Pan-Fried Pork Tenderloin

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Paleo Pork Tenderloin

I’m vacationing in the beautiful and sun-filled (and fun-filled) country of Costa Rica right now but really wanted to share this pork tenderloin recipe with everyone!

I have never had great success with pork tenderloin before now…somehow it always seemed to end up dry and not very tasty. But I was inspired to try again by a recent meal my neighbor cooked for us and also by this video of Michael Mina showing Tim Ferriss how to cook pork tenderloin in a frying pan. Ok, so my pork doesn’t look quite as pretty as Michael Mina’s, but I’m not feeling too bad that my cooking isn’t quite up to Michelin-star chef standards!

This dish requires zero prep and uses very very few ingredients. So, how do you cook delicious pork in a frying pan?

I started with a 1 lb piece of pork tenderloin and cut it in half. Then I put a tablespoon of coconut oil into a frying pan on medium heat and put the pork tenderloins into the pan. Inspired by Michael Mina’s suggestion of using tongs (he suggested that trainee chefs used them actually), I used my bbq tongs to turn the pork over after each side cooked. I also sprinkled salt on the pork while it was cooking.

So here’s my collage (I was lazy and took these photos with my iPhone):

Paleo Pork Tenderloin

I’m not that experienced in determining when pork is cooked “perfectly” (which is slightly pink in the middle), but it offered a great opportunity to try out my meat thermometers.

At an internal temperature of 145F (63C), pork is safe to eat – in fact, it’s really delicious at this point because it’s not dry and tough!

Then I sliced the tenderloin into 1-inch thick chunks to plate them and served them with a simple spinach and almond stir-fry (recipe here).

Paleo Pork Tenderloin

Pan-Fried Pork Tenderloin


Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Pan-Fried Pork Tenderloin


  • 1 lb pork tenderloin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil


  1. Cut the 1 lb pork tenderloin in half (to create 2 equal shorter halves).
  2. Place the 1 tablespoon of coconut oil into a frying pan on a medium heat.
  3. After the coconut oil melts, place the 2 pork tenderloin pieces into the pan.
  4. Leave the pork to cook on its side. Once that side is cooked, turn using tongs to cook the other sides. Keep turning and cooking until the pork looks cooked on all sides.
  5. Cook all sides of the pork until the meat thermometer shows an internal temperature of just below 145F (63C). The pork will keep on cooking a bit after you take it out of the pan.
  6. Let the pork sit for a few minutes and then slice into 1-inch thick slices with a sharp knife.

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Gloria February 28, 2014, 1:36 pm

    Thanks for the suggestion of how to pan-fry pork loin. I am just cooking my first ever.

    • Louise February 28, 2014, 3:59 pm

      Let me know how it goes Gloria :)


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Louise Yang Ancestral Chef

Hi! I'm Louise - I am "beyond gluten-free," grain-free, paleo/primal, a lawyer, an ex-physicist, a cook, a blogger, a Brit living in the US, an ex-violin player, an occasional crossfitter, a mystery book junkie, and of course, I am the Ancestral Chef :) Read my About Me Page for more!

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