Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin

Pork tenderloin may be one of my favorite cuts of meat. It is tender and succulent and if cooked well, it can nearly melt in your mouth.

This recipe that my brother and sister-in-law sent me is far and away the best method I’ve ever used for preparing pork tenderloin. Initially I was nervous about trying it because I’m not crazy about using cinnamon in savory main courses. But am I ever glad I gave in and tried it! This dish is absolutely amazing (and not overpowering with cinnamon at all). The combination of warm spices results in perfection when rubbed on the pork loin. And the glaze? Oh, the glaze. I could have eaten it by the spoonful. The cooked pork is mouthwatering in it’s velvety, slightly spicy, slightly sweet sauce and this has become my go-to recipe for pork.

Another great thing about this recipe is that it is a cinch to prepare yet makes an elegant, unique dinner that would be great for entertaining…or better yet, simply for a nice weeknight meal.

What To Serve Served with simple baked brown rice and a steamed vegetable, and you are set for dinner.

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin

Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 pounds of pork tenderloin, enough to serve 8 adults

Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin

Note: I’ve also had good success omitting the 1 teaspoon cumin and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and substituting 2 teaspoons garam masala (a substitution in a hurry when I found I was out of cumin!).


    Rub Ingredients:
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pork tenderloins (2 1/2 lb. total), each tenderloin cut into two chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Glaze ingredients:
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic (about 6-8 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon tabasco sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon, then coat the pork with the spice rub. Heat the oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet that is ovenproof (I used my cast iron skillet) over medium high heat until the oil is hot and rippling. Brown the pork, turning, about 4 minutes total. Leave pork in the skillet. If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet, brown the pork in a skillet and transfer it to a foil-lined baking pan (like a 9X13-inch). I’ve done both and either method works great.
  2. Stir together the brown sugar, garlic, and Tabasco and pat on top of each tenderloin. Roast in the middle of the oven until a thermometer inserted diagonally in center of each tenderloin registers 140, about 25 minutes. Let pork stand in the skillet at room temperature for 10 minutes. The temperature will rise to about 155 while standing. Slice on the diagonal and serve, spooning the sauce from the skillet on top of the pork.

Recipe Source: Nate and Kylie

96 Responses to Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin

  1. Kathleen says:

    Wonderful recipe!! Take care not to burn the spices on the neat when browning!

  2. Allie says:

    This pork is amazing! Thanks for a recipe that is simple and delicious. I almost always have all of the ingredients on hand (besides the pork), which I love. I actually feel a little guilty about how impressed people are when I make this. A total lifesaver!

  3. Kristen Halling says:

    Would this recipe work in an electric roaster oven?

  4. Allison says:

    Have you tried this in a pressure cooker? I just got an Instant Pot and have made a few things in it, but not pork so far. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t tried this recipe in particular but I’ve made a lot of other pork recipes in the pressure cooker – this should work just fine!

  5. Allie says:

    I was planning on making this for the first time tomorrow for company. I had pork in the freezer and thought it was pork loin, but I just got it out and it’s pork shoulder. Would it be absurd to try it anyway?

  6. Shelly says:

    This recipe is perfection! We’ve made it in my house so many times. I really think it could be in Mel’s “Best” recipes!

  7. Natasha says:

    This is a new family favorite! I halfed the hot sauce and it was just a bit spicy for the kiddos so I may cut back a tad more next time. Thank you for another fabulous keeper!

  8. Megan says:

    I made this recipe tonight; and next time I think I will either add less cumin or sub in Garam Masala for it. I found the amount of cumin a little overpowering, but over all, I really enjoyed the sweet and spiciness of this dish. Will be making again!

  9. Julianne says:

    This is a GREAT recipe. Spicy but oh so delightful! I did decrease the hot spices (chili powder and Tabasco sauce) by half and it was still very full of kick. We had it with baked brown rice and the Buttery Cornmeal Crescent Rolls, and a salad, corn and apple slices. A seriously satisfying meal. I cut up the leftovers into small pieces and stirred them through the leftover sauce in the skillet, then bagged it for the freezer – we’ll use it later for fajitas. Which I’m already dying to make, just to have the pork again. AWESOME!

  10. Jennifer says:

    This was wonderful! I am already looking forward to tomorrow’s lunch with the leftovers! Thanks for such great recipes. I discovered your site about a month ago and have made and thoroughly enjoyed many recipes.

