This cranberry balsamic pork tenderloin is quick, easy and delicious! Make it with store-bought cranberry sauce, left-over cranberry sauce or make your own from fresh or frozen cranberries.
This cranberry balsamic pork tenderloin is a favourite dish of mine and one I have been making for years! It is one of those perfect trifecta recipes – quick, easy and delicious. It’s solid and reliable and special enough for company, too.
I was inspired to make this one again this week to use up some leftover Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. If you have leftover cranberry sauce, this dish is a perfect use for some of it! The beautiful thing about this dish though, is that is it just as lovely with canned whole berry cranberry sauce, so it can be made easily any time of year.
Pork: You can use two small or one large pork tenderloin here. About 1 1/2-2 lbs. total is good. I find the smaller ones fit nicely in my smaller cast iron frying pan and I can often find the two-pack of small pork tenderloins at a good price.
Balsamic Vinegar: Any nice balsamic vinegar will work here. Feel free to add a touch more, if you feel it needs it.
Cranberry Sauce: As noted above, this is a great recipe to use up leftover Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. If you have some fresh cranberries, you can also make a quick cranberry sauce (recipe below!). You can store-bought canned cranberry if you like. Look for the “whole berry” cranberry sauce, for a more interesting sauce with the bits of cranberry.
- While this recipe is a great use for leftover cranberry, I find the sauce is a little thicker/more syrupy when I use canned cranberry sauce. The taste is delicious either way though.
- You can use use fresh rosemary instead of thyme, if you prefer or for a change.
- If you’d like to make this ahead, simply cook as directed, except undercook the pork just slightly (cook it to 145F internal temperature. Let cool a bit, then cover with foil and refrigerate. Remove from fridge for about 20 minutes before reheating loosely covered in foil in a 350F oven until warmed through.
- A small boneless, centre-cut pork loin roast could also be used for this recipe. The oven cooking time will increase considerably. Simply cook it at 375F for the oven roasting, until the internal temperature registers 145F.
- It’s now recommended that pork be cooked only to 145F (lowered from 160F) internal temperature. This produces a tender and moist “medium” cooked pork, with a touch of pink in the middle.
- When testing your pork with a thermometer, be sure that you aren’t inserting it too far in and too close to the bottom of the pan, or your reading will be artificially high. Aim for the centre of the pork, which is only about 1 inch in. Allow you pork to rest at least 5 minutes.
This is an easy, one-pan recipe! I love to use my cast-iron skillet, as it goes easily from stove-top to oven.
A Quick and Easy Cranberry Sauce Recipe
If you have some fresh or frozen cranberries on hand and a little extra time, you can quickly turn them in to some cranberry sauce to use for this dish. Here’s my quick and easy Cranberry Sauce recipe (it’s the one I use every Thanksgiving!)
12-oz bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup water
Pinch cinnamon (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, then cook, stirring, until cranberries are mostly popped. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Let cool a few minutes, then cover and refrigerate. Mixture will thicken as it cools in the refrigerator.
What to Serve with Cranberry Balsamic Pork Tenderloin
The plentiful and delicious balsamic cranberry sauce is perfect with mashed potatoes. I have also served it with mashed sweet potatoes or roasted mini or sweet potatoes. Cauliflower mash would also be good here.
A green vegetable makes for a pretty plate, such as broccoli, green beans, broccolini etc., but as this is a nice Fall and Winter dish, carrots or squash would also be nice on the side.
Get the Recipe: Cranberry Balsamic Pork Tenderloin
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin, 1 large or 2 small pork tenderloins
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 2/3 cup canned whole berry cranberry sauce, or homemade cranberry sauce (see easy recipe in post above)
- 3-4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- Melt 1 Tbsp butter in an ovenproof skillet (such as cast-iron) over medium-high heat.
- Remove the silverskin and any visible fat from pork. Pat dry with a paper towel and sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Sear pork in hot skillet, cooking on all sides, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Place skillet with pork into the preheated oven. Roast pork until thermometer inserted into centre registers 145° F, about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your pork.
- Remove skillet from oven. and remove pork to plate. Loosely place a sheet of aluminum foil over pork. Melt remaining 1 Tbsp butter in the same skillet on the stove-top over medium-high heat. Add the onion and thyme and sauté, stirring until the onion softens, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, cranberry sauce and balsamic vinegar and whisk until cranberry sauce melts, about 2 minutes. Boil until sauce is syrupy and reduced, about 8-10 minutes. Taste sauce and season as needed with salt and pepper. *If sauce get too thick, thin with a splash more chicken broth.
