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Classic Skillet Pork Tenderloin


Pork tenderloin is a lean, tender cut of meat that’s perfect for quick and flavorful meals. This classic skillet pork tenderloin recipe is seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices, seared to perfection, and finished with a splash of lemon juice for a bright and fresh flavor. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of making classic skillet pork tenderloin, provide helpful cooking notes, and offer variations to suit different tastes and dietary preferences.



  • 1 pork tenderloin (approx 1.5 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Garnish: Fresh thyme sprig


Step 1: Prepare the Pork Tenderloin

  1. Trim and Pat Dry:
    • Trim any excess fat and silver skin from the pork tenderloin.
    • Pat the tenderloin dry with paper towels to ensure a good sear.
  2. Season the Pork:
    • In a small bowl, combine the fresh thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, dried sage, dried tarragon, and kosher salt.
    • Rub the seasoning mixture evenly over the pork tenderloin.

Step 2: Sear the Pork Tenderloin

  1. Heat the Olive Oil:
    • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until hot.
  2. Sear the Pork:
    • Add the pork tenderloin to the skillet and sear on all sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
    • Remove the pork from the skillet and set aside.

Step 3: Cook the Pork Tenderloin

  1. Add More Olive Oil:
    • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet.
  2. Return the Pork:
    • Return the pork tenderloin to the skillet.
    • Reduce the heat to medium and cook, turning occasionally, until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C), about 12-15 minutes.
  3. Add Lemon Juice:
    • During the last few minutes of cooking, drizzle the lemon juice over the pork tenderloin.

Step 4: Rest and Serve

  1. Rest the Pork:
    • Remove the pork tenderloin from the skillet and let it rest on a cutting board for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
    • This allows the juices to redistribute and ensures a moist and tender result.
  2. Slice and Garnish:
    • Slice the pork tenderloin into 1/2-inch thick medallions.
    • Garnish with a fresh thyme sprig.
  3. Serve:
    • Serve the pork tenderloin hot with your favorite sides, such as roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or a fresh salad.

Cook Notes and Variations

Cook Notes:

  • Internal Temperature: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the pork tenderloin. The recommended temperature for pork is 145°F (63°C) for a juicy and tender result.
  • Searing: Searing the pork on all sides helps to develop a flavorful crust and lock in the juices.


  • Garlic Herb Pork Tenderloin:
    • Add 2-3 cloves of minced garlic to the skillet during the last few minutes of cooking for an extra burst of garlic flavor.
  • Spicy Pork Tenderloin:
    • Add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the seasoning mixture for a spicy kick.
  • Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin:
    • Drizzle 2 tablespoons of balsamic glaze over the pork tenderloin during the last few minutes of cooking for a sweet and tangy finish.
  • Honey Mustard Pork Tenderloin:
    • Mix 2 tablespoons of honey with 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard and brush over the pork tenderloin during the last few minutes of cooking.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I use dried thyme instead of fresh thyme?

Yes, you can use dried thyme if fresh thyme is not available. Use 1 tablespoon of dried thyme in place of the 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme.


2. How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover pork tenderloin in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet before serving.


3. Can I freeze cooked pork tenderloin?

Yes, you can freeze cooked pork tenderloin. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.


4. What sides go well with pork tenderloin?

Pork tenderloin pairs well with a variety of sides, including roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, or a fresh green salad.


5. Can I cook this recipe in the oven?

Yes, you can sear the pork tenderloin on the stovetop as directed, then transfer it to a preheated oven at 375°F (190°C) and bake until the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C), about 20-25 minutes.


Classic skillet pork tenderloin is a delicious and easy meal that’s perfect for any occasion. With its savory seasoning and tender texture, this pork tenderloin is sure to become a favorite in your household. Whether you’re making it for a family dinner or a special occasion, this recipe is simple to follow and full of flavor. Give this classic skillet pork tenderloin recipe a try and enjoy a delicious and satisfying meal. Happy cooking!