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Indulge in a succulent and flavorful small pork tenderloin for one that’s ready in under 30 minutes! Ideal for those busy weeknights, this simple and quick recipe is a delightful dinner solution for individuals or small households. By using just a few ingredients and simple steps, you can enjoy a delightful meal without the worry of excess leftovers.

Pair this small pork tenderloin with Sautéed Green Beans or sweet, Roasted Butternut Squash. Serve it alongside a creamy Fettuccine Alfredo and a slice of soft, buttery Cornbread for a complete meal.

Why You’ll Love This Pork Tenderloin Recipe

  • Simplicity: This recipe requires just a handful of everyday ingredients, minimal prep time, and straightforward cooking steps.
  • Quick Cooking: Pork tenderloin is a lean cut, meaning it cooks quickly in your trusty cast iron skillet.
  • Versatility: The basic ingredients allow you to customize the dish to your preference, whether you prefer a spicy kick or a sweeter profile.
  • Healthy: Pork tenderloin is a great source of protein. Pair it with vegetables or a salad, and you’ve got a balanced meal.
Sliced pork tenderloin and sliced roasted potatoes on a plate.

What Is Pork Tenderloin?

Pork tenderloin is also called pork filet or pork tender. It comes from the muscle that runs alongside the backbone and is a lean, boneless cut of meat. Few other proteins are as tender and juicy as a pork tenderloin.

Package of pork tenderloin on a wooden table.

Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder.

  • Pork tenderloin: Typically, a package contains two filets. If you are cooking for one, you might prefer using only about 8 ounces of the filet, which is roughly half of one tenderloin. The remaining tenderloins can be securely wrapped in freezer paper, heavy-duty freezer wrap, or even double-wrapped in plastic wrap for freezing and future use. However, if you choose to cook both tenderloins, rest assured that the leftovers can be kept and used in a variety of ways. Repurpose leftover pork in sandwiches, pasta dishes, or salads for a quick, tasty meal on another day.
  • Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, garlic powder: Italian seasoning brings a blend of classic herbs to the dish. You can easily switch it up with Herbes de Provence or a custom blend of your favorite dried herbs.
  • Olive oil: Used to sear the pork, creating a delectable crust. However, you can substitute it with avocado oil or even coconut oil.
  • Butter: I add salted butter to the pork after it cooks in the oven. Adding a little butter, then covering the pan while the pork rests keeps the meat extra juicy. The butter melts into the pork and helps to create the most incredibly delicious sauce!

This is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why I used them. For the full recipe please scroll down to the recipe box at the bottom of the post.

Recipe Variations

  1. Honey Mustard Glazed: Mix honey and Dijon mustard in equal parts and brush this glaze over the pork tenderloin during the last few minutes of cooking. It adds a sweet and tangy flavor that complements the pork beautifully.
  2. Spicy Pork Tenderloin: For a bit of heat, rub the pork with a mix of smoked paprika, chili powder, and a pinch of cayenne pepper before cooking. This variation is perfect for those who enjoy a spicy kick.
  3. BBQ Style: Brush your pork tenderloin with BBQ sauce during the last few minutes of cooking for a smoky, sweet, and tangy flavor.
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How To Cook A Small Pork Tenderloin

These step-by-step photos and instructions help you visualize how to cook pork tenderloin. See the recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  1. Place a cast iron skillet in the oven on a middle rack and heat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). The skillet will heat along with the oven. Remove from the oven and add olive oil to the skillet. Give the pan a swirl so that the oil coats the entire bottom.
  2. Mix together the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle the seasoning mix over the pork and rub the spices in with your fingers. Place the pork in the skillet and using oven mitts, return the skillet to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  3. After 10 minutes, remove the skillet from the oven, and using tongs, flip the pork over. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and continue roasting for another 15 minutes. 
  4. Remove the skillet from the oven. Add the butter to the pan and cover with a large plate, a pan lid, or foil. Let the pork rest for 15 minutes before serving. The pork is done when its internal temperature registers 145 degrees in the thickest part of the meat.
  5. Remove the foil. Spoon the butter sauce over the pork before slicing.
  6. Transfer the pork to a plate and pour more of the amazing sauce over the top.
Six pictures showing the steps needed to make the best pork tenderloin recipe in a cast iron skillet.

