After making this juicy and tender pork tenderloin air fryer recipe, you may never cook pork any other way again. Ready in less than 30 minutes, using minimal ingredients, it’s the perfect delicious dinner for any day of the week. Add the optional creamy Dijon mustard sauce for a meal that is anything but boring.
Grilled pork tenderloin is one of my favorite ways to cook this delicious cut of meat in the summer time. But this air fryer pork tenderloin recipe may be the best way the rest of the year. Minimal cooking time, easy prep and clean up, and simple flavors the whole family will love, this is the perfect easy meal. And an added bonus is that this lean cut of meat is perfect if you’re really focusing on healthy eating.
Why this recipe works
- Air frying pork tenderloin is easy, quick and healthy. Not only are you cutting down on excess cooking oil, you’re getting dinner on the table in a fraction of the time.
- Lean and tender cut of meat, especially compared to other types of pork like the shoulder or butt. Makes for a healthy low-fat, high protein meal that tastes delicious!
- Highly customizable to suit your taste preferences. Use your favorite spice rub or marinade.
- Uses minimal ingredients that are pantry staples.
- Pork tenderloin – they are most commonly sold two small pieces in a pack, weighing approximately 3-3.5 lbs in total. Occasionally markets sell them in larger single cuts, therefore you’ll need to adjust cooking time (see note below).
- Olive oil – use about 1 tbsp per piece, just to give the spice mixture something to adhere to.
- Favorite dry rub or mix of herbs and spices. I love to use a simple blend of kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika and a bit of cayenne. But feel free to adjust/swap out to your liking!
To make the optional creamy Dijon mustard sauce:
- Diced onion
- Whole grain mustard and Dijon mustard
- Heavy cream
- Chicken stock
- Salt and pepper and parsley
Easy directions for juicy pork tenderloin
Dry pork with paper towels, and then rub olive oil all over both pieces. Alternatively, you can coat with cooking spray if you prefer. Sprinkle seasoning mix all over and rub in well.
Sear first, then air fry
For best results, I highly recommend pan searing the pork first. This locks in juices and gives that nice gorgeous brown crust. While this step is optional, and I have air fried without first searing, I do prefer it best seared. Plus, searing will coat the pan in yummy bits to enhance the flavor of the mustard sauce.
Heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add pork tenderloin pieces to a hot pan and sear for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and place in the air fryer basket.
Heat air fryer to 400 degrees f and air fry for 20-22 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 140 degrees. Remove from the air fryer, place on a cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes, while internal temperature rises to recommended temperature of 145 degrees.
While the pork tenderloin cooks, you can make the easy and delicious mustard sauce.
Why air frying makes sense
Air frying foods isn’t just for “frying foods”, or lowering oil consumption. In fact, the machine is not even really a fryer, but a mini superpowered convection oven. The air fryer cooks by way of a fan that can quickly circulate very hot air throughout its chamber. This allows foods to cook in less time, and less cooking time typically means foods won’t dry out as easily. Hence making the best pork tenderloin that is tender and juicy.
Because of its small size, it also preheats very quickly compared to conventional ovens. This allows you to get cooking in a flash.
Yes! I know it can be confusing, but pork loin and pork tenderloin are different cuts of meat. A pork tenderloin is a long, narrow, boneless cut of meat that comes from the muscle that runs along the backbone. A pork loin is wider and typically larger cut of meat. It can be a boneless or bone-in, and has a different texture and cooking time. Pork tenderloin is often thought of as the filet mignon of pork.
Absolutely! In fact for *years* before I had an air fryer or a gas grill, I only ever cooked in the oven. To do so, first sear the pork in an oven safe pan. Then transfer pan to a 400 degree oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through.
If you have 1 large 3 lb pork tenderloin, cook it the same, but you will need to increase cooking time by at least 5-7 minutes in the air fryer. Maybe more depending on your make and model.
Other expert cooking tips
- The best way to ensure your air fryer pork tenderloin stays nice and juicy, is to let your meat rest! If you cut into the meat right away, all those juices will just leak right out and you will be left with a dryer tenderloin. Resting allows the meat fibers and connective tissue, which contract when hot, to relax and reabsorb juices they’ve squeezed out. If cut too soon, the roast will release these juices onto your cutting board.
- If using an oven air fryer, make sure to line the drip pan with aluminum foil for easy clean-up.
- Sometimes you will get 2 uneven pork pieces, and that’s okay. You may have to slightly adjust cooking times, but only by a couple of minutes.
I hope you love this air fry pork tenderloin as much as my family does and becomes one of your favorite recipes! Please consider leaving a comment and rating if you loved the results with this air fryer cooking process.
Tried this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or rating, letting me know how you enjoyed it! Connect with me on Instagram and Pinterest, and never miss a post by signing up for my weekly newsletter!
Pork Tenderloin Air Fryer Recipe
- 1 Air Fryer
- 3 lbs Pork tenderloin usually comes in 2 smaller pieces equaling apx 3 pounds
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp garlic powder feel free to use your favorite dry rub blend
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Dry pork with paper towels, and then rub olive oil all over both pieces. Alternatively, you can coat with cooking spray if you prefer.
- In a small bowl, mix dry seasoning and sprinkle seasoning mix all over and rub in.
- For best results, pan sear pork first. Heat about 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add pork tenderloin pieces to a hot pan and sear for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and place in the air fryer basket.
- Heat air fryer to 400 degrees f and air fry for 20-22 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 140 degrees. Remove from the air fryer, place on a cutting board and tent with aluminum foil. Let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes, while internal temperature rises to recommended temperature of 145 degrees.
- Cut into 1"-2" medallions and enjoy.
This was amazing and so easy for a weeknight! My whole family loved the pork, and the Dijon cream sauce even got my kids (ages 4-12) to eat their Brussel sprouts without complaining!
Andrea Howe says
that is so good to hear! I’m glad your family all enjoyed it 🙂