Sweet Spicy Pork Tenderloin

When we ate this meal, I told my husband it was official: pork tenderloin is my favorite cut of meat ever. Which is why I have recipe upon recipe upon recipe for pork tenderloin residing here on this blog (and even one more on the docket coming up in the next few weeks).

I love that it cooks quickly but remains succulent and tender and lends itself well to any variety of flavors, not to mention that it is a leaner meat so is easier to keep lighter and healthier. Just like the cookies, I figure I could try a 100 more variations of pork tenderloin and never tire of the journey.

This version is the first I’ve posted with a BBQ flair and it is beyond fantastic. Slightly sweet and slightly spicy (we are talking very lightly spicy – nothing major to burn out the taste buds, I promise!), the pork benefits from a dry rub that also does double duty in the throw-together BBQ sauce topping the pork after roasting.

What To ServeI served this with baked potatoes, biscuits and green salad and it was not only a complete meal, but a completely delicious and filling meal. Long live recipes dedicated to the almighty pork tenderloin! The endless options make me a very happy woman.

Sweet Spicy Pork Tenderloin

One Year Ago: Festive Fruited Cheesecake Flag
Two Years Ago: Ethereal Chocolate Angel Food Cake
Three Years Ago: Chicken and Rice with Coconut Milk and Pistachios

Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin

Yield: Serves 6

Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin


  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 (12- to 16-ounce each) pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar


  1. Adjust an oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Pat the pork tenderloin dry with a paper towel. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture and use the rest to rub over the pork tenderloin on all sides.
  2. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until it is rippling and hot. Add the pork tenderloins in a single layer and cook the pork until browned on all sides, 5-7 minutes total (flipping as needed). Transfer the pork to an aluminum-foil lined baking pan and bake until the meat registers 140 degrees at the thickest part, about 15-18 minutes. Transfer the pork to a platter or plate and tent with foil, letting it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  3. In a bowl, combine the reserved spice mixture, ketchup, vinegar and sugar and brush over the cooked pork. Slice the pork and serve.

Recipe Source: from Cook’s Country April/May 2012

32 Responses to Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin

  1. It’s a favorite here too! I have one marinating in the fridge right now. This looks great.

  2. Katie says:

    Looks awesome! could I grill it?

  3. Jennie says:

    If it’s anything like your brown sugar spiced pork loin ( which is one of my husbands all time favorite dishes) I’m sure this will be delicious.

    Can’t wait to try it!

  4. Lynette says:

    Your apricot chili glazed pork tenderloin is one of my favorite recipes. I was going to make it this weekend, but now I’m going to try this one. I love your blog and it has changed by life. Lets just say that I couldn’t cook before I found your blog and now my husband thinks I’m amazing!! THANK YOU!!

  5. Loy says:

    I agree, probably my favorite cut of meat, also. A local grocery store has 24 oz. packages occasionally for $5. When they do, I stock up. I love that you can cook them whole like a roast or slice them up and make something totally different. I will be trying this recipe soon. This is blog is one of my favorites. You always have great stuff here. Thanks for sharing.

  6. This is a perfect summertime meal. We love pork loin too and I think I’m going to put this on my BBQ and make it really easy.

  7. Oh, this sounds delicious! We eat a lot of pork tenderloin and I’m always looking for new ways to season it!

  8. Alison says:

    can i cook this is the slow cooker?

  9. Danielle H. says:

    How would this be on the grill? The thought of turning on my oven right now makes me want to cry or sweat profusely, or both.

  10. Mel says:

    Katie and Danielle – I haven’t grilled it but I don’t see why you couldn’t since the glaze is brushed on after it is done cooking.

    Alison – again, I haven’t made it in the slow cooker or on the grill so I’m not sure how it would fare. I probably wouldn’t recommend it in the slow cooker since you would lose the delicious crust it forms from being cooked at a high temperature.

  11. Mel says:

    Delicious! Made this for dinner last night and the entire family LOVED it! Thanks for always having the perfect recipe just when I need it. We haven’t been disappointed yet!

  12. Lindsay says:

    I couldn’t find two small tenderloins. Do you think it would be okay to use one large tenderloin, or should I cut the larger one into two smaller portions?

  13. Mel says:

    Lindsay – I think the larger tenderloin will work just fine but you may need to increase the cooking time (just be careful not to overcook).

  14. Kim says:

    I made this on the grill last night – was a BIG hit!! My favorite review was from a four year old coming out of the pool to eat more. THANKS!!

  15. I canĀ“t wait to make this. It sounds and looks amazing. Pork tenderloin just juicy and spicy enough. Perfect!

  16. Meredith says:

    YUM!! This was so good!! Made it for Sunday supper, and it got BIG thumbs up from everyone! Thanks for sharing!!

  17. Debra Kapellakis says:

    Yum, made my mouth water. I saved it.

  18. Ellie says:

    Not only was this so good, but it was SO easy!

  19. Kim in MD says:

    Yum! My family will love this pork tenderloin!

  20. Tobi says:

    Hi Mel! I think the fact that I’m making this for the second Sunday in a row is enough to convince you that this is my new favorite pork recipe! So easy and quick to make and the leftovers make great sandwiches ;) thanks again for another great family fave!!!

  21. I love pork tenderloin as well! Such a versatile cut of meat! We eat it often, when I can get large 8-10 pound packages for less than $2/pound! Our favorite way to prepare it is in the crock-pot with an Asian style peanut butter sauce.

  22. Susan says:

    just tried this recipe yesterday used it on a pork loin in the crockpot and it was delicious!! Thank you so much.

  23. travis says:

    awesome tenderloin and super easy. i stumbled onto your site last weekend looking for a sugar cookie recipe (which i found- they were awesome too!) and have cooked a meal from your recipe list every night since. You are certainly in my top 5 blogs now. Thanks for taking the time to write this blog, you do a fantastic job!


  24. Gwynn Gower says:

    Made this for New Year’s yesterday! It was great and my husband and son both LOVED it! It went in to the “Favorites” category. The only thing I did differently was add a bit of cayenne pepper to the sauce at the end! We are a spicy family! Thanks Mel!

  25. Deb says:

    Made this on the grill tonight for dinner and it worked beautifully! Great flavor and I love the glaze added at the end. Will make often this summer!

  26. Mickie says:

    Just made this, SO good! My husband did a fist pump after almost every bite. Thanks for another keeper Mel!

  27. Sandee says:

    duuuude! threw this in the crockpot this morning and guess what we came home to after church? yep, i was the hero. i cant seem to cook a beef roast that is suitable for anything but shoe leather, but this pork roast was the bomb dot com.

  28. Darlene says:

    This recipe is so easy and so surprisingly delicious. I have made this 3 times now and my family raves. My daughter and I do not like spicy foods, but this just has fabulous flavour, not spice. I used to roast tenderloins with just good old salt & lemon pepper but this recipe gives such incredible zing. Love it! Leftovers rock in sandwiches, too!

  29. Karen K says:

    To all the above reviewers who grilled the tenderloin: HOW exactly did you grill it?
    On HIGH? For how long? Turn frequently? Cook on all 4 sides??? Please let me know. Thanks!

  30. Karen K says:

    Hi, Mel…
    Can I simply brush the pork after it’s done cooking with BBQ sauce instead of the ketchup and vinegar?

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