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Pork tenderloin is a great alternative protein to chicken breasts! With this simple honey garlic Dijon pork tenderloin marinade, you’ve got a healthy, make-ahead meal for any busy weeknight. Best of all, the easy dinner only requires 10 minutes of prep before leaving it to marinate in the refrigerator.

Baked pork tenderloin in a marinade on a dinner table

How to Make Pork Tenderloin Marinade | 1-Minute Video

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Marinade

You can’t beat the ease of a simple grilled pork tenderloin marinade, which comes together in about 5 minutes and creates the most flavorful, tender and juicy meat. Use the same easy marinade for oven-baked pork tenderloin, pork loin, pork chops, or chicken, too!

Whisking together pork tenderloin marinade

The Difference Between Pork Tenderloin and Pork Loin

Pork tenderloin, a smaller cut that generally weighs about 1 pound, does not come from the same part of the animal as the larger pork loin. Since pork tenderloin is naturally lean and tender, it does well when cooked quickly at high temperatures. By contrast, pork loin lends itself well to slower roasting or grilling techniques. For more details about these two different cuts of meat, check out this article.

Today, we’re focused only on the pork tenderloin! This recipe calls for a single tenderloin; however, you can easily scale the ingredients (doubling or tripling the marinade) to cook more than one tenderloin at a time. This is also a great pork loin marinade; however, the cooking directions for that cut of meat are different.

Process shot showing how to marinate pork tenderloin

Ingredients

Here’s a quick overview of the simple ingredients that you’ll need for this easy pork loin marinade. As always, the specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe at the bottom of the post.

  • Honey: adds a nice sweetness to the marinade, while the sugars also help to create a nice char on the outside of the meat.
  • Dijon mustard: works as an emulsifier to bring the marinade ingredients together, and adds a nice “zippy” flavor to the sauce.
  • Soy sauce: salty, umami flavor that’s essential for this delicious pork. I typically use a reduced-sodium variety.
  • Garlic, salt and pepper: more flavor!
  • Rosemary and thyme: I prefer fresh herbs when available, but you can also substitute with dried herbs when necessary.
Marinated pork tenderloin in a baking dish

How to Make Pork Loin Marinade

You can season a pork tenderloin with a spice rub, or give the meat plenty of flavor from a quick marinade. This recipe takes advantage of a sweet-and-savory marinade to tenderize the meat, add flavor, and help caramelize the outside (thanks to the honey).

  1. Whisk together the honey, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, garlic, rosemary and thyme.
  2. Season pork on all sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Marinate the pork in half of the marinade in a large Ziploc freezer bag or dish, reserving the other half of the marinade for later.
  4. Grill or bake the marinated pork tenderloin until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 140°F-145°F.
  5. Let the pork rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving with the reserved marinade.
Platter of roasted pork tenderloin

How Long To Marinate Pork Tenderloin

Marinate the pork for a minimum of 30 minutes to allow the flavors to soak into the meat, or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Yes, it’s possible to marinate the tenderloin for too long, since the enzymes in the meat start to break down and the cooked pork can have a mushy texture.

Ziploc bags are great for marinating because they don’t take up much space in your fridge, but you can also use a regular covered dish.

Pork Tenderloin Sides

Serve the pork tenderloin with any of these delicious sides:

Pork loin marinade served on a dinner table with salad and bread

Preparation and Storage

  • Prep ahead! The tenderloin can be trimmed and marinated up to 24 hours in advance. Remove from the refrigerator 30-60 minutes before cooking so that the meat has time to come to room temperature.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Sliced tenderloin is delicious on sandwiches the next day!
  • To reheat pork tenderloin: Place the pork on a sheet pan and warm in a 325°F oven just until heated through (about 10-15 minutes). Be careful not to overheat, or the tenderloin will become dry. You can also reheat individual portions of pork in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

How to Make Pork Tenderloin Juicy

Not overcooking the meat is the key to preventing the pork tenderloin from drying out. Since this particular cut of meat is already very tender and lean, it does best when cooked quickly at a high temperature (by contrast, a tougher, fattier cut like a pork shoulder does best when cooked low and slow). If you grill or roast the tenderloin at a low temperature or for too long, you risk drying out the meat, resulting in a tougher, chewier texture. For a juicy pork tenderloin, you’re looking for a medium finish (about 145° F).

Pork Temperatures

Total cooking times will vary depending on the size, thickness and temperature of your pork. As a result, I always recommend using a thermometer to know when your meat is done. The tenderloin is ready to come off the grill or out of the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 140-145° F. The temperature will continue to rise as it rests, and you want to make sure that you don’t overcook the meat (because it can become dry).

