Cinnamon and Chili Pork with Apple Salsa

So the concept of apple salsa is a fairly new one to me. Not that I haven’t seen variations of it around; I have, but I haven’t really been that tempted to make it. It hasn’t really called to me, you know?

Until I saw it paired with a savory cinnamon and chili spiced pork tenderloin and then all of a sudden it needed to happen immediately.

I’ve declared it before, but I declare it again that I love cooking with pork tenderloin. (And let’s be serious, it’s really the eating of that I enjoy the most.) It’s so tender especially when you use an instant-read thermometer, the use of which can totally change your life and the outcome of your meat. And I really never tire of different variations of the ol’ PT. Having said that, if this recipe was just for a cinnamon and chili spiced pork tenderloin, I probably would have passed because it’s similar in concept and flavor to others I’ve tried, but the apple salsa sold me.

Cinnamon and Chili Pork with Apple Salsa

And it should sell you, too. (In hindsight, the pork is so wildly delicious that I shouldn’t have let my pork-tenderloin-snobbery get in the way of making it.) The combination of the smoky, flavorful pork tenderloin and the fresh, spunky, juicy salsa is phenomenal. Really phenomenal.

Although this is a pretty simple, 30-ish minute meal, the finished presentation and taste is perfectly worthy for company and will win you major rockstar points. I mean look at it? It’s incredibly pretty, but beyond that, each bite of succulent pork with bits of juicy apples, crunchy red pepper, a hint of lime and a taste of sweetness…well, it’s just…beyond. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Cinnamon and Chili Pork with Apple Salsa

What To ServeHerb Roasted Potatoes or these Salt Crusted Potatoes
A steamed veggie or this Vegetable Saute with Simple Cream Sauce
A really, good artisan bread like this Herb Focaccia Bread

One Year Ago: Pasta al Forno {Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Mozzarella}
Two Years Ago: Jo Jo Potato Wedges
Three Years Ago: Colorado Crème

Cinnamon Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Apple Salsa

Yield: Serves 6-ish

Cinnamon Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Apple Salsa

For even more flavor, coat the pork with the oil/chili rub, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before cooking. The leftover apple salsa is divine on tortilla chips or just eaten by the spoonful.


    For the Pork:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin
  • For the Apple Salsa:
  • 2 cups crunchy sweet apples (like Fuji), cored and diced (about 2 medium apples)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch baking dish with foil and coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together the 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, chili powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large shallow bowl or pie plate. Add the pork and turn each piece to coat with the cinnamon mixture.
  3. In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat another tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium heat until hot and rippling. Add the pork and brown on all sides, 2-3 minutes per side.
  4. Transfer the browned pork to the prepared baking pan (if your skillet is oven-safe, you can simply pop it into the oven and save having to clean up an extra pan). Bake for 16-18 minutes (more or less) until an instant read thermometer registers 145 degrees in the thickest part of the pork. Cover the pork with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with the apple salsa.
  5. For the apple salsa (this can be prepared while the pork is cooking), combine all the apple salsa ingredients, stirring well to coat the apples with the lime juice and other ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe Kira W. sent me (thanks, Kira – you have sent me so many good ones!) by way of Multiply Delicious (I think)…I added salt and increased the pork and rub amounts.

38 Responses to Cinnamon and Chili Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Apple Salsa

  1. Ash says:

    Anyone know what the calories are on this?

  2. Kellie Fite Turner says:

    Made this for dinner tonight, and it is definitely going on my monthly rotation! I’m going to chop it up and put it in salad for lunch tomorrow, and I’m already looking forward to it.

  3. Deb says:

    Just ate this. SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD!!! Oh my goodness this was a hit.

  4. Karen says:

    Recipe needs to cook WAY WAY longer than this suggests. Just prepare ahead of time. Good recipe though.

  5. […] Cinnamon and Chili Pork Tenderloin with Fresh Apple Salsa […]

  6. fmandds says:

    Excellent recipe. I cooked ours on a charcoal grill for about 20 minutes(thermometer registered at 150 degrees) and it was such a nice change from other pork tenderloin recipes. I put the rub on the pork in the morning and then wrapped in plastic wrap until ready to cook. I was surprised that I enjoyed the apple slaw as much as I did. Good fabulous recipe for something different!!

  7. April says:

    I just recently discovered your website, via Pinterest and already have several of your recipes lined up for dinner in the next few weeks! πŸ˜‰ I made this pork tenderloin last night and it was soooo good! Very tender and juicy and my family gobbled it right up! I loved the cinnamon & chili powder rub, they complement each other very well. Thank you!

  8. […] which was a bummer so this is all I could grab on my way to work.** pre-gym snack: apple. Dinner: cinnamon and chili pork tenderloin, roasted butternut squash, peppers, onions, and mushrooms sauteed in coconut oil and olive […]

  9. I just made this for dinner and wow! This is SO good! My hubby was wary of it but he devoured it and said it was one of his fav meals! Thank you!

  10. Mary Beth says:

    Mel, this was a great recipe, and a great pairing. I used cocoa chili powder as it was what I had on hand, and it was delicious! And loved, loved, loved the salsa!! Thanks for a great recipe for pork tenderloin!

  11. Michele says:

    Another delicious meal, Mel!

