How To Roast Pork Loin Perfectly

A delicious method for roasting pork loin that is juicy in the middle and brown and crusty on the outside.

A delicious method for roasting pork loin that is juicy in the middle and brown and crusty on the outside.

Awhile ago I posted my method for roasting pork perfectly. That post has gotten a lot of great feedback in the comment section. There are also a lot of questions there too. One that comes up often is whether you can use the same method on pork loin, or just on pork butt as the recipe calls for. My answer is always no. Pork loin is much leaner than pork butt so if you cook it in the long method I used, you’d end up with very dry pork.

Because I get asked about it often, I decided to test out some ways of roasting pork loin and share the best with you here.

First, just to be clear, I’m talking about pork loin today, not about pork tenderloin. These are different things. If you’d like to know how to prepare pork tenderloin, head here:

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Now onto the loin!

Like with the roasted pork butt, I use the final-sear method that I first learned from roasting prime rib according to Serious Eats’ instructions. Basically, you put the roast into a moderate or low oven (I used 350°F for the pork loin). You take it out when it reaches the correct temperature (145°F for pork loin) and let it rest for a good 30 minutes. Finally, you crank up the oven really high (475°F) and give the roast a last blast in there for 10 minutes to brown and crisp up the outside of the roast. Then you carve it immediately and serve. Pretty cool, right?

So that’s what we’re going to do. Here are the step-by-step instructions for roasting pork loin:

Step#1:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Step#2:

Sprinkle it all over the pork loin roast.

 

Step#3:

Rub it all over until it’s coated.

Step#4:

Put the roast on a rack in a roasting pan. If you don’t have a rack that fits in your roasting pan, use 3 stalks of celery like this:

Step#5:

Put the roast into the oven.

Step#6:

Roast until the internal temperature is at 145°F-160°F.

Some people like their pork really well cooked. This is because it used to be recommended that pork be cooked to 160°F. People got used to pork like that and continue to prefer it very white and drier, versus slightly pink and moist. If that’s you and you need your pork well done, then go with the 160° temperature.

If you prefer it juicy and very slightly pink at the center, then go with 145°. For a 3-5 lb. roast, this will be 20-25 minutes per pound. (I actually take mine out at 135°F-140°F but that isn’t recommended to be safe. The 145°F temperature and the 20-25 minutes per pound are recommended to be safe and are the correct times and temperatures according to the the National Pork Board.

Step#7:

Cover roasting pan with foil and let rest for 30 minutes.

Step#8:

Heat oven up to 475°F. Uncover roast and remove the thermometer. Put it into a clean pan and roast for another 10 minutes.

 

Step#9:

Use those 10 minutes to make gravy, if desired. If you got nice roasting juices in your first roasting pan, then here is how to make a basic gravy using those drippings. If you didn’t get juices, then here is how to make gravy without drippings.

Remove roast from oven and serve immediately.

 

Here are the printable instructions for roasting pork loin:

Roast Pork Loin

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3-5lb. pork loin roast
  • 3 ribs celery (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix together black pepper, garlic powder and salt. Rub it all over pork.
  3. Put the roast on a rack in a roasting pan. If you don't have a rack use 3 stalks of celery lying side by side.
  4. Roast until internal temperature is between 145-160°F, 20-25 minutes per pound. 145°F is considered safe for pork according to the USDA. It will be moist and slightly pink in the center. If you prefer your pork fully white and well done, then go with the 160°F temperature.
  5. Cover roasting pan with foil and let rest for 30 minutes.
  6. Heat oven to 475°F. Uncover roast and remove the thermometer. Put roast into a clean pan and roast for another 10 minutes.
  7. Carve and serve immediately.
A delicious method for roasting pork loin that is juicy in the middle and brown and crusty on the outside.

40 Responses to “How To Roast Pork Loin Perfectly”

  1. Ella — July 14, 2018 @ 7:29 pm (#)

    I just have to say that the pork loin recipe is spot on! It came out perfect. So juicy. Will be my go to pork recipe for now on! Thanks so much!

  2. Natalie Senko — June 28, 2018 @ 6:56 am (#)

    Love the celery trick! To cut down on oven time, I grilled it for 15 min on two of the sides. Delicious grilled flavor. Overall the best recipe to date! Thank you!

    • Christine Pittman — June 29, 2018 @ 2:37 pm (#)

      Natalie, Great speed-up tip. Thanks!

