This Pork Tenderloin Marinade makes a deliciously sweet, tender, and juicy pork tenderloin main dish that is irresistibly good! It’s easy to whip up with simple ingredients you’ll already have in your pantry, and it only takes 15 minutes to cook!
We love pork tenderloin around here — it’s easy to cook and comes together quickly!
We’ll be using honey and garlic in this marinade for pork tenderloin (one of my favorite combinations!). I’ve used the combination before with my Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin Recipe, but this time we add in some sweet and spicy notes.
Pork Tenderloin is considered one of the best cuts because it is so tender, but it is easier to cook than you think! When you are shopping, be sure that you have pork tenderloin and not pork loin — they are different and will cook differently!
This sweet-and-spicy marinade for pork tenderloin is quick and easy to make. It will go well with other types of red meat and even chicken, so it’s a great recipe to keep on hand!
It is fancy enough for a dinner party or special occasion, but it’s quick and easy enough that you can make it for an easy weeknight meal! We love cooking it up on the grill in the summer while the kids are running around outside.
For more inspiration on how to cook your tenderloin, check out my list of 25 Flavorful Pork Tenderloin Recipes.
If you love pork, you need to try these Smothered Pork Chops, Baked Pork Chops and my Honey & Balsamic Pulled Pork recipe too!
- Pork Tenderloins: you’ll need two pork tenderloins equalling about 2-2.5 pounds. Be sure they’re both trimmed and ready to go.
- Oil: use a non-stick cooking oil spray so that the meat doesn’t stick to the pan.
- Seasoning Salt: seasoning salt is a simple way to add a ton of flavor to the pork.
- Honey and Brown Sugar: use liquid honey and light or dark brown sugar to add sweetness to this pork marinade. It also helps to thicken the marinade to coat the pork as it cooks!
- Garlic: use freshly minced garlic for the best flavor.
- Balsamic Vinegar: adds tangy, savory flavor to balance out the sweetness.
- Salt and Pepper: kosher salt enhances all the flavors within the sauce while freshly ground black pepper adds a bit of spiciness.
- Red Pepper Flakes: adds a wonderful heat to the pork and contrasts the sweet flavors so well!
How to Make Pork Tenderloin Marinade
Here is a brief over view of how to make this simple marinade. Full instructions are included in the recipe card below.
- Combine ingredients: Mix all marinade ingredients together.
- Add marinade to pork: Put pork tenderloins in a Ziploc bag or container with half of the marinade.
- Coat pork: Seal the bag or container and turn to coat. Reserve the remaining marinade in the fridge.
- Marinate: Let the pork mainate for 1-12 hours.
How to Cook Pork Tenderloin with Marinade
- Reheat marinade: Reheat the remaining marinade in a small pot until slightly thickened.
- Sear pork: Sear the whole pork tenderloin on all sides then cook in the oven until an internal temperature of at least 140 degrees F is reached (it will continue to climb as it rests.
- Rest and glaze: Remove from the oven, and let pork rest before slicing it. Serve with thickened glaze.
- Grill: Cook the marinaded whole pork tenderloins on the grill. Turn them at least once for even cooking.
- Rest and serve: Let the meat rest before slicing and serving hot.
Pork Tenderloin Marinade FAQs
You can marinate pork for up to 5 days, but you don’t have to do it for this long to get a great flavor (and I don’t recommend more than a couple when a vinegar-based marinade is involved). I would recommend marinating it at least for an hour before cooking it, to let the flavors settle into the meat.
I would recommend 1/4-⅓ pound meat per person, so I have written this recipe for 8 servings using two 1-pound tenderloins. It will depend a little on how many sides you have and if you are serving children as well.
Store this pork tenderloin once cooked and cooled in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in the oven.
Absolutely! You can store leftovers in the freezer for 4-6 months – you can even put a piece of parchment paper between each tenderloin slice to prevent them from sticking.
To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge, then warm either in the microwave, on the stovetop or in the oven until heated through.
Tips and Notes
- Fresh ingredients. Use freshly ground black pepper and fresh garlic cloves that you can mince yourself for the best flavor with this recipe.
