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Pork Tenderloin with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce

I’m always here for the pan sauce. This Pork Tenderloin with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce is so good, so good! It’s perfectly seasoned and roasted to moist perfection. The pan sauce with herbs, garlic, lemon and a touch of mustard is lick-the-plate good. Add some creamy mashed potatoes and some roasted asparagus and you have yourself an incredible dinner that is company-worthy.

pork tenderloin with pan sauce in cast iron pan
Moist tenderloin with lemon herb pan sauce

About this recipe

Lemons, Rosemary and Garlic are my personal favorites in the kitchen. They go with just about everything and they are staples in my cooking. For this Pork Tenderloin with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce recipe, it started with lemon and herbs but quickly turned a slightly more grown up recipe made in the same amount of time but with the maximum flavor benefits. The moist tenderloin is dressed with a vibrant lemon herb pan sauce with a hint of Dijon and grainy mustard that adds the perfect finish. This is a Sunday Supper worthy recipe but equally good and fast for the weeknight dinner shuffle. There are no secret ingredients here, just a combination that works really well. I think your family will enjoy this recipe and it’ll be on your dinner rotation list.

cooked sliced pork tenderloin with pan sauce in black pan with aromatics

Pork Tenderloin vs. Pork Roast

What is the difference between a Pork Tenderloin and a Pork Roast? The tenderloin is a small, mostly lean, boneless cut that is long in shape. These pieces are generally about 1 to 1 1/2 lbs in size and cook up very quickly so they are perfect for busy weeknights. Another plus is that generally, they are inexpensive. You can easily find them on sale in most major supermarkets.

A pork roast is loosely used and all encompassing word used for several other cuts of pork such as butt, shoulder etc., that can be purchased with and without bone. They have much more fat and are perfect cuts for making Carnitas, pulled pork and certainly delicious on its own. They are large in size and require more time to cook. You can see just in the size variance, that the tenderloins are the way to go for ease. Since they have no bones or fat, many people think they lack flavor but I disagree. I think with the right cooking temperature and aromatics, you can make a tender, moist and flavorful dish.

How to buy Pork Tenderloin

Tenderloins often come packaged in two pieces. I use one and freeze the other in a zip type bag for later. Another great feature of this cut is that it defrosts quickly due to its size. Sometimes grocery stores sell them already marinated. I’m not a fan of premartinated meats, I prefer to use my own flavorings when I cook them but this is always an option.

How to Make Pork Tenderloin with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce

The trick for a moist tenderloin is the use of an instant read thermometer or one that you can leave in the roast. Ideally, sear the loin first, then finish it in the oven. The searing helps to create a nice caramelized crust and amplifying the overall flavors. High oven heat is suggested for finishing the roast. I suggest removing it just a few degrees before ideal doneness because it will continue to rise in temperature while it’s resting. During the resting time, you can whip up the pan sauce and dinner is served!

How to ensure the tenderloin stays moist

For a moist tenderloin, you must not overcook it. Since this cut is a thinner, leaner cut, it cooks faster than you think. A thermometer is what makes the process fool proof. I will give you a schedule of time in case you don’t have a thermometer but I highly encourage for any meats, to invest in one. It’s a game changer and takes the guessing game out of the equation.

Ingredients

ingredients for pork tenderloin with lemon herb pan sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin (average weight)
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 small lemon cut into quarters (use fresh, ripe lemons)
  • 3 sprigs rosemary fresh
  • 6-8 sprigs thyme, small 
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or vegetable, divided 
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Grainy mustard if you can’t find use Dijon mustard
  • salt kosher
  • pepper, fresh ground
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch optional if needed to thicken sauce
  • 2 tbsp water optional for cornstarch

Step by step instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Pat the pork tenderloin dry with paper towels and sprinkle about 1/2 tsp of Kosher salt. If using regular table salt, use less. NOTE: Do not over-salt. You will be adding broth to the sauce and butter so you can adjust salt then. It’s easier to add at the end than to have the dish over-salted.

In an oven-safe, cast iron skillet or stainless steel skillet, heat olive oil until hot. Add tenderloin to hot oil carefully and sear for 1 1/2-2 minutes on each side ensuring it’s nicely seared on both sides. Turn the stovetop off.
Add lemons, garlic cloves, fresh herbs and pepper to pan. Add about 1/4 cup of chicken broth to the pan.

Roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until the thermometer reads 135°F for doneness.

Remove from oven and take the loin out of the pan and place on plate and tent with aluminum foil. (Tenting is placing the foil loosely on top of the tenderloin.) NOTE: the tenderloin will finish cooking while you are making the pan sauce. Tenting is key so the internal temperature continues to rise to ideal doneness of 145°F.

How to make Pan Sauce

To make the pan sauce, place the pan that you roasted tenderloin in, on the stovetop over medium-high heat, and deglaze with white wine for a couple of minutes. (What is deglazing? Simply put, add wine or broth and loosen all the crispy bits and fat from the bottom of the pan.) Once all the bits are scraped off the bottom, add the butter, remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth, 1 tsp of Dijon mustard and 1 tsp of grainy mustard. Whisk until fully combined.

