Stuffed Pork Tenderloin may look intimidating to make at first but it certainly doesn’t have to be! This version is loaded with fresh cranberries, goat cheese and caramelized onions and is sure to impress the entire crowd (including you!)
If you’re anything like me when it comes to cooking and meal planning, you opt to have a good balance between intricate dishes that take longer than the average to make and those that you can throw together in 15 minutes or less (Korean BBQ Beef Rice Bowl, anyone?!) I mean, sometimes you just can’t be bothered to even think about what’s for dinner let alone fathom the time to make it. But other days, when you have nowhere to be or are simply feeling a little extra fancy (go, you!), you want to channel your inner chef and make something a little more elaborate. I feel you. And so does this Stuffed Pork Tenderloin. It’s the perfect balance between easy and “what did I get myself into” and just slicing into the final product is enough to make you feel like the kitchen badass we both know you are.
I will be the first to admit that I ain’t no butcher. Either are you?! Oh good, cause you don’t have to be to make this Stuffed Pork Tenderloin recipe. Sure, we attempt to butterfly the pork loin our own damn selves. Unless you’re sneaky enough to get your hands on one that’s already been butterflied, that is. Or, maybe you prefer to ask your butcher to do it.
Any which way, don’t let the fear of butterflying the pork loin deter you from making this recipe. Breathe in. Breathe out. A sharp kitchen knife and a little bit of patience will get you there. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, you can always turn to the photos in the recipe card down below to see my (sad but shameless) attempt at butterflying mine. Seeeee? Perfection is not needed and thankfully, pork loin is more forgiving than my ex boyfriend.
In all seriousness, when you’re in the mood for something a little different than your usuals or want to try something new but not too difficult, put this Stuffed Pork Loin with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese and Fresh Cranberries on the menu. You won’t be disappointed (and either will your inner chef!)
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE STUFFED PORK TENDERLOIN
This Stuffed Pork Tenderloin recipe has two different parts. The filling or “stuffing” and the seasonings. Let’s discuss each in a little bit more detail down below:
- Pork Loin: For this recipe, you’re going to need one center cut pork loin. Remember, it’s the vessel that holds all the delicious filling and will have to be butterflied. I used a 3 pound pork loin for this recipe. However, feel free to use a smaller one (1.5-2 pounds) or an actual tenderloin and just half the rest of the recipe and cooking time. For best results, trim the fat/silver skin off the pork loin before proceeding with the recipe.
- Caramelized Onions: Adds a burst of flavour and touch of sweetness to the filling for this Stuffed Pork Tenderloin. For perfect caramelized onions (every single time), try my easy recipe you can find HERE.
- Goat Cheese: Adds a rich creaminess to the filling for this Stuffed Pork Loin recipe and pairs perfectly well with the other ingredients. If you don’t have any goat cheese on hand, bocconcini, blue cheese or feta make great alternatives.
- Cranberries: Adds a tart yet sweet and juicy flavour to the stuffing. Fresh cranberries work best in this recipe as there is just something about the way they burst against the pork or in your mouth as you eat them.
- Brown Sugar: Adds flavour and sweetness to the pork loin seasoning. The brown sugar sort of caramelizes in the oven as the pork roasts adding the perfect depth of flavour. Therefore, I don’t recommend using a different kind of sugar for this recipe.
- Paprika: Adds vibrancy and colour to the seasoning for this Stuffed Pork Loin recipe. For a different and more bold taste, try using smoked paprika instead of regular.
- Basil, Oregano Thyme: Adds flavour and freshness to the seasoning mix. Dried herbs work best in this recipe as fresh ones will burn in the oven.
- Cayenne: Adds the slightest spicy kick to the seasoning. Use more for extra spicy or omit completely for none at all. If you don’t have any cayenne on hand but still want to add a little bit of a kick to the seasoning mix, you can use chili flakes instead.
- Salt/Pepper: Balances out the flavours of the rest of the ingredients and really brings the seasoning mix together.
HOW TO STUFF A PORK LOIN LIKE A PRO (KEY TIPS)
You can find full instructions for how to make this Stuffed Pork Tenderloin recipe in the recipe card down below, but here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:
- Remember that you’re not a butcher. Sorry, not sorry, y’all. Who cares. You’re a home chef, trying something new and you’re butterflying a damn pork loin on your own. YAY! Will it come out perfect? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s easier than it looks, very forgiving and most importantly, I BELIEVE IN YOU, YOU GOT THIS. If you are a butcher, then carry on as this first tip obviously ain’t for you. YOU DO YOU and don’t @ me for my efforts. Lol. EXTRA TIP: Use a sharp knife to cut the loin and a meat mallet to pound the loin if you accidently cut it too thick or uneven in certain places.
- Be patient. All that being said, I can see how this process can be a little intimidating at first or frustrating if things aren’t going as planned. Especially if this is your first time butterflying or stuffing a pork loin. Remain calm, be patient and just do your best. Last time I checked you weren’t having the Queen over for dinner. Am I right?!
