Tender, juicy, slices of herb crusted Pork Tenderloin roasted with fresh cranberries, apples, and onion. Served with a delicious homemade Cranberry Apple Orange Sauce. A scrumptious flavorful budget friendly alternative to the traditional Holiday Main Course dishes of Turkey and Ham.
Let’s talk openly and honestly about a few things…may we?
Since 2020 nothing has been “normal” and frankly, I’m not sure if we will ever the know the normal before 2020! Between supply shortages and economic issues, we are all feeling the struggle. It can weigh us down and steal the JOY we should be feeling this special time of year.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out recipes that can still add “sparkle” to your Holiday table… without crushing your Seasonal Joy when you get to the register to check out!
Turkey’s may be in short supply, funds may be low, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take an everyday, less expensive cut of meat, like a Pork Tenderloin, and turn it into a spectacular Holiday Main Course using a few every day pantry ingredients, a few fresh cranberries, and rosemary!
If you’re looking for an alternative to your traditional Holiday Ham or Turkey, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this recipe! I know your guests and family will love this dish, and I know because mine L.O.V.E.D. this dish! Bonus Perk… the house smelled incredible as it was roasting in the oven!
Ingredients for Roast Pork Tenderloin with Cranberries
- 1 package (with 2 pork tenderloins per package) about 2.5 – 3 lbs
- 4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil divided. Half for the herb rub and half for cooking.
- ½ teaspoon of crushed rosemary and thyme
- ¼ teaspoon of dried sage
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder and onion powder
- 1 Cup Apple Juice or Apple Cider. Either work well in this recipe.
- 1 large apple-seeded and cut into large chunks. You can leave the peel on.
- 1 medium size onion, cut into large chunks
- ½ Orange, sliced
- ½ Cup fresh cranberries
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
Ingredients for Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- 1 Cup Cran-Cherry or Cranberry Juice
- 1 Cup Fresh or Frozen (thawed) whole cranberries
- ¼ Cup Brown Sugar, packed
- 1 Sprig fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 Stick Cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons of orange zest
- Dash All-Spice and Cloves
How To Make Roast Pork Tenderloin with Cranberries and Apples
Before we begin it’s really important to know the difference between Pork Loin and Pork Tenderloin. They are not the same! Pork Loin and pork tenderloin are not cut from the same area of the animal.
Pork Tenderloin hides beside the backbone. It is thin and small. Pork Loin is wide enough you can cut steaks or “chops” like pieces from it. Pork tenderloin is a very lean cut of pork. Generally sold in packages of two. In my humble opinion it is the BEST cut of pork…well…next to bacon! (Bacon is King!)
They should not be substituted for each other.
Preparing Pork Tenderloin
Preheat oven to 350 °F degrees.
Pork Tenderloin generally comes 2 to a package. A larger section and a slightly smaller section. Rinse and pat dry. Place tenderloin on a paper towel, or baking sheet. Drizzle with Olive Oil and brush to coat both pieces evenly.
Sprinkle entire Tenderloin with Salt and Pepper to your personal taste. About ½ teaspoon of each.
In a small bowl combine Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Onion Powder, and Garlic Powder. Sprinkle seasoning all over each section of Pork Tenderloin and massage into the meat. (Notice this cut of meat is getting more TLC than you are this Holiday Season?!!)
Braising Pork Tenderloin
Braising is a cooking term that means to lightly fry or sear the meat before roasting or stewing.
In order to seal in the juices of this Tenderloin during baking, and add a beautiful golden brown color, I quickly braised the tenderloins on all sides.
In an “Oven Safe” extra large skillet, over high heat, add 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil. Carefully and quickly lay the seasoned Tenderloin away from you and braise until golden brown.
Using tongs turn the meat to the opposite side and continue to braise until all sides have been seared and are lightly golden brown.
TIP: If you want more color in your pork tenderloin, add 1 teaspoons Paprika to the seasoning mix.
Remove tenderloin from the stove top. Set on heat-resistant pad.
To the oven safe skillet, add 1 cup apple juice. Next add apple chunks, onion, and orange slices. Nestle them in and around the pork tenderloin.
Sprinkle a few cranberries in with the apples and oranges if desired. Cover with oven safe lid, or carefully use a sheet of aluminum foil.
PLEASE note that not all ovenware glass lids are oven safe! Be sure to check before placing in oven. My hexclad set is oven safe.
Baking Pork Tenderloin in the Oven
Place oven safe skillet with pork tenderloin and fruit in preheated 350 °F oven and bake for 25–35 minutes, or until meat reaches an internal temperature of 150° to 155 °F.
TIP: Using oven mitts remove lid last 10 minutes of baking to get a nice golden crisp on the outside of the tenderloin. This will give you a beautiful “roasted” presentation!
Using oven mitts remove entire skillet from oven and allow tenderloin to “rest” for 10 minutes so that the juices settle back down into the meat!
How To Make Cranberry Apple Sauce for Pork Tenderloin
In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, add 1 Cup Cranberry Juice. I like to use Cran-cherry juice. You can use any combination of mixes you prefer. Add 1 cup whole cranberries, brown sugar, sprig of fresh rosemary, stick of cinnamon, orange zest and a dash of allspice and a dash of cloves.