Simmer until thickened. About 5 minutes. If the sauce doesn’t thicken enough, you can thicken it with cornstarch: add 1/2 tsp of cornstarch to 1-2 tablespoons of cool water. Stir until mixed and add to the pan sauce and stir until thickened. Taste for salt, and pepper and adjust as needed.

By now the tenderloin should have finished cooking and will register about 145ºF internal temperature. Slice crosswise and serve with pan sauce spooned over the pork slices. If for some reason the tenderloin did not increase to 145ºF internal temp, simply place slices in the sauce for a couple of minutes with the pan on medium heat. They will finish cooking in a minute or two.

pork tenderloin with pan sauce
Lemon Herb pan sauce

What to serve with Pork Tenderloin

Some of my favorite sides for Pork Tenderloin with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce are Lemon Thyme Couscous with Olives, a hearty Radicchio Pear Salad with Maple Vinaigrette, wild rice, or creamy mashed potatoes with green beans or asparagus.

DINNER TONIGHT: Are you making this tonight? And need it on the table fast? Try frozen, steamed veggies and a quick, microwaveable wild rice mix packet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to sear pork tenderloin before oven roasting?

Searing helps to caramelize the crust of the tenderloin. In addition, it gives the pan sauce extra depth of flavor. Searing doesn’t necessarily keep the juices in the roast but this is a highly debated topic. I do prefer the flavor of a seared protein. It’s just better.

How do you cook a pork tenderloin without drying out?

Ideally, a 1 1/2 lb tenderloin will cook in about 25-35 minutes in a 400-degree oven like in my recipe. But again, I highly recommend an instant-read thermometer or the oven-safe type that you can leave inserted in the thickest part of the meat.

How long is the cooking time in the oven?

25 minutes is the ideal per pound at 350°F

Can I substitute grainy mustard with Dijon mustard?

You can use all Dijon or grainy but the combination works well together.

Can I use this recipe for pork chops?

Absolutely. You can follow the same basic instructions, however, note that depending on the thickness of the chops, cooking might happen quite quickly so keep an eye on doneness.

What kind of pan is shown in the photos?

This is a stove-to-oven Staub oval cast iron pan. It’s perfect for oven/stove/serving. (This is not an ad)

TIP: This recipe works well for chicken. Substitute the pork tenderloin for chicken thighs and follow the recipe exactly. Just make sure the chicken is fully cooked before removing it from the oven. Internal temperature is 170°F and tenting is not necessary. If you love the lemon and rosemary combination, try my One Pan Lemon Rosemary Chicken and Rice.

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Pork Tenderloin with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce

Ana P @ Claudia’s Table
March 18, 2023
This Pork Tenderloin with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce is so good, so good! It's perfectly seasoned and roasted to moist perfection.
4.64 from 11 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Servings 4
Calories 340 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 oven safe skillet 12 inch

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 small lemon cut into quarters
  • 3 sprigs rosemary fresh
  • 6-8 sprigs thyme small
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth, divided
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Grainy mustard if you can't find use Dijon mustard
  • salt kosher
  • pepper ground
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch optional if needed to thicken sauce
  • 2 tbsp water optional for cornstarch

Serving suggestions

  • mashed potatoes
  • cooked green beans

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven 400F
  • Remove the tenderloin from its packaging and pat dry. Add a pinch of kosher salt to each side of the tenderloin.
  • NOTE: Make sure not to over season, as the drippings will be used for the pan sauce. You can adjust salt while you are making the pan sauce.
  • In a cast iron or oven safe skillet, add olive oil and heat until shimmering.
  • Carefully add the tenderloin to the hot pan and sear each side for 1 1/2-2 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat on the stovetop.
  • Add lemon wedges, garlic cloves herbs and 2 tbsp of chicken broth.
  • Place the pork loin in the oven and roast for 25 minutes or until the internal temperature is 140F (the ideal internal temperature is 145F, but the tenderloin will continue to cook once removed from the oven and allowed to rest).
  • Remove from oven and place on stovetop.
  • Remove tenderloin and place on a plate. Place a piece of foil over the tenderloin loosely.
  • Turn the burner on to medium-high heat, and deglaze the pan with about 1/3 cup of white wine. Scrape the pan and allow the sauce to reduce. Add the remaining chicken broth, butter, and mustard. Whisk until thoroughly combined, and allow it to reduce and thicken. About 2-3 minutes.
  • If the sauce doesn't thicken, add a cornstarch mixture of 1/2 tsp of cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp of water.
  • Once thickened, taste for salt and add pepper and adjust as needed. Remove lemon, garlic, herb stems and discard. Turn burner off and it's ready to serve.
  • Check tenderloin internal temp to ensure it's reached 145F. Slice against the grain of the meat.
  • Serve with pan sauce on top with your favorite potato dish and veggies.

Notes

Nutrition

Serving: 6ozCalories: 340kcal

Nutritional information is calculated online and should be used as a guide.

Keyword dinner, easy pork recipes, Mediterranean Diet, pan sauce, pork tenderloin

All content and photographs ©Claudia’s Table and claudiastable.com

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4.64 from 11 votes (11 ratings without comment)

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