Orange and Rosemary Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Why is it that no one ever told me about the pork tenderloin?

Has everyone been cooking pork tenderloin all this time, licking their lips and giggling covertly as I fought to make other cuts palatable, trying my best to prevent them from turning out dry, and grey?

Oh, it’s not that I haven’t been happy with my pork experiments, not at all. Looking through the C&Z archives, I’ve found five recipes involving our pink friend — a cured pork shoulder with lentils, a loin blade roast stewed in cider, a roast with spiced red cabbage, and two terrines — that were all, if I remember correctly, consumed with unequivocal pleasure.

Pork does well with sweet and tangy flavors, so I opted for a simple marinade of orange juice, honey, and rosemary.

It’s just that, now that I’ve had a taste of filet mignon de porc — for such is the French name for it* — I wonder what took me so long: it is truly the most succulent, the most flavorsome cut of pork I’ve ever dealt with.

If you’re at all excited about the butcher’s craft, you may be interested to learn that the pork filet mignon (tenderloin) is a long muscle located on either side of the lower end of the animal’s spine (so each pork yields two), underneath the filet (sirloin) and the pointe de filet (the tail end of the sirloin). (And lest you assume I’ve become an overnight expert in butchery, let me note that my life changed when I acquired a Larousse gastronomique and laid eyes on its crystal-clear meat diagrams.)

The tenderloin is lean, and remarkably tender, so it is a choice cut that comes at a higher price than most: my organic butcher charges 19.50€/kg ($12/pound) for it, but it is net weight with no waste, i.e. no fat, bone, or gristle to remove.

Pork does well with sweet and tangy flavors, so I opted for a simple marinade of orange juice, honey, and rosemary, which, reduced and creamed up while the tenderloin was roasting in the oven, made for the perfect sauce to ladle over the butter-tender slices of meat.


* In French butchery, the term filet mignon is used not only for beef, but also for veal, venison, and pork. It refers to the same muscle in all cases, insofar as muscular similarities can be found in these different animals.

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Orange and Rosemary Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Serves 4.

Orange and Rosemary Pork Tenderloin Recipe


  • 800 grams (1 pound 12 ounces) pork tenderloin (filet mignon in French), preferably organic
  • For the marinade:
  • the juice of two oranges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 rounded teaspoon honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • For finishing:
  • 1 rounded tablespoon crème fraîche, or heavy cream
  • fleur de sel
  • a handful flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped


  1. Cut the tenderloin in 3 or 4 equal portions and place them in a nonreactive (glass or ceramic) baking dish large enough to accomodate them in a single layer.
  2. Whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour them over the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, and up to 4 hours, flipping the pieces of meat regularly so they'll marinate evenly.
  3. Remove the dish from the fridge and preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F). Pour most of the marinade into a small saucepan, and leave about a tablespoon in the dish.
  4. Put the dish (uncovered) in the oven and roast for 25 minutes, until cooked through but not dried out (the meat should be pale pink in the center; if using a meat thermometer, the recommended safe internal temperature is 70°C or 160°F), flipping the meat a couple of times during the roasting and basting it with its juices. Switch to grill and cook for 5 more minutes, until golden and slightly crusty at the top.
  5. While the meat is roasting, put the saucepan with the remaining marinade over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Keep boiling, uncovered, stirring regularly, until the marinade has reduced to a thick syrup and is about a quarter of its original volume. Remove from heat, add in the cream, stir, and keep warm.
  6. When the meat is ready, remove the dish from the oven, and transfer the meat to a cutting board. Add the marinade and cream mixture to the dish and stir to combine with the cooking juices. Cut the meat pieces into thickish slices, return to the dish, and sprinkle with fleur de sel and parsley. Bring the dish to the table and serve immediately, with boiled or mashed potatoes, and/or sautéed carrots.
  • Adele

    Another great way to prepare pork tenderloin is to use a spice rub and grill over indirect heat. The meat stays juicy and develops a wonderful smoky flavor.

    Sometimes I use the tenderloin to make cutlets. Cut think slices and then pound to an even thinness (is that a word??). I find it much more succulent and tender than the usual center cut pork cutlets.

  • I never heard the term “filet mignon” when I lived in France. Did not even know it was used in French – always thought it American Frenglish!

    That said, pork tenderloin is a luxury cut indeed. It’s also lovely on the grill. (and it makes incredible sandwiches should you have any left overs: layer a good homemade country bread with basil mayonnaise, roasted pepper, fresh mozzarella, some watercress and slices of cold tenderloin). Miam miam!

  • liz

    I got tickled because we’re having pork tenderloin tonight! The butcher’s had a special of $2.99 a pound, so we’ll be eating alot of it over the next couple of months.