  11. Stevie says:

    I tried this recipe last night and I have to say, this is right up there as one of the best meals I have ever made! I am a recent college graduate and newlywed, with only fledgling cooking skills but this was SO simple to make. I had never tried doing a spice rub before, but now I am sold. The pork was packed with flavor! Thank you for sharing this –I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  12. Amanda Z says:

    This was soooo good! Your and cinnamon and chili pork loin with apple salsa and this are my two favorite ways to make pork loin!! My husband and I were arguing about which one was better, but came to the conclusion it was impossible to decide because they were both so delicious. I used Frank’s Red Hot instead of Tabasco, because it was what I had on hand. Thanks for another amazing dinner!

  13. […] In Japan, pork loin is relatively cheap and often goes on sale. One of the small-sized pieces of meat are great for a 2-person dinner with leftovers for lunch the next day. I love the flavors in this recipe, which I originally saw here. […]

  14. brown sugar spiced pork loin | Table for Two says:

    […] from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe  Print This Post […]

  15. savannah says:

    Wow. This was amazing. So tender and juicy. My husband is a super picky eater,I was a little apprehensive,to make this for him. But he loved it! And when I asked if I could make it again,he said “Absolutely!!” He was so busy eating meat,he didn’t even touch vegetables! Thank you Mel,you are my hero!

  16. HeyBeckyJ says:

    I made this last night, served it with roasted acorn squash slices, and it was delicious! But the “sauce”/glaze in the skillet was more like molasses. I tried to spoon it over the top, but it hardened like candy as it cooled. Do you cook the pork with the glaze for the entire baking/roasting time? The flavor of the pork was still amazing, but I’d love to figure out what I did wrong with the glaze. Any ideas?

    • Mel says:

      HeyBeckyJ – yes, I cook the pork with the glaze the whole time but it hasn’t hardened up like that. If it happens again, do you think it would work to pour the glaze in a pan before it hardens up and keep it warm? That might help. Otherwise, you could stir a bit of hot broth into the glaze which should help.

  17. Ashley says:

    I made this last night and it was fabulous! I really liked the sweet and tangy taste of the glaze – it was a nice combination of flavors. I did use Frank’s Red Hot only because we don’t like Tabasco and I thought that was a good substitution for anyone else interested in swapping it out. Thanks for sharing another great recipe – your pork tenderloin recipes have never disappointed! (the citrus soy marinated one is a favorite in our house too)

  18. Ashley says:

    I made this tonight and it was absolutely delightful!! It was probably the moistest (is that a word?) pork I have ever had. Thanks Mel for all your fabulous recipes.

  19. Kim says:

    SUCCESS!!! I just made this for the first time and it absolutely mouth watering delicious!!! Flavors married well together and I could eat the whole pan up by itself =). Thank you so much for sharing!

    I love u and am so grateful that you are helping me be a better cook for my family!

  20. Tara says:

    Delicious as always! It’s definitely a strong flavor combination and a nice change from the milder flavors I usually associate with pork tenderloin.

  21. Tiffany says:

    I made this tonight and it was sooo good!!! It had the perfect amount of sweet, salty, and spice with a nice kick from the tabasco. It had a nice crust from the sear and the baked on glaze, but was so tender and juicy inside. I served it with baked sweet potatoes and an Asian coleslaw. The perfect meal!

    I used a pork loin but cut it down the center to make two skinnier pieces. We had no leftovers, but just curious if you have used the leftovers in any creative ways. I plan to cook more the next time I make this!

  22. Shannon says:

    Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes. My usually picky eater ate every last bit, and my husband said it was the best tenderloin he has ever eaten. Thank you!

  23. Mel says:

    Stephanie – I’m not familiar with that cut of meat…I’ve only ever made this with pork tenderloin. I’m not sure the roast you have would be tender enough.

  24. Stephanie says:

    Mel- I have never cooked pork. I have a Roast Pork Sirloin in my freezer. I want to try this recipie and am wondering if I can with the meat I have. Most of my family and I fav recipies have come from you!!!!

  25. Alyssa says:

    I made this for dinner for my boyfriend and he loved it! He’s a very picky eater and this recipe is going in the (short) stack of recipes he likes! I loved the sauce. Yum! And, there’s a bit of a kick which is nice. Thanks for sharing!

