Chili-Rubbed Pork with Apricot Glaze

I’ve waxed poetic before about this divine pork tenderloin recipe. And I must say, this apricot-glazed version of my favorite meat is right up there in succulent flavor.

One of my dearest friends from the glory days of high school who happens to be a phenomenal cook gave me this recipe insisting that she had made it no less than a bazillion times in the last few months to entertain company that was coming in and out of town to visit them. I figured if a bazillion groups of company devoured and loved this, we probably would too. And we did!

Elegant enough to entertain with and simple enough to make your life easy if you want to serve it on a weeknight, the flavors of the chili rubbed pork are warm and delicious.

What To ServeSmothered in a sweet and spicy apricot glaze, this pork is taken to new heights and is fantastic served over rice, potatoes (I’ll be sharing  a new recipe later this week!) or couscous.

Thanks, Amanda, for making me look so good in the kitchen!

One Year Ago: Perfect Pumpkin Roll
Two Years Ago: Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple and Red Onions

Chili-Rubbed Pork with Apricot Glaze

Chili-Rubbed Pork with Apricot Glaze

Note: This recipe requires marinating time (between 2 and 24 hours) so plan ahead!


  • 2 (1-pound each) pork tenderloins, fat trimmed
  • Spice Rub:
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cups apricot jam/jelly
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (see tutorial here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 small limes, juiced


  1. Combine chili powder, garlic powder, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture on the pork tenderloins. Cover the tenderloins and refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.
  2. Prior to grilling or roasting, melt the apricot jam in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the remaining glaze ingredients. Place half of the glaze in a serving bowl and set aside to serve with the pork tenderloins later.
  3. Grilling Instructions: Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Grill the pork tenderloins for 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 160 degrees F. When approximately 4 minutes of cook time remains, brush the pork tenderloins with the apricot glaze remaining in the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, turn the pork tenderloins and brush glaze on other side. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. Remove pork from the grill, tent with foil and let it rest for about 5 minutes before slicing.
  4. Roasting Instructions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the pork tenderloins in a lightly greased, foil-lined 9X13-inch pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Brush with the apricot glaze remaining in the pan. Bake for 15 more minutes. Again, brush with glaze. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until the pork reaches 160 degrees internally. Remove the pork from the oven, tent with foil and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  5. Serve the sliced pork over couscous, rice or potatoes with the reserved glaze alongside.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from my friend, Amanda S.

42 Responses to Chili-Rubbed Pork with Apricot Glaze

  1. Carrie says:

    Yum, Yum, Yum! We grilled it and it took a it longer than the recipe says, about 30 minutes. Served it with baked garlic mashed potatoes, everyone was going crazy over dinner!

  2. Kate says:

    MEL- THIS WAS INSANE!!!!! I taste tested and was blown away. I served up a plate, had the kids go outside to play and just savored it all by myself! Is that bad? Then I invited them back in for supper. 🙂 Wow. One of my favorites. I need to remember to do this for company. Bravo!!!!

  3. Karen says:

    I made this on Sunday night for dinner and it was SO good! My whole family loved it, especially the glaze. I used what I had for the glaze and used lilikoi (passion fruit) jelly instead of apricot and it was delicious, so good that my 8yr old son wanted to drink the leftovers. This recipe is a keeper for sure!

  4. Stefanie Lambert says:

    Hi Mel. I am looking for a pork tenderloin recipe for the slow cooker. I have tried this recipe and a few others of your tenderlions and have loved them all. I am wondering if any of them could be adapted to the slow cooker.

    • Mel says:

      Stefanie – I’ve never tried any of my pork tenderloin recipes in the slow cooker but it’s worth experimenting. There will probably be a bit more liquid/moisture and on some of them the glaze won’t be as thick but the flavor might be just as good. Good luck if you try it!

  5. Maureen says:

    Wanted to try this recipe, but also wanted to use the pork I had in the freezer, so I put the rub on my package of country-style pork ribs and marinated them. Covered and baked them the next day (on a rack over 1/2 cup water) at 275 for 2 1/2 hours. SO GOOD! Hubby ate his without the glaze since he doesn’t care for fruity meat (he’s MY picky eater…) but son and I scarfed ours down glaze and all — we nearly ate the bones. 🙂

  6. Lisa says:

    Thanks for this AMAZING recipe! I just made it for my family’s Christmas Dinner and it was a HUGE hit! Even my very picky daughter loved it and wanted some the next day…happily, only a few slices were left. Everyone loved it and I got to hear words like “excellent!”, “so tender”…”what is this glaze? It’s awesome!” I only made one change to the glaze, I left out the cilantro since some of the guests weren’t a fan. Also, I quickly seared the pork loins over a higher heat on all sides before roasting to seal in the juicy goodness. This lessened the roasting time by about 5-8 minutes ( I don’t remember the exact timing, I was just checking the temp. of the meat.) Anyway, thanks again! I have tried several of your wonderful recipes, and this is our favorite!

  7. Mel says:

    Christina – try it with the peach, I’d say! No reason to pick up another ingredient. I bet it will taste delicious. Let me know if you try it.

  8. Christina says:

    Do you think peach jam would work ok? I have a jar of it in the fridge or should i pick up apricot jam?

  9. Deb says:

    This was SO good! The mark of a good recipe is when my middle son (who’s the pickiest) will eat it without complaining. Not only did he not complain, he actually said he liked it! Really easy to prepare and the pork was so juicy and tender. YUM!

  10. Amy V says:

    this was wonderful!!! thanks for sharing!!

