Dinner in 30 minutes is never a problem with this tender and juicy spice-rubbed pork tenderloin. It’s as simple as an oil and spice rub then into the air fryer. The outside comes out nice and crispy while the inside stays moist and flavorful. Bonus for mom, cleanup is a breeze!
I love cooking with my Cosori air fryer and frying up pork tenderloin, the filet mignon of pork, is now my favorite way to cook this tender piece of meat. There are a number of recipes out there for pork tenderloin but this recipe using a simple rub and an air fryer is one of the easiest and most flavorful.
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The air fryer is the perfect cooking appliance for tender cuts of meat or fish. It crisps up the outside and leaves the inside nice and juicy. I’ve become addicted to air frying everything from Pork Chops to Filet Mignon to Lemon Butter Salmon. And this pork tenderloin in the air fryer is just another example of how well it works.
The difference between pork tenderloin and pork loin
The pork tenderloin or pork filet is one of the most tender, delicately flavored cuts of pork and is the muscle that runs alongside the backbone of the pig. It is a long strip that usually weights in about 1 to 1-½ pounds and is best cooked hot and fast. The pork loin, on the other hand, is fairly lean with a thick cap of fat on top and is cut from the back end of the pig. It is cut into a wide, flat, rectangular shape weighing in between two and five pounds. It should be cooked at a lower temperature and lends itself to slow roasting or grilling.
Frequently Asked Questions
A tenderloin needs to be cooked quickly using a high temperature. The tenderloins themselves are very small and usually take about 20 minutes at an air fryer temperature between 380 degrees and 390 degrees.
Using a meat thermometer is the best way to check for doneness. The recommended temperature is between 145 degrees, medium rare, to 169 degrees or medium. You do not want to overcook a tenderloin as it will be dry as a result. When sliced, there should be a slight pink interior and the meat should appear moist.
The silver skin is easy to remove. The skin is usually shiny and white and found on one side of the tenderloin. Using a sharp knife, slide it along the pork and underneath the shiny skin. Hold the skin and pull as you slide the knife along the top of the meat. It will lift off fairly easily.
Tenderloins take to marinades very well, ensuring plenty of moistness and flavor. They should also be cooked as quickly as possible. The best options are grilling, air frying, seared, roasted or used in stir-frys.
How to cook a Pork Tenderloin in an Air Fryer
- Remove the silver skin by sliding the knife under the skin and pulling it away as you run the knife along the top of the meat.
- Mix the ingredients for the rub together in a small bowl. You will need brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper.
- Prepare the meat by rubbing it all over with a little olive oil.
- Cover the tenderloins with the rub and pat into the meat.
- Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes at 380 degrees. Carefully lay spice-rubbed tenderloins into the air fryer. As you can see, I had to cut one of mine in half in order to fit it into my particular air fryer.
- Cook for 20 minutes. You should see a nice crusty, darkened outside.
A little pink, deliciously moist and mouthwatering to eat.
This pork dinner can be on the table in 30 minutes, just enough time to cook up some rice and black beans, whip up some peach cherry salsa, or maybe a side of fries and coleslaw. It’s a healthy meal and one the family will love each and every time. Enjoy!
More delicious pork recipes
Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin Sheet Pan Dinner is perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends. Just put everything on a sheet pan and pop it in the oven.
Crockpot Cuban Pork with Cilantro Rice is a set it and forget it dinner that's easy to make and easy to clean up.
Smoked Pork Shoulder from Good Life Eats is classic summertime picnic fare to create an awesome pulled pork.
Instant Pot Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin is a tender, sweet Asian flavored pork dish with a light gingery sauce that takes just 30 minutes.
Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin
- 3 lbs pork tenderloin
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika regular will also work well
- 1 Tablespoons salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- Preheat air fryer 380 for 5 minutes.
- Trim silver skin and excess fat from tenderloin.
- Rub olive oil all over the pork tenderloin.
- Mix the seasoning ingredients and rub over the entire surface of the tenderloin.
- Spray the air fryer basket with nonstick cooking spray then place pork tenderloins inside. I cut one in half so there was enough room for both tenderloins.
- Air fry for 20 minutes to a temperature of 145-160 degrees. It can always go back in for a minute or two if needed.
- Remove and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
- The juice in the bottom basket can be poured over the cooked pork just prior to serving.