Air fryer pork tenderloin is a delicious weeknight dinner. The air fryer makes the outside crisp and brown while leaving a tender juicy interior. This recipe has only 2 ingredients and cooks in less than 30 minutes!
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Pork tenderloin makes an excellent inexpensive, quick and easy dinner for the family. Cooking it in an air fryer means this easy meal can be ready in less than 30 minutes.
Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin
Because pork tenderloin is so lean it is an easy meat to overcook. And very little tastes worse than dry, overcooked pork.
My husband used to tell me he didn’t like pork, but that was just because he was used to his grandmother overcooking it. In this recipe the high heat of the air fryer coupled with the quick cooking time makes for tasty, juicy pork with very little effort!
Pork Tenderloin vs. Pork Loin
Pork tenderloin and pork loin sound similar and are easy to get confused. These two cuts of meat look and cook very differently and cannot be used interchangeably in most recipes.
Pork tenderloin is long and skinny. It is also very lean, which lends it to cooking quickly over high heat. Which pretty much exactly describes air fryer cooking!
Pork loin, on the other hand, is thicker and can be cut into pork steaks. It is also a fairly lean cut of meat, but its thicker shape means it is better for slow cooking or pressure cooking.
This recipe is only for pork tenderloin. If you try to use this recipe for pork loin you will find the meat won’t be cooked through in the desired time! I do have an excellent recipe for Instant Pot Pork Loin though, so try that instead.
Spice Rub for Pork Tenderloin
My favorite thing about this recipe is the contrast between the crusty outer layer and juicy pork inside. To get the outside nice and crispy you need coat the pork tenderloin with a good spice rub.
I like to use a Kansas City Barbecue rub for this recipe. This type of rub is traditionally sweet and is made with a fair amount of sugar. The sugar caramelizes while the pork cooks and gives it a nice outer layer.
How to Make Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin
1. Prepare the Pork Tenderloin
Pork tenderloin has silver skin on the underside. This is a tough thin membrane that can be peeled off easily. Once you have peeled off the silver skin pat the pork tenderloin dry with paper towels.
2. Add the Spice Rub
Coat the pork tenderloin with spice rub. I like to put it on thickly and use about 2 Tablespoons for each pork tenderloin. Rub it all over the pork.
3. Air Fry the Pork Tenderloin
Put the pork tenderloin in the air fryer basket, bending it as needed to fit it inside. You could also cut it in half if it fits better that way. Air fry it at 400 F for 20 minutes.
After 10 minutes pull the basket out and use tongs to flip the tenderloin over. It will brown more evenly if you remember to do this. But I have forgotten to flip it and it still tastes delicious!
4. Check the Pork’s Temperature
Once the 20 minutes are up check the temperature of the pork with an instant read thermometer. You want the pork to have reached a temperature of between 145 F – 150 F.
If the pork needs more time put it back in the air fryer and check the temperature again at 3-5 minute intervals so it doesn’t overcook.
Pork tenderloin sizes are fairly uniform, so it shouldn’t take much more than 25 minutes to cook.
5. Let the Pork Rest
Let the pork tenderloin rest on a plate for about five minutes before slicing and serving. This allows some of the juices to reabsorb into the meat and makes the meat juicier.
What About Brining?
Brining is an excellent way to add taste and keep pork juicy. But this pork cooks so quickly in the air fryer that it isn’t necessary to brine the pork.
I love the simplicity of this recipe with no brining, no marinading and very little prep time. Low effort meals like this one are perfect for busy days!
Can I Make More Than one Tenderloin?
I find that one pork tenderloin usually serves 3-4 people. So if you have a larger family you might want to make two at time. This recipe will work fine for two pork tenderloin as long as your air fryer basket is big enough.
I can fit two pork tenderloin in my air fryer basket if I cut them each in half. Make sure that you leave room between the tenderloin halves so that the air can circulate in the air fryer.
An air fryer depends on circulating air to cook and will not work well if the food is too crowded. If you are cooking two pork tenderloin you might need to cook them a few minutes longer. But check the temperature after 20 minutes to be sure, because over cooked pork is not nearly as good.
What to Serve With Pork Tenderloin
- 1.25 pound pork tenderloin
- 2 Tablespoons Kansas City Barbecue rub
- Remove the silver skin from the bottom of the pork tenderloin. It should just pull off.
- Pat the pork tenderloin dry with a paper towel.
- Coat it in the Kansas City Barbecue rub.
- Put the pork tenderloin in the air fryer basket. Either bend it to fit in the basket or cut it in half.
- Set the air fryer on 400 F for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes use tongs to flip the pork tenderloin over.
- Check the pork tenderloin after 20 minutes with an instant read thermometer. The temperature should be between 145 F - 150 F. If it needs extra time put it back in the air fryer for 2-3 minutes.
- Let the pork tenderloin rest on a serving platter for 5 minutes before slicing.
Make sure you use pork tenderloin. Pork loin is not the same cut of meat and will need different cooking instructions.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 295Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 142mgSodium: 177mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 51g
Nutrition facts are estimates.