Lamb tenderloin: what is it? And what is the best way to cook it?

From frying to grilling

In recent years, cooking lamb tenderloins has become increasingly popular. This meat is even a favorite of many meat lovers. Lamb tenderloins are soft and full of flavor.

You should also try baked lamb tenderloin instead of, for example, the traditional grilled lamb chops. Serve this with a nice glass of wine to impress your visitors. Below you can read more about this tender piece of meat.

Lamb tenderloins

Chapter 1

What kind of meat is lamb tenderloin?

The lamb tenderloin is located on top of the lamb’s back, on the ribcage, next to the spine. Lamb tenderloin, the tenderest cut of lamb, consists of thin, elongated strips of meat that is slightly thicker on one side and gets flatter on the other side. The meat is usually browned all over within a few minutes.

Lamb tenderloins are tastiest when the inside of the meat is pink. You can use them perfectly in salads. They are also delicious in combination with other types of meat such as serrano ham. Lamb tenderloin is usually eaten as the main ingredient of the meal.

Lamb tenderloin is quite pricey, because there are only two small lamb tenderloins in a lamb. Fortunately, you don’t have to eat large amounts of it. It is a delicious piece of meat and ideal for a festive occasion.

Chapter 2

Where does lamb come from?

Half of the lamb and mutton eaten in the Netherlands is imported from New Zealand and Australia and a quarter from Belgium. The remaining lamb comes from the Netherlands itself. Dutch lamb is free-range meat. The lambs are kept outside on pastures and heaths. The most famous breed is the Texelaar (Texel lamb).

New Zealand lamb is known for its good quality. Here the lambs live on large expanses of hilly plains all year round, where they graze in open fields. The grass of the meadows is guaranteed free of artificial additives.

The lambs are raised here in a completely natural environment and they get plenty of exercise. The meat is of exceptional and consistent quality. It is soft with a special, intense taste.

To guarantee the quality and freshness of the meat, it is frozen under special conditions, preserving the taste and tenderness of the meat.

When buying lamb, pay attention to the structure and color. Fresh lamb has a light pink color. The meat is firm with a fine fibrous texture and a silky sheen, with firm fat that has a creamy color.

Tasty lamb is best bought at the butcher. He knows exactly which lamb is the tastiest in the season in question.

Chapter 3

How does lamb tenderloin taste?

Lamb tenderloin is tender, juicy and has a mild flavor. Leg of lamb, for example, are often slightly tougher. You don’t have to worry about that with lamb tenderloins.

Chapter 4

Is lamb healthy?

Lamb meat contains many nutritional values, such as protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B. Lamb meat is low in calories and lean.

Lamb meat has a lot of vitamin B, which provides energy, is good for the skin and stimulates the production of red blood cells.

Lamb meat is rich in zinc, which is important for growth, digestion, the appetite and immune system.

Chapter 5

Which wine pairs well with lamb tenderloin?

Don’t pair really heavy red wine with lamb tenderloin, but choose one that is full of flavor. A good Cabernet Sauvignon, a Tempranillo or a Syrah combines well with lamb tenderloin. A delicious rosé is also definitely recommended.

Chapter 6

How to cook lamb tenderloin?

An ideal combination is lamb tenderloin with mashed potatoes and tasty seasonal vegetables. Lamb tenderloin is delicious when you combine it with thyme and honey. The sweetness of the honey neutralizes the strong taste of the lamb and the thyme provides a subtle flavor.

When cooking this meat, it is important that you have all the dishes ready when you start cooking it, because it is ready within a few minutes.

With large pieces of meat, it is advisable to use a core thermometer, so you know exactly when the meat is cooked to perfection. Meat is cooked to a core temperature of 56°C. A large luxury piece of meat is tastiest when it has just barely reached this temperature, so it is not quite done. Then there will still be enough juices in the meat.

The correct core temperature also ensures that all bacteria present are rendered harmless, so that the risk of food poisoning is limited.

