This easy maple glazed pork tenderloin is easy and quick enough to be a weeknight meal. yet special enough to be on your Thanksgiving or Christmas table.
If you’re looking for an alternative to your Thanksgiving turkey or your Christmas goose (do people still eat geese for Christmas?) this year?
I first published this recipe last year on Atlanta Black Star, but I knew y’all would love to see this recipe. Because not everyone eats turkey on Thanksgiving. My mama, every year, would make cornish hen instead. Much less time to cook than a big ole turkey. I hadn’t had turkey at Thanksgiving until I was married.
Our first year, I had made a 28 pound turkey. Why?
I had no idea what I was doing, that’s why. Laugh at my pain now, that bird made dinner LATE and I had NO IDEA when that bird was going to be done.
And now, here we are: it may be your first Thanksgiving your hosting. It might just be you and your spouse. Or your family of five is tired of turkey. Or your grandfather set the backyard on fire trying to fry a turkey and you’re not risking that again!
This maple glazed pork tenderloin may be the new holiday dish of your dreams. It’s super juicy, flavorful with a fall-centric maple glaze, and it’s so easy to prepare and cook up.
This recipe is way less fussy than your average turkey which needs to thaw for 3-7 days, take up a ton of room in your fridge to wet brine for a another day or two, and then take over your oven for hours on Thanksgiving day. As much as I love turkey on thanksgiving, it’s easy to see that it’s a lot of work just for the birdy itself.
Not so with pork tenderloin.
A flavorful brine makes the lean cut super juicy and flavorful within the pork itself. So while there is a well-balanced, sweet and savory glaze on the outside, the inside is well-seasoned with a brine that compliments the outside flavors. No dry, bland meat here, honey! We are all flavor!
And the brine can be made the morning of or even overnight, then cook that afternoon for only HALF AN HOUR!
I mean, could your holiday cooking get anymore fuss-free?
Seriously, this is such a great holiday alternative that is perfect for beginners, those who want an easy Thanksgiving meal, or those looking for something delicious and different than the usual.
Serve this maple glazed pork tenderloin up this holiday season with:
Don’t forget to pin this Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin recipe!
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- 6 cups water
- 3 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tbsp all spice berries whole
- 1/2 small yellow onion roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- 2 pork tenderloins about 1 1/4-1 1/2 pounds each
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- In a pot, heat water over high heat. As it's heating, add all the brining ingredients; stir as water comes to a simmer to dissolve the salt. Once dissolved, take the pot off the heat and pour brine into a large heat-safe bowl. Add ice cubes to cool brine so pork doesn't partially cook in the brine.
- Add pork, it should be completely submerged in the brine, cover with plastic wrap and leave in fridge for 4-24 hours. Rinse and pat pork dry before cooking.
- Take pork out of the fridge to rest 30 minutes before cooking.
- Right before cooking, whisk maple syrup, Worcestershire sauce, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper together in a bowl until well combined.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a 12-inch, oven-safe saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Season both pork tenderloins on all sides with salt and pepper generously then place both in the hot pan, with at least an inch between both tenderloins, searing the pork for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Let the crust develop on each side before turning; do not force the pork off the pan to turn it, it will release from the pan when it's ready.
- Turn heat off. With a silicone brush or spoon, slather half of the glaze over each of the tenderloins generously, covering each side. Cover the pan with oven-safe lid or aluminum foil and cook in oven for 10 minutes. While pork is cooking, whisk together water and cornstarch in a small bowl, then stir the cornstarch slurry into the remaining glaze.
- After ten minutes of cooking, remove lid and re-glaze the pork with a clean silicone brush or pour over with a spoon. Let cook for another 13-15 minutes until pork's temperature is 145 degrees F (or if wary of pork, to 160 degrees F).
- Remove skillet from oven, move tenderloins to a serving plate and cover with foil to rest and keep warm. The glaze will have thickened up in the pan from cooking, pour it into a heat safe gravy boat.
- Slice tenderloins into 1/2 inch slices and serve with maple glaze.