  26. Jessica says:

    I’ve made this a few times, including today for Christmas dinner, and no one who tries it can stop talking about how wonderful it is! The preparation couldn’t be easier and the taste is amazing!

  27. Stephanie says:

    I have made this dozens of times, it’s my husbands favourite meal ever!

  28. Rebecca says:

    O…M…G… To be honest this was in my “to make sometime” folder for a couple weeks. I was skeptical about the flavor combo but teh reviews were awesome. Am I SOOO glad that I made it last night. The glaze… oh the glaze…. sweet, spicy.. fabulous!!! Used teh recipe amt of rub and glaze for a 1.7 lb pork tenderloin. YUMMMM-EEEE!!!! I am salivating over my left-overs tight now. Served it with mashed sweet potatoes adn green beans. Thank you!!!

  29. Heather K Miller says:

    Again you make me feel confident and poud of my cooking! This was the second time this week (the first being your homemade pizza!) we just had this and it was amazing! I always ruin meat and this was the most tender and succulent I have ever done! My husband even said so! Your recipes are the best thing to ever happen to me!! (well maybe besides my 2 beautiful children…and my hubby, but it’s a close 3rd:)!)

  30. Kellie says:

    Made this tonight, and it was fabulous1 It was my first time to cook a pork tenderloin (having lived in a Muslim country for the last nine years where pork is hard to find), and I am calling it a success! Thanks so much.

  31. This Week's Menu - Gamerwife says:

    […] with Steamed Rice – Rick’s Night to Cook Wednesday: Mushroom Ragu with Ziti Thursday: Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans Friday: Pumpkin Seed Encrusted Tilapia With Bok Choy and […]

  32. This Week's Menu - Gamerwife says:

    […] and we decided to tack on the tilapia at the end of this week. Rick’s favourite dish was the pork loin, which I just served with green beans as I’d failed to get more potatoes. I was partial to […]

  33. Mel says:

    Rhiannon – I’ve only ever made this with pork tenderloin, so I’m really not sure how it would change the recipe. It would all depend on the size of the pork loin and because a pork loin is usually so much thicker than pork tenderloin, you might need to bake instead of broil so it cooks all the way through without burning.

  34. Rhiannon says:

    Hello! Can this be made with pork loin vs. pork tenderloin? If so – how (if at all) would that change the recipe? Thanks so much, love the site & the pictures are awesome. 🙂

  35. Mariana says:

    My dinner tonight (I live in The Netherlands so my tonight is a little bit earlier than yours :-P) was this amazing pork loin!!! Thanks!!!

  36. Melissa says:

    This has been a favorite of ours for years, I struggle making my porkloin any other way! We call it Island Porkloin though 🙂 Gotta have a fun name for it 🙂 I typically make mine in the crockpot (I’m lazy) and it’s great! Sometimes the glaze gets a bit runny in the crockpot though, so that would be a warning to someone else who tries it that way!

  37. Angela says:

    This was so good. My husband said one of my best – if not THE best – meals I’ve ever made!!! Love your blog!!!

  38. Mel says:

    Ash – it would have a completely different outcome in the crockpot – you wouldn’t get the caramelized crust on the outside so I definitely recommend making it per the recipe instructions. You might try scrolling through the comments, though, to see if anyone has made it in the crockpot and what the result was. Good luck!

  39. Ash says:

    This sounds soooooo yummy!! Do think it could be cooked in a crock pot??

  40. Deb says:

    This was delicious! The flavor combination seems unusual but it really works. And, I was nervous the cooking temps would result in underdone pork, but they were perfect. Thanks so much!

  41. Haley Oakes says:


    I LOVE this recipe, but each time I make it my tenderloin takes upwords of 45 minutes to cook. Is this because I am transferring my browned pork to a 9×13 to bake, or could I be doing something else wrong?


    • Mel says:

      Haley – I don’t think you are doing anything wrong. The 9X13 may play a factor in it (since cast iron heats differently), but also, ovens vary in temperature so as long as the pork is cooking through and is tender, I wouldn’t worry so much about the time. I’m glad you love the recipe!

