Pork tenderloin: What is it? And how do you cook it?

From marinating to baking and grilling

Pork tenderloin is a popular cut of pork. Thanks to the many marinades, herbs and spices, there are countless pork tenderloin recipes. In addition, there are various options for cooking the pork tenderloin, such as baking, grilling and roasting.

Below you can read all about how you can add flavor to the pork tenderloin and how you can best cook a pork tenderloin.

Table of contents

Chapter 1

What is a pork tenderloin?

The pork tenderloin is a very lean and juicy piece of pork meat. It comes from the top of the ribcage and is cut from the pork loin.

A whole pork tenderloin is a long (point-shaped), narrow, round piece of meat with a diameter of about 6-8 cm. The thicker part is the head hare. These are often cut into cubes for satay.

Because it is a narrow piece of meat and loses a lot of fat, cooking a pork tenderloin is relatively easy and does not take long.


Tips for buying a pork tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is sold pre-packaged in supermarkets or is packed for you at the butcher or at an online specialty store. It is also possible to buy it pre-marinated.

When buying a tenderloin, make sure it has a pink color. Do not buy pork tenderloin with slightly pale or gray flesh. A good quality pork tenderloin has a light fat marbling. This fat marbling provides flavor to the meat. In addition, it ensures that the pork tenderloin becomes nice and juicy during cooking.

Other names:
United Stated: Pork Tenderloin, Fillet
Germany: Filet Mignon
Spain: Lomo
Dutch: Varkenshaas

Chapter 2

Seasoning it

There are countless possibilities and recipes to add flavor to a pork tenderloin. You can rub it with a dry rub, marinate, brine or even glaze it. Below is a description of these methods.

How do you marinate a pork tenderloin?

Marinating is a process of soaking raw meat in a liquid spice mixture. This is to add flavor to the meat. Marinating should be done in the refrigerator. Depending on the recipe, a pork tenderloin can marinate for several hours or even overnight.

To make a marinade, add all ingredients in a glass bowl and mix them. Then you put the marinade in a plastic bag that can be sealed. You also put the pork tenderloin in there. You then put this in the fridge for a time that is indicated in your recipe. Turn the tenderloin occasionally so that the marinade covers the whole piece well.

After removing the tenderloin from the plastic bag, you can use the leftover marinade to make a sauce. Place this in a small saucepan, bring it to a boil and cook it for 1 minute.

Rub with a dry rub (dry herbs)

Rubbing the tenderloin with a dry rub is another easy way to add flavor to your piece of meat. A dry rub is a mixture of dry herbs and spices mixed with sugar or salt.

You can easily make a dry rub by putting all the herbs in a bowl and simply mixing it with your hands or a spoon. Rub the pork tenderloin with two tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle the entire piece with the dry rub.

How do you brine a pork tenderloin?

Brining a pork tenderloin makes the meat nicely juicy and tender. Brining is a process of soaking raw meat in a container of salted water. If necessary, herbs or spices can be added for extra flavor.

You can brine a pork tenderloin by placing the meat in a container with water to which salt, and possibly other ingredients, have been added. Make sure that the tenderloin is submerged in the water and refrigerate it for 8 to 12 hours. Before you start cooking the pork tenderloin, remove the meat from the water and remove the salt from the meat.

How do you glaze a pork tenderloin?

By glazing a pork tenderloin, you add extra flavor to the meat. You can glaze a pork tenderloin with almost any thick liquid sauce.

Bake the pork tenderloin before you glaze it. Once the pork tenderloin has reached the right temperature, you can pour the sauce over it.

Chapter 3

How to cook pork tenderloin?

The pork tenderloin, if not removed, has a membrane (a type of connective tissue). This does not break down during cooking and can be tough. Therefore, remove the membrane before you start cooking the pork tenderloin. You can do this by using a long, narrow knife. Hold the membrane with one hand and cut the fleece loose with the other hand.

A pork tenderloin only needs a short cooking time. This will keep the meat juicy and slightly pink in the center.


When baking a pork tenderloin in a pan, the meat is browned on all sides over medium heat. This gives a nice caramelized exterior.

