This sweet and savory pork tenderloin marinade produces the juiciest pork every time! A simple 5-ingredient marinade of brown sugar, soy sauce, Dijon, lemon juice, and garlic takes no time to whisk together and will infuse the lean cut of meat with so much flavor. Perfect for everyday dinners or as part of protein meal prep.

Overhead shot of a white bowl with a serving fork and sliced, grilled pork tenderloin topped with fresh parsley. Bowl is surrounded by lemon wedges, blue towel, and a jar of red sauce.

5 star review

“So easy and so tasty! A total hit at dinner. If you’re looking for something special and quick to cook, look no further.”

– Maria

Visual Guide: How to Make Pork Tenderloin Marinade

Jump to Recipe Instructions

Robyn’s Notes

Since it’s lean, pork tenderloin can tend to be dry and flavorless, however, this effortless, 5-ingredient recipe completely changes that!

The ingredient list is surprisingly simple, yet the results are AMAZING, producing a sweet and savory marinade that turns into a glaze when cooked (similar to teriyaki chicken marinade, just less sweet).

Plus, there’s no chopping involved – all you have to do is whisk together the oil, soy sauce, brown sugar (or honey), Dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic, and salt; and let the marinade do all the hard work transforming the pork. 

And like many of my other marinades, you can let pork tenderloin marinate longer because it’s a larger piece of meat, meaning you can prep it in the morning, and it’s ready for cooking on the grill or in the oven when you get home for the day.

In fact, the pork turns out better the longer you marinate (up to 12 hours) as it allows the flavors to deepen.

Once it’s cooked, don’t forget to let the meat rest for at least 5 minutes to allow the juices to reincorporate into the meat – this is key to juicy meat!

Can’t get enough of 5-ingredient recipes? You have to try this curry chicken marinade and this slow cooker honey garlic chicken

How to Know Pork Is Ready

Check to make sure your pork is done with a meat thermometer. The National Pork Board and FDA recommends cooking pork tenderloin to an internal temperature of 145° F for medium rare and 155° F for medium with a 3 minute rest time.

Overhead shot of the following ingredients: brown sugar, oil, lemon, mustard, minced garlic, salt, and soy sauce.

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

Oil: Any neutral oil will work, such as vegetable oil or canola oil.

Soy Sauce: Use tamari for gluten free.

Brown Sugar: Use the same amount of honey instead of brown sugar if you’d like, though I preferred the flavor of brown sugar in testing.

Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is preferred, but bottled will work in a pinch.

Pork Tenderloin: I call for 2 pounds of pork tenderloin in this recipe. One tenderloin is usually about 1 pound, so you will need 2 tenderloins. If you only have 1 pound of tenderloin, you can half the marinade recipe.

Overhead shot of a wooden cutting board with sliced, grilled pork tenderloin, knife and fork, bowl of chopped herbs, and jar of red sauce. A bowl of lemon wedges is in the corner.

How to Prep Ahead

Save yourself time and make dinner a no-brainer by freezing the pork in the marinade!

It’s so simple, just mix up the marinade ingredients, pour the marinade over the pork in a gallon freezer zip top bag, and stash in the freezer (for up to 3 months).

Before cooking, take the bag out of the freezer, defrost in the fridge and use right away.

Serving Suggestions

This beautifully tender meat can be the center of any meal or occasion.

I love pairing it with any of these BBQ side dishes, especially if you grill the pork. 

Or, for a comforting meal, serve alongside these easy, creamy red skinned mashed potatoes.

If you happen to have any leftovers, thinly slice up the meat for pork sandwiches alongside this creamy purple cabbage slaw for crunch.

Closeup overhead shot of a white bowl with a serving fork and sliced, grilled pork tenderloin topped with fresh parsley.

This Recipe Is…

Overhead shot of a white bowl with a serving fork and sliced, grilled pork tenderloin topped with fresh parsley. Bowl is surrounded by lemon wedges, blue towel, and a jar of red sauce.
5 stars (4 ratings)

Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin Marinade

This sweet and savory pork tenderloin marinade produces the juiciest pork every time! A simple 5-ingredient marinade of brown sugar, soy sauce, Dijon, lemon juice, and garlic takes no time to whisk together and totally transforms a basic cut of meat.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup avocado oil (or neutral flavored oil)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin, silver skin removed

Instructions 

Marinade Instructions

  • Add the oil, brown sugar, mustard, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth and the sugar has dissolved.
  • Set aside 2 tablespoons of the marinade.
  • Pour the remaining marinade along with 2 tablespoons of water into a 1-gallon zip-top bag or baking dish.
  • Using a fork, lightly poke holes all over the pork tenderloin, then add to the bag or dish, press as much air out of the bag (if using) as possible, or cover with plastic wrap (if using a baking dish). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 12 hours, flipping occasionally.

Grilling Instructions

  • Heat a grill to medium-high. Allow to preheat for 15 minutes. Remove the pork tenderloin from the marinade, shake off any excess, and discard any remaining marinade from the bag or dish.
  • Grill, with the cover down, until the internal temperature registers 145F (medium rare) or 160F (medium), about 5-7 minutes per side.
  • Remove to a cutting board and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice against the grain into 1 inch slices, or dice into pieces (if using for taco), serve, drizzled with reserved 2 tablespoons marinade, and serve.

Baking Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F. Add the pork tenderloin along with marinade to a medium baking dish. If you have a large baking dish or rimmed sheet pan, omit the marinade as it will spread and possibly burn. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the internal temperature registers 145F (medium rare) or 160F (medium).
  • Remove to a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice against the grain into 1 inch slices, or dice into pieces (if using for taco), serve, drizzled with reserved marinade, and serve.

Notes

  • Check to make sure your pork is done with a meat thermometer. The National Pork Board and FDA recommends cooking pork tenderloin to an internal temperature of 145° F for medium rare and 155° F for medium with a 3 minute rest time.
  • A note about the nutrition information on this recipe, since we discard the marinade before grilling or baking it can be a little difficult to calculate.
  • For more ingredients & modifications, time-saving tips, and more, see the blog post above.
  • Yields ⅓ cup marinade.

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 (of 8), Calories: 206kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 379mg, Potassium: 476mg, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 2IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 13mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutrition disclaimer
Did you make this recipe?If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!

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