  42. Amy Wolin says:

    I’ve been making this since last year about this time, and this is our ultimate favorite meal!!! We make it as pork chops, found it more flavorful that way, and oh, that FLAVOR!!! My 2 year old son even gobbles it up. It’s on the menu for our Valentine’s Dinner tonight, followed by my family’s version of the Robert Redford Dessert!

  43. […] and we decided to tack on the tilapia at the end of this week. Rick’s favourite dish was the pork loin, which I just served with green beans as I’d failed to get more potatoes. I was partial to […]

  44. […] with Steamed Rice – Rick’s Night to Cook Wednesday: Mushroom Ragu with Ziti Thursday: Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans Friday: Pumpkin Seed Encrusted Tilapia With Bok Choy and […]

  45. tonya says:

    Our eyes lit up at the first bite of this one! Phenomenal flavor!!!!

  46. » brown sugar spiced pork loin Table for Two | Julie Chiou says:

    […] from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe Share the […]

  47. Alison Ward says:

    This was the best pork tenderloin we’ve ever made!! Thank you so much for your awesome blog, I’ve tried about 10 of your recipes and none have disappointed. I can’t wait to try more! Thank you for all your hard work and creativity, it’s really helped kick my cooking up a notch!

  48. […] Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  49. Katherine says:

    This is a family favorite. It has even my pickiest littles asking for more. I can’t tell you how many new family favorites you have added for us. Thanks!

  50. […] Leftovers: Brown Sugar Spiced Pork Loin, Sweet Potato-Pecan Casserole, Green […]

  51. Shannon says:

    Ok me again…I just made this tonight and it was FANTASTIC. Again, I’ve never made pork loin before, and I don’t think I will make it any other way from now on. The only thing I did differently was use light brown sugar because that’s all I had on hand, but I still thought it was great. My only concern was that when I cut into the meat, it was a little pink in the middle…we ate it anyway so I hope that it’s ok for pork loin to be pink (which according to my recent while-eating-it-online-research, is ok)! I did use a meat thermometer, but it’s not top of the line so I’m not too sure on it’s accuracy.

    • Mel says:

      Shannon – I’m glad you liked this pork and thrilled it worked out with the light brown sugar. I think it is ok for pork to be slightly pink as long as the internal temperature is high enough (between 155 and 160 degrees). Thanks for checking in!

  52. Shannon says:

    I have to say, I love your blog – I visit numerous times a day. I actually build my grocery list around planning meals I’ve picked from your blog! I’ve lost count already of the recipes I’ve tried!

    Anyhow…I have a stupid question. I’ve never cooked pork loin before (we are big chicken/beef eaters around here…), so when you say the pork loin has to be cut into “two chunks” does that mean length wise or width wise? I’m sorry for my naivety with pork loin!

    • Mel says:

      Shannon – thanks for your comment! As for the pork loin, cut it into chunks width-wise, kind of like slicing a loaf of bread in half to get two large chunks. Slice it strait down the middle so you end up with two shorter pork loins. Does that make sense?

  53. Kira says:

    This was excellent. Loved it! And so easy. We also had your homemade pizza for family night (with the dough you make the night before) seriously, the BEST PIZZA I have ever had. I have tried homemade sauce before and nothing ever taste right, but this was so good. And there are no words for the crust. Can’t wait to eat both of these dishes again. Thanks, as always, for such great ideas!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks, Kira! I’m thrilled you liked this pork loin and the pizza. That pizza recipe is a staple around here – as in at least weekly. Glad you loved it too!

  54. Kira says:

    Just headed to the kitchen! Thanks for the quick response! Can’t wait to eat this. I will let you know how it turns out.

  55. Mel says:

    Yes, Kira, you can!

  56. Kira says:

    Making this tonight, can I substitute hot sauce for the tabasco? Anyone?

  57. Shanna says:

    I made this the other night and it was SO good! Thanks for a way to cook pork tender that doesn’t involve the crock pot! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Shanna – I’ve never even seen a recipe for pork tenderloin in the crockpot! I’m glad this proved to be tender enough and that you liked it.

  58. Lisa says:

    Made this tonight with bone-in pork loin chops and the taste was fabulous!!! And yes I agree with you…ohhh, the glaze. YUMMY!

