How to Cook a Pork Tenderloin in the Oven

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Pork tenderloin is a quick and easy meal to serve any night of the week; perfect for company or simply for your hungry family. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to roast a pork tenderloin in the oven without letting it get dry. Once you master this basic recipe, you can mix and match it with different spices, sauces and sides. A sizzling pan, a good piece of pork and some flavorful seasonings are the key to an easy and delicious dinner.

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Image Credit: Tieghan Gerard Half Baked Harvest

Things You'll Need

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients and Prep the Oven

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Place a cast iron baking dish or skillet in the oven and allow the oven to preheat for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow the pan to heat within the oven -- it will give the pork a nicely seared outside. While the oven is preheating, gather your ingredients.

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Image Credit: Tieghan Gerard Half Baked Harvest

Tip

If you don't have a cast iron pan, you may use an oven-safe glass or ceramic baking dish. That said, I highly recommend investing in a cast iron pan as they are incredibly useful in so many recipes!

Step 2: Season the Pork

Remove the pork from its wrapping and pat dry with a paper towel. Rub the spices all over the pork.

Image Credit: Tieghan Gerard Half Baked Harvest

Tip

You can have a lot of fun with the way you season your pork. For the pork pictured here, I used a Caribbean spice rub. Make your own spice mix, or take a delicious shortcut with a pre-made spice rub. I would recommend Cajun, peri-peri or BBQ spice rubs for pork. Jamaican jerk, chipotle or Thai seasonings would also work, or you can take a simple route with just chili powder, salt and pepper.

Step 3: Roast the Pork

Using oven mitts, remove your preheated pan from the oven and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, swirling the olive oil to coat the pan. Now carefully add the pork. If you are using a cast iron pan, it should sizzle. Rub the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the pork and place the pork in the oven. Roast for 15 minutes at 425 F, and then reduce the oven temperature to 400 F. Continue roasting for another 10 to 15 minutes.

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Image Credit: Tieghan Gerard Half Baked Harvest

Step 4: Check the Temperature of the Pork

Use an accurate meat thermometer to check the pork's temperature. Remove the pork from the oven and insert the thermometer into the middle of the tenderloin. (Alternately, use an oven-safe meat thermometer with a probe that stays in the meat while it cooks and alerts you when it reaches a preset temperature.) If necessary, return the pork to the oven until the thermometer reads 145 F.

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Image Credit: Tieghan Gerard Half Baked Harvest

Tip

If you don't have a meat thermometer, you will know the pork is cooked when it is white and no longer pink in the center.

Step 5: Allow the Pork to Rest

Once the pork is cooked, allow it to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. This will help keep the juices in and the pork moist. Slide the pork onto a cutting board with a juice groove; hopefully, your pork will be juicy enough to be a little messy when you cut into it.

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Step 6: Slice the Pork and Serve

Slice the pork. A slicing knife is ideal for creating clean cuts through pork; pick up an affordable slicing knife, or invest in a top-rated Victorinox slicing knife. Serve sliced pork with your favorite sides.

Image Credit: Tieghan Gerard Half Baked Harvest

Tip

I love serving pork tenderloin with rice, quinoa, creamy polenta or risotto.

Image Credit: Tieghan Gerard Half Baked Harvest
Image Credit: Tieghan Gerard Half Baked Harvest

Let's Take This Outside

When you want to impress your guests at the next barbecue, ​try cooking your pork tenderloin on the grill​. Here's how...

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How to Grill a Pork Tenderloin

Image Credit: Julia Mueller

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