Anywhere between 140° F and 160° F is fine; however cooking it more towards medium (145° F) will produce juicier pork. Always rest the meat for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

What color is cooked pork tenderloin?

According to the National Pork Board, it’s perfectly safe to consume medium pork (that’s cooked to about 145° F). At this stage, the pork will have a slight touch of pink in the center and will be at its juiciest!

Drizzling glaze over pork tenderloin

Recipe Variations

  • Make it spicy by adding crushed red pepper flakes or sriracha hot sauce to the marinade.
  • Use other fresh herbs, such as parsley, oregano or basil.
  • Add some toasted sesame oil, cilantro, or fresh lime juice to really highlight the soy sauce and give the marinade some Asian flare.
  • Pork Loin Marinade: use this same marinade for a pork loin, but follow these cooking instructions.

Tips for the Best Pork Tenderloin Marinade Recipe

  • A single pork tenderloin is typically just 1 lb. of meat, making it an appropriate amount of food for 2-4 people (depending on the size of your appetite). If you’re feeding a larger family of 4-5, I recommend doubling all of the ingredients and cooking two tenderloins.
  • Prep ahead by stirring together the marinade up to 3 days in advance, and marinating the pork overnight. This makes weeknight dinners quicker and easier!
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure that your tenderloin is cooked perfectly every single time.
  • Tent the tenderloin with aluminum foil and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
  • Save some of the marinade (or make extra) to serve as a glaze or sauce with the cooked pork.
  • Enjoy this simple marinade on chicken or pork chops, too!
  • Garnish the cooked meat with fresh lemons, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, or chopped fresh herbs for a bright, flavorful finishing touch.
Overhead shot of pork tenderloin marinade served on a tray
Pork loin marinade served on a dinner table with salad and bread

Honey Garlic Dijon Pork Tenderloin Marinade

5 from 33 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Marinating Time 8 hours
Total: 8 hours 40 minutes
Servings 3 – 4 servings
Calories 294 kcal
This humble cut of meat is tender, juicy and full of flavor with a honey, garlic and Dijon pork tenderloin marinade. 

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb.)
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or substitute with tamari or coconut aminos for gluten-free option)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced (can substitute with about ½ teaspoon dried rosemary)
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme, minced (can substitute with about ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • In a bowl, whisk together honey, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, garlic, rosemary, and thyme. Season pork on all sides with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Place pork in a large zip-top plastic bag. Pour half of the marinade over the pork and toss to coat. Seal the bag and refrigerate the pork in the marinade for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours. Rotate the pork occasionally so that the marinade touches all sides.
  • Set aside the remaining ½ of the marinade in a separate bowl, cover, and refrigerate for later.

TO COOK THE TENDERLOIN IN THE OVEN:

  • Remove pork from the marinade and place in a baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Discard bag with the marinade. Allow pork to come to room temperature while you preheat the oven.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove cover, brush with reserved marinade, and place under the broiler for about 5 minutes (or until a crispy crust forms on top), and pork reaches an internal temperature of 140°F – 145°F.
  • Remove from oven and allow pork to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with reserved marinade.

TO COOK THE TENDERLOIN ON THE GRILL:

  • Remove pork from the marinade and allow to come to room temperature while you heat the grill. Discard bag with the marinade.
  • Heat the grill to medium heat. Place pork on the grill and cover. Cook for about 12-14 minutes, turning every few minutes, until pork reaches an internal temperature of 140°F – 145°F.
  • Allow pork to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with reserved marinade.

Video

Notes

  • A single pork tenderloin is typically just 1 lb. of meat, making it an appropriate amount of food for 2-4 people (depending on the size of your appetite). If you’re feeding a larger family of 4-5, I recommend doubling all of the ingredients and cooking two tenderloins.
  • Prep ahead by stirring together the marinade up to 3 days in advance, and marinating the pork overnight. This makes weeknight dinners quicker and easier!
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure that your tenderloin is cooked perfectly every single time.
  • Enjoy this simple marinade on chicken or pork chops, too!

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the recipeCalories: 294kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 25gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 917mgPotassium: 529mgFiber: 1gSugar: 35gVitamin A: 20IUVitamin C: 1.3mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: Pork Marinade, Pork Tenderloin, Pork Tenderloin Marinade
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in March, 2017. The photos were updated in November, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

    1. Awesome recipe for Sunday dinner! Used fresh picked rosemary, house smelled great. Will definitely make again, may try substituting honey with maple syrup.

  1. 5 stars
    I found this to be very tasty. I did however make a few adjustments. I was low on Dijon, so I did a mix of Dijon and spicy brown mustard, and I upped the amount of garlic. My family loved it, and I will be making this again in a few weeks.

