Now you can make super tender, flavorful Chinese Pork Tenderloin at home! Restaurant quality and flavor, and so easy to make! The sweet honey garlic sauce takes this classic Chinese dish over the top!
I am in charge of the food for our monthly women’s meeting at church. In the past, we have have things like this Coconut Chicken Curry Soup and these Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes. This past week, I made this amazing Chinese Pork Tenderloin with Honey Garlic sauce. People cannot stop talking about it. I think it will go down in history as the most beloved dinner at these monthly meetings! And for good reason! The pork is so tender and flavorful, and the “secret sauce” elevates it to super-star status.
But don’t worry. I’m going to give you the recipe for the “secret sauce” so you can impress your friends and family, too 🙂
And, you don’t even need to go to the Asian market for special ingredients!
Is this recipe for Chinese Bbq Pork (Char Siu)?
This easy Chinese pork recipe is not the barbecue pork you would find at traditional Chinese restaurants.
Char Siu (one of the most popular kinds of Asian pork loin) is marinated in fermented red bean curd and has the tell-tale red ring around the outside. It traditionally requires marinating overnight and then cooking over hot coals.
My recipe does not have the red coloring, doesn’t require any marinating, and is cooked in the oven! It is much more simple than Char Siu, but still SUPER tasty!
Is pork loin the same as pork tenderloin?
Though they might sound the same, they are actually two different cuts of meat. Pork tenderloin is long and thin and comes from the muscle that runs along the backbone of the pig. It’s typically about 12 inches long and 2-3 inches thick.
Pork loin, while still from the back of the pig, is typically shorter, but taller and wider. (Think more of a small pot-roast shape).
How to Make Chinese Pork Loin
For this recipe, you’re going to want to make two pork tenderloins, because there is plenty of sauce for both. Plus, one pork loin will disappear so fast and you’ll be sad there isn’t more.
I get my pork tenderloins at Costco. They come in a combo pack with two tenderloins in the same package. (It looks like there’s one large tenderloin, but there are actually two put together).
The first thing you’ll do is rub the tenderloins with a combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cinnamon. The cinnamon is what gives it that distinct Chinese flavor. Let that rub rest on the tenderloins for about 30 minutes.
About fifteen minutes in to that wait time, heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Also put a large frying pan or skillet on the stove and heat it to medium high.
Before you bake the tenderloins, you’re going to sear them on all sides in the frying pan on the stove. Add a little vegetable oil to the skillet and just set the loins in, one at a time, and let them sizzle away, about 1-2 minutes on each side.
Then place the tenderloins on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the internal temperature is between 145 and 155 degrees F.
The lower end of the spectrum will give you some pink meat, but it is safe for eating at that temperature. I like a little less pink to my meat, so I cook it to 155 degrees. This still leaves the tenderloin tender and juicy without overbaking it.
You will need a meat thermometer (sometimes known as an instant-read thermometer) for this. They are inexpensive and SUPER handy. I don’t know how I ever lived without one before! This is the one I have (this is an affiliate link):
How to Make the Honey Garlic Sauce
While the tenderloins are baking, it’s time to whip up the delicious honey garlic sauce.
Gather your ingredients:
- Low-sodium soy sauce (or light soy sauce)
- Olive oil
- Hoisin sauce (a special brown sauce you can find in the Asian section of most grocery stores)
- Minced onion
- Minced/pressed garlic
- Sesame seed oil
- Cold water
- Corn starch
Add everything to a small saucepan on the stove (except the cold water and corn starch and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
Mix your cornstarch and cold water together in a small cup. Slowly pour it into your boiling sauce, stirring while pouring.
Continue stirring constantly until your sauce thickens. (It will thicken up even more as it cools, so don’t worry if it still looks a wee bit runny at first). Set the sauce aside.
How to Serve Chinese Pork Tenderloin
Once you have removed the tenderloins from the oven, let the pork rest for about ten minutes before slicing.
Use a sharp knife to cut them into thin slices (about 1/2-inch thick).
Arrange the slices on a serving platter.
Then pour the sauce over the top (you probably won’t need all the sauce) and sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds.
Voila! Perfect Chinese Pork Tenderloin glazed with a delicious honey garlic sauce!
Recipe inspired by Honey Sesame Pork Tenderloin on The Gunny Sack.
For more great Chinese food recipes, be sure to check these out!
(Nutritional information is estimated only and is affected by whether or not you use all the sauce and/or substitute ingredients).
Be sure to scroll down past the recipe for more answers to common questions.
Make perfect Chinese pork tenderloin at home! Super easy to make and tastes just like your favorite Chinese restaurant dish!
- 2 (1 pound) pork tenderloins
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with foil. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and ground cinnamon. Rub on all sides of both pork tenderloins and let the pork loins sit for 30 minutes. (If you need to wait longer than 30 minutes, be sure to put the pork in the refrigerator).
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place a large frying pan or skillet on the stove over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.
Add the pork tenderloins to the pan, one at a time, and sear each side for 1-2 minutes, until nicely browned.
Put the pork tenderloins on the prepared baking sheet and put into the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the temperature registers between 145 and 155 degrees F. on a meat thermometer.
Let the meat rest for ten minutes before slicing.
In a medium-size saucepan on the stove, add the honey, low-sodium soy sauce, olive oil, hoisin sauce, minced onion, minced garlic, and sesame oil. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to boil.
Mix the cold water and corn starch together in a small bowl or cup. When the sauce ingredients come to a boil, slowly whisk in the corn starch mixture, and continue to boil, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens. Remove from the heat to allow to cool slightly and thicken a little more. (You can add the red pepper flakes now if desired).
When ready to serve, slice the meat and arrange it on a platter. Pour desired amount of sauce over the top, and sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds for garnish if desired.
Should I cover my pork loin with foil?
Totally not necessary for this recipe. Dry pork is often a concern (since it’s typically such a low-fat cut of meat), but this recipe has ALWAYS turned out juicy and soft.
Does pork get more tender the longer you cook it?
Nope. This is one of those situations where less is definitely more. As long as your internal temperature has reached a minimum of 145 degrees F., you are good to go.
Also keep in mind that the temperature of your pork will continue to rise after you take it out of the oven, so once it has reached that minimum temperature, you really don’t need to worry, even if the meat is still a little pink.
P.S.A. Don’t cook your tenderloins in the crock pot/slow cooker! You’ll be disappointed when they come out tough. However, I’ve cooked Pork Loin in the crock pot with great success!
What goes good with pork tenderloin?
Here are some of my favorite side dishes for this pork tenderloin recipe that will round out a fantastic Chinese dinner!