Naturally juicy and melt-in-your-mouth tender; this Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin recipe adds just enough complimentary flavors to turn this beautiful cut of pork into a celebrated family feast in just 30 minutes!
This post and related video were sponsored by the Ohio Pork Council. As always, all opinions are my own.
Premium Protein for a Bargain
Pork tenderloin comes from a muscle that isn’t often used, making it one of the most tender cuts of pork you can buy. (*It’s the pork equivalent of a beef filet mignon). You’ll feel it the moment your fork and knife first encounter it on your plate; this ain’t your grandma’s pork chops.
But it’s not just the taste and texture that’s wonderful. Pork tenderloin is a bargain! At the time of this writing (Dec 2022), it can be had for around $4/lb. You just cannot find another premium cut of meat like it for that cheap! (Shoot, that’s what ground chuck costs right now! Ask me how I know…)
We love using pork tenderloin for special occasions. It’s quick cooking, but the resulting meal always feels fancy, making entertaining a breeze.
Our love affair with pork tenderloin started with this Mediterranean Stuffed Pork Tenderloin recipe, but this Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin might just have become our new favorite.
This pork makes a great case for winning family dinner, but it’s delicious and elegant enough for serving at parties and holiday gatherings.
Why You’ll Love Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin
- Quick – This meal can be made in just 30 minutes, making it great for a busy weeknight.
- Easy – Our recipe is made with simple pantry staples, so aside from the pork, you’ve probably already got everything you need to make it.
- Flavorful – This tenderloin is perfectly browned in a hot skillet, then oven baked with a sweet and garlicky glaze. The sauce here wonderfully compliments the natural saltiness of the pork.
- Healthy – Believe it. Pork tenderloin is a great source of protein, and it’s as lean as boneless skinless chicken breast. Our recipe here adds only minimal ingredients.
First, you’ll need the pork tenderloin. Many pork tenderloins come in packages of two, usually totaling 2-2.5 lbs. Look for whole boneless pork tenderloin that is unseasoned.
This recipe starts with an easy homemade rub made with Kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and dried sage.
The simple honey garlic sauce comes together with just four ingredients: honey, soy sauce, dijon mustard, and garlic. Feel free to use low sodium soy sauce or tamari as a gluten-free substitute. (*If this flavor combo peaks your interest, give our Asian Chicken Marinade a try. Like with this recipe, it also features a sauce that flavors the meat AND then reduces down to a delicious glaze.)
How to Make Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Trim the fat. Use a sharp knife to trim the pork tenderloins of any excess fat and silverskin. This great video shows you how to quickly trim a pork tenderloin for cooking.
- Season the meat. Whisk together the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sage, then rub the mixture evenly over both sides of the meat. (*Always wash hands after handling raw meat.)
- Make the sauce. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, dijon, and garlic. Set aside.
- Brown the meat. Heat the oil in a large oven safe skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the pork tenderloins and brown, undisturbed, for 2-3 minutes, or until the pork easily comes loose from the pan. Flip the meat over and brown another 2 minutes. Add the garlic, and saute just 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Add sauce. Pour the sauce around the sides of the pork tenderloin. Flip the tenderloins over a final time to coat them in the sauce, then place the skillet in the oven.
- Bake. Bake the pork for 13-17 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the pork to a plate, tent with foil, and allow to rest while you prepare the sauce.
- Thicken the sauce. Return the skillet with the sauce and meat juices to the stove top. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium low heat, and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.
- Serve. Slice the tenderloin and serve topped with plenty of honey garlic glaze.
Should Pork Tenderloin Be Cooked Fast or Slow?
We prefer to cook this lean cut of meat quickly, giving it a nice sear on the stove top first, then finishing it in a 350 degree oven. This process takes less than 30 minutes and results in juicy, tender pork with a beautifully browned exterior.
What Temperature Should Pork Tenderloin Be Cooked to?
Pork tenderloin can be safely removed from the oven once it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the “rarest” that pork should be. The meat will have a light blush of pink at this temperature and be quite juicy and tender. If you prefer less pink color, you can remove the meat at 155 degrees.
Trust your meat thermometer readings and remember, meat will rise in temperature about 5 degrees while resting, so removing at 155 degrees will result in a pork tenderloin cooked to 160 degrees. Beyond this point, pork can tend to dry out, so don’t put more emphasis on the color than then temperature. Pork is pink, (it’s not fish or chicken) so some color is natural.
Can I Use a Pork Loin Instead of a Tenderloin?
Unfortunately (and confusingly), NO. These are two very different cuts of meat. A pork loin is a wide and thick cut of meat that benefits from a low and slow cooking time (and has very different fat characteristics).
This Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin is lean and cooked quite quickly, so the same instructions won’t work for a pork loin.
What If I Don’t Have an Oven Safe Skillet?
You can brown the pork tenderloin in a skillet on the stove top, then transfer to an oven safe casserole dish along with sauce. Once the pork is cooked, add the sauce back to the skillet and simmer until thickened.
What Goes With Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin?
No matter what sides you choose, this Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin is a fantastic meal that we hope becomes a new family favorite!
More of Our Favorite Pork Recipes
Our Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Pomegranate Honey Glaze is another awesome option for a holiday main course that features pork tenderloin, and of course there’s always the option of a classic holiday Orange Glazed Ham.
If you love your cast iron skillet as much as we do, then try our Skillet Pork Chops with Tomato Shallot Pan Sauce.
For more pork recipes, visit the Ohio Pork Council website at OhioPork.org
- 2 pork tenderloins, about 1-1.25 lbs each
For the rub:
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
For the sauce:
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- Neutral oil, to coat
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Use a sharp knife to trim the pork tenderloins of any excess fat and silverskin. This great video shows you how to quickly trim a pork tenderloin for cooking.
- Whisk together the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and sage, then rub the mixture evenly over both sides of the meat.
- In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, dijon, and garlic. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large oven safe skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the pork tenderloins and brown, undisturbed, for 2-3 minutes, or until the pork easily comes loose from the pan. Flip the meat over and brown another 2 minutes. Add the garlic, and saute just 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Pour the sauce around the sides of the pork tenderloin. Flip the tenderloins over a final time, then place in the oven.
- Bake the pork for 13-17 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers at least 145 degrees. Remove the pork to a plate, tent with foil, and allow to rest while you prepare the sauce.
- Return the pan with the honey sauce and meat juices to the stove top. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium low heat, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes, or until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Slice the tenderloin and serve with plenty of honey garlic sauce.
Cast iron, enameled skillets, or a chicken fryer or dutch oven work best for this recipe.
When cooking down the sauce, moisture boils off quickly. Stir constantly and don't overcook to avoid burning the sugars in the honey. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 279Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 93mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 0gSugar: 17gProtein: 35g
Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.