Bring mixture to a boil. The cranberries will begin to pop and get a little rowdy in that pan! Just ignore them…like kids fighting in the backseat of the car! Lol
Turn heat down to low and simmer while Pork Tenderloin is baking. Mixture should slightly thicken and reduce by half. Remove the sprig of rosemary and the cinnamon stick.
Slicing and Serving Roasted Pork Tenderloin
Once the roasted tenderloin is done resting…remove cover and remove pork tenderloins. Toss out those apples and oranges, unless you want to use them for a garnish.
Place tenderloin on a cutting board. Using a sharp carving knife, slice each tenderloin into ¼ inch thick medallions, starting from one end and working to the other.
Place sliced tenderloin on serving platter, fanning the slices out. Using a ladle, or large serving spoon, gently drizzle warm cranberry sauce over the top of each sliced Pork Tenderloin.
Garnish with parsley and extra sprigs of fresh rosemary and cranberries for a show stopping presentation!
This dish serves beautifully with my New Roasted Acorn squash and Pears! The color and flavor combinations of each dish are beautiful reminders of all the reasons we love this time of year.
Frequently Asked Questions about this Recipe
- Is Pork Loin the same as Pork Tenderloin? NO! They are two totally different cuts of meat from two different areas of the animal. Both are very lean, but Pork Loin can be made into chops or a roast. Pork Tenderloin is long and thin and generally speaking comes two to a package.
- I’m not a huge fan of Cranberries, is there another fruit I could substitute for the sauce? YES! Tart cherries would be really wonderful, as would apricots or peaches. I’m a huge fan of my readers experimenting or “tweaking” my recipes to fit their own needs and likes.
- Can this be made ahead and reheated? I don’t recommend it with this recipe. The reason being, the meat is super lean and can dry out easily, as with most lean pork. No one wants to eat saw dust for their holiday dinner!
- Where can you purchase Pork Tenderloin? Most markets carry Pork Tenderloin. I recommend checking Costco if you have a membership. They have some really great deals in multiple packages.
- Can I prep the meat ahead of time with the herbs until ready to cook? YES! You can rub the tenderloins with olive oil, season them, and coat them in the herbs and wrap them tightly in saran wrap, chill, and remove 30 minutes before braising. You can prep them 2 days ahead of time.
Other Favorite Holiday Main Dish Recipes
- Dr Pepper Spiral Glazed Ham
- Herb Crusted Cross Rib Roast
- The Best Herb Stuffed Roasted Cornish Hens
- Herb Crusted Boneless Turkey Roasts
- Best Brined Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe
- Dutch Oven Turkey from Sandra’s Easy Cooking
Each bite of this Pork dish has hints of the apples without overpowering the dish. The herbs blend beautifully with the cranberry sauce. It’s truly the definition of “savory”! A great option for your Holidays this year!
Thanks for stopping by! Happy Nesting my Friends…
- 1 package (2 tenderloins per package) Pork Tenderloins, about 2.5 pounds total weight
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon Rosemary, and Thyme leaves
- ¼ teaspoon rubbed sage
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 Cup Apple Juice, or Apple Cider
- 1 Apple, large, cored and cut into large chunks
- 1 Cup chopped white onion
- 1 Large Orange, cut into chunks
- ½ Cup Fresh Whole Cranberries
Pork Tenderloin Cranberry Sauce
- 1 Cup Cran-Cherry Juice; or Cranberry Juice
- 1 Cup Fresh whole cranberries; or frozen and thawed cranberries
- ¼ C Brown Sugar, packed
- 1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
- 1 Stick of cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons of orange zest
- Dash All-Spice and Cloves
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Rinse and pat dry 2 Pork tenderloins. Drizzle each tenderloin with 1 Tablespoons of Olive Oil. Brush to evenly coat each section of pork tenderloin. Sprinkle each tenderloin with salt and pepper to taste, about ½ teaspoon.
- In a small bowl combine rosemary, thyme, sage, onion powder and garlic powder. Mix well. Season each pork tenderloin with herbs, on all sides.
- In a large, oven safe skillet, over medium-high heat, add 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil. Add seasoned Pork tenderloins, brown on all sides. About 2-3 minutes per side. Carefully remove skillet from stove top and set on an heat resistant pad.
- Add apple juice to skillet. Nestle chopped apple pieces, onions, and orange slices in and around pork tenderloin. Sprinkle with whole cranberries. Cover with Oven safe lid, or carefully cover with foil. Place in preheated oven and bake for 25-35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 155°.
- Remove the lid the last 10 minutes of baking to brown the tenderloin.
- Carefully remove skillet from oven using oven mits, allow tenderloin to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Using a sharp carving knife, on a cutting board, slice each section of pork tenderloin into ¼ inch medallions. Fan out on a serving platter. Spoon Cranberry Sauce over the top of pork tenderloin for a beautiful presentation. Garnish with parsley and sprigs of fresh rosemary.
- To Make Cranberry Tenderloin Sauce place Cran-cherry juice, fresh whole cranberries, brown sugar, rosemary sprig, cinnamon stick, orange zest, all=spice and cloves into a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer until cranberries have all popped and mixture has reduced and thickened slightly. Remove rosemary sprig and cinnamon stick. Drizzle over Pork Tenderloin.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 300Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 93mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 4gSugar: 33gProtein: 5g