Sweet and sticky honey sesame pork tenderloin is a delicious one-pan main dish that is perfect for weeknight dinners. Honey, soy, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce make a sweet and salty sauce that goes perfect with pork.
This recipe pairs perfectly with skinny garlic Parmesan mashed potatoes and green beans with mushrooms and bacon.
Pork tenderloin is a leaner cut of pork and it's full of flavor. Pan searing and oven finishing it is a great way to lock in all the juices and keep it from drying out. Luckily it can all be done in my favorite pan - the 12-inch cast iron skillet. Here's what you need to know.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pork Tenderloin. Similar to beef tenderloin, this long, lean cut of pork is unlike any other cut. They're often sold in two packs, any two-pack will do, no need to search for a two-pound pack.
- Butter. If you need to keep this dairy-free, simply use ghee or additional olive oil.
- Honey. The key to making this sauce sweet and sticky, raw honey is also a natural sweetener. If you are running low or don't have any on hand - consider using pure maple syrup instead.
- Apple cider vinegar. ACV gives this sauce the acidity it needs. A good substitute would be white wine or rice vinegar.
- Soy Sauce. You can also use coconut aminos as a great soy-free substitute.
- Sesame seeds. The sesame seeds give this sauce an Asian, nutty flavor you can't beat. However - it's actually really delicious without them too, so if you can't find them, you're still good to go!
STEP 1:Preheat the Oven. You'll need a hot oven to finish cooking the pork. Preheat to 425˚ F and adjust the oven rack to the center.
QUICK TIP - Don't forget to remove silver skin from tenderloins. Most grocery store butchers will leave a little silver skin on the meat. Silver skin is a chewy, connective tissue that really isn't edible.
STEP 2: Season. Season the pork with salt and pepper (about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/ 2 a teaspoon of pepper per tenderloin).
STEP 3: Pan sear. Get an oven-safe skillet piping hot. Add some olive oil to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Sear the pork for about 1-2 minutes per side and then transfer to a plate to make the sauce.
STEP 4: Make the sauce. Melt the butter in the same pan, then add the garlic and stir constantly to quickly saute for about 30 seconds. Next add the honey, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and lemon juice. Let the mixture come to a slow simmer and whisk occasionally until you have a thick, sticky sauce.
STEP 5: Finish cooking the pork in the oven. Brush a thick coat of sauce all over the pork and pop them in the oven for 8-10 minutes (the pork should read 145˚ with an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the pork to a plate again so you can finish the sauce. Tent the pork loosely with foil so that it stays warm.
STEP 6: Simmer the sauce. After the pork cooks in the sauce, some of the juices from the pork will thin out the sauce. Throw the pan back on the stove and bring it to a simmer, once again. Let it thick for another 5 minutes while the pork rests.
Add more sauce and finish resting the pork. Add another thick coating of the honey sesame sauce to the pork and let it rest and thicken for another 5 minutes.
Storage and Freezing
Leftovers and meal prep. This is another recipe perfect for meal prep. Store leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freezing. If you have more than you'll finish in the next 5 days, throw the slices in a freezer bag and pour the sauce over top, remove any air. Make sure they are cooled before freezing for up to 3 months.
Other Recipes You Might Like
- Honey Sesame Chicken and Broccoli
- 20 Minute Chicken Fried Rice
- Easy Cast Iron Steak
- Cajun Chicken and Sausage Skillet
Honey Sesame Pork Tenderloins
- 2 Pork Tenderloins (about 1 pound each)
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 4 cloves garlic
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- Juice from 1 lemon
- PREPARE: Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Remove any silver skin from the tenderloins and then sprinkle the tenderloins with 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper on each tenderloin and set aside.
- SEAR THE PORK: Heat a large, oven-safe skillet over high heat for about 3 minutes. Add the olive oil to the pan and coat the bottom evenly. Add the pork to the pan and sear on each side for 2 minutes per side. Remove the pork to a plate and set aside.
- MAKE THE SAUCE: Reduce the heat to medium-low and melt the butter. Add the garlic and stir constantly for about 30 seconds. Add honey, vinegar, soy, sesame seeds and lemon juice. Simmer until the sauce becomes thick and sticky, about 5 minutes.
- FINISH COOKING THE PORK: Remove the pan from the heat. Add the seared tenderloins to the pan and coat them in the sauce on all sides. Add the pork to the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until the internal temperature reads around 145˚F.
- LET THE PORK REST: Remove the pan from the oven and transfer to a plate and tent loosely with foil. Allow the pork to rest for about 5 minutes.
- FINISH THE SAUCE: Return the skillet to the stovetop and bring the sauce to a slow simmer over medium heat. Whisk continuously until the sauce thickens again. Brush the sauce on the pork and continue resting without the foil for another 5 minutes before slicing diagonally.
- SERVE AND STORE: Serve warm or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
**This blog post contains affiliate links to products that I actually use and that align with my values. See my affiliate disclaimer here.
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