How to Cook Pork Tenderloin in the Air Fryer

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Pork tenderloin just got better than ever – air fryer style! The quick and high heat cooking of the air fryer make pork tenderloin brown on the outside while still juicy on the inside. Try it!

Pork tenderloin just got better than ever - air fryer style! The quick and high heat cooking of the air fryer make pork tenderloin brown on the outside while still juicy on the inside. Try it!

Pork tenderloin is a nice lean cut of pork. Because of that, you don’t want to overcook it. Over the years I’ve found ways to cook pork tenderloin so that it’s brown on the outside while still being juicy on the inside. I have lots of tips for cooking pork tenderloin over here. And, if you want to grill it, here is my go-to method. But, if you want to the best pork tenderloin ever, then you’ve got to try the air fryer. I was so seriously impressed!!!

Pork Tenderloin versus Pork Loin

First, let’s make sure we’re looking at the same cut of pork. We’re talking about the tenderloin here. It should say that whole long word, tenderloin, on the package. If it just says loin, then you’ve got something else. A pork loin. I haven’t yet tried cooking a pork loin in the air fryer, but I will soon. Until then, I can refer you to my ultimate pork loin tutorial over here

If you have a tenderloin, it will be long and thin and weigh about 1 to 1.5 pounds. A loin is thicker and stumpier (in other words, it is more proportional than the long, skinny tenderloin) and weighs between 2-5 pounds usually, although you can get whole loins that weigh 8-10 pounds. Those bad boys definitely don’t fit in the air fryer though!

Preparing Pork Tenderloin

Before you cook pork tenderloin, you need to remove the silver skin. This is a tough bit of thin, silvery skin that runs along one side of the loin. Here are instructions for how to remove it. Note that in those instructions it also shows you to tuck one end of the tenderloin in to make it of an even thickness. I don’t do that for the air fryer because I don’t want to use the metal skewers since my air fryer is non-stick. I suppose you could use wooden ones or string but I don’t and it always turns out really nice.

It’s also a good idea to brine pork tenderloin. It’s such a lean cut of meat that brining it, even for a few hours, really helps. I have skipped this and the recipe has turned out fine, but it’s better when brined. Here are basic brining instructions for pork tenderloin.

Whether you brine it or not, do take your tenderloin out of the fridge 20 minutes before cooking. If it’s too cold, it will take too long to cook through and will end up dry inside.

Cooking Pork Tenderloin in the Air Fryer

Once your tenderloin has been out of the fridge for 20 minutes, preheat the air fryer to 400°F. This is the air fryer that I have.

In a small bowl mix together 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder. If you brined your pork, do not add salt here. If you didn’t brine the pork, then add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to this mixture. Rub the mixture all over the pork tenderloin.

Put the pork tenderloin into the basket of the air fryer. If it doesn’t fit while straight, bend it a bit to fit it in.

Cook for 10 minutes. Flip it over. My air fryer is non-stick so I use these silicone coated tongs to flip things in there.

Cook for another 8-15 minutes, or until desired doneness is reached. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature. The United States Pork Board recommends that pork tenderloin be cooked to 145-160°F. I actually take mine out when it’s at 140°F. Cooking it to only 140°F makes it juicier, but be aware that it may not be safe to do so and you should follow the pork board’s guidelines always, thus take it out when it is at 145°F minimum.

Let the pork tenderloin rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. 8-10 minutes is better. Slice into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices and serve immediately.

That’s it! Your pork tenderloin will be the best ever, nice and brown on the outside while still nice and juicy inside. Enjoy!

Christine :)

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Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin


  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 38 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Description

Pork tenderloin just got better than ever – air fryer style! The quick and high heat cooking of the air fryer make pork tenderloin brown on the outside while still juicy on the inside. Try it!

Ingredients

  • brine ingredients (optional)
  • 1.5 lb. pork tenderloin
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt (if not using a brine)

Instructions

  1. Brine the tenderloin according to brining instructions, optional.
  2. Take tenderloin out of fridge 20 minutes before cooking. Discard brine and rinse pork, if it was brined.
  3. Remove silver skin according to these instructions.
  4. Preheat air fryer to 450F.
  5. In a small bowl combine olive oil, black pepper and garlic powder. If you did not brine the pork, then also add the salt. Stir.
  6. Rub olive oil mixture all over tenderloin.
  7. Place tenderloin in air fryer basket, bending it if needed for it to fit.
  8. Cook for 10 minutes. Flip.
  9. Cook until it has reached the desired doneness as indicated on an instant read thermometer, 145-160F is recommended by the US Pork Board. This will take 8-15 more minutes.
  10. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices. Serve immediately.
Pork tenderloin just got better than ever - air fryer style! The quick and high heat cooking of the air fryer make pork tenderloin brown on the outside while still juicy on the inside. Try it!

2 Responses to “How to Cook Pork Tenderloin in the Air Fryer”

  1. Linda — August 16, 2019 @ 1:51 pm (#)

    I tried this pork tenderloin recipe and my whole house was full of smoke from the olive oil! You cannot use 1 Tbsp of olive oil or any other oil because it starts to drip into the pan and smokes up the entire house. I will use spray oil next time and very little. Also, with air fryer set to 350 and on high fan, the room temperature tenderloin was still raw inside after cooking 20 minutes and turning halfway. I would like to cook this again but perfect the original recipe.

    • Christine Pittman — August 20, 2019 @ 2:17 pm (#)

      Linda, I’m sorry this recipe didn’t work out for you. I intended that you would rub the olive oil on the tenderloin before placing it into the air fryer, perhaps while the tenderloin is on a plate. That way, any excess oil should drip onto the plate and not into the air fryer basket. You might get the odd excess drip into the fryer but not much. I’m not sure why your tenderloin wasn’t fully cooked except that my recipe called for having the air fryer set for 450F, not 350F, so that could be why yours wasn’t done. You can always leave it in for longer and just check it every 5 minutes with your thermometer to see if it has reached your desired temperature.

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