Fast dinners don’t come together much quicker than this garlic and herb rubbed pork tenderloin recipe that’s seared on the stove then finished in the oven for a lean and juicy main dish cooked in just 30 minutes.
Quick Pork Tenderloin Recipe
Low-fat and healthful meals are my jam. And when they’re simple to prep with minimal steps to follow or time to allow, it’s even easier to add them to my weeknight recipe rotation.
This pork tenderloin is the latest addition to my stash of dinners that can be ready in a flash and fits right in with my love of flavors in the Mediterranean diet where pork can become the main protein.
The other bonus of this recipe is it leads a double life of looking a whole lot fancier than it its humble roots, making it a reliable recipe to prepare for a party of two or twelve.
So who’s ready for dinner? Let’s cook.
What’s in This Pork Tenderloin?
Building flavor in meats is often done by time spent in a wet marinade or an overnight steep in a dry rub. With lean pork tenderloin, there’s no need for the extra time spent absorbing flavor. Pork tenderloin doesn’t have much fat to break down so a quick and flavorful rub of herbs or spices is really all that’s needed.
This rub can be adjusted to accommodate any of your favorite herbs or spices so feel free to have fun in the kitchen and mix and match to your taste buds desires. A mix of 3-4 teaspoons of herbs and spices plus pressed or minced garlic will be enough to amply treat a 1 to ½ pound pork tenderloin.
This garlic and herb pork tenderloin rub includes:
- chili powder
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- pressed garlic — I prefer pressed over minced because its mashed texture combines with the herbs better. If you don’t own one yet, this is my favorite garlic press and the best value ever.
see more: 50 Favorite Mediterranean Diet Recipes
How to Cook Pork Tenderloin
Let’s talk pig. It seems to me that pork is too often overshadowed on the dinner table by the standards of chicken and beef, and when made is generally served overcooked, tough, and dry. But that shouldn’t be the case anymore.
Unlike the pork of our youth, pork is now bred to be more lean and because it is used for posture and standing rather than walking, the tenderloin is one of the most tender cuts of pork because it doesn’t get as much of a workout, and thus, isn’t as tough.
To make this pork tenderloin recipe, you first mix together the pork tenderloin rub. Unlike a brine or wet marinade, the herb rub for this pork doesn’t depend upon time to add flavor. Instead, the rub is gently massaged into the meat right before searing in a hot skillet.
Once the meat is seared, transfer the pork to the oven and cook for a few minutes before adding in lemon slices. Return to oven and continue cooking. These days it is perfectly okay to serve pork pink. What? But what about salmonella? Shouldn’t pork be cooked well done? No. No. No.
The USDA has changed its guidelines over the past few years and now says that cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145°F then allowing 5 minutes rest time for the temperature to come up, is perfectly safe. It also makes your meat more juicy and tender, instead of gray and shoe leather-ish.
Pork Tenderloin Cooking Time
With all that being said, the total cook time for this pork tenderloin is roughly 10 minutes in the skillet, and another 20 minutes in the oven. It then needs to rest for 5 minutes on your counter before slicing and serving it.
Do I Have to Use a Cast Iron Skillet?
No, if you don’t own a cast iron skillet you can use another oven-safe skillet to make this dish, or sear the pork in a skillet and then transfer it to an oven-safe baking dish to finish cooking.
Can I Prep This in Advance?
Absolutely! You can make this pork tenderloin recipe at the start of the week and use the leftovers on sandwiches, salads, and more. Pork is delicious warm or cold.
see more: 31 Days of Sheet Pan Dinners to Make Now
Tips for Making the Best Pork Tenderloin Recipe
Tenderloins sold in the grocery store are usually packaged in twos. This recipe calls for just one of the tenderloins to serve 4. Freeze the other for later, or make a double batch of the herb rub and cook both.
I suggest using a cast iron skillet since they hold heat best, create a great crust, and can go straight into the oven without making a mess of things. This low-lipped griddle/skillet from Staub is my new favorite for recipes like this, or making grilled cheese sandwiches and even pancakes (these banana bread pancakes are delish!).
I add a few slices of lemon to the cast iron skillet while the pork is in the oven to roast and caramelize then serve with my garlic studded spinach recipe that can be cooked right on the hot skillet straight from the oven if you like. Or, make it in another pan and have it ready to present and serve together as a one-dish meal.
What to Serve With Pork Tenderloin to Make It a Meal
- Sautéed Spinach with Garlic with caramelized lemons roasted with the pork
- Faux Lemon Orzo Risotto
- Arugula Salad With Shaved Parmesan Three Ways
- Autumn Couscous Salad
- Easy Lemon Rice Recipe
- Avocado Caprese Salad
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Bookmark this recipe and leave a comment below, or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats
Garlic and Herb Rub Pork Tenderloin
- 1 ½ pound pork tenderloin , trimmed
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic , pressed or minced
- 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Trim any extra fat from the pork tenderloin. In a small bowl mix together the herbs, garlic, and salt and pepper. Rub all over the pork, pressing the mixture into the meat so it adheres well.
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat with the oil and place the pork tenderloin in the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, turning every 3 minutes on each side until lightly browned.
- Transfer the pork to the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Add the lemon slices to the skillet with the pork and cook for 10 more minutes or until cooked through and the internal temperature of the pork is 145°F.
- Remove from the oven, cover with foil, and let stand for 5 minutes. Slice and serve with sautéed spinach and garlic or your favorite side dish.
More Easy Pork Recipe Ideas
- Stuffed Pork Chops Plus 10 More Ways To Use Leftover Stuffing
- Pork Souvlaki With Lemon Rice
- Grandma’s Easy German Pork Schnitzel
- 30 Minute Pork Scallopini With Lemons And Capers
- Healthier Sweet And Sour Pork
- Grilled Pork Chops With Spicy Balsamic Grilled Peaches
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