  1. Take the meat out of the refrigerator half an hour before cooking it and let it reach room temperature. This prevents large temperature differences, which can make the meat tough. Then pat the meat dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Put a dash of butter in the pan. Butter gives a nice, fatty taste to the meat. If you don’t want to fry with too much fat, add a dash of oil and butter to the pan.
  3. Sear the pork tenderloin on all sides over medium heat. Then let it continue to cook slowly.
  4. Provide a light pink core. To do this, maintain a core temperature of 58-60 °C.
  5. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes. Place aluminum foil loosely over the meat to allow the steam to escape from the sides.


Grilling a pork tenderloin is a popular cooking method. To grill a pork tenderloin, follow these steps:

  1. Before grilling, take a good look at your recipe to see whether you should grill the pork tenderloin directly or indirectly. Depending on the size of your piece, it will take 20 to 30 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Turn the pork tenderloin over every four minutes. Do this until a core temperature of 71 °C has been reached. The tenderloin should be pink in the center.
  3. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes. Place aluminum foil loosely over the meat to allow the steam to escape from the sides.

In the oven

A pork tenderloin cooked in the oven can also be seasoned, glazed or marinated. Whatever you do, it’s ready in 30 minutes. Follow the steps below to cook a pork tenderloin in the oven.

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 °C. Meanwhile, place aluminum foil in a baking dish. Put a little bit of oil in there and spread it by rubbing it.
  2. Place the pork tenderloin in the dish and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake the pork tenderloin for 30-35 minutes or as soon as the pork tenderloin has reached a core temperature of 63 °C. You can use a meat thermometer for this. To do this, insert the thermometer into the thick part of the tenderloin.
  4. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes. Place aluminum foil loosely over the meat to allow the steam to escape from the sides.

Chapter 4

Recipe: Baked pork tenderloin with a creamy sauce of mushrooms and red wine

Geen beoordelingen

Baked pork tenderloin with a creamy sauce of mushrooms and red wine

A tender piece of pork tenderloin with acreamy sauce of mushrooms and red wine.
Prep time10 minutes
Cooking time25 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Author: Cultiviz


  • 2 pieces pork tenderloin about 300 grams
  • 250 grams mushrooms mixed
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 2 dl whipped cream
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp parsley finely chopped
  • splash sunflower oil
  • lump of butter
  • pepper freshly ground
  • salt


  • Remove the pork tenderloins from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before cooking. Season them generously on both sides with freshly ground pepper and a pinch of salt.
  • Clean the shallot and finely chop it.
  • Brush the mushrooms till they’re clean and cut or tear them finely.
  • Heat a dash of sunflower oil in a frying pan and fry the pork tenderloins on both sides on high heat. Lower the heat slightly and add the whole garlic cloves and bay leaves. Add a nice knob of butter.
  • Continue to baste the meat with the butter and keep turning it so that it cooks evenly all around. This will take about 12 minutes in total (depending on the thickness).
  • Remove the meat from the pan, wrap it with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 5 minutes.
  • Remove the garlic and bay leaves from the pan and add the shallot to the butter. Let it fry for a few minutes, turn up the heat and add the mushrooms.
  • Fry them until they’re nicely brown, then season them with salt and pepper and deglaze them with the red wine.
  • Let the sauce reduce very firmly until there is only a little moisture left. Add the whipped cream and let it reduce by half. Add the chopped parsley and season the dish with salt and pepper if desired.
  • Remove the pork tenderloin from the foil and cut it into nice slices. If the meat is still a bit too pink, warm it up very briefly in the sauce.

Chapter 5

More recipes

Looking for more inspiration? Below you will find an overview of our pork tenderloin recipes. Or you can take a look at our pork dishes for even more pork recipes.

Baked pork tenderloin with a creamy sauce of mushrooms and red wine

A deliciously tender piece of pork tenderloin. First, we brown the pork tenderloin in the [...]

Grilled pork tenderloin satay

Sometimes you don’t have the time or you just don’t feel like cooking something difficult, [...]


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