tenderloin and pork loin?
Pork loin and pork tenderloin are different cuts of meat coming from different parts of the cow. The tenderloin is a lean cut of meat that runs along the backbone and is far more tender than the loin (or rib roast) which comes from a section near the rib. The pork loin roast is the cut of meat in which pork chops are cut from.
- Can I make this pork in the slow cooker or instant pot?
While you technically can make this pork in the slow cooker or instant pot, the rub will not caramelize the same way it does with roasted pork tenderloins which makes this recipe so irresistible. If you’re looking for a tender pork recipe in the slow cooker try this three ingredient barbecue pork or this instant pot pork tenderloin.
More Quick and Easy Dinners You’ll Love
- Grilled Steak Tacos
- Tender London Broil
- Turmeric Salmon and Couscous
- Instant Pot Chicken Stir Fry
- Gluten Free Kung Pao Chicken
Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin
- 1 pork tenderloin 1 ½ – 2 lbs
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Cut tenderloins in half making four equal size pieces.
- Mix together seasonings in a small bowl and rub all over pork tenderloin making sure to get on all sides and all nooks and crannies.
- Put 2 tablespoon olive oil in a cast iron skillet on medium high.
- Place pork tenderloin pieces into the pan.
- Cook for a minute or two, making sure to sear all sides (5-10 minutes total). We are just browning here because they will finish cooking in the oven.
- After browning on both sides place pan in the oven and cook for about 15-20 minutes until internal temperature is 140°-145°.
- Remove from oven and place tenderloins on a cutting board. Tent with foil and let rest for ten minutes while juices redistribute. Don’t skip this step if you want juicy pork.
- Slice and serve.