Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Food

How to Prep Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin is a lean protein workhorse. Here's how to get the most out of it.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All-Access
Intro Offer
$3.99 / month*

  • A $500 value with everything in the Digital Plan plus:
  • Member-only content on all publications in the Outside network like Triathlete, Yoga Journal, Clean Eating, and more
  • Outside Learn, our new online education hub loaded with more than 2,000 videos across 450 lessons.
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations.
  • Download your personal race photos from FinisherPix** for one race (up to a $100 value)
  • Exclusive discounts on gear, travel, and race-entry fees
  • Annual subscription to Outside magazine***
Join Outside+
Women's Running

Digital
Intro Offer
$2.99 / month*

  • Access to all member-exclusive content on WomensRunning.com
  • Ad-free access to WomensRunning.com
Join Women’s Running

*Outside memberships are billed annually. **See program terms for full discount details. ***Print subscriptions available to U.S. residents only. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

Sliced from the muscle that runs alongside the backbone of the pig, pork tenderloin most tender cut of pork. Think of long and narrow boneless tenderloin as pork’s version of chicken breast, but more flavorful. In fact, the two cuts are quite similar in how they are priced and can be cooked.

The USDA rates pork tenderloin as “extra lean,” meaning it delivers a higher proportion of protein calories than those from fat. A 3-ounce serving of this cut ponies up 18 grams of muscle-friendly protein. If you prep pork tenderloin well, it’ll deliver all those protein without bring dry or tough. Other nutrition notables include thiamin, vitamin B6, and selenium, a mineral linked to lower rates of depression.

Shop

Don’t confuse pork tenderloin with pork loin. The tenderloin is a smaller cut, averaging about 1 pound. Look for meat with relatively firm, pink flesh. Pale or brownish meat is a sign it’s past prime.

Prep

Its relatively small size means you can cook up tenderloin in less than 30 minutes, making it a perfect weeknight option. It also takes well to marinades and rubs. If sold with a silvery skin, trim this off before cooking and then prepare with a one-two punch: Brown all sides in an oven-proof skillet, and then transfer to a 400°F oven. The cut is also great grilled, which imparts smoky flavor. The leanness means it’s easy to overcook, so pay attention when over the fire or in the oven, and cook only to an internal temperature of 145°F, letting rest 5 minutes before slicing. Going the extra step to brine pork tenderloin in a salty liquid (like leftover olive brine) for a few hours before cooking will help ensure you slice into moist meat.

Make It Last

Once home from the butcher, keep tenderloin in the back of the fridge on a plate for up to three days. Beyond that, store tightly wrapped in the freezer for up to three months.

 

If you’re watching your sodium intake and would rather not marinate tenderloin in a brine, try this recipe for Spicy Buffalo Pork Enchiladas. It slow-cooks the pork tenderloin, ensuring that it’s tender and juicy without extra salt.