This Air Fried Pork Tenderloin Is an Easy Work Week Dinner

This Air Fried Pork Tenderloin Is an Easy Work Week Dinner

Hands-off dinners are a valuable part of any home cook’s bag of tricks. That’s usually where the instant pot and slow cooker step in, but I’m not always in the mood for something that needs hours of stewing or a lot of ingredient prep. My current easy favorite is a main course that gives me the freedom to go do something else—like heat up leftover rice, or sit and rest my weary bones—and it requires very little else from me. It’s air fryer roast pork tenderloin, and you should add it to your weekly rotation. 

The whole reason I bought the pre-trimmed package of pork tenderloin from Trader Joe’s was that I wanted a lean cut of protein on a tight budget. This pound of pork fit the bill. It was only five bucks, has low fat content, and it’s a mild protein that loves to be seasoned. On the subway ride home, I was pretty stoked to roast it. But then I thought of how long it would take in the conventional oven—45 to 60 minutes—and how that length of time in an arid environment would surely dry it out. This is where the air fryer saved me. 

Air fryer roast pork tenderloin cooks in a jiffy, browns nicely on the outside, and stays tender and juicy in the center. The key is the convection heating of the air fryer: The fan whips hot air around the pork, rapidly cooking the protein on the outside while gently heating the inside. The typical air fryer basket, about ten inches square, is also the perfect size for a pound of pork tenderloin, perfectly fitting diagonally across. With almost no fuss (just a single flip halfway through the cooking time), you’ve got your main event set up for any accompanying side dishes. 

How to roast pork tenderloin in the air fryer

1. Season the pork

I like to marinate pork for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking, but if you only have time for a heavy sprinkle of salt, pepper, and oil, so be it. If you’re marinating it, set the loin in a deep container and add the seasonings. A simple mixture of soy sauce, a spoonful of sugar, MSG, and a bit of cooking oil is usually plenty. Use your hands to thoroughly coat the meat and leave it to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes or a couple hours. Flip it halfway through the marinating time.

2. Set it and forget it (but remember to flip, and then forget it again)

Set the air fryer to the “roast” setting for 350°F degrees. Arrange the pork in the basket and cook it for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping it halfway through. I recommend checking the internal temperature after 20 minutes to see if you’ve reached your desired temperature. The USDA recommends a temperature of 145°F with three minutes of rest time. 

While your pork is cooking, prepare other parts of the meal, or delegate those tasks to someone else and kick up your feet for a spell. A pound of pork makes about three comfortable servings with sides. (A real boss move would be to make two roasts in the air fryer and save one for some mean Cubano sandwiches the next day.) 

Air Fryer Roast Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Ingredients:

1. Marinate the pork for 30 minutes, or a couple hours, in a deep container with all of the other ingredients. Make sure to flip the meat around to thoroughly coat it in the seasonings.

2. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F on the “roast” setting. Arrange the tenderloin in the air fryer and cook it for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping it halfway through the cooking time. Check for doneness with a probe thermometer. Let the meat rest and cool for at least 3 minutes before slicing and serving. 


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