This 6-ingredient pork tenderloin marinade is the best way to infuse flavor and moisture into pork tenderloin before grilling, searing, roasting, or air frying. It’s perfect for chicken and turkey, too!
Pork tenderloin is a delicious cut of meat. Whether seared, grilled, air fried, or cooked in a sous vide, it always makes for an impressive and tender meal. But to make the most succulent bites, you’ll want to start with this pork tenderloin marinade recipe first.
This simple 6-ingredient pork marinade comes together quickly using pantry-staple ingredients. Plus, it only takes 30 minutes for the savory, tangy, and umami flavors to penetrate the meat before it’s ready to cook. The result is an incredibly juicy, flavorful, and truly mouthwatering piece of pork!
Table of Contents
Any great meat marinade (like my chicken and steak marinades) needs acid, oil, and flavoring agents. And, of course, high-quality ingredients make all the difference! Try to find the best versions of these six ingredients to make the best pork marinade:
- Olive oil. Its robust and fruity flavor adds depth to the marinade.
- Dijon mustard. Dijon is more peppery, tangy, and creamy than yellow mustard. Plus, it helps form a thin, flavorful crust on the surface of the meat.
- Soy sauce. The salty, umami undertones in soy sauce enhance pork’s natural meaty flavors.
- Worcestershire sauce. For an extra layer of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors.
To make a gluten free pork marinade, swap the soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce for 3 tablespoons of gluten free soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos.
- Garlic. Freshly minced garlic cloves.
- Salt and pepper. For seasoning and improving the flavor.
How to make the best pork tenderloin marinade
Putting the marinade together and letting the meat soak up its incredible flavors is easy! Here’s how it’s done:
Step 1 – Make the marinade
Whisk the olive oil and Dijon mustard until combined, then stir in the remaining ingredients.
Step 2 – Marinate the pork tenderloin
Pour the marinade into a large bowl or ziplock bag. Place the pork in the bowl/bag, then leave it in the fridge to marinate.
Step 3 – Bring it to room temperature
Take the marinated pork tenderloin out of the fridge and place it on the counter for 30 to 60 minutes to bring it to room temperature.
Step 4 – Cook the pork tenderloin
Take the meat out of the marinade and cook using your preferred method.
What is the best way to cook pork tenderloin?
Marinated pork tenderloin is best cooked quickly and over high heat. You can do so by grilling, searing in a cast iron skillet, baking in a 400ºF degree oven, air frying, or in a water bath using a sous vide machine.
Avoid overcooking the pork as it can quickly become tough and chewy. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness – you’ll know it’s ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
- Marinating meat in a ziplock bag is best for easy cleanup. But if you use a bowl, make sure it’s a glass or ceramic bowl. Metal bowls tend to react with the acid in the marinade, leaving an unpleasant metallic taste behind.
- Shake off the excess marinade from the pork but do not pat it dry before cooking! This keeps a thin layer stuck on the surface, creating a gorgeous, golden crust when cooked.
This pork marinade is flexible, so have fun experimenting with different flavors! Here are some tasty ideas for inspiration:
- Honey mustard. Follow the recipe, but add 3 to 4 tablespoons of honey.
- Asian-inspired. Swap the Dijon for hoisin or oyster sauce and cut half of the olive oil with sesame oil.
- Balsamic. Substitute the soy sauce and Worcestershire for balsamic vinegar.
- Spicy. Stir red pepper or Aleppo chili flakes, harissa, sriracha, or chili garlic sauce into the marinade.
- Teriyaki. Turn this teriyaki sauce recipe into a marinade by omitting the xanthan gum, only using 1 tablespoon of water, and whisking the ingredients together instead of simmering before using it.
To store: Stir the marinade together and keep it in an airtight jar or container in the fridge for 1 week. The used marinade, however, cannot be reused and stored away because it can harbor bacteria once it comes in contact with raw pork.
To freeze: Pour the marinade into a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 2 months. Let it thaw in the fridge before using it.
More ways to use this marinade
This marinade recipe is not just for pork tenderloin, or even pork, for that matter! Here are more ways we love to use it:
Leave the pork to soak in the marinade for a minimum of 30 minutes. For the best results, leave it for 2 hours or overnight.
You can, but here’s the thing: despite their similar names, pork loin and pork tenderloin are two very different cuts of meat. The loin is larger and fattier, so it’s best cooked slowly and over low heat (slow-roasting, slow cooking, or smoking).
Yes, you can freeze pork tenderloin in the marinade. In fact, marinating the meat before freezing it can help infuse the flavors into the meat as it thaws.
The length of time for marinating pork tenderloin will depend on the recipe and the type of marinade used. As a general rule, pork tenderloin should be marinated for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
More meat marinade and sauce recipes
Pork Tenderloin Marinade
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Whisk together the olive oil and Dijon mustard until combined. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Add the marinade to a large bowl or ziplock bag, then add the pork tenderloin to it. Allow the pork to marinate for at least two hours or overnight.
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