Expert Tips

  • Season the pork on all sides: Make sure the tenderloin is completely coated with the spices and feel free to experiment with your favorite spices and spice blends. You can even season the pork simply with just salt and pepper.
  • Trim fat if necessary: Most tenderloins are sold already trimmed of fat. If the one you purchase still has a bit of fat left on, remove it with a sharp knife.
  • Don’t forget the butter: The heat from the pan will melt the butter which will mix with the juices of the pork. This makes for a wonderful sauce to cover the pork.
  • Be sure to cover the pork before slicing: Letting the pork “rest” for about 15 minutes after cooking is important. It allows the juices to reabsorb back into the meat so you are sure to have the juiciest pork possible.

Related Recipe: Beef Tenderloin For One

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I cook pork tenderloin in a different type of pan?

Yes, you can use another oven safe skillet but a cast iron skillet is ideal for achieving a perfect sear.

How long does it take to cook pork tenderloin?

It takes about 20-25 minutes to cook pork tenderloin in a cast iron skillet.

At what temperature should I cook pork tenderloin to?

Pork tenderloin should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

How do I know when pork tenderloin is done?

You can use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the pork tenderloin. When it reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit, it is done.

What do I look for when buying pork tenderloin?

You’ll find pork tenderloin in the meat aisle of your grocery store. Typically, a pork tenderloin is a smaller cut, weighing around 1 to 1 1/2 pounds, and often, two tenderloins come packaged together.
You might come across some tenderloins that are pre-marinated. However, I recommend skipping these and opting for unseasoned cuts instead. Seasoning the meat yourself allows you to control the amount of salt and oil used, aligning better with your dietary preferences or restrictions.

How do I freeze pork tenderloin?

To freeze raw pork, ensure it’s wrapped thoroughly and securely. You could use butcher paper or alternatively, double wrap the pork in plastic wrap before placing it into zip-top freezer bags. It’s helpful to divide the pork into convenient portions before freezing – 8 ounces tends to be a suitable serving size for one or two people.
If stored correctly, well-wrapped tenderloin can be kept in the freezer for up to six months. When you’re ready to cook the pork, it should be thawed in the refrigerator. This could take several hours or even overnight, depending on the size of the portion.

Is pork tenderloin and pork loin the same?

Despite the similar names, pork tenderloin and pork loin are not the same. Pork tenderloin is a boneless cut of meat originating from the muscle that lies along the pig’s backbone, characterized by its long and narrow shape. On the other hand, pork loin comes from the back of the pig and is noticeably larger. It’s both flatter and wider and may come either bone-in or boneless.

I use a 6.5-inch cast iron skillet in this recipe. You could use any oven-safe skillet. If you would like more information on the baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page. For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

If you’ve tried this easy pork tenderloin recipe or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see it!


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Pork Tenderloin For One

4.92 from 25 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Discover how to make small pork tenderloin with our simple, single serving recipe. Ideal for a quick, tasty dinner for one, without any leftovers.

Ingredients 
 

  • 8 ounces pork tenderloin
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
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Instructions 

  • Place a small cast iron skillet in the oven on a middle rack and heat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). The skillet will heat along with the oven.
  • Using oven mitts, remove the skillet from the oven and add olive oil to the pan. Give the pan a swirl so that the oil coats the entire bottom.
  • Mix together the Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle the seasoning mix over the pork and rub the spices in with your fingers.
  • Place the pork in the skillet and using oven mitts, return the skillet to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, remove the skillet from the oven and using tongs, flip the pork tenderloin over. Reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and continue roasting another 15 minutes. 
  • Remove the skillet from the oven. Add the butter to the pan and cover with a large plate, a pan lid, or foil. Let the pork rest 15 minutes before serving. The pork is done when its internal temperature registers 145 degrees in the thickest part of the meat.
  • Remove the foil. Spoon the butter sauce over the pork before slicing.

