Pork tenderloin with apples is a perfect autumn meal with tender slices of pork, warm buttery apples, and caramelized onions, all made in one pan.
Why you’ll love it: It’s an easy meal that works well for weeknights or guests.
How long it takes: 45 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: large skillet, sharp knife
Pork tenderloin with apples is perfect for a quick every day meal. It’s easy to prepare, doesn’t require many ingredients, only gets one pan dirty, AND it’s pretty healthy! Pork tenderloin is lean and a good source of protein.
The sweet apple slices and savory onions get nice and soft, and are flavored with butter, a bit of apple cider vinegar, and thyme. Depending on how low you cook them, they can be almost like a warm chutney and complement the pork perfectly.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, I’ll also say that this is the perfect fall meal when apples are in season and at their very best. When it’s paired with roasted acorn squash or delicata squash? Color me happy!
Living here in Michigan means that we’re pretty much surrounded by apple orchards; in fact, my house is built on a former orchard and still boasts several old apple trees. My family loves apples in any shape or form. Who doesn’t love warm apple crisp topped with a melting scoop of vanilla ice cream? My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Warm buttery apples, caramelized onions, savory pork … I’m pretty sure you’re going to love this meal!
About This Recipe
This recipe is easy to prepare and doesn’t have a lot of fancy ingredients. Apples, onions, pork, apple cider vinegar. That’s about it! It tastes fancy though and I feel perfectly comfortable serving this dish to guests.
Pork tenderloin is an easy meat to prepare. It can be roasted whole or cut into quick cooking slices. It’s usually quite tender if it’s prepared properly. Try not to overcook the pork which can make it dry and tough.
I’ll get you started on the recipe here and throw a few helpful tips your way. Look for complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information on the recipe card located near the end of the post.
What You’ll Need
- Pork Tenderloin: This lean fast-cooking cut of pork usually runs about one and half pounds. Look for an unseasoned pork tenderloin. Often they come with a marinade or seasoning already added and that won’t be necessary with this recipe because you’ll be seasoning the pork yourself.
- Apples: You’ll need a couple of large apples. There’s more information about which variety to choose in the FAQ section. It’s up to you whether you peel the apples or not. The peel adds color, fiber, and nutrition but if you don’t care for it, it’s perfectly fine to peel the apples.
- Onion: Look for a sweet onion variety such as Vidalia for the caramelized onions.
- Butter: The apples and onions are sautéed in butter. They are slow cooked allowing the butter to soak in, creating a caramelized flavor.
- Olive Oil: You’ll need a couple of tablespoons of olive oil or another oil that can take a little heat. The thin slices of pork are flash fried over a fairly high heat.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: The sweet tangy flavor of apple cider vinegar goes perfectly with the apples and onion. It adds just a bit of zip to them.
- Thyme: Dried or fresh, it doesn’t matter. Use a bit more if you’re using fresh.
- Salt & Pepper: Season the dish to taste.
How To Make This Recipe
Begin by sautéing the onions and apples in a little bit of butter until they’re soft, about twenty to twenty-five minutes total. I usually start the onions first because you want them nice and tender, and they take a bit longer than the apples to cook down.
When the onions and apples start to look almost caramelized, you’ll know they’re ready. Season with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, salt and a dash of salt. The vinegar will add a nice tang to the mixture which goes perfectly with the richness of the pork. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
Next, you’ll sauté the pork slices in the same pan with a bit of oil for six to eight minutes. Don’t overcook the pork, you want it to be medium rare, 145°F, or with just a slight tinge of pink in the center.
That’s it! You’re ready to serve this delicious meal. Divide the warm apple onion mixture between 4 plates, and add a few slices of pork tenderloin. A sprig of fresh thyme makes a nice garnish.
Serve the dinner with creamy stovetop scalloped potatoes or a piping hot baked potato. Sweet potatoes, either roasted or cooked in your Instant Pot, are a good choice, too. Round out the meal with roasted broccoli or roasted green beans with parmesan and basil. Air fryer green beans are a really quick option.
Pork tenderloin is a much smaller cut of meat, usually one and half pounds or less. It is lean boneless meat that doesn’t have excess fat to trim off and is best cooked quickly until it’s just done (145°F).
A pork loin is larger, up to five pounds. They are boneless as well and usually come with a thick fat cap on the top. The meat is lighter in color. Pork loins can be cooked whole as a roast or sliced (pork loin chops). They can be braised in a slow cooker (try slow cooker pork loin with balsamic glaze), an Instant Pot (Instant Pot pork loin roast), oven or a smoker.
Use a crisp flavorful apple that holds its shape when cooked like Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, Braeburn, or Sweet Tango. Some varieties tend to disintegrate when you cook them; you’ll have pork with applesauce.
Pork tenderloin is mild-tasting and pairs well with many foods. Serve side dishes that go along with how you prepared the pork. For example, if you serve pork medallions with lemon garlic sauce, a good side dish could be smashed potatoes with garlic or dill roasted potatoes with lemon. Serve the meal with roasted green beans with lemon and feta or a simple arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette.
Make It Your Own
- Switch it up a bit. Try balsamic vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar. Cook raisins with the apple mixture. Add garlic (1 or 2 cloves, finely minced).
- Rather cook a whole pork tenderloin instead of sliced? Try spice rubbed roasted pork tenderloin.
If you want to get a head start on this meal, prep the onions and apples up to a day ahead of time. Store them in separate containers in the fridge.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Refrigerate leftover pork promptly in a covered container. It will keep for three to four days. If you’d rather freeze the leftovers, they’ll keep for two to three months in a freezer safe container. For best results, thaw frozen pork overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Gently reheat single portions in the microwave. For larger amounts, warm the sliced pork, apples, and onions in a skillet over low heat until heated through.
More Ways To Prepare Pork Tenderloins
- Pork medallions with lemon garlic sauce
- Spice rubbed roast pork tenderloin
- Pork tenderloin with roasted grape sauce
- Grilled pork kabobs with apples
- Maple pork tenderloin with brown sugar and carrots (Love From the Oven).
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, sliced ¼ inch thick, cut into half moons
- 2 large apples, cored and sliced ⅛ inch thick (peeled or unpeeled)
- ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 pork tenderloin (approx. 1.5 pounds)
- ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion slices. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add apples; cook 10 to 15 minutes more or until apple and onion slices are tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Add vinegar and thyme to the skillet; cook and stir for 30 seconds. Remove apple mixture from skillet; cover to keep warm.
- Meanwhile, prepare pork. Cut meat crosswise into ½-inch thick slices. Sprinkle pork with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- After removing apple mixture from skillet, heat oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork; reduce heat to medium and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until just barely pink in the centers, turning once.
- Remove pork from pan and allow meat to rest 2 to 3 minutes before serving. Serve pork tenderloin topped with sautéed apples and onions.
- Look for a flavorful apple that holds its shape when cooked, like Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, Braeburn or Sweet Tango, to name a few.
- Recipe created in partnership with Better Homes and Gardens.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.