A toast to the roast.
This easy roasted pork tenderloin recipe makes a juicy, flavorful centerpiece pork loin encrusted with herbs.
Meet This Easy Roast Pork Tenderloin Recipe
Roasted pork tenderloin is not, shall we say, a groundbreaking dinner. But it is timeless: What would have been right as the centerpiece dish to a 1950s dinner party looks just as good day.
And tastes just as good, too.
After all, there is a reason why some dishes become dated, and others become classic. This juicy, herb-roasted pork tenderloin may not be trendy, but it does deserve a place in anyone’s recipe collection for its ease, juicy flavor fragrant with sage and rosemary, and crowd-pleasing comfort.
Herb-Roasted Pork Tenderloin: Recipe Notes
Roasted pork tenderloin may sound a little fancy, but pork loin is incredibly easy to bake. It’s important to cook the pork correctly, though, to make sure you have juicy, flavorful meat. Here are my best tips.
Here, I have called for two one-pound (or so) pork tenderloins. Be sure to brine the meat at least a day in advance, if possible. And if you would like a nice, brown crust on the tenderloin, sear it in a hot, oiled pan for about a minute on each side first. Then transfer the tenderloin to the sheet pan and bake.
How to Make Roast Pork Tenderloin Juicy and Flavorful
To make your roasted pork tenderloin juicy and flavorful, I recommend dry brining the meat, uncovered in the fridge, for up to two days in advance. Brining allows the salt to penetrate all the way through the meat. Brining adds flavor throughout, and tenderizes the pork loin.
How Long Does Pork Tenderloin Take to Cook?
Unlike other roasted meat dinners such as turkey or roast chicken, which may take upward of two hours to cook, pork tenderloin normally takes around 30 minutes to cook.
Pork tenderloin may take even less time to cook if you sear the outside of the meat first, giving it a head start.
How (and Why) to Sear the Pork Tenderloin First
The roasted pork tenderloin bakes in a 375 degree F oven for about 25 to 30 minutes. This temperature will give you a nice, evenly roasted meat, but is not hot enough to brown the outside of the tenderloin.
Searing the pork on the outside gives the meat a nice, brown crust. This adds flavor and texture, and also helps lock in juiciness.
To sear this pork tenderloin, heat a hot, oiled pan and cook over medium-high heat for about a minute or two on each side, until brown. Then, transfer the meat to a sheet pan and roast.
The brown crust adds color and flavor, but is not strictly necessary — especially if you don’t feel like creating another dish to wash!
What Is the Cooking Temperature for Pork?
Like steak, pork doneness can be a very personal thing. While the government says that pork should be cooked to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, I find that the meat will be a little overdone and dry at this temperature.
Instead, I bake pork tenderloin to 138 degrees F at its thickest point, and then let it rest, loosely covered with foil. The carry-over heating will raise it to about 140 degrees. The pork loin will still retain a good amount of juiciness, and be cooked through without being dry.
If you love this roasted pork tenderloin recipe, you may also enjoy:
Juicy Roasted Pork Tenderloin With Herbs
- 2 1-pound pork tenderloins
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 20 turns fresh-cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons each fresh rosemary and sage, roughly chopped
- 8 or so young, fresh thyme stems
- 1 medium onion peeled and sliced
- 1 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed, and halved lengthwise, then halved again into long wedges
- Using a very sharp knife, remove excess fat from the tenderloins, and slice off the silver skin. The silver skin is the length of silver-white connective tissue (you can't miss it) on the underside of the tenderloin. Discard.
- Drizzle the meat with two tablespoons of olive oil. Coat the tenderloins evenly with the salt and pepper on all sides. Place the tenderloins on a half-sheet pan lined with parchment. Sprinkle the meat evenly with the fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage. If one end of the tenderloins are smaller than the other, tuck the tail under so that the entire thing has a more uniform thickness. TIP: If you can't spare the space for a half-sheet pan in your fridge, just put the meat on a dish and transfer it to the sheet pan before cooking.
- Let brine, uncovered, in the refrigerator for at least one day, or overnight. This allows the salt to seep well into the meat.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Remove the pork tenderloins from the refrigerator. If searing the pork, heat a large skillet lightly coated with oil and sear over medium-high heat for a minute or two on each side, until brown. Arrange the pork tenderloins on the parchment-lined sheet pan. Toss the sliced carrots and onions with one tablespoon of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the onion and carrots around the pork tenderloin.
- Roast, uncovered, for around 25 to 30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 138°F at the thickest part of the meat. The meat will be juicy and just a little pink. TIP: If you sear the meat, you will probably be closer to 25 minutes of cooking time, not 30.(Note: The F.D.A. officially recommends cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145°F.)
- Let rest, covered loosely with foil, for five to ten minutes. Slice the meat using a serrated knife. Arrange the vegetables on a platter with the pork, and serve with the pan juices.