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.
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:
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:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Sprinkle it all over the pork loin roast.
Rub it all over until it’s coated.
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:
Put the roast into the oven.
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.
Cover roasting pan with foil and let rest for 30 minutes.
Heat oven up to 475°F. Uncover roast and remove the thermometer. Put it into a clean pan and roast for another 10 minutes.
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
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3-5lb. pork loin roast
- 3 ribs celery (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix together black pepper, garlic powder and salt. Rub it all over pork.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cover roasting pan with foil and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 475°F. Uncover roast and remove the thermometer. Put roast into a clean pan and roast for another 10 minutes.
- Carve and serve immediately.