    1. Pork is marinating in the fridge overnight, can’t wait to cook this tomorrow, thank you for the recipe, I’m sure its gonna be delicious.

  2. 5 stars
    I have been making this recipe exactly for over two years now. We have 6 kids, who at the time I first made it ranged in age from 9-17. Four of them are super picky eaters (three step-kids won’t eat anything but a certain brand of chicken nugget and pasta with only butter….eye- roll). EVERY ONE OF THE SIX LOVED THIS PORK!!! We were shocked. Not even a complaint about “green things” (rosemary and thyme) on it. LOL. So now it is a go-to when all the kids are with us for parenting time and they never get tired of it. THANK YOU!!!

    1. That’s amazing, Mary Anne! You can’t beat a simple meal that all of the kids agree on. I know those are hard to come by. 🙂

    2. Followed the recipe ingredients and amounts exactly.

      Marinated for 3 hours.

      Maybe if i marinated it overnight it would have gave the pork more flavor.

      Didn’t infuse much flavor at all. 4 people served pork were not impressed.

  3. 5 stars
    I just finished cleaning up after dinner and I’m ready for some left overs. According to my taste buds and my son, this is the best pork dinner I’ve ever prepared. Thanks for sharing. Made me feel like I actually know how to cook!
    Thanks again,

  4. 5 stars
    I made this Friday night for our dinner and it was a Big Hit!! YUM! Thanks for another winning recipe!! Definitely going into the “Keeper” file. 🙂

    1. Wonderful, Tess! I’m so happy to hear that. Thanks for taking the time to come back here and let me know. 🙂

    1. duh Justin!!! sear the outside and then put in oven@ 400 for 25 min cover
      partially with tin foil baste it with left over sauce and yummy with roasted potateos

  5. I saw a comment that someone’s tenderloin caught on fire under the broiler. WHY was it under the broiler? The recipe calls for it to be grillef (my preference) or roasted
    I’ve made this recipe no less than 10 times & it has been perfect EVERY time!

  6. 5 stars
    My family “Loved” this recipe. Thank you for posting it. Just the right proportions and the sauce was just enough. I marinaded it overnight and used the remaining marinade toward the end of the cooking time. It was noted that the pork was even better the next day as leftovers. Thank again!

  7. 5 stars
    Making this for company tomorrow night and wondering if I need to sear the tenderloin before putting it in the oven as directed. Other recipes direct you to sear the meat first. I made this once before but can’t remember what I did. TIA!

    1. Hi, Anne! You don’t need to sear the meat before it goes in the oven. That said, if you’re willing to take a little extra time to do so, searing will give the exterior of the meat nice color, a crispier outside, and may lock in the juices even more. Just keep a close eye on the temperature of the pork once it goes in the oven, since searing the meat will reduce the total baking time. Hope you and your guests enjoy!

  8. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe a number of times now and so I felt I should leave a comment. I will add that I have loved it, even while making no changes, until this time… I was planning to make this for supper last night and then had to change gears at the last minute due to circumstances. So, the meat marinated for 24+ hours. AMAZING! I consider myself a fairly decent home chef and this is a fabulous recipe. The sweetness and tanginess just work so well together. Thanks very much Blair! A+++

    1. Thank you, Ainslie! Glad to know that it worked so well — especially after the longer marinating time. 🙂

  9. I love this marinade. It says to set 1/2 of marinade aside? Do you use that for sauce or another time you marinade?

    1. Hi, Liddy! In Step 4, it says to brush the pork with the reserved marinade (just before you put it under the broiler). If you choose the grilling method, it says to serve the pork with the remaining marinade (as a sauce). You can do either! 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    Absolutely DELICIOUS! I followed the recipe exactly- with the exception of cutting it in half (just me and my husband) and it was amazing! Thank you again for sharing your expertise! I am a committed follower of your recipes! Looking forward to the next delicious recipe!

  11. Good day. Ready to make your Cream Cheese Pound Cake…why .does it call for 3 sticks of SALTED butter, or is that an error? The recipe also calls for additional salt to be added. Can I substitute with UNSALTED or do half and half of each? I am serving to folks with high blood pressure issues.
    Thanks,
    Clara

    1. Hi, Clara! I prefer to bake with salted butter, since that’s what I have in my fridge and we like the flavor that it adds. The salt balances the sweetness in the cake. If you prefer to bake with unsalted butter, that’s no problem. I would typically suggest that you add extra salt to the recipe to make up for the lost salt in the unsalted butter; however, it sounds like you’re looking to cut back on salt for special dietary concerns. You can feel free to use unsalted butter and not replace it with extra salt — just know that the cake will have a different taste. You’re the baker, though, and you can prepare it however you like!