I teamed up with the California Walnuts to bring you this Walnut Crusted Pork Tenderloin. I’ve been compensated for my time. All opinions are mine alone.
Walnut Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Orange Maple Glaze is an easy, delicious weeknight meal option. And it’s fast too, ready in 30 minutes or less. You’ll love these flavors at your holiday table, too!
How to make Walnut Crusted Pork Tenderloin:
Pork tenderloin is a cut of meat that is easy to work with and, when cooked properly, tender and juicy. The full recipe with exact quantities and instructions is below in the recipe card. This is just a guide for visual learners!
- Take your trimmed pork tenderloin and cut it into 1/2-inch medallions. Flatten them between two sheets of plastic wrap on a cutting board, and season with salt and pepper.
- Dip the medallions in maple syrup, then coat with finely crushed California walnuts. Normally I toast walnuts before I cook with them, but we’ll be cooking them in a pan later so there is no need to toast them in advance.
- Next, cook the walnut-crusted medallions in hot olive oil until browned on both sides and the internal temperature is 145 degrees. You can do this in batches if necessary.
- Transfer the pork to a serving platter. Deglaze the pan with orange marmalade, water, a bit of apple cider vinegar to cut the sweetness, and cumin and cayenne for warmth and spice. This only takes a minute or two to thicken.
- Drizzle the orange sauce over the pork and serve with the orange sauce and serve with your favorite sides!
Why coat pork tenderloin with walnuts?
You could coat your pork tenderloin in anything, or nothing, but I love walnuts because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (2.5g/oz of omega-3 ALA). Plus my kids love the extra crunch!
I always use California Walnuts to support the 4000+ growers and more than 100 handlers in my lovely state. 99% of the walnuts grown in the United States are grown in California’s Central Valley.
What is the best way to grind walnuts?
A small or medium food processor is excellent for chopping nuts finely.
- Add nuts to the bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse for a few seconds at a time until nuts are fine and evenly ground.
- Be careful not to process nuts for too long or they will become oily or turn into nut butter.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can certainly finely chop the walnuts by hand. I don’t recommend using a coffee grinder to chop nuts.
What is the difference between a pork loin and pork tenderloin?
Pork loin and tenderloin are both lean cuts of meat, but they are not the same! The tenderloin comes from a different part than the loin. Tenderloin is, as its name states, very tender. It is cut from alongside the backbone. Because it is lean and tender, it is best suited for quick-cooking.
The loin comes from from the back also, but not close to the backbone like the tenderloin. It’s very lean like tenderloin, but lends itself to slow-cooking or slow-roasting rather than quick methods. It’s also wide enough to be cut into steaks or boneless loin chops, as you’ll see them labeled in the meat section.
What should Pork Tenderloin look like when done?
It’s not so much what it looks like as what it feels like. It should be soft and squishy in the middle and firmer around the edges. This particular recipe specifies slices of tenderloin rather than cooking whole.
Can you eat slightly pink pork?
Eating slightly undercooked or very overcooked pork isn’t recommended except in a few rare instances. Pork should be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees per the USDA recommendations. Certain cuts are leaner and may dry out, so it can be tempting to undercook to preserve the texture. Pork that’s isn’t properly cooked imposes a danger of food borne illness, including parasites.
Pork tenderloin is one of the only cuts that can be eaten while slightly pink in the center (as long as you hit 145 degrees). All others should be cooked thoroughly until no pink remains.
Should you cover pork tenderloin in the oven?
It doesn’t always matter if the pork tenderloin is covered in the oven or not – I have used both methods.
The best way to keep the pork moist and juicy is to sear the outside of the tenderloin then cook for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size, in a moderately hot oven. Cooking pork at room temperature rather than cold out of the fridge will affect how evenly the pork cooks and the resulting texture.
Walnut Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Orange Maple Glaze Recipe
- 1 pork tenderloin about 1 1/2 pounds, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch medallions
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup divided
- 1 cup California Walnuts finely ground
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup orange marmalade
- 1/2 cup water
- 1-2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin ground
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 orange cut into wedges, for serving
- Cover a cutting board completely with a piece of plastic wrap. Arrange pork medallions in a single layer on the plastic wrap-covered cutting board. Cover with a second piece of plastic wrap. Pound medallions to an even thickness, about 1/4-inch. Remove top layer of plastic wrap and season to taste with salt and pepper (I like 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper).
- In a shallow dish, add 3 tablespoons maple syrup. In a second dish, add ground walnuts. Working with one medallion at a time, coat pork all over in syrup, then dredge in walnuts. Press down all over to make sure walnuts adhere well. Set aside and repeat with remaining medallions.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until shimmering. Working in batches if necessary, place walnut-crusted pork in a single layer. Cook until browned on one side, about 3 to 4 minutes, then flip. Continue cooking until pork reaches 145 degrees when tested with an internal thermometer, about 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a serving platter.
- To the same skillet, stir in orange marmalade, water, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, remaining 1 tablespoon syrup, cumin, and cayenne. Cook, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add another teaspoon of apple cider vinegar if the flavor is too sweet. Pour over pork. Serve with orange wedges.