This one-pan apple bourbon pork tenderloin is a quick, easy, and tasty meal that you can make on a weeknight. It takes 30 to 40 minutes from start to finish. And you can make a salad, unpack lunchboxes, and help out with homework during the same time.
The preparation of pork tenderloin in this recipe is similar to how I cook this cast iron chicken breast recipe. Season, sauté one side on the stovetop in a cast iron pan, then it all goes into a hot oven for the rest of the cooking time.
The recipe is another example of how meat and fruit pair well together, like my chicken and apple meatballs. Or lamb meatballs with raisins. Or duck burgers with cherry ketchup. This time it’s pork and bourbon apples, with the sugar toned down a bit.
Tips and tricks
Note: if you have to peel a lot of apples for a pie, your kitchen should definitely have one those doodads that can peel and core an apple in 10 seconds. They’re inexpensive and a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen (an adult just needs to put the apple on and remove it). However, for this recipe, it’s probably just as quick to core, peel, and chop the apples by hand.
What to serve with apple bourbon pork tenderloin
You don’t need much more other than a side salad or maybe another vegetable like roasted beets or Brussels sprouts. Or skip the apples and make these mashed sweet potatoes with bananas.
If we are talking wine, most people would probably suggest a white wine (like a dry Riesling), but we are red wine-drinkers in our household. I’d personally go with a lighter red like a Beaujolais (not Beaujolais Nouveau). Or, if it’s summer where you are, a rosé out on the patio.
Variations and substitutions
Instead of apple, you could stick with fruit and go for pear. Or parboil some chopped potatoes and treat them the same way as the apples.
I used a HunnyZ apple because it remains firm when cooked and has a strong apple flavor. You could use a tart apple (e.g. Granny Smith, Pink Lady) or any sweet apple, as long as it stays firm when cooked.
Disclosure: I was recently given two boxes of HunnyZ apples to play with by the folks at Gee Whiz. The HunnyZ is a cross between a Honeycrisp and Crimson Crisp apple.
I use Maker’s Mark for cooking and baking.
The obvious use would be a leftover pork tenderloin sandwich – slice it up and add a little mustard. Or make leftover pork tenderloin tacos. Chop the meat and add some cheese, avocado, and salsa to a tortilla.
Apple Bourbon Pork Tenderloin
- 1 pork tenderloin
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 2 tablespoon bourbon
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 medium to large apples, cored, peeled, and chopped
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Trim the tenderloin of any fat, cut it in half if necessary so that it will fit in your pan, and rub it with the thyme, salt, and pepper.1 pork tenderloin, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- In a cast iron pan or other oven-safe skillet, heat the butter or oil.1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- When the butter or oil is hot, add the tenderloin. Brown it for a few minutes on one side, then use tongs to turn the tenderloin and brown the lateral sides for a minute. Leave it in the pan with the side you first browned face up. Turn off the heat.
- Add the bourbon and brown sugar and then the apples. Stir to coat the apples and then nestle them around the pork tenderloin (but leave the tenderloin in contact with the pan).2 tablespoon bourbon, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 medium to large apples, cored, peeled, and chopped
- Carefully move the pan to the oven and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the internal temperature of the pork is 165°F. About halfway through, stir the apples once.
- Remove from the oven, let rest for a few minutes, and then slice and serve the tenderloin over the apples.
If you make this recipe for one pan apple bourbon pork tenderloin, please don’t forget to leave a comment and rating!
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