- Season the pork loin BEFORE you stuff or roll it. If you watch the video that goes along with this Stuffed Pork Loin recipe, you may notice that I forgot to season my pork loin before stuffing and rolling it (OPPS!). While it’s not the end of the world and you can definitely still season the outside, it’ll be much easier to season the pork when it’s laying flat on a surface with no stuffing rather than rolled into a log and stuffed to the brim. That way, you can massage it in with your hands and make sure you nicely season every inch (both front and back) before piling in the filling.
- Don’t overstuff the pork loin or you’ll lose half of the filling when trying to roll it into a log. Leave about an inch border all the way around to account for the moving and shifting of the filling.
- Use kitchen twine. The twine wraps around the pork loin and holds all that delicious stuffing in place. It also ensures that the pork loin doesn’t fall apart or open up while cooking.
- Don’t overcook your pork loin and use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Depending on its size, how you cut it and how full you stuffed it, it should take anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour to finish cooking. All ovens are different so keep checking starting at the 35 minute mark (residual heat will keep it cooking as it rests). A meat thermometer should register at 145°F when its done. Overcooking will dry it out.
- Allow the pork loin to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. This will redistribute its juices and firm it up a bit making it easier to cut without falling apart.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Depending on your recipe and cooking preference, cooking a pork tenderloin at either 350° or 400° will work just fine. Cooking it at 350° is more commonly recommended as it allows for even cooking and helps prevent overcooking, resulting in a moist and tender pork loin. Cooking it at 400° is still possible. However, it may require shorter cooking times and closer monitoring to avoid drying out.
Since this is a Stuffed Pork Loin recipe, I decided to crank the heat even higher (450°) jussst to make sure the insides get evenly cooked as well.
There are several methods for cooking pork tenderloin and IMHO, no one is better than the other! It really depends on your preferences and the flavour and texture you desire. Some popular ways of cooking pork tenderloin include roasting, grilling, searing and oven-baking, sous-viding or stir frying.
The key to remember when cooking pork loin regardless of the method is to use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 145°F for safe consumption while retaining juices.
To stuff a pork tenderloin, you’ll want to (do your best to) butterfly it which simply means creating a flat surface to spread your stuffing onto. Use a sharp kitchen knife and start at one end, making a vertical cut about an inch away from the side. Then, with your knife parallel to the cutting board, make a horizontal cut along the length of the tenderloin, rolling it out each time you cut. Stop about 1/2 inch from the other side, ensuring you don’t slice it all the way through. Open it up like a book and then, if you notice that it’s uneven or thicker in some areas, put a piece of plastic wrap over top and pound it thinner with a meat mallet.
If stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge, this Stuffed Pork tenderloin will last 3-4 days. When ready to reheat, simply pop it back into the oven or a microwave for a few minutes until heated through.
- 1 Center Cut Pork Loin, about 3 pounds
For the Seasoning
- 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 1 tsp Thyme
- 1 tsp Basil
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Pepper
- Pinch of Cayenne, optional
For the Filling/Stuffing
- 1/2 cup Fresh Cranberries
- 1/2 cup Goat Cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup Caramelized Onions*
- Preheat the oven to 450° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Trim the fat off the pork loin (if any) then butterfly it using a sharp knife (do your best, it doesn't have to be perfect). To do so, start at one end, making a vertical cut about an inch away from the side. Then, with your knife parallel to the cutting board, make a horizontal cut along the length of the tenderloin, rolling it out each time you cut. Stop about 1/2 inch from the other side, ensuring you don't slice it all the way through. Open it up like a book and then, if you notice that it's uneven or thicker in some areas, put a piece of plastic wrap over top and pound it thinner with a meat mallet.
- Mix all the spices in a bowl and rub evenly over all sides and crevices of the pork loin (see notes).
- Evenly distribute the caramelized onions, fresh cranberries and crumbled goat cheese over the pork loin leaving an inch border around the edges.
- Using both hands, tightly roll the pork loin to enclose all the fillings. You may need to use a fork or a skewer to hold everything in place.
- Using cooking twine, tie a few pieces around the loin to secure the filling and ensure it does not unravel while cooking. Transfer it to the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 40 minutes to an hour or until a meat thermometer registers the internal temp at 145°. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before removing the twine and slicing into thick pieces. Enjoy!
The time listed in this recipe card does not include the time it takes for the onions to caramelize. Follow my easy recipe for caramelizing onions (which you can prep in advance) HERE.
If you watch the video that goes along with this Stuffed Pork Loin recipe, you may notice that I forgot to season my pork loin before stuffing and rolling it (OPPS!). While it's not the end of the world and you can definitely still season the outside as I did, it'll be much easier to season the pork when it's laying flat on a surface with no stuffing rather than rolled into a log and stuffed to the brim. That way, you can massage it in with your hands and make sure every inch (both front and back) is nicely seasoned before piling in the filling.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 169Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 628mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 8g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
LOVE STUFFING FOOD AS MUCH AS I DO? YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE THESE FAVOURITES