- Thermometer. Use an instant-read thermometer to get an accurate reading of the internal temperature of the meat to be sure it is fully cooked through.
- Resting time. Make sure to let the pork tenderloin rest at room temperature after being cooked through for 10 minutes. While resting, the internal temperature of the pork will continue to rise slightly, and the juices will settle to make the meat evenly flavored.
- Tenderloin size: This recipe is made for pork tenderloin, around 1 pound in weight (each). You will not get the same results with a different cut of meat, or if the tenderloin is too large. The sauce can burn if cooked for too long, so if your tenderloins are larger than 1.25 pounds each, you may want to add the sauce for just the last 15-20 minutes of cook time.
Pork Tenderloin Marinade Variations
- Add some heat. Add some red pepper flakes on top when you’re serving, or add chili powder or cayenne pepper to the marinade bit of extra heat if you wish.
- Fresh herbs. Try mixing up the seasoning a bit with some fresh herbs instead of dried ones.
- Slow Cooker. Find out how to slow cook a tenderloin cut of meat in this recipe for Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin with Honey Balsamic Glaze.
- Instant Pot. Cook pork tenderloin in the Instant Pot with this great recipe for Pork Tenderloin with Garlic & Herb Rub.
- Air Fryer. Make this meal in the Air Fryer too! Check out my recipe for Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin to find out how.
Make a complete, easy dinner by serving this main dish with a variety of side dishes to make a full meal. Any of these 25 Easy Sides for Pork Chops would go perfectly!
We also love having bread as a side dish with almost any meal. Some great options are my Mom’s Homemade Buns, these Homemade Crescent Rolls, or this Easy No Knead Artisan Bread.
Pork Tenderloins can be served with carbs like Garlic Mashed Potatoes, cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, or my no-fuss Instant Pot Jasmine Rice. Add some veggies for a full meal to add color and nutrients. Try my Roasted Vegetables, or these Green Beans with Bacon, Honey Glazed Carrots, or this quick and easy Air Fryer Broccoli.
More Easy Dinner Ideas!
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Pork Tenderloin Marinade
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup honey (clear, not creamed)
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pinch of black pepper
- 2 pork tenderloins approximately 1 lb each trimmed
- Combine all marinade ingredients (vinegar through pepper) in a large liquid measuring cup or bowl.
- Place pork tenderloins in a large Ziploc freezer bag or medium container. Pour half of the marinade onto the pork, seal, and turn to coat. Reserve the remaining marinade in the fridge, covered.
- Marinate pork for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.
- Turn the oven to 400 degrees F. Place an oven-safe skillet or pan on the stovetop over medium-high heat and spray with non-stick cooking oil spray.
- Meanwhile, add the remaining marinade to a small pot and cook over medium heat on the stovetop, until slightly thickened. (*This step is optional but a great accompaniment to the finished pork)
- When the pan is hot, add pork and sear on all sides (about 1-2 minutes per side). Finish in the oven at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until pork reaches an internal temperature of 140-145 degrees F. For best results, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the pork.
- Remove from the oven, and let pork rest for 10 minutes before slicing it. Serve with thickened glaze if desired.
- Heat grill to medium-high heat, about 400 degrees F.
- Add the marinated pork to the grill and cook for about 15-20 minutes, turning at least once, until an internal temperature of at least 140-145 degrees F is reached.
- Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Store: Store pork tenderloin leftovers in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or the oven until heated through.
- Freeze: You can store leftovers in the freezer for 4-6 months – you can even put a piece of parchment paper between each tenderloin slice to prevent them from sticking. To reheat, thaw overnight in the fridge, then warm either in the microwave, on the stovetop or in the oven until heated through.
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Tried this recipe?
Tag @thereciperebel or hashtag #thereciperebel — I love to see what you’re making!Tag @thereciperebel
Somewhat flavourful but still quite dry. Followed the recipe exactly but didn’t turn out the way I was expecting. Super super dry unless meat was soaked in remaining sauce but still wasn’t enough.
Linda Leckliter says
What is liquid honey?
The Recipe Rebel says
Hi Linda! It’s raw honey. Enjoy!