This perfect Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin is seasoned with salt, paprika, chili powder, and onion powder to form a delicious crust packed with flavor.
» Also try our favorite Pork Belly Bites and crispy Air Fryer Pork Belly.
This air fryer pork tenderloin recipe combines sweet and savory spices to create a delicious piece of pork that can be sliced and served with any side dishes you like. The brown sugar coating caramelizes the pork giving it a bit of crunch, and balances any heat from the chili powder.
Pork tenderloin is lean and can become quite dry if not cooked correctly. Since air fryers provide an even cooking environment, it is easier to cook the tenderloin without drying it out. It’s super fast and turns out perfect every time. If you love how this turns out be sure to try these bone-in pork chops and pork roast.
Ingredients You Need
You can mix up the spices for this pork tenderloin to suit your preferences. Any dry rub will work well. I usually just mix up a quick rub with a few flavorful spices.
- Pork tenderloin: Depending on the size of your tenderloin, you might need to coil it in the air fryer basket to fit it. You could also cut it into two pieces if that’s easier for you to fit.
- Brown sugar: Brown sugar is a great addition to this rub because it helps the crust get a nice caramalization. It will also counter-balance any heat in the chili powder, if you choose to use a hot chili.
- Paprika: You can use either Spanish or smoked paprika, whichever you prefer.
- Chili powder: Depending on how spicy you like your food, you can use either mild or hot chili powder. Mild won’t add any heat, just flavor, to the rub.
- Onion powder: It’s best to use onion powder for dry rubs as it will distribute more evenly throughout the pork. Adding it will give a subtle onion flavor.
- Cooking oil spray
Why Use an Air Fryer
An air fryer is an incredibly easy way to cook just about anything. You place the food in a fryer-style basket and hot air rapidly circulates all around the food, making the food crisp – much like deep-frying, but without the oil. You can cook anything you’d make in the oven.
- If you don’t have an air fryer yet, check out these options to find one that fits your needs.
- See reviews and prices for air fryers on Amazon.
- Click to find more recipes to make in your Air Fryer.
- Learn how to make fun things in the air fryer, like potato wedges, pork belly bites, and chicken wings.
How to Make Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin
Take the pork tenderloin out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking so it can come up to room temperature. This will help ensure even cooking without drying out the meat.
Mix together the spices in a bowl. Coat the entire tenderloin with the seasoning. If you have time, you can let this sit for about 5 minutes to sort of soak in. That helps the crust form and keeps the dry spices from scattering off the pork when the air fryer starts blowing it around.
Place the tenderloin in the air fryer basket. You can form it to the basket so it fits, or cut it into two pieces if you want. Spray the pork lightly with cooking spray. It doesn’t need a lot of oil.
Cook at 380° F for 20 minutes, turning over and spraying again halfway through cooking. Since every air fryer cooks slightly differently, you might want to start checking the internal temperature as it nears the last 5 minutes.
For perfectly juicy pork, the meat should just reach 145°F before you remove it to let it rest. If you like it well done, which can make it tough and dry, you can cook it to 160°F. Remove the tenderloin from the basket and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pork Tenderloin
How do I know the pork is cooked?
Cooking pork thoroughly is important, but you also don’t want to overdo it or it’ll become dry and tough. The best way to tell if the pork tenderloin is cooked is by using a meat thermometer. Put the thermometer through the thickest part of the pork, and the internal temperature should be in the range of 145° F – 160° F.
With carry over cooking, you can remove the pork at 140° F and if you rest it for 5-10 minutes, it will rise up to the perfect internal temp of 145° F.
What is the difference between pork tenderloin and pork loin?
They are different cuts of pork, so their texture and flavor are slightly different. Pork tenderloin is much slimmer and is better for quick cooking. Pork loin is more for grilling or slow-cooking. You can cook pork loin in the air fryer, but it will be best cooked at a different temp and time than you would cook tenderloin.
Should I marinate the pork?
This recipe uses a dry rub, so marinating is unnecessary in this recipe. I don’t find it necessary to marinate pork before cooking, but if you like the added flavor, you can marinate for up to a day before cooking the tenderloin according to these instructions.
Tips & Notes
- I recommend cutting off the thin membrane that is on the pork tenderloin. Not all cuts of tenderloin will have this membrane, but if it does I recommend removing it. Use a sharp knife to cut the membrane and pull it off carefully.
- After putting on the dry rub, let it sit for about 5 minutes to moisten the rub and create a good crust.
- When the pork tenderloin is done cooking, let the pork rest on a cutting board for about 3 minutes. This will help keep the pork’s juices in.
- Instead of chili powder, you can use other spices like dried red chili pepper. If you don’t like spicy food, feel free to not use it at all in the recipe. I use a mild chili powder that adds flavor, but no heat.
- If you find yourself without spray oil, brushing regular oil on the pork works just as fine. I use a reusable spray bottle with canola oil or the 365 Whole Foods Organic Oil Oil Spray.
- You can marinate the meat in your favorite marinade before cooking it according to these instructions, instead of using the dry rub, if you want.
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Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin
- 2 pound pork tenderloin
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon paprika Spanish or smoked
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder mild to hot
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- Cooking spray
- Take the pork tenderloin out of the refrigerator 15 minutes before cooking.
- Mix together the spices in a bowl. Coat the entire tenderloin with the seasoning.
- Place the tenderloin in the air fryer basket. Spray lightly with cooking spray.
- Cook at 380° F for 20 minutes, turning over and spraying again halfway through cooking.
- Check that the meat has reached 145°F. Remove the tenderloin from the basket and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
All air fryers have different wattage and may cook at different rates. You may need to adjust the time or temp for the best results.
🥧 If you’re interested in more great recipes, I share all my favorite recipes over at A Food Lover’s Kitchen, and you’ll find Instant Pot recipes at A Pressure Cooker Kitchen, and cocktails and drinks at Savored Sips. Check it out today!
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Laura spends a lot of her time cooking and creating recipes to share. She loves traveling and learning about new foods around the world to bring into her own recipes at home.