With a quick cooking method and a boldly flavored marinade, this cast iron pork tenderloin comes out perfectly seasoned and tender every time.
Why you will love this
This easy pork tenderloin recipe is simply delicious! A marinade of garlic, ginger, and soy pairs beautifully with pork to create a bold, deep flavor.
- Pork tenderloin is lean, tender, and quick-cooking.
- Easy, flavor-packed marinade infuses tons of flavor into this recipe.
- Stove-top to oven cooking method yields perfect results every time.
- The outside is seared to caramelized perfection while the inside stays tender and juicy.
- Marinate the pork in the morning and it will be ready to cook at dinner time.
- Leftovers are equally delicious in pork fried rice.
- Pork tenderloin is a long, thin cut of boneless pork. It is lean, pairs well with so many flavors, and cooks quickly.
- Garlic, ginger, and soy sauce are the base of this marinade.
- Brown sugar adds a touch of sweetness and helps with caramelization.
This two-step cooking process yields perfectly tender and juicy results every time.
Step 1: Sear the meat on all sides. This creates a caramelized exterior which locks in flavor and juices.
Step 2: Transfer the meat to the oven to finish cooking. The gentle heat of the oven allows the meat to cook evenly... reaching a perfectly cooked interior without drying out the exterior.
In addition to pork, I love using this method with chicken, steak, and even salmon.
TIP: Always use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the protein reaches a safe recommended internal temperature, as outlined in my meat and seafood cooking temperature guide.
Please see the recipe card for complete instructions and ingredient amounts.
- Place the pork tenderloin in a large zipper-top bag.
- Add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, and pepper.
- Seal the bag tightly and squish it around to make sure the pork is evenly coated with the marinade.
- Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or up to 8 hours or overnight.
- Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil.
- Add the pork to the pan, reserving the marinade left in the bag.
- Cook the pork on each side for 2-3 minutes until brown.
- Transfer the skillet to a 375-degree oven for 15-25 minutes or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.
TIP: The required cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of the pork tenderloin. Start checking the temperature after 10-12 minutes. An instant-read thermometer is the best way to ensure proper doneness.
- While the pork cooks, pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer to thicken.
- When the pork is done, rest it for three minutes before slicing.
- Drizzle the sauce over the top or serve it on the side.
Storing and reheating
- Store leftover pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
- To reheat on the stove, place sliced pork in a skillet with a thin layer of chicken or vegetable broth. Cover and heat slowly until warmed through.
- To reheat in the oven, place sliced pork in a baking dish with a thin layer of chicken or vegetable broth. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 325 degrees until warmed through.
Cast iron is oven-safe so the pan can go from stove to oven. It works well with high heat and produces a good crust on the meat.
If you don't have a cast-iron pan, use a pan that is oven-safe and works well at high searing temperatures, such as stainless steel.
It's not required, but it's recommended for optimal results. Searing the pork creates a flavorful crust on the exterior and locks in the juices for a tender result.
Searing is done at a high temperature, so it's important to use oil. Oil has a higher smoke point than butter. The butter will burn which will lend a bitter taste to the pork.
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Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin
- 1¼ pounds pork tenderloin
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar (or light brown sugar)
- ½ tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ tablespoon minced ginger
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (or similar (Note 1))
- Add the pork tenderloin to a large zipper-top bag. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, pepper, and pepper flakes.
- Seal the bag, pressing out the air, and squish around to ensure the pork is coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours (or overnight).
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pan.
- Add the tenderloin to the hot skillet. Transfer the marinade to a small saucepan and set aside.
- Cook the pork for 2-3 minutes per side until brown. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 15-25 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. (Note 2)
- While the pork cooks, bring the marinade to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer to thicken the sauce.
- When the pork is done, rest for three minutes before slicing.
- Strain the marinade and pour over the sliced pork or serve on the side.
- Oil is best to use because it has a higher smoke point than butter. Butter will burn which will lend a bitter, unpleasant flavor to the pork.
- The cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of the pork tenderloin. Start checking the temperature after 10-12 minutes. Always use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the proper doneness of the pork.
- Store leftovers for 4-5 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
- Reheat in a skillet with a thin layer of chicken or vegetable broth. Cover the pan and heat slowly until warmed through. Alternatively, place the sliced pork in a baking dish with a thin layer of broth, cover with aluminum foil and heat at 325 degrees until warm.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.