When cooking lamb tenderloin, maintain a core temperature of approximately 56°C so that the core of the lean meat is still nice and pink.

Always allow the lamb tenderloins to reach room temperature before you cook them and pat them dry with kitchen paper for a nice crispy crust.


Marinate the lamb tenderloin in a deep dish so that the marinade is just higher than the meat. It is best to use a glass, porcelain or earthenware bowl. Metal dishes can spoil the taste of the meat.

A marinade of olive oil, thyme, garlic, pepper and salt is delicious with lamb tenderloin. Massage the marinade in the meat and let the marinated meat sit in the refrigerator for about 3 hours.


If you want to bake lamb tenderloin, you do this at a high temperature.

  1. Sprinkle the meat on one side with thyme leaves and then brush it with honey.
  2. Fry the meat on both sides for 3 to 4 minutes.


If you are grilling lamb tenderloin on the barbecue, make sure that the coals are hot.

  1. Make sure that the lamb tenderloin is at room temperature before cooking it.
  2. Grill the lamb tenderloin over a hot fire in the middle of the barbecue for 1 minute. This gives the meat a nice color and grills the edges.
  3. Place the lamb tenderloin on the side of the barbecue over indirect heat for about 3 minutes.
  4. Turn the meat several times.
sous vide

Sous vide cooking

Sous vide is cooking vacuum-sealed meat in a hot water bath. This way you can cook meat perfectly, with the entire piece of meat reaching exactly the desired core temperature.

  1. Remove the lamb tenderloins from the refrigerator and allow them to reach room temperature.
  2. Then vacuum seal the lamb tenderloins and cook the meat sous vide at 45°C.
  3. Remove the lamb tenderloins from the water bath just before serving them.
  4. Remove the packaging and season the meat with salt and pepper.
  5. Quickly brown the lamb tenderloins in olive oil on all sides.

Chapter 7

Recipe: Pan-fried lamb tenderloin with pearl couscous and roasted fennel

Geen beoordelingen

Pan-fried lamb tenderloin with pearl couscous and roasted fennel

Delicious lamb tenderloin served with warm pearl couscous and roasted fennel.
Prep time10 minutes
Cooking time30 minutes
Servings: 4 persons
Author: Cultiviz


  • 8 lamb tenderloins medium
  • 1 tbsp Provencal herbs
  • 2 fennels
  • 250 grams pearl couscous
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • splash olive oil
  • lump butter
  • salt
  • black pepper freshly grounded


  • Take the lamb tenderloins out of the refrigerator about 20 minutes before serving and season them with half of the Provencal herbs, salt and pepper.
  • Cook the pearl couscous according to the instructions on the package and drain well.
  • Clean the shallot and garlic and finely chop them.
  • Clean the fennel and cut into nice wedges. Finely slice the rest of the fennel.
  • Heat a dash of olive oil into a frying pan and roast the fennel segments until they coloured nicely. Season generously with salt and pepper and add a small splash of water. Cover with a lid and smother until it is al dente. Remove the lid and turn up the heat. Let it simmer until the moisture has evaporated.
  • Sauté the garlic, shallot and finely chopped fennel with the rest of the Provencal herbs in a frying pan with a dash of olive oil. Add the pearl couscous and season with salt and pepper. Keep it warm under a lid.
  • Heat a dash of olive oil into a frying pan and add a knob of butter. As soon as the butter is brown, add the lamb tenderloins and let them roll in the pan for a few minutes (by keeping it moving) until they are nicely brown all over. Remove from the pan and let them rest briefly.
  • Arrange the couscous on the plate with the roasted fennel. Cut the lamb tenderloins in half diagonally and arrange them on the couscous.

Chapter 8

All recipes

Looking for more inspiration? Then see below more recipes with lamb tenderloin. Or check our lamb recipes for even more inspiration.

Pan-fried lamb tenderloin with pearl couscous and roasted fennel

Just like the tenderloin is the most exclusive piece of beef, so it is with [...]