Because pork loin is such a lean cut of meat, it really benefits from being cooked in the air fryer. The air fryer’s high heat allows the meat to be in the heat for less time, so it doesn’t dry out as much, and it gives the meat a flavorful browned crust in that short time too.
I love having roast pork but usually save it for weekends. Using the air fryer and a quicker-cooking cut like pork loin means that I can have it any day of the week. Serve this juicy pork roast with a side of mashed potatoes and your favorite green vegetable for the perfect Sunday, or Wednesday, dinner.
Pork loin is a notoriously lean cut of meat, which means it can dry out if it’s overcooked. The air fryer circulates high heat around the pork, which cooks it more quickly, meaning that there’s less time for it to dry out. The high heat circulating around the roast also means that a nice brown crust will form, even though the roast isn’t in the air fryer for very long.
Are Pork Loin and Pork Tenderloin The Same Thing?
Pork tenderloin and pork loin can be easy to mix up, probably because they sound like the same thing. But they’re different cuts of meat with different cooking times.
Pork tenderloin is a long, thin piece of meat that comes from the muscle that runs along the backbone. Pork loin, or pork loin roast, is a larger piece of meat that’s wide and thick, similar to pork chops.
While pork tenderloin is delicate and well suited for quick cooking methods like grilling, pork loin is perfect for pork loin is perfect for oven-roasting. In fact, it’s often labelled pork loin roast. And since it’s great roasted, it’s also perfect for the air fryer, which acts a lot like an oven but with hot air that circulates to crisp things up more.
Pork Loin Brine
Brining pork loin is a great idea since it’s such an effective way to add flavor and moisture to lean meat, like pork loin. You’ll make a standard brine recipe of 4 tablespoons kosher salt to 4 cups of cold water. Put the roast into a zip top bag or large bowl with the solution, making sure that it is fully submerged. Then put the roast in the solution into the fridge for minimum 1 hour, maximum 3 hours. Discard the brine. There’s no need to rinse of the meat. However, do pat it dry and then omit salt from the recipe below since your pork loin will be salted enough from the brine.
For this recipe, you’ll want a boneless pork loin. The size roast you can make will depend on how big your air fryer is. A 3 pound roast fit perfectly in my 2.6 quart air fryer. If you have a pork tenderloin and want to cook it in the air fryer, head over here. I don’t recommend cooking a pork butt or pork shoulder in the air fryer since they tend to be too large. Instead, hear are instructions for the oven and for the Instant Pot.
Traditionally, pork roast is flavored with earthy seasonings like garlic, rosemary, sage, or thyme. You can make your own seasoning rub from scratch or use a store bought seasoning mix. Poultry seasoning is my favorite for this because it has those sage and thyme flavors. It’s also usually finely ground, which makes it less likely that you’ll end up with burnt little leaves on your roast. You can buy poultry seasoning at the grocery store, or make your own.
You’ll also use a small amount of oil in this recipe. I usually use olive oil in an oil mister. But you can use cooking spray or olive oil, vegetable oil, or grapeseed oil rubbed onto the roast. You’ll need about 2 teaspoons of oil for a 3 pound roast.
The recipe also calls for kosher salt. You can use regular table salt instead, but decrease the amount by half. Note that if you brined the roast, do not add any salt at all when making the below recipe. Also, if you’re using a seasoning mix that already contains salt, reduce the amount of salt in this recipe to ¼ teaspoon.
Cooking pork roast in the air fryer is pretty simple. Trim away any excess fat from the outside of the pork loin, then rub it down with salt and spices and give it a quick spritz of oil spray to help the outside of the roast crisp and brown. Cook at 370°F for 12-14 minutes per pound until it is at least 145F.
I highly recommend using an instant read thermometer here – you want the internal temperature of the roast to be between 145°F (for medium) and 160°F (for well done). It used to be the case that pork had to be at 160F to kill bacteria. However, the USDA now says that it is safe to cook pork that has reached the temperature of 145F, with 5 minutes of resting after it reaches that temperature.
If you are used to always eating pork that is 160F, you might find the pinkish color of pork cooked to 145F to be off-putting. If that’s the case, you’ll want to cork your pork closer to 160F.
Pork Loin Gravy
No roast is complete without gravy! Since the pork loin is such a lean cut, you’re unlikely to get any juices from cooking it. Luckily, I have you covered. My recipe for how to make gravy without drippings is perfect for these situations. And, since you don’t need to wait for drippings from the roast, you can make it while the meat is cooking in the air fryer.Print
You’re going to love this pork loin roast! Cooking it in an air fryer means the outside forms a crisp golden crust that locks the juices inside for perfectly tender meat.
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this pork, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:
- 3 lbs. pork loin roast
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt*
- 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
- Oil spray
- Heat your air fryer to 370°F.
- Trim away any excess fat from the outside of the pork loin.
- Rub the pork all over with salt and poultry seasoning.
- Spritz with oil spray.
- Place the pork roast in the basket of your air fryer. Cook for 12-14 minutes per pound, or until the roast reaches an internal temperature of 145-160°F. A 3 pound roast will take about 40 minutes.
- Transfer the pork loin to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
*If your seasoning mix already contains salt, reduce the amount of kosher salt in this recipe to ¼ teaspoon.