    I generally grill it and then make a sauce. Tonight, I’m serving it with an orange-dijon-rosemary pan sauce, red bliss potatoes, and green beans. The leftovers will be served tomorrow with a pineapple salsa (pineapple, jalapeno, red bell pepper and red onion), cous cous, and a salad.

    I also make an Al Pastor type taco by dicing the pork and mixing it with achiote and pineapple. It’s also an excellent way to spice up leftovers.

    Now I’m hungry!

  • Yes, pork tenderloin is a wonderful, ever-delicious, super-quick treat. My mom makes a mustard rubbed one often for dinner parties, let me see if I can find the recipe (which is FANTASTIC and so easy)….

    Yes! I posted it ages ago–excuse the mediocre old photos. I have probably eaten this recipe 25+ times (though I’ve only made it once; pork tenderloin is not cheap!) and every single time I think “God, this is good.”

  • We love pork tenderloin! Your marinade looks wonderful. I cut up marinated pork tenderloin and thread it on kabobs and grill it. It’s a great, lean meat.

  • JDC

    Pork Tenderloin is excellent with cherry sauces as well.

  • Alisa

    In the words of a great movie, I have always found the pork tenderloin to be a nice sweet meat!

  • Yes yes yes! It’s the only cut of pork I buy!

    If you’d like to try something delicious, I’d recommend rubbing it with Massa de Pimentão – Portuguese red pepper paste, which I’m sure it’ll be available somewhere in Paris! One of our most loved traditional dishes involves cutting it into cubes, marinating it in Pimentão, white wine and garlic, and then cooking it with clams. It’s fabulous!

  • I love pork tenderloin and your recipe sounds great. My favorite way to prepare it is stuffed with dried fruits and couscous, then basted with a honey mixture. I haven’t had pork tenderloin in a long time, I think I’ll have to remedy that and prepeare your recipe.

  • We have a very similar pork tenderloin marinade that uses orange juice and cumin. And yes, we have been eating it with glee for years.

  • Heather Miller

    Sounds so easy! I’ve always loved pork tenderloin. I don’t know why I don’t cook it more. I am definitely trying this recipe.

  • It’s good that you have discovered pork tenderloin. As you’ve stated, it’s a terrific cut of meat. For the past several years, I’ve cooked pork tenderloin for Thanksgiving dinner, instead of turkey, and it’s always been a big hit. I usually brine it for about 12 hours with sweet spices (cloves, cinnamon, anise, etc), then rub it up with olive oil and salt and roast it at high heat. Yum yum.

  • Cat

    One of my favorite pork tenderloin marinades is lime juice, cumin and coriander, with slices of garlic tucked into the roast. Mmmmm!

  • Kim

    :) coincidence: I made a batch of your oven ratatouille yesterday, and have the pork tenderloin waiting in my fridge to go with it (a bit pork-provençale). Will try out this version as well! It is my favourite cut, I found the other pork cuts easily to ruin (dried out chewy lumps in my case…)

  • Yes, I love pork with sweet flavors too! I think that one of most memorable meals I have ever had was medallions of pork tenderloin with caramelized figs…

  • Artusi

    Ah…welcome to an amazing cut of meat!!!! I find that marinading overnight and cooking whole, then slicing for presentation works better. I follow Harold McGee’s suggestion….Intense dry (fry) heat to caramelise the surface, then into a medium oven to cook within (with a meat thermometer to check for doneness).
    And as for marinades… they all work..pick one each of sweet/salt/sour and spice.
    Bon appetit

  • I love pork tenderloin. In fact w had it last night for dinner. It is one of my favorite things to cook, so easy and you can do so many different things. I will have to try your recipe next time.

  • Bronwyn

    That same piece of muscle also exists in a sheep and in a person. In fact in any animal that has a spine. It’s the bit you always aim for in a spit-roasted whole sheep (it’s the little bit on the smaller side of a mid-loin chop – too small to for butchers to sell by itself), and it’s the bit in your back that hurts when you do sit-ups wrong (i.e. using your back rather than your stomach muscles).

  • We love pork tenderloin in our house! I find it on sale every couple of months and I stock my freezer. We are only three, so I trim the ends for a stir-fry or pasta, and marinate the rest (usually ginger, garlic, olive oil, soy, bit of honey, sometimes lime…) and I grill or roast, depending on weather and/or oven space. My five year old prefers vegetables, but does enjoy “soft meat”, and this fits the bill. It’s quick and delicious, and considering the fact that ALL of it is consumed, it’s not too expensive. It’s a regular feature in out home.

  • Amy

    Mmm. Pork tenderloin, the only cut of meat that I feel confident about cooking. Cannot wait to try your recipe. Also, I’m watching Andrew Zimmern’s show on TV and there you are talking about cheese!

  • I adore pork tenderloin as well and have used it for years as a fast and tasty meat done on my grill. My favorite marinade is with soy sauce, oil, minced garlic and minced ginger. You can also add a little honey if you like it sweet.

