Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin is a quick and easy way of roasting pork. First you perfectly sear the pork on the stove then transfer it to the oven to finish cooking. The cooking juices from the oven roasted pork are then combined with butter, lemon and thyme to make an amazing sauce to serve alongside.
This is one of my best ever pork recipes. Cooking pork tenderloin in a cast iron skillet is quick and easy to do. Start on the stove for that perfect golden brown sear - then finish in the oven.
This dish couldn't be easier, making pork tenderloin my go to cut for a quick weeknight dinner.
If you have meat eaters at home, pork tenderloin makes a great change from chicken breast or pork chops. It's also a cheaper cut, making this oven baked pork tenderloin a great budget roast option too.
- Why You'll Love This Easy Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin recipe
- Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin Ingredients
- How to Make Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin - Step-By-Step
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Variations & Substitutions for Cast-Iron Skillet Pork Tenderloin
- Tips & Tricks For Making Perfect Pork Tenderloin
- Pin This Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin with Butter & Thyme Pan Sauce Recipe For Later
- What Do You Think?!
- More Easy Under 30 Minute Recipe Ideas
- Printable Recipe
- Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin with Butter & Thyme Pan Sauce
- Reader Comments & Ratings
Why You'll Love This Easy Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin recipe
- Pork tenderloin is a lovely cut of meat to cook, as the name suggests it is a tender roast and such an easy dinner recipe.
- This is the best choice of meat when you want that delicious oven roasted flavor but are pushed for time.
- Pork tenderloin is also a more affordable cut of meat, making this an economical option too.
- For another simple recipe using this delicious tender cut, try my Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Mushroom Sauce (hint - the sauce would work perfectly with this pork dish too).
Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin Ingredients
Find the full list and quantities in the recipe card below.
What is pork tenderloin? Firstly, pork tenderloin should not be confused with pork loin since they are completely different cuts of meat. Pork tenderloin is the fillet of pork, a narrow cut from the muscle running along the backbone.
There is very little fat on this lean cut of meat, so it needs to be cooked fast at a high temperature. It's not suitable for slow cooking.
Butter - It's really important to use proper butter in this dish as it's used flavor the pan sauce. I prefer to use salted butter for the added seasoning, but if using unsalted butter just adjust the seasoning to suit.
Stock - I prefer to use a lighter stock when cooking pork so have opted for chicken stock in the recipe. You can also use vegetable stock or even use water if you've no other option.
Thyme - Thyme and pork are a great flavor combination, but you could also use rosemary or sage too.
How to Make Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin - Step-By-Step
Find the full printable recipe card below.
Preheat the oven to 425ºF/210ºC and heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet.
Sear the tenderloin on a medium high heat on all sides of pork roast until golden brown.
Move the pan with the pork to the preheated oven and roast for around 12 to 15 minutes. The exact cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of the tenderloin.
Carefully remove the pork from the oven and move the pork to a plate. Cover with foil and set it aside to rest.
Place the skillet back on the stove along with the juices.
Add the stock and thyme sprigs and let the sauce bubble away for a minute on a low heat, scraping up all 01the goodness from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
Add the butter and lemon juice. Stir until the butter is hot and melted then remove from the heat.
With a sharp knife slice the pork into thick slices after it has been resting cutting board tented in aluminum foil for at least 5 minutes. Serve with a spoonful or two of the pan sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is a cast iron pan so good for searing?
Once it reaches temperature, a cast iron pan won't cool down when food is added, in the way that other pans and skillets do. For this reason it is ideal for searing meat when you want to retain a high heat and ensure that golden brown sear.
What can I use instead of a cast iron skillet?
If you don't have a cast iron skillet, don't worry, any good heavy bottomed oven proof pan or frying pan is fine.
Should pork tenderloin be pink inside?
According to USDA guidelines, a fresh pork tenderloin can be served a little on the pink side, cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145F/63C.
How long to cook pork tenderloin per pound in the oven?
Pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C and allow 20-25 minutes per pound until is reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145F/63C.
How do I know if pork tenderloin is cooked?
They key to cooking pork tenderloin is to cook it quickly and at a high heat. This is not a cut that should be slow roasted. Because this cut of meat contains very little fat it can overcook and become dry quickly.
For ease I like to use a probe thermometer and check regularly throughout the cook. You can also tell by looking at the joint itself. Raw pork tenderloin is very dark red/purple in color, once cooked this color fades to a light golden brown (see the images below).
How to cook pork tenderloin in an air fryer?
Start by preheating the air fryer to 400F/200C. Then add the pork tenderloin into the air fryer and cook for 20-22 minutes, until the pork reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145F/63C.
Variations & Substitutions for Cast-Iron Skillet Pork Tenderloin
This dish is packed full of simple flavors, but you can adapt the dish. Here are some ideas:
- Fresh thyme can be swapped for fresh sage, rosemary, bay leaves, or some freshly chopped parsley.
- Add some minced garlic to the butter sauce.
- Cook some freshly sliced mushrooms or some finely diced shallot in the butter, along with thyme.
- Sprinkle over some red pepper flakes for some added chili heat.
Tips & Tricks For Making Perfect Pork Tenderloin
- Pork tenderloin is a really lean cut of meat so take care and don't overcook it or it can become dry.
- When it comes to checking meat is cooked through, I recommend using a probe meat thermometer. This is the easiest method of checking the internal temperature of cooked meat.
- As with all meat, once cooked, set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the cooking juices to be absorbed back into the meat, resulting in tender and juicy pork tenderloin.
- Always cook the sauce using the same skillet that you used for cooking the pork, that way you retain all the lovely pork flavor.
What to Serve with Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin
I like to serve my roasted pork tenderloin with some potatoes and a few veggie sides. My British Roast Potatoes or my shortcut Kitchenaid Mashed Potatoes are always popular in my kitchen. For something a little different try my Baked Sweet Potatoes.
For a change you could also serve this in baguette with a little butter and dijon mustard, which makes wonderful hot pork sandwiches.
How To Reheat Pork Tenderloin?
Once cooked and cooled, place roast leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. When ready to enjoy, remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature, before covering with foil and placing into a moderate oven to warm through.
Take care when reheating the pork that you don't overcook the meat. Add a splash of chicken broth to stop it from drying out if necessary.
How to Freeze Cooked Pork Tenderloin?
Once cooked and cooled, pork tenderloin can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge before warming up in a moderate oven.
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Cast Iron Pork Tenderloin with Butter & Thyme Pan Sauce
- 1.5 lb Pork Tenderloin - silver skin removed, any fat trimmed
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- Sea Salt and Pepper
- 2 oz Butter
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- ¼ cup Chicken Stock - or vegetable stock
- 1 tsp Thyme - fresh
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF/210ºC
- Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet.
- Sear the pork tenderloin on a medium high heat until it's starting to turn golden brown.
- Turn with tongs and sear again on each side - continue for a few minutes until all sides are colored.
- Move the pan with the pork to the preheated oven.
- Roast until cooked through - around 12 to 15 minutes depending on the exact size and thickness of the tenderloin.Note - If using a digital thermometer the internal temperature should read 145ºF
- Carefully remove the pork from the oven. Make sure to use a mitt as the pan handle will be hot.
- Move the pork to a plate leaving the juices in the pan. Tent with foil and leave it to rest while you make the pan sauce.
- Place the pan back on the stove - remember it will still be hot to the touch.
- Add the stock and thyme sprigs and let the sauce bubble away for a minute on a low heat, scraping up all the goodness from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
- Add the butter and lemon juice. Stir until the butter is hot and melted then remove from the heat.
- Slice the pork after it has been resting for at least 5 minutes.
- Serve the pork slices with a spoonful or two of the pan sauce.