How to Cook Pork Tenderloin in Oven with Foil (Tender to Taste)

November 2, 2022

Even as a professional chef, I have struggled to prepare pork tenderloin so that it stays nice and tender. So, when one of my fellow chefs showed me the foil trick, I jumped on the chance to check it out.

In this post, I will show you how to cook pork tenderloin in oven with foil and provide you with the tastiest recipe ever. Check it out!

How to Cook Pork Tenderloin in Oven

Best Baked Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2lb pork tenderloin
  • 1 tbs. of kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 tbs. of black pepper

For Searing

  • 2 tbs. of olive oil

For Seasoning

  • 4 tbs. of butter, divided
  • 2 tbs. of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. of dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. of dried basil
  • 1 tsp. of dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. of dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. of dried sage
Cooked Meat With Sauce

Method

Step 1

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F.

Step 2

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a small bowl, add the ingredients for the seasonings, including the butter.

Mix until the garlic herb butter is evenly combined.

Step 3

Season the pork tenderloin with salt and pepper all over.

Step 4

Heat oil in a large pan until it is shimmering.

Add pork tenderloin to the pan and cook meat on all sides until golden brown.

Remove from the pan and place on the baking sheet.

Step 5

Evenly apply the garlic herb butter to the entire pork tenderloin.

Wrap the meat in aluminum foil to create a foil packet.

Place in the oven and cook pork tenderloin until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

Remove from the oven and let the meat rest for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Can You Use Pork Loin Instead of Pork Tenderloin?

Pork tenderloin can be quite pricey which is why you may be wondering if this roasted pork tenderloin recipe will work just as well with pork loin.

I have tried it out with pork loin once to great results.

There are a few differences to be mindful of though.

First, pork loin tends to come in larger cuts. Thus, if you are buying a bigger portion remember to increase the amount of seasonings accordingly.

I would also avoid searing the pork loin. Instead, simply rub it down with butter, herbs, and seasonings, and wrap it up in foil before baking.

As with the tenderloin, pork loin should also be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.

As the cut will likely be larger, though, it will likely take longer to cook.

Trimming The Pork Tenderloin

Unless your butcher has already done this for you, you are going to need to trim the tenderloin before you bake it.

You will need to start by trimming off any excess fat. Once you have done this, move onto the silver skin.

In general, try to make sure that the pork tenderloin is as evenly shaped as possible. This way, it will bake at a more even rate.

If you have a thin end that is less than an inch thick, tuck this under the cut to create a more uniform shape.

Grilled Meat On White Ceramic Plate

Should You Marinate The Tenderloin?

Now, in most instances, I would probably tell you marinate the tenderloin. This ensures that it is tender as possible at the end.

In this case, though, it isn't necessary.

This is because the due to the aluminum foil wrap, the meat is essentially cooked in the butter and spices.

Thus, not only does it have plenty of moisture to turn out nice and tender, the meat also has a better opportunity of absorbing all these delicious flavors!

Searing The Meat

I know that there are a lot of people who make baked pork tenderloin without searing or browning it first.

And, this is something that you can do as well if you want to save yourself the time and hassle.

However, this step helps you to create that nice and crispy layer around your pork tenderloin. Not to mention, it really does add flavor to the dish.

This is especially true since you are wrapping the tenderloin and will not get the traditional result of roasting meat in the oven.

I would suggest giving the browning process a try at least once.

Just make sure to not to overcook the tenderloin too much. Keep a close eye on the meat. When one side has turned golden brown, flip it over immediately.

Creating The Garlic Herb Mix

I am pretty happy with the mix that I have used in this recipe. However, you should feel free to switch it up however you like.

There are some who will like to create a spice mix with a little bit of cumin powder, coriander powder, etc.

If you, you can also save yourself the trouble of mixing up the herbs and instead add a couple of tablespoons of Italian seasoning.

Some people also like to use a drop of lemon juice as well.

Now, since you are using minced garlic, you may be wondering if it is possible for you to use fresh herbs as well.

Personally, when baking tenderloin in the oven, I prefer using dried herbs as it is a lot easier. That being said, you can absolutely use fresh herbs instead.

You do have to remember that you will need to use three times as much fresh oregano, fresh thyme, etc. as the recipe calls for.

If you want to skip the butter, you can. You can simply use olive oil instead - as it is in liquid form, you can use less oil than butter.

In this case, I would suggest letting the herbs and garlic steep in the olive oil so that the oil is better infused with flavor.

I do have to say that nothing quite measures up to using compound butter in this recipe but the olive oil would be a healthier alternative.

Garlic and Herbs

Should I Wrap My Pork Tenderloin In Foil?