  3. Tudie — June 26, 2018 @ 8:32 pm (#)

    We cooked for our guests a 5 lb pork loin.. thermo registered 160 degrees when we removed from oven & before we let it rest covered for 30 minutes.. was dry and not tender at all.. very disappointed.. thank goodness we had gravy.. should we have taken the pork loin out at 145 degrees????

    • Christine Pittman — June 29, 2018 @ 2:43 pm (#)

      Tudie,
      Yes. Maybe I wasn’t clear enough in the post. 160F is what used to be recommended for pork and so a lot of people really prefer to continue to cook it to this temperature. However, the result is dry pork. Since it is now believed to be safe to have pork at 135F, taking it out between 134-145 is best. This will be nice and juicy. The only caveat is that some people find pinkish pork off-putting because of the advice from the past. Those people probably still need to cook it to 150-160F. I’m going to go edit the post with this info so that it’s clearer for people. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Keith — June 10, 2018 @ 2:50 pm (#)

    Loved the look of your oven in the photo above Step #6. You are a true cook, not one of those TV fake ones! Looking forward to trying many of your recipes. Great site and thanks for the Prime Rib link.

  5. Vicky — May 28, 2018 @ 1:56 pm (#)

    Got my pork loin cooking in the oven as I type out this text. My husband loves a good roast and he picke up the pork loin because it was on sale. Thank you for clear directions. I need to print this out for myself, along with the directions for a pork tenderloin. You never know what cut of meat is going to be on sale!

    • Christine Pittman — May 30, 2018 @ 11:37 am (#)

      Happy to be of help, Vicky. Enjoy!

  6. John — May 19, 2018 @ 6:13 pm (#)

    Just made this today followed exactly what you said and I’m glad I did! Very nice article I love how you include the reasoning of why you do things the way you do and include sources of further information. I was certainly impressed!

    • Christine Pittman — May 22, 2018 @ 2:27 pm (#)

      John, Thank you so much. Your comment and knowing that you noticed the care I put into my explanations means a lot to me.

  7. Kim — May 19, 2018 @ 4:31 am (#)

    OMG… dying. This looks incredible!!! I may make (or request) this for the weekend.

  8. Kevin — May 13, 2018 @ 1:27 pm (#)

    Just made this today, my missus described it as “awesome”. Says it all really. Thank you for this method, easy when someone else has done all the hard work. I put all my veg in with the loin, including celery and fried some onion separately with the juices. 
    Thanks again. 

    • Christine Pittman — May 22, 2018 @ 2:31 pm (#)

      You’re welcome, Kevin. Thanks for letting me know you liked it!

  9. Michelle Allain — May 13, 2018 @ 9:42 am (#)

    I making this today on Mother’s Day, looks and smells amazing! Thank you!

  10. Thelma Hoogland — May 10, 2018 @ 11:01 am (#)

    Is there any way to prevent the oven from getting all grease spattered during the final 475 degree browning?

  11. Bill Mack — May 6, 2018 @ 9:41 am (#)

    How do you estimate and adjust the cooking time for a larger amount, say 15 lbs in a single roasting pan? Surely not still 20-25 minutes per lb.?

    • Christine Pittman — May 7, 2018 @ 4:14 pm (#)

      Bill, Is this more than one loin in the same pan? If so, make sure that the pieces are not touching and then cook them for the appropriate time for each individual piece. If you have one very large loin, then you’re right, you wouldn’t want to cook it for 20 minutes per pound. This would work for a more spherically shaped roast (like a pork butt or shoulder, or a chicken, for instance) but pork loin is cylindrical. With a spherical roast, the heat is coming from all sides towards the middle equally. With a cylindrical roast, the heat is coming from the sides evenly but the ends are targeted more. My best advice would be to take a large cylindrical roast and cut it into 3-5 pound pieces and then cook them as instructed. By doing this, you run less of a risk of the ends becoming too dry while the middle is rarer. Basically, you’re making the distance from the end to the middle closer to the distance from the side to the middle. Not exactly, but much closer than if the roast is really long. I hope that helps. Thanks for a great question.

  12. Adam Schmidlechner — April 24, 2018 @ 5:01 am (#)

    Hi,
    Absolutely amazing, my family loved it.
    Does the above method work with lamb

    • Christine Pittman — April 27, 2018 @ 12:56 pm (#)

      Adam, I haven’t tried it. I think it would work. But with lamb you wouldn’t cook it to such a high temperature. You’d cook it at 300F until it reaches whatever temperature you like for lamb (rare, medium rare, medium, etc.). Then take it out and let it rest for 30 minutes. Then put it into a very hot oven (500F) for 15 minutes to brown and crisp on the outside.

