Pork tenderloin seared in a cast iron skillet with a sweet and savory maple mustard sauce is a perfect for two or three people. The stove top sear adds the flavor while finishing in the oven results in a juicy pork tenderloin. Top with a flavorful homemade sauce and pair with your favorite seasonal produce for an impressive dinner.
Tips and Tricks
What do you serve with this pork tenderloin? Pork tenderloin is really versatile and goes with a variety of vegetables and sides. One of my favorites is pressure cooker mashed butternut squash.
How do you store leftover pork tenderloin? Store cooked pork tenderloin either with or without the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Often, I’ll store it with whatever vegetable sides I made and just heat it all up together.
How do you reheat pork tenderloin? To reheat pork, I just microwave it until warmed through. Because it is originally cooked to 145 F, it remains juicy and flavorful even after being heated up.
If you don’t want to use the microwave, you can heat up pork in the oven at 350 F for 10-15 minutes until warmed through.
What can you use leftover sauce on? It is likely you’ll have leftover sauce from this recipe. You can use this up on other proteins like chicken breasts or thighs, turkey or even use it as a sauce for wings!
Another option is to freeze it for the next time you make pork tenderloin. If you're adding it to another protein, make sure to add it after the protein is fully cooked to avoid burning.
What color is cooked pork tenderloin? Pork tenderloin cooked at 145 F internally is slightly pink in the middle and that is perfectly safe to eat.
- Pork tenderloin - remove the silver skin before cooking for the best texture
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Canola oil - any neutral oil works
- Unsalted butter
- Maple syrup (affiliate link) - ideally use the real stuff
- Whole grain dijon mustard (affiliate link)
- Low sodium soy sauce (affiliate link)
- Lime juice - fresh is best
- Corn starch - mix with cold water to form a slurry to thicken the sauce
See recipe card below for quantities.
How do you buy good maple syrup? I recommend you use real maple syrup. To make sure you are buying real maple syrup, look at the labels and check to see if the only ingredient is maple syrup.
The different grades and colors tell you what flavors you’re getting. I enjoy Grade A maple syrup for a rich and full flavor.
Are pork tenderloin and pork loin the same thing? They are different cuts on the same animal. They are not interchangeable pieces of meat.
Pork tenderloin is a cut that is very tender, lean and usually about one and a quarter pounds, making it perfect for two or three people. However, a pork loin is much thicker and can vary in size and fat content
What type of dijon mustard do you use for the sauce? I use whole grain dijon mustard in this recipe for the texture as well as the flavor. If you can’t find or don’t have this type of mustard you can substitute smooth dijon mustard, but it will change the texture a bit. The flavor should be just as delicious.
How do you prepare pork tenderloin? To prep pork tenderloin start by removing the silverskin. Silverskin is thin connective tissue on pork tenderloin and is literally silver. It doesn’t ever cook down or out, so it’s best to remove it for texture.
Typically you can find it at the thicker end of the tenderloin. To remove this, take a sharp knife (preferably a boning knife) and gently slide the knife between the silverskin and the rest of the pork tenderloin. Try to stay very close to the silverskin to keep the tenderloin intact.
Discard the silverskin once removed, it goes about half way down the tenderloin. After that, remove any large pieces of fat and you’re ready to cook!
How do you make maple dijon pork tenderloin?
After the pork tenderloin is seared on four sides, place the cast iron skillet with pork tenderloin into the oven and cook for six to eight minutes or until 145 F internally. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and topping with maple dijon sauce.
Maple Dijon Sauce
While the pork tenderloin is resting, melt butter in a medium saucepan until slightly foaming over medium heat. Stir in maple syrup, mustard and soy sauce until combined. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer.
Mix water and cornstarch to form a slurry and then stir directly into sauce. Cook for one to two minutes until thickened and then remove from the heat. Add to the sliced pork and enjoy.