  11. Mel says:

    Denise – fresh ginger is usually pretty darn cheap, especially because you can break off the size of knob you want and buy it (so you can start small). It definitely looks intimidating but I promise it isn’t. Have you seen my short mini-tutorial on ginger? It’s located here:

    If you really don’t want to use it, you could probably sub a little dried ginger. A little goes a long way…it will change the flavor a bit, in my opinion, the fresh ginger has a cleaner, fresher taste but use what you are most comfortable with!

  12. Denise says:

    Not gonna lie…I’ve never cooked with fresh ginger and am a little intimidated to use it!! Is there dried ginger I could use with the same results?? Is fresh ginger expensive??

  13. Z.K. says:

    Thank you for responding! One more question – are apricot preserves OK instead of jam/jelly? Sorry, I’m new to cooking so I’m not sure if these things make a difference.

  14. Z.K. says:

    Could I cook the pork on the stove top – like saute it?

    • Mel says:

      Z.K. – good question. I’ve never tried it that way. If the pork were sliced prior to cooking, it might be easier to saute it in the pan and serve it with the sauce.

  15. Joan says:

    I served this last night, August 13, 2010 and had the most wonderful comments! Best pork they had ever had! One said he does not like pork and he loved it. It came out perfect, juicy, and tender and what flavor. Thanks you so much! Now everyone wants the recipe. This was the first recipe of your I tried and can’t wait to try others!

  16. Brittany C. says:

    Ok, seriously This is DELICIOUS!!!!! I made this tonight for my family and took it to some friends. Both of our husbands couldn’t stop raving and complimenting it, mine said it tastes like something he’d eat at a nice restaurant and we definitely need to makes this one again. And my friend said it made her jealous. haha.
    Thanks again for another GREAT recipe!!

  17. Kelly says:

    So, I’ve been trying a lot of your recipes over the last month with much success so I finally decided to comment on this one which was one of my very favorites. I only had chops out and used those and didn’t have apricot preserves so used the peach I had. Still, how fabulous! My whole family loved the flavor of the rub so much that they would have been happy without the glaze. But the glaze is great!! Thanks.

  18. Paddy says:

    Just made this tonight for friends, went down a storm. So simple and easy to do. We didn’t have any BBQ sauce for the glace so i improvised with a little tomato ketchup and some cajun seasoning, and a little extra hot sauce for taste. Served it with oven roasted potato, parsnip, turnip, sweet potato and apple. Delicious!
    Thanks again for the great recipe

  19. Reyna says:

    I made this for Sunday dinner with friends tonight and it was lip-smackingly delicious. Super moist and tender and I loved all the flavors of the glaze. It was the best pork I’ve had in ages for sure. This will be my go-to tenderloin recipe from now on!

  20. grace says:

    pig and apples will always be my favorite, but apricot is a close second–fantastic dish, mel!

  21. Mel says:

    Jackie – normally, I use my own homemade BBQ sauce but when I am out or in a pinch, my husband is extremely loyal to KC Masterpiece Original.

  22. Jackie says:

    Hi Mel

    What brand of BBQ Sauce did you use for this recipe. I’ve yet to find a good bottle of BBQ Sauce that I like.

  23. Taylor says:

    I made a mediocre pork tenderloin recipe this weekend…this one looks so much more flavorful! I can’t wait to give it a shot and redeem myself…

  24. Natalie says:

    Mel – thanks for the suggestion. I just made this Chili-Rubbed version and it is fantastic. It looks just like yours this time so maybe I have been overcooking in the past. Thanks for your help!!

  25. […] Pork Jump to Comments Chili-Rubbed Pork with Apricot Glaze […]

  26. Natalie Berger says:

    I had never made pork tenderloin before Mel’s Kitchen Cafe came into my life. I’ve made your Asian Glaze one several times and can’t wait to try this one. Mine never look this light and pretty on the inside though. They are kind of a nasty brown color after I slice it. Do you know what makes the difference? Your photos looks much more appetizing than my finished product.

    • Mel says:

      Natalie – hmmm, I’m not sure why your pork would be darker in the middle. Do you think you may be overcooking it? That would be my only guess. If anyone else knows, feel free to chime in!

  27. Crystal says:

    Mel- I just want to tell you how much I appreciate your work in providing your amazing recipes. You are my go to website when I am stuck in a rut. Thank you for taking the time to share all of your amazing food finds!
    ~PS. I will be making this dish tomorrow!

  28. Emily Marie says:

    Mmmm, this sounds really really good. I think I’ll make this for my parents when we’re staying with them next week.

  29. ingrid says:

    Yum! Pork, the other white meat is a family fave. Thanks for passing along another yummy recipe.

  30. StephenC says:

    What a lovely tasty sounding dish. I would quibble only with the cooking temperature. To make pork safe (even though there is almost no trichinosis anymore) it needs to come to 138 degrees. Now, that’s too rare even for me. However, the meat will be tender and more juicy if you bring it to 150. It will have a little pink in the center, but is definitely prefereable to a higher temp.

  31. Kim in MD says:

    It looks so delicious! The perfect Fall dinner!

  32. Shanna says:

    I have (potential) company coming Sunday and had no idea what to cook…now I do! Can’t wait to try this!

  33. nikki says:

    I just made your brown sugar glazed pork loin last night for 10 people and it turned out so delicious even though I was skeptical about some of the ingredients. Since none of your recipes have failed me yet I had faith in this one. I had everyone saying ” mmmm this pork is awesome, what is on there?” Even my picky 10 year old had 2 more plates of pork before bed. Thank you for taking the time to share your delicious recipes with us.

    • Mel says:

      nikki – I’m thrilled you liked the brown sugar pork loin. I was skeptical, too, when I tried it the first time but the flavors really manage to come together perfectly! It’s always a plus when a picky eater loves it, too.

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