  12. Erika says:

    I Loved this! Doubled the slaw & have some left over yeah for me… but my family of 2 adults & 2 11yr olds ate the entire platter of pork (2 tenderloins!) so there were no leftovers. I think they liked it too! Myy husband ate almost 1 entire tenderloin. Yeah I was a little mad πŸ˜‰

  13. Sue J says:

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was devoured. My husband even went back for thirds, I think πŸ™‚ Thank you so much sharing.

  14. Deb K says:

    Made this tonight and we LOVED it, thank you!

  15. Amanda Z says:

    Delicious! The pork was so tender and flavorful, but the apple salsa made this dish! Hubs and I loved this dish, he said it was the best pork tenderloin he has ever had. Thanks for another keeper!

  16. Rachel says:

    Mel I made this on Sunday for the fam, everyone loved it! My first time making pork tenderloin (I’ve always sort of stayed away from it due to a way too salty pork childhood experience), but it came out wonderful! Thanks as always for coming through with a fabulous recipe! You are my go-to gal when it comes to finding recipes! =)

  17. Boedee says:

    Hey Mel!
    So I could only find pork loins that appeared to have 2 in there, tied with string at my Sams Club. Is this similar to what you used??

    And thank you for the applesauce muffin recipe…perfect timing for my planned PreK snack on Friday!

    You’re the best! πŸ˜‰

    • Mel says:

      Boedee – no, that isn’t what I used, I don’t think. I used the smaller pork tenderloins that aren’t tied with string. However, you could try using the cut of pork you bought and see how it goes. Just keep an eye on cooking time!

  18. Paula says:

    It wasn’t up until recently that I discovered the tasty cut of meat called pork tenderloin. Your recipe caught my eye and we tried it out tonight. It was very good and the perfect way to welcome fall. My family would happily eat it again. I’m happy to add another tasty pork tenderloin recipe to my file. I made couscous and green beans on the side. They went really well with this recipe.

  19. Lisa says:

    We are pork loin lovers too and this was a fantastic variation that we all liked. Apples and pork go together and the apple salsa was so unique and delicious. This is going into our pork loin rotation! Didn’t have fugis on hand but did have galas and they worked great. We did roasted fingerling potatoes and carrots with this.

  20. Andrea says:

    I made this yesterday and have to say that I like the leftovers tonight much better. I warmed up the salsa in the microwave and loved the slightly tender texture of the apples as compared to raw. The flavors all had a chance to really meld nicely. Thank you for the recipe!

  21. The beginning of fall is not the time to say no to pork and apples, but rather dive into this divine salsa!

  22. Becky says:

    I made this for supper last night when we had friends over, and it is amazing! Even my pickiest eater (she would subsist only on craisins, ketchup, and peanut butter if I let her…I don’t :)) had 2 big helpings! I can’t wait to make this again!

  23. Hilary says:

    Made this tonight. My husband, a skeptical man, devoured it. Phe-nom. Made w couscous.

  24. Mel, I have been looking for a new healthy pork tenderloin recipe for Fall and here it is! This looks amazing. Can’t wait to try it.

  25. Jae says:

    This looks delicious, but I have a major aversion to peppers. Any suggestions for a substitute? Maybe celery?

  26. Katie says:

    Hi Mel. I have some pork sirloin tip roasts from Costco. Do you think that would work for this recipe? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Katie – I’ve never used that particular cut of meat for this recipe but it’s definitely worth a try. Just keep an eye on cooking time (and if you have a thermometer, definitely use it to get a perfectly tender roast).

  27. Gaby says:

    That looks amazing! What a neat presentation for a quick meal. I’ll make it and impress the boyf! Thanks Mel πŸ˜€

    PS: I really enjoy your writing, it’s so unsnobbish and true to your personality (cause I totally know your personality). Well it sounds true to you anyway πŸ˜€ xxx

    PPS: I’ll just pop my blog riiiight here, just in case ya know, you’re bored or something The Gift of Gaby

  28. Maxine says:

    When you say “line a 9×13 cooking dish with foil”, are you referring to a glass Pyrex type baking dish or to a metal pan?
    Also, I was wondering the same thing that Amy was wondering concerning Step 2.
    This looks like a great dinner and I’m looking forward to trying it! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Mel says:

      Maxine – you could use a metal pan or a glass pan. The foil just helps with cleanup. In step 2 (this is for you, Amy, also), sorry for the confusion, it’s because I use two pork tenderloins (I buy them a double pack at Sam’s Club). So if your pork tenderloin is a larger, full 2 pounds, then you’ll only flip one piece and you’ll probably need to increase the cooking time because the piece of meat will be thicker.

  29. Amy says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, but in step 2 it says to add the pork and turn each piece. did you slice the tenderloin, have smaller pieces totaling 2 lbs, or does it mean turn to coat each side? want to make sure I do this right- it looks amazing! (as are many of your recipes!!)

  30. This is quite possibly the most beautiful dinner I have ever seen!!

  31. Becky says:

    I might have to adjust my meal plan for this! It looks amazing!!!

  32. Jen T says:

    It is just beautiful to look at! I have never tried apple salsa, so we will have to put this on our menu for this week. Yum! Thanks Mel!

  33. Looks delicious! Pork and apples are a great combination. Love the apple salsa!

  34. Kira says:

    Your pictures are stunning, as usual. This is so divine. A perfect combination!

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