How do you know when pork tenderloin is done cooking? The best way to tell when any protein is done, is with a meat thermometer (affiliate link) to take the internal temperature. Pork tenderloin is done at 145 F, when it is slightly pink in the middle. You can cook it longer to a higher internal temperature but you run the risk of it being dried out since it is such a lean cut of meat.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cook the pork tenderloin for 8 minutes in the oven (after searing!) and cut it open to check the doneness. You will lose some juice from this method but it will tell you if it’s done.
When do you add the maple syrup and mustard sauce? To avoid burning, add the sauce after the pork tenderloin has finished cooking and been sliced to serve. Slicing the pork tenderloin gives you more surface area for sauce and makes each bite extra flavorful.
Hint: Remove silver skin before seasoning with a sharp boning knife (affiliate link).
If you substitute another cut of pork, your cooking time will drastically vary from the listed times. It will be delicious, but the times are not interchangeable.
Pork tenderloin is a very versatile cut of meat. My basic recipe is to season well, sear and finish baking in the oven. Try another flavor profile to make it feel like a whole new recipe
- Cajun pork tenderloin
- Garlic butter and herb pork tenderloin
- Balsamic glazed pork tenderloin
- Apple and stuffing pork tenderloin
This recipe calls for a cast iron skillet (affiliate link), a 10 or 12 inch skillet works well. However, you can also use a stainless skillet (affiliate link) of similar size or carbon steel skillet.
The best way to tell that pork tenderloin is done cooking is with an instant read thermometer. I use both an instant read (affiliate link) thermometer and an alarm (affiliate link) thermometer but you can get by with one or the other. Meat thermometers help you avoid dry overcooked pork.
Make sure the pork tenderloin sizzles when you place it in the pan to sear. If it doesn’t sizzle, remove and continue to preheat your skillet. This will give you better color and flavor.
Cast Iron Seared Maple Mustard Pork Tenderloin
- 1 ¼ lb pork tenderloin
- Kosher salt to taste
- Fresh black pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
Maple Dijon Sauce
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter ½ stick
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons whole grain dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon lime juice
- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Next, preheat a 10-12 inch cast iron or other oven safe pan over medium heat.
- While the oven and pan are preheating, trim silverskin from pork tenderloin along with any large fatty pieces and discard the trimmings.
- Season pork tenderloin well with kosher salt and black pepper and then rub canola oil over the entire pork tenderloin.
- Once the pan is preheated, sear the pork tenderloin on all 4 sides for 3 minutes each or until you see a golden brown sear. When you add the pork tenderloin to the pan, it should sizzle, if it doesn’t the pan isn’t hot enough. If that happens, remove the pork and let the pan heat up another 3-5 minutes. A good sear is important for flavor as well as how long it’ll take to cook in the oven.
- After the pork tenderloin is seared on 4 sides, put the cast iron skillet with pork tenderloin into the oven and cook for 6-8 minutes or until 145 F internally.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving with maple dijon sauce.
Maple Dijon Sauce
- While pork tenderloin is resting, melt butter in a medium saucepan until slightly foaming (medium low - medium heat), then stir in maple syrup, mustard, soy sauce and lime juice until combined. Allow to come to a simmer.
- Mix water and cornstarch to form a slurry and then stir directly into sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes until thickened and then remove from the heat. Taste for seasoning and adjust with lime juice and salt as needed.
- Add to the sliced pork and enjoy.
- Make sure you buy pork tenderloin and not pork loin, they are different cuts and will take much different amounts of time to cook.
- Before seasoning, remove silver skin and any large fatty pieces.
- The pan should sizzle when the pork is added, if it doesn’t, remove pork from the pan and allow to heat up for 3-5 more minutes.
- Allow pork tenderloin to rest for 10 minutes before slicing to keep it juicy.
- Pork tenderloin cooked to 145 F internally will be slightly pink in the middle.
- Serve with sauce over cut slices with your favorite vegetables or rice.
- Store pork and sauce in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
This recipe was originally posted on September 30, 2020. It was updated to be clearer with more information and better instructions on April 11, 2022.