  13. Joscelyn — April 12, 2018 @ 10:14 am (#)

    With such great reviews, I’m going to try this receipt out tonight with with my family!! I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  14. Tricia Strahan — April 8, 2018 @ 11:57 am (#)

    In the photos the roast is tied but that’s not in the directions. Would you please add instructions for tying? Thanks.

    • Christine Pittman — April 12, 2018 @ 1:31 pm (#)

      Tricia, The roast came from the grocery store like that. This video shows how though.

  15. Patricia Roberts — March 30, 2018 @ 12:23 pm (#)

    Can you add a little olive oil all over to coat before cooking. This adds oil but also tenderizes. I do this with pork chops in the oven. It works.

    • Christine Pittman — March 30, 2018 @ 1:47 pm (#)

      Patricia, You can add it. I’m not sure if it will do much but worth a try. It won’t hurt anything for sure!

  16. Ruth A Reuter — March 27, 2018 @ 6:41 pm (#)

    Love this recipe! Have made it twice in the last few weeks!

    • Christine Pittman — March 28, 2018 @ 9:56 am (#)

      That’s fantastic, Ruth! So happy you like it!

  17. Dan Clark — March 26, 2018 @ 12:23 am (#)

    Made this for my husband and a guest last night, It was absolutely perfect!
    will be following more of your recipes.
    I also made some easy home made apple sauce to go with this, and some Smashed Roast Potatoes and broccolini.

    IT WAS DIVINE~!!!!

    • Christine Pittman — March 26, 2018 @ 1:49 pm (#)

      Dan, That sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Janice Ainsley — March 25, 2018 @ 5:33 pm (#)

    Absolutely wonderful. Have been looking for a good pork loin recipe and this is it!

    • Christine Pittman — March 26, 2018 @ 1:49 pm (#)

      Janice, Thank you! I’m so happy you liked it!

  19. Jaquie — February 24, 2018 @ 7:43 pm (#)

    Do you cover while baking ?

  20. Sheldon — January 16, 2018 @ 7:16 pm (#)

    Re:  John Martin or anyone cooking a day ahead and reheating. I have cooked and served tons of meat both professionally and socially. Cooking roasts be it pork, beef, or fowl the day before service has its pros and cons but to address your question of reheating I have found this. Carve it cold, let it come to room temp, then run it through warmed aujaus or gravy just before service. Absolutely do not put your roast back in the oven to cook unless you want the serve well done dried out meat. 

  21. john martin — January 7, 2018 @ 7:07 pm (#)

    Making this a day ahead as roasting the day of the dinner is not an option. Any special trick to reheating ?

    • Christine Pittman — January 15, 2018 @ 12:34 pm (#)

      Hi John, I answered this question in the comments above and am copying and pasting it here for you…”You can also make this roast a day ahead…roast it and then let it rest and then do the high heat step and then carve it and put it in the fridge, covered, for up to 24 hours. Then put the slices in a single overlapping layer on a baking sheet and add about 1/8 cup of water in drips all over. Cover with foil and heat at 300F until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve. (You won’t have that crispy top but you will still have all the flavor).”

  22. john martin — January 7, 2018 @ 7:04 pm (#)

    Making this the night before, won’t be able to roast it the day of the dinner. Any suggestions on how to reheat it ?

  23. Bev Frey — January 4, 2018 @ 12:19 am (#)

    WOW! Just WOW! I made this for dinner tonight. I’ve never had such good pork roast. Excellent, easy recipe. And I don’t really like to cook – my grocery store had pork loin for $1.89/lb so I got two and was looking for something other than crock pot pulled pork. This was so yummy. Thanks for all the tips!

    • Christine Pittman — January 15, 2018 @ 12:37 pm (#)

      Bev, You’re welcome. I’m really happy you liked it and found the article helpful.

  24. Krista Matheson — November 20, 2017 @ 9:12 pm (#)

    Made this tonight. My husband declared it the best pork loin he’d ever had! It was very good. Moist and flavorful. Thanks!

    • Christine Pittman — December 8, 2017 @ 12:35 pm (#)

      Krista, yay! So happy you guys liked it. Thanks for letting me know :-).

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