Maple Dijon Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloin is a melt-in-your-mouth, super-easy sheet pan dinner bursting with flavor. Lean pork tenderloin and cubed sweet potatoes are basted with a sweet and savory sauce made with pure maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and garlic. Pair this tender, juicy roast pork with a side salad for a complete and delicious dinner.
Pork tenderloin is a boneless cut of meat that has less fat than pork roasts or pork chops with only 3 grams of fat in a 3-ounce serving. That’s the same amount of fat found in a 3-ounce skinless chicken breast, so you can feel good about cooking and serving pork (the other white meat).
Maple Dijon Oven-Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Just this week, my hubby commented that working from home (during the safe at home order) with a food blogger wife definitely has its perks. I’ve been doing a lot of recipe development and testing and he’s been randomly showing up in the kitchen looking for a nibble!
That being said, I can report that this baked pork tenderloin was deemed a great recipe by the hubs — yay! I roasted my pork tenderloin with sweet potatoes because that was what I had in my pantry, but you could easily substitute a variety of other vegetables.
For example, butternut squash or Brussels sprouts — or a combination — would also taste wonderful cooked in the maple Dijon sauce. Yum!
Pork tenderloin vs. pork loin
Both come from a pig, so is there a real difference between pork tenderloin and pork loin? Although both of these cuts of meat are boneless, pork loin is wider and fattier than the long, skinny tenderloin.
A boneless pork loin (sometimes called a boneless pork roast) is cut from either side of the pig’s backbone, beginning at the shoulder and running down the leg. A pork loin is usually about 5 to 6 inches wide and about 3 to 4 pounds of meat.
The pork tenderloin comes from the muscles that runs along the backbone and is not used for walking around which is why it remains so tender. Long and skinny, the tenderloin averages around 1 pound.
Often two tenderloins will be packaged together at the butcher shop. In that case, this recipe is easily doubled to serve more people (or cook to have leftovers for another meal).
What is the silver skin on pork?
Silver skin is a thin membrane or connective tissue found on some cuts of meat, particularly pork ribs. Unlike collagen, it does not dissolve during cooking and can be rubbery. Often the butcher will have already removed the silver skin from pork tenderloin. If not, simply use a small paring knife to loosen it from the meat and pull it away.
How to make the BEST oven-roasted pork tenderloin
Truly, pork tenderloin is one of the easiest pieces of meat to prepare. The quick and easy way is to simply rub with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Since this recipe incorporates roasting sweet potatoes, I’ve opted for a different method so the meat and the potatoes both cook evenly. Here’s how:
- Start with the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup, Dijon mustard, and a minced garlic clove, then season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven. Instead of searing the pork before roasting, this baked pork tenderloin recipe starts off at 450 degrees for the first 15 minutes to quickly create a crust on the meat.
- For easy clean-up, line a rimmed baking pan with aluminum foil. Place the cubed sweet potatoes on the pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Rub the pork with the sauce. Coat the pork tenderloin all over with the mustard sauce and place it fat side up on top of the potatoes, not directly on the aluminum foil.
- Reduce the temperature. Bake the pork tenderloin for 15 minutes at 450, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 for the remainder of cooking.
- Let it rest. Once the pork tenderloin registers 145 degrees and the sweet potatoes are fork-tender, remove from the oven and tent with aluminum foil to rest.
- Don’t slice immediately. Resting is key to keeping lots of meats moist and juicy. Resting for just five minutes allows the juices to soak back into the meat, whereas if you slice it too quickly all that delicious juice is released.
Should I worry about trichinosis?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the occurrence of trichinosis (a parasitic disease caused by roundworms) in humans due to the consumption of pork has decreased significantly in the U. S. over the past 20 years. This is due in part to the adoption of improved feeding practices and high levels of biosecurity and hygiene by pork farmers in America.
Even so, it is wise to follow the recommendations by the USDA of cooking pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a three-minute rest time.
To make this recipe, you may need…
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With all this talk about internal cooking temperatures, you may want to keep an instant read digital thermometer handy. I love my OXO Instant Read Thermocouple and use it for any kind of meat that I’m cooking outside on the grill or indoors in my oven.
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Instead of searing the pork before roasting, this baked pork tenderloin recipe starts off at a higher temperature for the first 15 minutes to quickly create a crust on the meat. If your pork tenderloin doesn’t get as brown and crusty as you like, place it under the broiler for a couple of minutes at the end of cooking.
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- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 pound pork tenderloin
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place the cubed sweet potatoes on the baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Toss gently to coat.
- In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, Dijon mustard, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and black pepper.
- Pat the pork loin dry with paper towels, brush all over with the maple mustard mixture, and place fat-side-up on top of the sweet potatoes.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until the crust begins to brown, then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue baking another 30-40 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender and the pork registers 145 degrees using an instant read thermometer.
- Remove from the oven and allow the pork to rest for 5 minutes before cutting diagonally into 3/4 inch slices.
If your pork tenderloin doesn't get as brown and crusty as you like, place it under the broiler for a couple of minutes at the end of cooking.
Double the recipe to serve more people or to have leftovers. To reheat, place sliced pork tender loin and sweet potatoes on a micro-wave safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 280Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 1347mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 10gProtein: 31g
Sheila Thigpen, author of The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook, is a recipe developer, food photographer, and food writer. She spent 20+ years as a business manager in the publishing industry before she retired in 2018 to focus on her passions — cooking, photography, and writing. A Southern girl living near the beautiful Smoky Mountains, Sheila and her husband have two adult daughters, are active in their church, love to travel, and are over-the-moon excited about becoming grandparents last year. Follow Sheila on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!