One Pan Apple Bourbon Pork Tenderloin

Like many of you, I’m always on the lookout for a quick, easy, and tasty meal that I can make on a weeknight. Something that doesn’t require much effort. Something that takes 30-40 minutes from start to finish. And allows me to make a salad, unpack my kiddo’s lunchbox, and work with her on her homework during the same time. This one-pan apple bourbon pork tenderloin meets those criteria.

The preparation of pork tenderloin in this recipe is similar to how I cook pan-roasted chicken breast, which we do about once a week. 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 the 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.

a plate with sliced apple bourbon pork tenderloin on top of apple cubes

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.

a collage of four pictures showing the whole apple, cored apple, cored and peeled apple, and apple chunks
chopped apples on a cutting board

FAQs about apple bourbon pork tenderloin

How should I serve this 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.

Which apple should I use?

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.

What could I substitute for the apple in this recipe?

You could stick with fruit and go for pear. Or parboil some chopped potatoes and treat them the same way as the apples.

What bourbon do you use for cooking?

I use Maker’s Mark for cooking and baking.

What should I do with pork tenderloin leftovers?

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.

What should I drink with this apple bourbon pork tenderloin?

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.

Apple bourbon pork tenderloin

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Author uglyducklingbakery


  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 tbsp 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.
  • In a cast iron pan or other oven-safe skillet, melt/heat the butter or oil.
  • When the butter or oil is hot, add the tenderloin. Brown it for a few minutes on one side, then turn the tenderloin (I use tongs) to get 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).
  • Carefully move the pan to the oven and bake for about 20-25 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.

What’s next?

If you make this recipe for one pan apple bourbon pork tenderloin, please comment here or share a pic with me on Instagram!

Check out other apple recipes from the archives. Or maybe you’re interested in other one pan or one pot recipes like this one pan eggplant lasagna or one pot pasta with ricotta and lemon.

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a cast iron pan with a cooked pork tenderloin over chopped apples

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