  59. nikki says:

    I was super skeptical the whole time I was making this recipe because of some of the ingredients. It turned out amazing!!! All 10 people at the table went crazy over it (including my super picky 10 year old). I also made cubed roasted butternut squash as a side and Bakerellas Easy Apple Cake for dessert. What a perfect Autumn meal. Thanks.

  60. Joy B. says:

    I made this a few weeks ago and I’m making it again tomorrow! The whole family loved it and even my super picky 4 year old ate it:) It was a cinch to prepare and the flavors were just right.

  61. Joanne says:

    If there’s one thing I AM crazy about it’s adding cinnamon to savory dishes! I absolutely know I would love this…especially because pork is my favorite meat!

  62. Apryl says:

    I just had to thank you for this recipe! It turned out so well. My husband said it had the best flavor of any meat I had ever made! Wahoo! We also had the Magic in the Middle cookies for dessert! Soooooo good!! I don’t know what I would be eating, baking, cooking w/o this blog 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Apryl – thank you so much for letting me know this was such a hit! I agree that it has tremendous flavor and I’m so glad you liked it (and the cookies!). Thanks!

  63. Kara says:

    Our friends made this the other night for our community group and it was fantastic! They told me about your blog…I can’t wait to try your other receipes. They look delicious – thank you!

  64. Mel says:

    Jacquie – so glad you liked this recipe! Thankfully the cinnamon wasn’t too overpowering and it worked out well for you. Thanks for letting me know!

  65. Jacquie says:

    This recipe is delicious! I was a little nervous because when I was browning the pork because the cinnamon smell was very strong, but the flavor was perfect when it was done. My husband and 3 kids all loved this too. I will be making this again!

  66. Kelly~ At My Sink says:

    Wow this looks so delicious! I have been looking for a new way to make my pork loin so this is going to be a must try for sure. Thank you!

  67. Melanie says:

    Stephanie – thank you for your comment! I'm thrilled that you have had good luck with the recipes you've tried and that this pork loin was such a hit. I LOVE this meal and your sides of wild rice, broccoli and applesauce would make it downright perfect. Thanks for letting me know!

  68. Stephanie W says:

    Melanie — I love your site — simply put!! Everything I have tried has been amazing but this pork loin …. what can I say. It looks elegant, tastes amazing and I can make it when I get home from work. I made it last night with wild rice, steamed broccoli and applesauce. My family is in love with everything I make from your site. I log in everyday awaiting a new recipe 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  69. Mallory's Mommy says:

    that rice looks sooo good whats in it?

  70. Wendy says:

    That is so funny cause I was coming on the write the same thing as Mallory’s Mommy – what is in that rice?

  71. Emily says:

    This looks great! I have a really similar recipe that has maple syrup in the glaze, but the rub is exactly the same.

  72. The Double Dipped Life says:

    I have lots of pork loin in my freezer right now! thanks for the great recipe.

  73. ARLENE says:

    You had me at brown sugar. Pork tenderloin is a staple in The Food of Love kitchen. I’m going to try this preparation next time I make it. Thanks for sharing it.

  74. Cara says:

    Pork loin is definitely a favorite at our house, and I’ve got a similar recipe (brown sugar + spicy) that we just love. Yours looks great!

  75. Debbie says:

    This sounds delicious. The rub sounds so flavorful. I’d love to try this.

  76. grace says:

    not only is pork tenderloin all those things, it just lends itself to so many possibilities where seasoning and flavoring are concerned. this particular combination of sugar and spice sounds marvelous, and that’s that.

  77. Melanie says:

    Mallory’s Mommy and Wendy – here’s the embarrassing thing…that rice may look great but it was terrible. I had tried a new recipe for rice/orzo pilaf and it wasn’t very good. But I’m glad the picture at least looks appetizing!

  78. Karine says:

    Your pork loin sounds fantastic! thanks for sharing 🙂

  79. Julie says:

    I’m sure I’d love that pork…a wonderful combo of ingredients in that rub. Yum!

  80. oldlewis says:

    De-Lish! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  81. Melanie says:

    oldlewis – thanks! I’m glad you liked this pork recipe.

  82. Borsh Family Adventure says:

    I’m so glad my sister told me about your site! Tried this pork recipe for some company and everyone loved it. I can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  83. Melanie says:

    Borsh Family Adventure – thanks for the comment! This pork is one of my favorite dishes so I’m glad you and the company loved it, too!

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