  • Pork tenderloin is delicious! Glad you’ve discovered it. One of my favourite marinades is maple syrup, soy sauce, fresh garlic and fresh ginger. Marinate for 30 minutes or so in a glass or ceramic dish. Sear the meat in a frying pan first, return to dish, then bake the whole thing, marinade and all, in the oven at 350ºF for 25 minutes or until cooked through. Use the cooked marinade to spoon over the meat. Delish!

  • sara

    My family loves pork tenderloin. It is the only cut of meat that I can’t screw up on. My kids, 9,7, and 3 gobble it up. I need to make more than one so my husband and I can have some! Some times I sear it with salt and pepper and finish it in oven and sometimes I marinate it! Oh by the way I saw you on Bizzare Foods with Andrew Zimmeran last night! I would love to go to Paris some day. It would be a dream vacation!

  • la Reine

    I make pork pork tenderloin regularly, as its well-priced, very flexible, and a crowd-pleaser.

    Last night for dinner I tried the orange and rosemary marinade. Delicious. I followed the recipe exactly, except did not add cream to the reduced marinade.
    bon app!

  • Danielle

    My absolute favourite cut of meat.

    I usually marinate it in a mixture of hoisin sauce, honey, garlic,and green onions, sear it on high heat and then finish in the oven, until just pink in the middle. So good!

  • Michael

    I do a very similar pork tenderloin, but in my recipe instead of white wine vinegar and orange juice I’d use Dijon mustard and lemon juice/zest.

  • Yes, I love pork tenderloin also. One of my favorite preparations is a chili powder dry rub and then grilled. So many possibilities with this cut of pork.

  • Can’t agree no more that pork tenderloin is such a delicious and versatile meat to cook with. I’ve tried to make Chimichurri to grill my tenderloin.

    Your marinade looks yummy. I gotta try it next time.

  • Marielle

    We love pork tenderloin! It is great for stir fry–just slice to apropriate thickness and viola! Also, in the USA Midwest, we have pork tenderloin sandwiches. Slice loin into 2 – 3″ sections and pound flat between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Dip in beaten egg, dredge lightly in flour, and drop into hot vegetable oil. It cooks quickly and turns a lovely golden brown. Garnish with catsup and sweet pickle relish or serve it “royal” with mayo and lettuce and tomatoes. Midwesterners eat it on a soft hamburger roll, but just pick up your fork… There was never a better “tenderloin” than was served at Hunts in Peoria, IL.

  • Laurel

    I didn’t realize I was harbouring such a secret, but yes, we really are sighing ecstatically at my house,frequently. My favourite recipe is pan-seared with a pomegranate sauce. I rarely make a recipe twice – there are just so many new ones to try – but this one I have made several times and just thinking about it makes we want it again….

  • Marcia

    I have 3 pork loins–2 in the freezer and one I bought last week for $1.99 lb. They are about 4 – 5 lb each. I will cook one from the freezer and replace it with the fresh one I bought and it will be cut in half first.

    Cooking for 1 is not always easy, but this cut of meat is easy to use for several meals in various ways.

  • Pork tenderloin is a wonderful cut of meat, isn’t it? And this sounds like a perfect recipe for bringing out its flavor and tenderness. One of my own favorite uses of pork tenderloin is a quickly cooked, pan-seared dish, Pork Medallions with Tarragon Mustard Sauce.

  • Tom

    I took a cooking class recently, which featured pork tenderloin. The chef told us that this cut was a blank canvas waiting for the artist palette!

    This is proven by reading through the unique and varied cooking methods listed in this string.

  • simone

    A friend of mine in Italy introduced me to a wonderful classic French dish of pork tenderloin with prunes in a cream and wine sauce……mmmmmm. I tracked it down in a cookbook here in Canada and it’s sooo simple to make.

  • According to Wikipedia, the accepted safe temp for pork has been reduced to 62.2 degrees – that may help the dryness issues.
    One good thing to do with pork is to take a cutlet and crumb it (with maybe some herbs and grated parmesan) – or else coat in dukkah. Pan fry one side till golden, flip, then put the pan in a moderate oven for 10 minutes. Yum.

  • wow that sounds delicious! I have started to eat more pork recently as it tends to be more affordable than many other meats. And I am always looking for new recipes. Thanks!

    I have recently launched a site called You can find all sorts of great information on everything from healthy recipes and lifestyle to what to do for a sprained ankle. Our users save their favorite health sites and share them with everyone. I think you guys would like it.

  • this looks fantastic!

  • Try it with orange and maple, also fabulous.

  • André Sala

    Bonjour! Just saw you on the travel channel’s “Bizarre Foods” tasting cheese with the host. Bravo – you should do more TV!

  • sifi

    This is a classic and almost always available at Trader Joe’s (here in SF Bay Area).
    We use a marinade with pomegranate molasses, dijon mustard, and garlic!

  • I am definitely going to try making this for the soon to be wife. Maybe I can convince her that pork is not always hopelessly chewy.

  • mara

    A tad overdone for my taste, should have known better and stick to my usual 20 mins. Still, the cut does stand the overcooking better than others and the marinade was excellent.

  • Melissa

    I made this last night for supper. It was fabulous! Thank you!

  • I like to slice the tenderloin into medallions and pound it a little bit, then brine it for about 20 minutes (1/4 C kosher salt and 1/4 C brown sugar per liter of water). A quick saute and then any of many sauces — just a pan sauce deglazed with a little white wine and a currant jelly, or marmalade. Or saute some minced shallots in the pan, add a plum puree and season. Or a honey-mustard cream pan sauce. For something crispier, dredge the cutlets in egg and panko, then pan-fry and serve with mushroom and bacon gravy. So many options, could eat pork tenderloin every day!

  • Patricia A. Lutz

    I have been cooking pork tenderloin for more years than i care to count & i respectfully submit that your internal temp of 160 is a tad high.
    Although trichina is virtually nonexistent in pork, if it were present, it would be killed at 137 degrees F. Although trichina is virtually nonexistent in pork, if it were present, it would be killed at 137 degrees F. I generally prefer my pork cooked to approx 145. As it rests, it will rise approx 5-8 degrees. Think you might appreciate the flavor of the meat a bit more at this temp.

    Love your site ! It’s great fun .

  • Patricia – Thanks for chiming in about the temperature — I don’t have a meat thermometer (I just play it by ear), and was merely reprinting the safety recommendations of the health authorities, but of course their concern is not flavor!

  • Hi Clotilde – I participated in the food blogging teleforum you did a few weeks ago with the Food & Culinary Dietitians and you were wonderful, so thanks! Just wanted to let you know I made this tenderloin recipe and it was a big hit with my family – even my picky 9-year-old gobbled it up! I posted about it on my blog yesterday and look forward to making it again. Thanks for your great recipes.

  • sarah

    I don’t cook meat a lot (besides fish) b/c it intimidates me, but I followed this simple recipe and really loved the results. So tender was the p.t.l, I cut it with the side of my fork. I will do this again with a fancier side dish if we have company. Wouldn’t it be good with a steamed artichoke???

  • Alexandra

    Hi – I live in your area – which butcher to you go to (organic) because I just bought the filet mignon de porc at mine and it was 19,90€/kg, but not organic…
    With pork i’m usually very specific but i dodn’t want to go to rue Poteau as it’s a bit further.

  • Alexandra – “My” organic butcher is at the marché des Batignolles on Saturday mornings — it’s the very first stand when you come out of the Rome metro station.

  • Canadian

    We just call it “filet de porc” — that’s what it says on the packages at the supermarket. Never heard the “mignon” in there.

    Recipe sounds good. Would it be bad to marinate for longer than 4 hours (i.e. while I’m at work)?

  • Canadian – I’m pretty sure a longer marinating time would do no harm. Let us know how it turns out!

  • misiaelvis

    I just made some tonight – my ‘cannotgowrong’ recipe is this: put a pork fillet (or two) in a small bowl with a marinade (generous amount – so meat is covered) made of dark soy sauce and balsamic vinegar (addition of red wine is nice optional touch); then leave it in the fridge for the night (or 2 hours at least); next – take out the meat (keep the marinade), dry meat and brown it (preferably – iron skillet, soy oil); then cover the skillet and let it cook (meat should remain pink or pinkish inside); in the meantime – cook the marinade (dilute a tiny bit with water or red wine); cut meat in thickish slices and put back in cooled-off marinade; serve either warm or cold;
    goes really well with zucchini and garlic mousse or any kind of neutral fare as either mashed potatoes or bread

  • In doing a search for a new pork tenderloin recipe this piqued my interest. Went to the store and bought a great center cut boneless loin of pork. Marinated it for 3 hours, roasted it, reduced the marinade and used butter in place of the creme fraiche (DDil not a cream sauce lover) and everyone (including picky grandsons) loved it! Thanx for sharing! Have to leave recipe for DS to make in my absence!

  • Barbara

    I thought the recipe was mediocre. I was not pretty or appetizing. I only marinated it for 2 hours which could have limited the flavor. It won’t change how it looks, however. I did every trick I could think of – sliced it on the bias, shingled it drizzled it with the sauce, etc. It still looked like BLAH.

  • Jon

    Where about in France did you live? I live in Maubeuge and the term ‘filet mignon’ is part of the everyday vocabulary. Are you sure you wern’t living somewhere flemish? haha only joking.

  • Kimberly Young

    Made this last night. No leftovers. It was the best kind of recipe – fast, easy & delicious. Thanks!

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