Perfect Pork Piccata

4.93 from 81 votes

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Pork piccata is an Italian meal of juicy pork tenderloin in a buttery lemon caper sauce. Make this easy piccata recipe in only 35 minutes! Check out the video in the recipe card to watch me make it, step by step!

close up of pork piccata tenderloin

Pork Tenderloin

Pork piccata is just one version of the classic Italian dish. It was originally a veal dish, and then chicken piccata came into the scene. In addition to pork, there are even versions of piccata made with with lamb.
The dish is more about the sauce than the protein served with it.

My recipe is a bit different than others you see online, because I oven roast the tenderloins whole. Many of the other recipes use medallions, which are very easy to overcook.

The best part is, pork tenderloin cooks very quickly. It caramelizes in the oven and tastes like it cooked for hours, but it only takes 35 minutes to make this dish! If you love the briny, salty flavor of capers, I can almost guarantee that this recipe will become a favorite!

Pork Piccata

Pork tenderloins are pan seared, then popped in the oven to finish cooking. A creamy, buttery lemon caper sauce finishes off the dish for a spot-on, Italian influenced dinner.

closeup: Italian pork piccata

Ingredient notes and substitutions

  • Pork– Be sure to purchase pork tenderloins and not a pork loin roast. Although both cuts are lean, a pork loin roast is much larger and takes longer to cook.
    Pork tenderloins are sold two to a package, averaging 1.5 lbs. each. Here is a great reference on the two different cuts of pork: The Difference Between Pork Loin and Pork Tenderloins.
  • Lemon – For a sweeter flavor, substitute Meyer lemon zest for regular lemon zest. Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and an orange.
  • Broth or stock – Either chicken or beef broth or stock can be used. I have a great recipe for chicken broth, or store bought is fine too.
  • Balsamic vinegar– Feel free to substitute 1/4 cup of balsamic glaze for the 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar. It’s already reduced and therefore, thicker.
  • Capers– I love the briny, salty flavor of capers. It pairs perfectly with the creamy butter, garlic, and lemon in the pork piccata sauce. Capers are used in many Italian and French recipes, such as lemon chicken.

    If you don’t care for their flavor, you can leave them out of the sauce. On the other hand, if you’re fan, feel free to add more of them.

Pork piccata recipe video

To see the making of pork piccata from start to finish, watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Recipe tips

  1. Use an oven proof skillet or pan.

You’ll be searing the pork before it goes into the oven to finish cooking. I use a cast iron skillet, because it can go from the stovetop right into the oven. While the pork piccata rests, you’ll make the sauce in that same skillet.

Making a delicious dinner doesn’t get much simpler!

  1. Don’t skip the piccata sauce.

Without the sauce, this dish wouldn’t be pork piccata; it would be roasted pork tenderloin. It’s very simple to make, and that briny, buttery, lemony sauce is so delicious, you may be tempted to drink straight from a spoon. 😉

  1. Allow the meat to rest before slicing.

To ensure that your pork piccata is perfectly juicy, be sure to allow the meat to rest for at least 3 minutes before you slice it.

How long to cook pork tenderloin

The key to preventing dry pork is to avoid overcooking it. When it’s cooked properly, the internal temp of pork tenderloin is between 145°-155°F.

What to serve with pork piccata

For a simple weeknight dinner, the flavors of the buttery caper sauce pair well with baked potato wedges, roasted mashed potatoes, or even mac and cheese.

For a more elegant meal, it would be fantastic with an elevated side dish like White Pesto Pasta, scalloped sweet potatoes or wild rice pilaf.

close up of roast pork tenderloin with capers and balsamic glaze

This post, originally published on Kevin is Cooking July 24, 2013, was updated with new content on Dec. 29, 2021.

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close up of pork piccata tenderloin

Pork Piccata + Video

4.93 from 81 votes
Pork piccata is an Italian meal of juicy pork tenderloin in a buttery lemon caper sauce. Make this easy piccata recipe in only 35 minutes!
Servings: 6
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 35 mins

Ingredients 

  • 3 lb pork tenderloin (Two 1.5 lb tenderloins, See Note1)
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary stems removed
  • 2 tbsp grated lemon zest (See Note 2)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (See Note 3)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp capers more if desired

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 450˚F.
  • In a small bowl, combine crushed garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, one tablespoon oil, salt and pepper. Rub the mixture onto all sides of both tenderloins.
  • In a large skillet with an oven proof handle, heat 1 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the tenderloins and cook, turning frequently, until meat is seared on all sides, about 8 minutes.
  • Transfer skillet of pork to the oven and cook for 12 minutes, or until internal temperature is 145°F. (See Note 4)
  • Remove pork from pan, transfer to a cutting board and lightly tent with foil to keep warm.
  • Set the skillet over high heat and stir in stock and vinegar, scraping up any cooked bits from bottom of pan.
    Bring mixture to a boil and cook until reduced by half. Turn the heat off and whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until melted. Stir in the capers and spoon over pork.
  • Cut the tenderloin into thick 1" slices, spoon caper sauce over the top and serve.

Video

Notes

  1. Be sure to purchase a pork tenderloin and NOT a pork loin. There is a difference! Pork tenderloins are almost always sold two to a package, averaging 1.5 lbs each. 
    Here is a great reference on the two different cuts of pork: The Difference Between Pork Loin and Pork Tenderloins. 
  2. You could also use Meyer lemon zest. Meyer lemons are a cross between a lemon and an orange.
  3. Feel free to substitute 1/4 cup of balsamic glaze for the 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar. It’s already reduced and thicker.
  4. Don’t overcook your pork, keep it nice and moist, not dried out. Internal temp should be between 145°-160°F and allow meat to rest at least 3 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 373kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 157mg | Sodium: 690mg | Potassium: 953mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 148IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 3mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dinners
Cuisine: American, Italian, Melting Pot
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image of pork piccata

Kevin

Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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226 Comments

  1. I do not like lemon zest, but I do like the flavor of lemon juice. Can I substitute lemon juice? If yes, at what point would I add it?

    1. My first pick would be vinegar or orange zest, but that’s something you could easily Google for more ideas Rosie.

  2. 5 stars
    I made a few changes but overall this was a fabulous recipe. First I didn’t have very much rosemary so I used 1 tablespoon rosemary and 1 tablespoon sage in the rub. Because I am not a huge fan of the sweetness of the samekh vinegar I used 1/4 cup basaltic and 1/4 cup red wine vinegar. I also added a quarter cup of white wine and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice to the recipe as printed. That’s it on the changes. I loved it and so did both Of the men in my household.

  3. This sounds delicious but I prefer pork loins, not those small tenderloins.. If I use this recipe, how long would I need to cook the loin?

  4. 5 stars
    I’m cooking for 16 people. Do you have any suggestions for cooking a larger quantity of these simultaneously? Also wondered how it will keep in a sterno pan for a bit? Thanks!

    1. I’d cook 5-6 pork tenderloins for that crowd. So basically triple the recipe with some tasty lunch leftovers. As for the sterno pan, yes that would work, just be careful they don’t over cook.

  5. 5 stars
    It was delicious but was cooked a little too long. My wife advised to take it out of the oven at 130 max.