How to Cook a Delicious Pork Loin Roast
Here's a list of the ingredients you'll need.
- Pork Loin: You can use a 3 – 4 lb loin here. 3 lbs will bake closer to the lesser time the 4 lb closer to the greater time.
- Olive oil: You’ll need this to sear the roast and coat the garlic and herbs.
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper: Table salt or kosher salt work well. I like a fair amount of pepper with pork.
- Thyme, rosemary and sage: Fresh are best but dried will work fine too. You can look for a package of fresh poultry herbs which should have a blend of the three herbs.
- Garlic: Use fresh garlic for best flavor.
- Lemon zest or orange zest: This is an optional ingredient for a little extra flavor.
- Butter: Olive oil will work fine too. This is just used to make the roux for the gravy.
- Flour: This helps thicken the gravy.
- Low-sodium chicken broth: Needed for base for the gravy to add some extra flavor and moisture to the pork. Don’t sub water.
- Heavy cream: This is completely optional. It just adds some extra creaminess to the gravy.
Heat oven and skillet: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat (I like to use cast iron for nice browning).
- Dry exterior of roast: Dab pork loin dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
- Sear in oiled skillet: Heat 1 Tbsp oil in skillet and brown pork on all sides, about 2 minutes per side (8 minutes total).
- Place pork in roasting pan: Transfer pork to a roasting pan. Let cool a few minutes so it’s not too hot to handle.
- Mix seasonings and oil: Meanwhile in a small bowl stir together remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil with thyme, rosemary, sage, garlic and lemon zest.
- Coat roast with garlic-herb mixture: Using hands, spread mixture over roast (on all sides, note it doesn’t stick perfectly well and that’s ok if some falls from the sides, just sneak it under the roast to season it). Roast should be fat side up for baking.
- Insert oven thermometer: Insert an oven probe thermometer (I love this one) into center of middle area pork loin (if you don’t have one use a standard probe thermometer to test temperature occasionally).
- Bake until cooked through: Cook pork in preheated oven until center of mid area registers 145 degrees on thermometer, about 50 – 70 minutes.
- Rest before carving: Remove from oven, transfer to carving board. Tent roast with foil and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Safe Cooking Temperature for Pork Loin
Pork loins should be cooked to 145°F in the center of the loin.
- A pinkish color is acceptable for pork, provided it has been Cooked to the proper temperature.
Cooking Tips That Are Really Helpful
Don’t skip searing the pork loin for that extra added layer of flavor. It also seasons the drippings.
- Also it’s helpful to dry first with paper towels to remove extra moisture from exterior so it browns better.
- Test temperature with a thermometer for doneness rather than guessing or basing it off color.
- Careful not to over-cook or it starts to dry.
- Let rest before carving to allow juices to evenly distribute so they don’t just end up on the carving board.
Pork Shoulder vs. Pork Tenderloin: What's the Difference?
- A tenderloin is a leaner and thinner cut than this one.
- It is cut from the pigs back.
- It's available in boneless or bone-in form.
- There is a fatty cap that spans the length of one side (which should be kept during cooking to help moisture).
- The remainder of the meat is mostly lean.
- It has a pleasant, light taste.
- When cooked properly it should be tender. It is best seared then cooked low and slow for most tenderness.
- The most notable distinction is that a pork tenderloin is smaller, thinner, and narrower than a beef fillet.
- This cut takes less time to cook and can be prepared at higher temperatures.
- It's the muscle that runs along the back of a pig and is taken from the loin.
- It's one of the most delicate cuts of pork, and it has a mild flavor.
- This is taken from the shoulder of a pig's upper half.
- It is a generally wider, larger cut than pork loin
- It's well marbled with fat throughout and has a lot of connective tissue.