Pork tenderloin is an affordable cut of meat that can be absolutely delicious when cooked right.
The one thing that puts people off cooking pork tenderloin is that it can be difficult to work out cooking time, which means that the tenderloin can often turn out dry and hard.
By following the correct cooking time and temperature, you can cook up a tender and juicy pork tenderloin for dinner during the week, and even enjoy leftovers for lunch the next day!
A good temperature to cook pork tenderloin in the oven at is 375°F, but how long does it need to be cooked for? At 375°F, pork tenderloin should be cooked for 25 minutes for every pound. Following this guideline will give you a medium-done pork tenderloin that has an internal temperature of 145°F, which is safe to eat but still moist.
The below guide will help you cook pork tenderloin to perfection at 375°F, and give you some other handy tips to make it your go-to meal at home!
How Long To Cook Pork Tenderloin
Knowing how long to cook pork tenderloin at a certain temperature for takes away the guessing game every time you want some for dinner, even when you buy pork tenderloin of different weights.
Cooking pork tenderloin at 375°F is a good temperature to work with, as it cooks the pork tenderloin evenly at a good rate, and will not cook the outside too quickly while leaving the inside raw.
When cooking pork tenderloin at 375°F, you should work on 25 minutes of cooking time per pound.
Following this guideline will give you pork tenderloin that is cooked to medium, which registers 145°F in the center, with a firm, slightly pink center.
Use this chart below to quickly work out how long to cook your pork tenderloin for in the oven at 375°F.
|Pork Tenderloin Weight||Cooking Time At 375°F|
|3lb||1 hr 15 mins|
|4lb||1 hr 40 mins|
|5lb||2 hr 5 mins|
Increasing Pork Tenderloin Cooking Time At 375°F
Cooking pork to have an internal temperature of 145°F is deemed to be safe, and you will achieve this by cooking the pork tenderloin for 25 mins per pound at 375°F.
This internal temperature means that the pork will be firm but slightly pink on the inside, but safe to eat. However, if you do not like your pork to be slightly pink on the inside and with medium doneness, you can cook it for a little bit longer.
To cook your pork well done, but without drying it out, you could increase the cooking time by a few minutes.
You can extend the cooking time by 2-3 minutes per pound to ensure it is not pink inside when done.
Adding 2-3 minutes per pound means that the internal temperature will be around 160°F when done.
How To Prepare Pork Tenderloin For Cooking
There is some preparation that you need to do before cooking your tenderloin, to ensure it turns out beautifully!
Here is what you should do before placing the pork tenderloin in the oven to cook:
Trim Fat And Silver Skin
Trimming any extra fat and the silver skin off of the pork tenderloin will ensure that it is not tough when cooked, and there are no extra chewy bits. This goes a long way to help the pork be tender and soft when done.
Tuck In The Tail
Pork tenderloins often have a thinner end on one side, but not all do. If the pork tenderloin you are cooking has a thinner end, then you might want to tuck it in.
To do this, tuck the tail into the last 2-inches of the pork tenderloin, and try to place it underneath itself. You can either secure it in place with some kitchen twine or with toothpicks.
Sear The Tenderloin
Searing the pork tenderloin before cooking it in the oven helps to keep the moisture in, creates a delicious crisp on the outside, and adds some extra flavor.
To sear the pork tenderloin, heat a pan on medium-high heat and add a little bit of olive oil into the pan.
Once hot, lay the pork tenderloin down and allow it to brown on one side before turning it onto the other side. Make sure to not let it cook for too long, just for the outside to sear.
Season The Tenderloin
It is so important to season the pork tenderloin before cooking! Don’t be afraid to heavily season it either—it will make such a difference to the end dish.
There are some great spice blends that go perfectly with pork tenderloin, but the main seasoning to use is salt!
Cooking Pork Tenderloin At 375°F
Once you have prepared your pork tenderloin, it is time to get cooking!
Roast The Tenderloin
Place the tenderloin into a preheated oven at 375°F. Set the timer for 25 minutes per pound.
It helps to place the tenderloin on a roasting rack on a baking pan (such as this one), and you can place some veggies in the pan too, as long as it is not overcrowded.
It is worth checking the internal temperature of the pork tenderloin once the cooking time is up. All ovens vary, so it is always safer to check.
An instant-read thermometer is something you should look at keeping in your kitchen, and it can come in handy when cooking pork tenderloin.
The tenderloin is ready to remove from the oven when the internal temperature measures 145°F. At this temperature, the pork tenderloin will be juicy and tender.
If you want it to be a little more well-done, you could leave it in for a few minutes longer until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.
Let The Tenderloin Rest
Leaving the tenderloin to rest once you take it out of the oven can make a huge difference with how juicy the pork tenderloin is.
When you take the tenderloin out of the oven once it is cooked, leave it to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Resting the tenderloin gives it the chance to absorb its flavorful juices properly, to keep it beautifully moist when sliced.
Do I Need To Cover Pork Tenderloin In The Oven?
If you are cooking a large pork tenderloin in the oven, it might be worth covering it with aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out too much. After searing the pork tenderloin, place it in the roasting tray and cover it with aluminum foil.
Cook it until there is about 10 minutes left and then remove the foil, and place it back in the oven. This allows the outside to crisp up a little more near the end, but without causing the pork tenderloin to dry up as it cooks.
