Our air-fryer pork tenderloin cooks quickly, and you can cut the prep time by marinating the tenderloin the night before. Pork tenderloin isn’t as well known as other pork cuts like center-cut pork chops or pork shoulder, but it’s absolutely worth cooking. It’s basically the filet mignon of pork: lean but tender, packed full of natural flavor. The versatile cut can be seasoned any way you like, but we love it here with a simple mustard marinade.
Most oven-roasted or grilled pork tenderloin recipes take up to 30 minutes to prepare. But in an air-fryer, pork tenderloin cooks in just about 20 minutes. These countertop convection ovens have a small cooking chamber and are very efficient at circulating hot air around the food. We’re always looking for no-fuss, healthy dinner recipes that don’t taste like boring low-calorie or low-carb recipes. This one checks all the boxes.
Ingredients for Air-Fryer Pork Tenderloin
- Pork tenderloin: Many pork tenderloins are sold in packs of two, but you’ll only need one tenderloin weighing approximately 3/4 pound. You can freeze the other tenderloin for later, or double the recipe and cook both tenderloins. The leftovers make a fantastic substitute for steak in these steak sandwiches with quick-pickled vegetables.
- Canola oil: Oil is used in meat marinades to add moisture and help the seasonings infuse into the meat. We use canola for its neutral flavor and high smoke point. You can swap in any number of healthy oils if you prefer. Just make sure whatever you pick has a smoke point higher than 375°F.
- Spicy brown mustard: Mustard tastes fantastic with pork. We love the lightly spicy kick you get with a spicy brown mustard, but you can use any type of mustard. Dijon would be a good substitute if you don’t want to add much heat. These are our Test Kitchen’s picks for the best mustard brand.
- Spices: Garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and salt sound like simple seasonings, but they combine with the mustard to create a robust flavor profile.
Step 1: Trim the pork tenderloin
Preheat the air fryer to 375°. If desired, trim the silver skin from the tenderloin. Pat the tenderloin dry with a paper towel.
Editor’s Tip: Some butchers remove the silver skin, but many don’t. Inspect your tenderloin to see if it has a thin, shiny layer of connective tissue running down one side of the tenderloin. You can leave it on, though it’s easy to remove with a sharp knife. Since silver skin doesn’t break down during the cooking process, the tenderloin can turn out a little tough and chewy.
Step 2: Prepare the seasoning
In a small bowl, whisk together the spicy brown mustard, canola oil, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and salt.
Step 3: Season the pork tenderloin
Brush the seasoning blend over the tenderloin.
Step 4: Air fry the pork tenderloin
Place the seasoned pork tenderloin on a greased tray in the air-fryer basket. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes, until a thermometer reads 145°.
Editor’s Tip: If the whole tenderloin doesn’t fit inside the air fryer, cut it in half crosswise before cooking.
Step 5: Rest and slice
Let the pork tenderloin stand for 10 minutes before slicing.
Air-Fryer Pork Tenderloin Variations
- Bake it in the oven: If you don’t have an air fryer, you can make this recipe in the oven instead. Spread the mustard mixture over the tenderloin as directed. Then, place it on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 450° until a thermometer reads 145°, 25 to 30 minutes. Bake it over vegetables to make a sheet-pan pork supper if desired.
- Wrap it in bacon: Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin is delicious! After seasoning, wrap the tenderloin in thinly sliced bacon. Then, bake as directed. The bacon should crisp up in the same amount of time it takes to cook the tenderloin.
- Serve it with a great sauce: This pork tenderloin is so tender it doesn’t need a sauce. Still, it’s fun to pair it with different flavorings from time to time. Try the sauce from our air-fryer sweet-and-sour pineapple pork or this sun-dried tomato cream sauce.
How to Store Air-Fryer Pork Tenderloin
Let the pork tenderloin cool, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The leftovers last for three to four days. To reheat pork tenderloin in the air fryer, preheat the air fryer to 350°. Slice the pork into 1/2-inch pieces, and cook it for three to four minutes, until heated through. Or, you can use the microwave, stovetop or oven (just like when reheating steak).
How to Freeze Air-Fryer Pork Tenderloin
Let the whole tenderloin cool, then wrap it, and store it in a resealable freezer-safe bag. For sliced tenderloin, transfer the pieces to an airtight container. Freeze for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating as directed above.
Can you make air-fryer pork tenderloin ahead of time?
Yes, you make this air-fryer pork tenderloin ahead. Brush the mustard seasoning onto the pork tenderloin, and let it marinate in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Then, cook the tenderloin as directed.
Air-Fryer Pork Tenderloin Tips
What should you serve with air-fryer pork tenderloin?
We love serving air-fryer pork tenderloin with vegetable side dishes. Serve the sliced pork with other air-fryer dishes like air-fryer red potatoes, air-fryer baked potato or air-fryer corn on the cob. Or whip up a low-carb side dish like air fryer asparagus to keep this recipe keto-friendly.
How long do you cook pork tenderloin in the air fryer?
We cook pork tenderloin for 18 to 20 minutes in a 375° air fryer. How long to cook pork tenderloin in the air fryer depends on your specific model, as cooking times vary from brand to brand. Using a meat thermometer is the best way to know—not guess—when the pork is finished cooking. The right internal temperature of pork is 145°.
How do you keep pork from drying out in an air fryer?
Resting the meat for at least 10 minutes is the best way to keep pork from drying out in the air fryer. Resting allows the juices to redistribute within the meat instead of spilling out onto the cutting board. It’s also important to avoid overcooking pork tenderloin. It’s OK if the pork is pink, but it must reach a safe internal temperature of 145°.