The thing about pork tenderloin is that it is mostly made of lean meat. As such, it has a tendency to dry out. This is why it is typically cooked over high heat quickly.

With baked pork tenderloin, however, the meat is exposed to high heat for a longer period of time. Wrapping it up in aluminum foil creates a moisture trapping barrier around the meat.

Thus, your pork tenderloin is less likely to dry out.

There is no special technique for wrapping the tenderloin just make sure that the seal is rather tight so that the moisture doesn't escape.

As you have already browned the meat, you can keep the pork wrapped until it is done cooking. You can unwrap while allowing it to rest.

What Temperature Should Pork Tenderloin Be Cooked At In The Oven?

As you can see, I have gone with 350 degrees F for this baked pork tenderloin. I would advise against going any higher than this.

I know that some people like to bake pork tenderloin in the oven at 400 degrees so that you can speed up the process.

However, as I mentioned, when you cook pork tenderloin, there is a high chance of the meat drying out. A low temperature, in addition to the aluminum foil, helps prevent this problem.

Knowing When The Baked Pork Tenderloin Is Done

As I will continue to say, always check the internal temperature of your meat when cooking, baking, and roasting.

This is particularly important when baking pork tenderloin in the oven.

The last thing that you want to do is to overcook this cut. You do this and you will have wasted quite a bit of your money and time.

It is vital that you take the meat out precisely when it is done.

A meat thermometer is the most accurate indicator. When it hits 145 degrees F, it is time to take out the meat - not a second later.

Make sure to place the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the tenderloin for the most accurate reading.

If you want to be extra sure, you can check the tenderloin along several points of the cut to make certain that each section is cooked all the way through.

Here's the think about pork tenderloin - it can be a bit misleading. Even when the meat is cooked all the way through, the middle can be quite pink.

This is going to make you think that the pork is undercooked but this isn't the case at all!

Well-cooked pork is often pink. This is another reason that you need to pay attention to the internal temperature and not the appearance of the tenderloin.

If the fear of overcooking your tenderloin is great, then I would suggest taking it out at 140 degrees instead.

This is because the meat will continue to cook, even once it is removed from the oven. The internal temperature can go up by as much as 10 degrees even when no longer exposed to heat.

Grilled Meat With Parsley Toppings on Top

Resting the Pork Tenderloin

It is vital that you let the pork rest once it is done cooking. Never skip this step no matter how much of a rush you are in.

In any case, you only have to let the tenderloin rest for 10 minutes at most. Thus, you will not be delaying your meal too much.

When you let the pork rest after baking it, you are giving the meat time to reabsorb any of the liquid it has lost. In turn, this allows the meat to become more tender.

The resting process is the key to ensuring that you end up with the best baked pork tenderloin possible!

Slicing the Tenderloin

As with any other meat cut, always slice against the grain with the tenderloin. I would also suggest cutting into thinner slices.

This allows you to truly enjoy the tender texture of the meat. It is also great for piling on top of crusty bread if you like!

What Can You Serve with Baked Pork Tenderloin?

That's what is so great about this recipe - you can serve it alongside anything. For a light and healthy option, steamed, roasted, or even sautéed vegetables are a great accompaniment.

In case you don't mind something a little heavier, mashed potatoes work well.

As for carbs, anything from buttery soft rolls to steamed rice or even a rice pilaf will do the trick.

How to Store Roasted Pork Tenderloin

If you are planning on reheating and eating the pork tenderloin in the next few days, then you can refrigerate it.

Place it in an airtight container and store for up to 3 days.

Want to store it for longer, then freezing is the way to go. Slice the pork tenderloin and place in a freezer bag. Then, squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it.

Write the date of storage on the bag and freeze. It is best to use within a couple of months.

If freezing, always defrost the tenderloin before reheating.

The best way to reheat this dish is in the oven. Set the oven temperature to 350 F.

Wrap the tenderloin in foil tightly - you can add a little bit of compound butter for moisture before if you like.

Then, place in the preheated oven and cook until the internal temperature of each slice reaches 145 degrees.

Serve and eat immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should I Cover Pork with Foil When Cooking?

As pork tenderloin is quite lean, covering it with foil while baking can help to prevent it from drying out.

2. How Long Does It Take to Cook a Pork Tenderloin in the Oven at 350?

It may take around 30 minutes to cook pork tenderloin at this temperature. It is best to check doneness according to internal temp for the best results, though.

Wrapping It Up

Well, here it is - everything that you need to know about baking pork tenderloin in foil. The simple and effective technique coupled with a delicious recipe is going to help you transform this tricky cut into a dish that you are going to want to cook time and time again!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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