It is also a good idea to cover the pork tenderloin with aluminum foil as it rests so that it can retain as much moisture as possible.
How To Know If Pork Tenderloin Is Done Without A Thermometer
If you do not have a thermometer at home to test whether the pork tenderloin is done or not, you might be looking for other ways to tell whether it is ready or not.
The next best way to determine if your pork is done is to use a knife to cut a small slice into the center to see the color of the meat.
When it is ready, the meat on the inside should be very light pink, turning white, and the juices should run pretty much clear.
When pushing down on the pork tenderloin, it should still be tender and juices should run out. If you are unsure, then you might want to cook the pork until the meat turns white and there is no pink left.
Is It Okay To Eat Pork Tenderloin That Is Slightly Pink?
When pork tenderloin is cooked at 375°F, with a cooking time of 25 minutes per pound, it should still be slightly pink on the inside, but reach an internal temperature of 145°F.
Unlike beef, it is better to cook pork more as it can be dangerous to eat pork that is undercooked.
It is fine to eat pork tenderloin that is still slightly pink inside, as long as the internal temperature is 145°F or above. This is a safe temperature and should be perfectly fine to eat, even if it is slightly pink.
Spices That Pair Well With Pork Tenderloin
Pork tenderloin pairs well with a range of spices, but some definitely work better than others! You can make up your own spice mix at home to use as a dry rub for the pork tenderloin, which will give it great flavor and depth.
To make a flavorful rub for pork tenderloin, mix together the following spices and ingredients:
- Chili Powder
- Smoked Paprika
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Brown Sugar
- Mustard Powder
- Salt & Pepper
Try starting out with ½ cup of brown sugar and a teaspoon of each other spice, and taste the spice.
You can then adjust the measurements from there and add in more of the spices you like, and use more chili powder if you want a little more bite with your pork tenderloin.
When making this spice mix, rub it evenly onto the pork tenderloin and allow the tenderloin to rest for 2 hours or more in the fridge for it to really absorb the flavors.
Best Herbs To Use With Pork Tenderloin
Fresh and dried herbs can be used to give pork tenderloin some extra flavor and depth along with some other spices.
Some of the herbs that pair well with pork include sage, rosemary, coriander, and thyme.
These can be combined with garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, cloves, and brown sugar to create delicious flavor combinations.
Some brown sugar is always a good addition to pork tenderloin and other pork cuts and works to add a great sweetness that pork really does well with. This can be balanced out with some salt!
What To Serve Pork Tenderloin With
The last step to a delicious meal is deciding on the sides to serve your pork tenderloin with. The classic option is to serve some vegetables with the pork tenderloin, and there are so many different ways to prepare vegetables.
You can make a mix of roast vegetables, steam some greens, or make some mash to serve with the pork tenderloin.
For a quick side, you could place a mix of vegetables such as broccoli, peppers, carrots, and onions on a baking sheet, drizzle over them with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and place this in the oven along with the pork tenderloin.
The vegetables will cook along with the pork tenderloin and you will not have to do any other preparation!
Are Pork Tenderloin And Pork Loin The Same?
Pork loin and pork tenderloin might sound similar, but they are not the same cut. Pork loin and pork tenderloin are cut from different parts of a pig, and they do look different as well.
Pork loin is a wide cut of meat that is cut in steak-like pieces and is sourced from the back of the pig. Pork tenderloin on the other hand is a thinner, longer piece of meat that runs along the backbone of the pig.
These two cuts of meat cannot really be substituted for each other as they cook differently and require different cooking times and temperatures.
How To Store Leftover Pork Tenderloin
After enjoying your pork tenderloin dinner, you might have some leftovers. You can store leftover pork tenderloin in the fridge to enjoy for lunch the next day or the day after.
To store pork tenderloin, you should place the slices in an airtight container (such as these), or wrap them tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
Place the tenderloin in the refrigerator and eat it within 3 days. Make sure to warm the pork tenderloin up well before eating again.
If you reheat pork tenderloin that has been in the fridge, do not place it back in the fridge to be eaten again. You should only reheat pork tenderloin once, and whatever you do not finish, throw away to be safe.
How Long To Cook Pork Tenderloin In The Oven At 375°F
Pork tenderloin turns out beautifully when cooked at 375°F, but you need to be sure to cook it for the right amount of time.
When cooked at 375°F, cook pork tenderloin for 25 minutes per pound. Cooked this way, the pork should have an internal temperature of 145°F, and still be slightly pink, juicy, and tender.
Use a thermometer to take the internal temperature of the pork to make sure it is ready to eat (we’d recommend this one). If you want the pork cooked a little more, take the pork out of the oven when it reaches 160°F internally.
Now that we’ve gone over how long to cook pork tenderloin in the oven at 375°F, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
How do you keep roasted pork tenderloin from drying out?
To prevent pork tenderloin from drying out in the oven, you should cover it in foil as it cooks. You should also take note of the cooking time so that you do not overcook the pork tenderloin.
Does pork tenderloin become more tender the longer it cooks?
Pork tenderloin does not become more tender if you cook it for longer, and you should cook it until it is ready to eat and then remove it from the oven.
If you’re looking for some handy new ways to cook not only pork tenderloin but also pork chops, make sure to give this video from the folks over at Babish Culinary Universe a watch!