Balsamic Roast Pork Tenderloin

4.93 from 83 votes

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This roast pork tenderloin is a spin on the classic piccata flavors. An Italian meal of juicy pork tenderloin in a buttery lemon caper sauce with balsamic vinegar reduction. Make this easy piccata-style 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


Roast Pork Tenderloin

When I was recently in Venice and Florence, Italy I had the most tender, savory pieces of veal piccata. I found the meals were quality over quantity, if that makes sense. The dishes were simple, but used incredible ingredients and great technique to deliver delicious, memorable food.

While there are numerous veal piccata recipes out there I wanted to do a twist using pork tenderloins. The use of pork is just one version of the classic Italian dish. It was originally a veal dish, and then chicken piccata came onto 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.

By taking the flavors of piccata, namely the butter, lemon and capers I also made a reduction with the balsamic vinegar for an incredible sauce. 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 pork piccata dish! If you love the briny, salty flavor of capers, I can almost guarantee that this recipe will become a favorite!

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.

Roast Pork Tenderloin recipe video

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

How to Make Balsamic Roast Pork Tenderloin

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Transfer skillet of pork to the oven and cook for 12 minutes, or until internal temperature is 145°F. Remove pork from pan, transfer to a cutting board and lightly tent with foil to keep warm.
  4. 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.
  5. Cut the tenderloin into thick 1″ slices, spoon caper sauce over the top and serve.
close up of pan seared pork tenderloin

Tip From Kevin

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

Balsamic Roast Pork Tenderloin

4.93 from 83 votes
Balsamic roast pork tenderloin, an Italian meal of juicy pork tenderloin in a buttery reduction of lemon, capers and balsamic vinegar.
Servings: 6
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 35 minutes

Ingredients 

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!
roast pork tenderloin with lemon carper sauce

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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230 Comments

    1. Excellent, thanks for taking the time to come back and let me know Sandra! It’s one of my all time favorites. 🙂

  1. 5 stars
    Excellent Kevin, Well done! Only three of us so made a single tenderloin and plated it with mushroom risotto. Sauce was fantastic under both as it seeped toward the risotto on the plate. Major yum. Will add this to the dinner party rotation.

    1. Excellent, love to read comments like this Sally. Thanks so much for taking the time to come back and let me know!

  2. Hi Kevin! I just bought all the ingredients and can’t wait to make this recipe. Quick question.. should I let the pork tenderloin marinade until I cook it? Thanks so much!

    1. You could, but I have not done that. Yet. This is a such a quick one as is that I have never thought of doing that, but I’m sure the flavors would be even better! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Made this tonight for the second time and it was just as delicious as we remembered! Hubby LOVES it and has been requesting it for some time. We did have to roast 2-3 minutes longer (perhaps didn’t brown enough before putting in oven).. Will be making again!

    1. Not sure if you have already read the recipe Notes Ruth, but this recipe, as is, was for two 1.5 pound pork tenderloins. NOT pork loin. If you have a large pork tenderloin, I would still sear on all sides as directed then roast for 20-25 minutes, BUT check the internal temperature. You want between 145°F to 160°F tops. Don’t over cook your pork! Hope this helps.

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious and simple!
    I only had mandarin oranges on-hand, so that is what I used for zest. And I’d do it the same way again.
    Cooking time was longer for me, also. But everything else was spot-on. Thanks, Kevin!

  5. 4 stars
    Kevin, just tried out your balsamic roast pork tenderloin recipe. My boys said it was the best tasting pork I’ve ever cooked and it was! But…it did take longer to cook than the 12 minutes in the oven at 450 then the recipe called for. I also browned the 2.50 loin about 10 minutes on both sides. I used the bake setting and not the convection setting. It really took about 30 minutes all told to get the center done. That was the only issue. are you sure the 12 minutes is correct?

    1. Hi Gary! Thanks for trying it and so glad you enjoyed it!
      Did you actually have a pork tenderloin or did you purchase a pork loin. There is a difference!
      I typically, and used in they recipe, pick up a package of pork tenderloins, 2 to a package averaging 1.5 lbs each. That’s what I used here and 12 minutes was perfect. 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.
      If you have a larger piece times may vary.
      Here is a great reference on the two different cuts of pork: https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-pork-loin-and-pork-tenderloin-meat-basics-213408
      I moved your question from my Contact page to the recipe here. Thanks Gary!