Notes

Expert Tips
  • Season the pork on all sides: Make sure the pork tenderloin is completely coated with the spices and feel free to experiment with your favorite spices and spice blends. You can even season the pork simply with just salt and pepper.
  • Trim fat if necessary: Most pork tenderloins are sold already trimmed of fat. If the one you purchase still has a bit of fat left on, remove it with a sharp knife.
  • Don’t forget the butter: The heat from the pan will melt the butter which will mix with the juices of the pork. This makes for a wonderful sauce to cover the pork.
  • Be sure to cover the pork before slicing: Letting the pork “rest” for about 15 minutes after cooking is important. It allows the juices to reabsorb back into the meat so you are sure to have the juiciest pork possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 442kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 47g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 178mg, Sodium: 800mg, Potassium: 891mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 350IU, Calcium: 46mg, Iron: 3mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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4.92 from 25 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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47 Comments

  1. Flynn says:

    This is wonderful. Your cooking method is spot on, and the dish was perfectly fork tender.

    I did substitute a Bavarian spice blend for the Italian herbs to go with a German style dinner theme, and it was delish.

  2. ML says:

    hello, I don’t own a cast iron pan. can you make this in a skillet that can go in the oven?

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Yes, you can use another oven safe skillet but a cast iron skillet is ideal for achieving a perfect sear.

  3. David Hill says:

    I’m an guy who is a widower. I only recently found your site. Your recipes are great for me as I try to cook in small quantities.

    I’ve made rice pudding with one cup of leftover basmati rice. Tonight I made the rice and mushroom casserole. These were both great food. This weekend I’ll make your tenderloin recipe. (The difference is making it with a porkchop.)
    David

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      I’m so happy you found us and are enjoying our recipes – thank you!

  4. Helen says:

    I made this dish last night. It was absolutely delicious! The pork was so tender. Will be making again! Glad I found your website.

  5. Heather says:

    I made this tonight with a minor change. Marinated the tenderloin in Dijon mustard and honey. Excellent! I often do pork tenderloin with a Dijon mustard “base” and add oregano/thyme and/ or rosemary. Served tonight with a Greek salad with homemade vinaigrette.

    1. Joanie Zisk says:

      Sounds delicious, Heather. I’m so happy you enjoyed it.

  6. Kathie says:

    I absolutely love this recipe and have made it many times. My question is—do you think there’s a recipe for using a boneless pork chop, baking it the same way? Thank you for all the recipes you create for us—they’re all wonderful!!!

  7. Martha says:

    OMGAWD!! I skipped breakfast as I got up late. Was anxious to do this so am having a late lunch/early dinner
    I cut the tenderloin in half n froze the other half. I seasoned all around with salt n pepper then Quick seared on med high all sides in my wee cast iron skillet. You can see it’s small as the half loin just fits
    After it seared I tossed in two wee baby potatoes cut into 8ths n lightly spritzed them with olive oil n popped the whole pan into a preheated 450 oven.
    While it cooked (25 min.) I got everything else prepped.
    Checked temp after 10/15/20 min for 145
    Removed n covered with a foil top.
    Heated skillet n added a bit of olive oil n butter n did up the mushrooms n half a shallot I had n some garlic. Then add spinach salt n pepper to wilt.
    When it was done I cut the tenderloin in half…SO tender. Cut like butter. N so moist! Plated it with the potatoes which were roasted perfectly n added the spinach mushroom mix then sprinkled with feta. Good Gads! What a meal!! The meat is amazing!!

  8. Lynn says:

    This is delicious!!!! So moist and flavorful. I’ve never cooked pork at such a high temperature, but I’ll never go back. This is a keeper.

  9. Mickie Lauth says:

    This was absolutely wonderful! Seriously really, really good! I cooked it exactly as recommended, it was juicy, and very flavorful. I also did purchase a 6 inch cast iron skillet. I have been terrified trying to use one, I’m not a huge high heat fan, and could not think about how to clean them, but I jumped right in and now I think I’m good to go!

    1. SHERRY KERNS says:

      DELIOUSH

      1. CHER KERNS says:

        DELISHIOUS