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

46 Responses to Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin

  1. jen says:

    Huzzah! This did not disappoint! I have yet to make something on your site that is “just ok”… it is all, “omygosh this is so good.” I’m not kidding either. We’ve tried many of your other pork tenderloin recipes, but I think this one takes the cake. It is so so good. The key is not to overcook it. Thanks for all the recipes. For real. I had no idea how to cook before I got married, and between you and the gals over at OBB, I’ve got my family fooled =)

  2. Karen says:

    Just made this tonite, and after reading a lot of the reviews, I thought it would taste REALLY good, but it didn’t. It wasn’t bad, just okay. Didn’t care for the glaze, but not sure what I’d change exactly. Followed recipe to the T. Will not make again. I think I may not be much of a fan of pork anyway.

  3. Stephen says:

    Wonderful recipe, made it last night and it was a big hit. This goes on the list as a “make again”.

  4. I thought I saw a nutritional chart for this recipe but can’t seem to find it again.
    Can you tell me where I can find it again?


  5. Made this last night for a low-carb meal.
    I used no-sugar-added ketsup and 1 tsp. of Swerve sweetener.
    Had 2 lbs of tenderloin on hand. Made the double batch of rub, but only 1 batch of the sauce. Next time, I’ll make more sauce!
    I took the meat out of the oven, brushed the sauce on, then broiled for a few inutes for the char.
    Great having the nutritional values too.
    Great recipe for quick meal. Sharing with my colleagues!


  6. Heidi says:

    Pork should always read 170.

  7. Paula says:

    This is one of my favorite dishes from your website. It gets 4 thumbs up from all the meat eaters in my family. The non meat eaters don’t know what they are missing!

  8. Keri says:

    I knew I was a wimp with spice but this recipe was too hot for my kids and me and apparently I’m an even bigger wimp than I knew. If I wanted it more mild, would you just reduce the chili powder? Any suggestions would be great!!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Keri – what brand of chili powder are you using? Different brands vary quite a bit in spiciness. The one I have in my cupboard right now is mild and has hardly any heat to it. If your chili powder is really spicy, try cutting way back and see how it goes (maybe even cut the smoked paprika in half, too).

  9. 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?

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. Mickie says:

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

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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!


  17. Susan says:

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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!!!

  20. Kim in MD says:

    Yum! My family will love this pork tenderloin!

  21. Ellie says:

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

  22. Debra Kapellakis says:

    Yum, made my mouth water. I saved it.

  23. Meredith says:

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

  24. I can´t wait to make this. It sounds and looks amazing. Pork tenderloin just juicy and spicy enough. Perfect!

  25. 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!!

  26. 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).

  27. 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?

  28. 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!

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. Alison says:

    can i cook this is the slow cooker?

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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!!

  35. 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!

  36. Katie says:

    Looks awesome! could I grill it?

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