Pork tenderloin is one of my favorite cuts of meat. True to its very name, it’s tender, juicy and moist. It’s easy to cook, hard to mess up, and adopts a variety of flavor profiles well. But today I’m going to show you the easiest, the very easiest, way to make pork tenderloin with this 4 ingredient garlic butter pork tenderloin.
Step 1: Gather your ingredients and prep
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (190 degrees Fahrenheit). Gather your ingredients to make the 4 ingredient garlic butter pork tenderloin: a couple cloves of garlic, a generous “knob” (about 4 tablespoons) of softened salted butter, flat-leaf parsley, and two pork tenderloins. Really, that’s it. Mince the garlic and crush it with the flat side of your chef’s knife. Finely chop the flat-leaf parsley and wrap it into a dry paper towel and squeeze. Then, put the garlic and parsley in a medium-sized bowl and, using a spatula, smash it with the butter until you get a nice, creamy garlic butter. Set the garlic butter aside, and try to resist spreading it on a crusty piece of baguette. It will be hard. I know.
Meanwhile, rub about a tablespoon of olive oil all over the pork tenderloins. Do it lovingly and cover the pork generously. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over the sides of the pork.
Step 2: Sear the pork tenderloins
Next, heat up an ovenproof skillet (I normally would use my super-affordable and workhorse Lodge Cast Iron skillet, but on this particular day I used my Williams-Sonoma Professional Non-Stick Pans). Swirl some olive oil into the pan and turn up the heat to medium-high. When the olive oil is shimmering, put the pork tenderloins in. The pan is hot enough when the pork immediately starts to sizzle. If it doesn’t, TAKE IT OUT and wait until the pan really is hot enough. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.
Sear each side of the pork. The best way to do this is to put the pork in the pan and hold it firmly down with a pair of tongs. Do that and don’t move the pork around in the pan. The pork will let you know it’s “ready” to be turned to another side for searing when it naturally releases itself from the pan. This test is really easy in a cast iron or stainless steel pan. It’s less obvious in a non-stick, so be sure to leave the pork to brown for at least 3 minutes on each side before you move it to the next.
Step 3: Cover and roast.
Now for the fun part — remove your pork tenderloins from the stove and let them cool a little. I remove mine to a cutting board, but you can just as easily leave them in the pan. Scoop up the garlic butter you’ve made and smear it all over the pork tenderloins. Ohhhh yeah. That’s the stuff. Return the garlic butter, loved-up pork tenderloins to the same pan you just used. Your 4 ingredient garlic butter pork tenderloin is ready to roast.
Crumple up a piece of parchment paper about the size of your pan. Really crumple it. This is important because you need the parchment paper to stay in place, and a crisp, new sheet won’t do that in your oven. Tuck the paper in around the pork tenderloin and slide the pan into your hot oven. Roast the pork tenderloins for about 35-40 minutes, checking about halfway through with a meat thermometer.
The internal temperature in the middle of your pork tenderloin should be about 140-145 degrees Fahrenheit (60-62 degrees Celsius). If it reaches this temperature before the end of my suggested cooking time, pull the pork out of the oven right away! It’s done. Don’t leave it in because pork tenderloin tends to dry out very quickly.
Step 4: Rest and eat.
When your pork tenderloins are done, immediately remove them to a wooden cutting board or other knife-friendly serving platter. Keep the parchment paper and cover the pork tenderloins lightly, letting the steam escape from the pork but not smothering them (they’ll get wet and soggy). Let the pork tenderloins rest for 10 minutes, then slice up and serve!
- 2 pork tenderloins (approximately 2-2.5 pounds)
- 4 tablespoons salted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1 handful of flat leaf parsley, rinsed and finely minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). Set an overnproof skillet on the stove at medium high heat.
- Mix together the garlic, parsley and butter in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside.
- Rub olive oil, salt and pepper all over the pork tenderloins. Sear the pork tenderloins on all sides. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Rub garlic butter all over the pork. Crumple a piece of parchment paper about the size of your pan and tuck it around the sides of the pork tenderloin. Slide the pork tenderloin into the oven and roast for 35-40 minutes until the internal temp reaches 140-145 degrees (60-62 degrees Celsius), checking the temperature with a meat thermometer about halfway through cooking.
- Remove the pan from oven, transfer the pork tenderloins to a cutting board, and loosely cover with the parchment paper. Let rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve immediately.
Looking for suggestions on what to make with this 4 ingredient garlic butter pork tenderloin? Check these out: