This is possibly the easiest pork recipe you’ll ever make. Air fryer pork tenderloin drenched in a tart cranberry barbecue sauce. It’s tender and chuck full of flavor. It's a great choice for the holiday season.
Reasons to love this Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin Recipe.
Make ahead: Take all the pressure off and prepare this easy pork recipe in advance. Marinate the meat overnight for the best flavor and cook it the next day or whenever you are ready to serve.
Multipurpose sauce: The cranberry BBQ sauce doubles as a marinade, a basting sauce, and a finishing sauce. It also tastes great on poultry.
Holiday dish: Like my walnut-crusted lamb chops, this air-fried pork loin recipe is unique and great for the holidays.
Here are some of the main ingredients you’ll need:
Cranberry sauce: canned whole-berry cranberry sauce
BBQ sauce: I used hickory and brown sugar-based BBQ sauce. Regular BBQ sauce works fine.
Seasoning: A combination of chili powder, garlic powder, and ground black pepper.
Cranberry juice: 100% cranberry juice, not the cocktail mix.
Not a fan of cranberry or barbeque? Here are a few marinate variations you can try:
Italian rub: Mixing dried herbs or Italian seasoning with olive oil adds aroma and flavor to this recipe.
Jerk seasoning: This Caribbean seasoning also adds tons of flavor to pork tenderloin.
Asian inspired: Mixing all-spice with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, hoisin sauce, etc., also adds a delicious flavor to the meat.
Dry rub: Mix your favorite herbs and spices and create a dry run for pork tenderloin.
Please refer to the recipe card for the exact measurements.
- Step 1: Whisk-Whisk together the cranberry sauce, barbecue sauce, chili powder, garlic, salt, black pepper, and cranberry juice in a medium bowl. Save some for later.
- Step 2: Marinate- Place the pork and cranberry sauce in a ziplock bag with the sprig of rosemary. Give the bag a good rub, then transfer it to the refrigerator to marinate for up to 4 hours.
Step 3: Cook down the remaining sauce in a non-stick saucepan on low heat for 17 minutes or until it’s slightly thickened or reduced in size. Set some aside to baste the pork.
Step 4: Air fry- Pat dry the meat to remove excess liquid, then transfer it into the preheated air fryer basket. Air fry the pork tenderloin for about 20 minutes, flipping and basting at intervals. The meat is cooked when the internal temperature registers 145-160 degrees F.
Remove it from the air fryer and rest for about 3-5 minutes before slicing.
What to serve with this dish
Here are some sides for pork tenderloin that you should try this holiday season.
• Potatoes: Serve air fryer pork tenderloin with either mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, or even fries.
• Salad: A fresh and crunchy salad always serves as the best side to your main course.
• Rice: Serve it with garlic, Mexican, vegetable, or cauliflower rice.
• Roasted vegetables: Roast your favorite vegetables like cauliflower, squash, asparagus, carrots, brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc., and serve it with this dish.
Store leftover cooked pork tenderloin in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in a cling film, then in an aluminum foil. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
You can equally freeze the tenderloins by placing them in a freezer-safe container or wrapping them in cling film, then transferring them into a freezer bag, releasing air, and freezing them for up to 3 months.
Reheat the pork in a heated air fryer, oven, or microwave. Be careful not to overheat the meat in the oven or air fryer, as this can dry it.
- For the pork to cook evenly, remove it from the refrigerator 20 minutes before air frying.
- Pat the meat dry using a paper towel, then add a drizzle of neutral-tasting oil. Give it a good massage before placing it in the preheated air fryer.
- If you have a small airfryer, cut the tenderloin in half crosswise before cooking to accommodate your appliance. You can also bend it so it fits.
- Not all air fryers are one and the same, so it’s best to start checking the internal temperature of the pork in the last 5 minutes of the specified cooking time.
- To get an accurate reading, poke the thermometer into the thickest cut of the meat.
- For juicy pork, allow it to rest on a cutting board for at least 5 minutes before cutting.
- You’ll know the cranberry barbecue sauce is thickened when you draw a line across the back of a spoon, and the line remains visible.
- Cook pork, roast, and chops to 145 ºF as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source, with a three-minute rest before carving or consuming. This will result in a product that is both safe and at its best quality—juicy and tender. --Source USA Today
To ensure you get the maximum flavor in pork, marinate it for at least 2 hours and a maximum of overnight.
The quickest way to tenderize pork is by bashing it with a meat mallet. It breaks up tough muscles. Moreover, you can also tenderize the pork by marinating it in ingredients like lemon juice, wine, or vinegar.
The three main marinating ingredients are olive oil, vinegar, or wine (acidic component) and spices or herbs (flavoring component).
Yes! For a flavorful and juicy tenderloin, it's best to marinade overnight or for up to 3 days. Make sure to place the meat in a zip-lock bag without any trapped air.
There are so many ways you can cook pork tenderloin. Here are a few to name:
• Oven: Cooking pork tenderloin in the oven is super easy and is the most common way of cooking meat. All you have to do is bake it until it reaches the desired internal temperature.
• Stovetop: you can also pan-sear the meat over the stovetop. However, it takes a lot of time and effort.
• Grill: If you love outdoor BBQ, grilling pork tenderloin can be quick, enjoyable, and tasteful.
• Instant pot: most people also cook pork tenderloin in the instant pot. It is widely used for making stews.
Other Holiday Recipes to Try
The cranberry sauce is undeniably the star of this dish. It is rich, juicy, and loaded with a savory yet tart flavor.
If you can’t get a store-bought canned whole-berry cranberry sauce, you can make one at home using this recipe from Serious Eats.
If you try this Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry BBQ Sauce recipe share a bite with us on our social media using the hashtag worldlytreat (#worldlytreat), we’d love to join the soirée. Also, don’t forget to pin it for later. Chat soon?
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Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry bbq Sauce
- Non-stick Sauce pan
- 2 lb Pork tenderloin
- 1 (14. oz) canned whole berry Cranberry sauce
- ½ cup Barbeque sauce I used hickory and brown sugar-based bbq sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher Salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper.
- 1 cup Cranberry juice
- 2 rosemary sprigs about 5 inches
- Whisk together the cranberry sauce, barbecue sauce, chili powder, garlic, salt, pepper, and cranberry juice in a medium bowl.
- Remove 2 cups of the mixed sauce and set aside.
- Place the pork in a ziplock bag and gently pour the remaining sauce from the medium bowl over the pork. Add the rosemary sprigs. Release any trapped air and seal the bag. Gently massage the bag to allow the marinade to stick to the pork.
- Refrigerate for up to 4 hours or overnight.
- Meanwhile, place the 2 cups of mixed sauce from earlier into a medium-sized non-stick saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat and simmer down covered for 17 minutes, making sure to stir frequently. Remove from heat and transfer into a bowl. Set aside ¼ cup to baste the pork tenderloin.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. Allow it to heat up for 5 mins.
- Spray the bottom plate of the air fryer with cooking spray (if needed)
- Meanwhile, remove the pork tenderloin from the bag. Lay flat on a baking sheet or tray. Pat dry with a paper towel to remove any moisture.
- Using a kitchen tong, place the tenderloin into the preheated air fryer basket. Cook for 20-22 minutes, turning once in between cooking times or until a food thermometer reads 145 ºF (if you don’t have a thermometer, cut a slice, there should be no pink in the center of the meat).
- Baste the tenderloin with some barbecue sauce at 10-minute intervals.
- Remove from heat and rest on a cooling rack for about 5 minutes before carving.
- Take the pork tenderloin out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking.
- If you have a small airfryer, cut the tenderloin in half crosswise or bend it to fit perfectly.
- Rest the pork on a cutting board for at least 5 minutes before cutting. This will allow the juices to redistribute.
- You’ll Know the cranberry barbecue sauce is thickened when you draw a line across the back of a spoon, and the line remains visible.