- Remove foil from pork and add any juice on the plate to the sauce in the skillet. Add whole pork tenderloin into the warm sauce and allow the pork to re-warm in the sauce. To serve, remove pork to a serving plate and spoon sauce over and around the pork. Serve pork sliced with a spoonful of sauce
It was super good! Someone said they would serve it at Christmas and I agree. It would be a delicious Christmas entree. Tenderloin was so tender, and the sauce had so much flavor to compliment the pork. Thanks for the recipe!
So glad you enjoyed it, Michele :) Thanks so much!
Fantastic I would only cook pork till 140 degrees as it sits will come up to temp but Fantastic flavors thank you for this
Glad you enjoyed it, Sheila. Thanks so much :)
This recipe is just super-delicious! I’ve followed it to the last detail. Served it with baked sweet potatoes and steamed peas. It is now a sure rotation dish is my home. A great alternative to serve pork tenderloin. Thank you Jennifer.
So glad you are enjoying it, Liliana :) Thanks so much!
Hi from the Ottawa Valley! I just found your blog and have spent the past hour reading while I have my morning coffee. I’m finding so many recipes to try! Especially this one – it’s Thanksgiving weekend and my husband isn’t a fan of traditional turkey, but loves his cranberry sauce. This will make a perfect Thanksgiving dinner, after with your Cranberry Buckle cake (a term I have never heard before) for breakfast. Thank you!
Hi Andrea and do enjoy the pork. It’s one of my favourite ways to cook pork tenderloin, especially this time of year! Happy Thanksgiving :)
I love the flavours of the cranberry and balsamic vinegar. (I always have homemade cranberry sauce in the fridge and berries in the freezer!) This was so delicious and easy to put together. I made a 1 pound tenderloin with the full sauce recipe and paired it with mashed potatoes and a salad. I’ll be making this often. Thanks for a great recipe.
So glad you enjoyed it, Julie :) It’s one of my favourites. I never tire of that flavour combination and like you, I have a freezer full of cranberries. Thanks!
Jennifer, what do you typically pair with this lovely dish?
Hi Shayna, I often do mashed potatoes, sometimes dressed up with either garlic or sour cream. I think it would also be nice with a brown/wild rice blend, for something a little different.
Absolutely great!! Easy to prepare and a joy to eat . Great sauce!!
So glad you enjoyed it! It’s one of my favourites and especially nice this time of year. Thanks :)
Thanks for this recipe…it was really delicious. I made it with your cranberry sauce and served it with mashed potatoes, roasted carrots and Brussels sprouts. So good!
So glad you enjoyed it, Faye! Thanks so much :)
I remember this dish Jennifer! And I’ve made it to rave reviews at our house!
So glad you enjoyed it, Mary Ann! Thanks :)
Another mouthwatering recipe I have to try! We love pork tenderloin and I bet it is fantastic with that cranberry balsamic sauce. A five star recipe all the way!
Thanks Tricia! It’s in regular rotation here in the Fall and Winter :)
So glad you brought this dish back into the spotlight. Definitely a keeper recipe, love all the flavors in it!
Thanks Milena :)
You can never go wrong with pork tenderloin and these flavors are beyond mouthwatering!! Can’t wait to make it!!
Thanks Annie :)
Jennifer, you had me on the title alone! I didn’t even have to read the recipe to know I want to make this one. I make a cranberry balsamic salad dressing, so I love the flavour combo you have going on here. Pairing those flavours with pork is such a great idea!
Thanks Leanne! It is a classic combination and goes just so nicely with pork :)
What temperature should the oven be preheated to for the pork to roast? Thanks
Sorry Holly. I just updated my recipe plugin and that instruction must have dropped off. It’s 450F. I’ve added it to the instructions. Thanks for letting me know :)
Recently made this and WOW!!!! Had homemade cranberry sauce leftover. So easy & tasty! Ran into a slight problem – would have liked a second tenderloin! Next time!!
Since there’s just the two of us, it’s been decided that this will be our Christmas main. Will repeat with roasted mini potatoes & a whole baked buttercup squash.
A home run in this household!!
So glad you enjoyed it, Irene and I think this is the PERFECT dish for a Christmas main :)
I love the combination of colors, flavors and textures in this dinner Jennifer. The pork tenderloin sounds so simple to make and I bet that sauce is full of wonderful flavor!
Thanks so much, Chris :)
This meal blows me away, Jennifer. I love that some of our best meals are with super flavorful, healthy ingredients. So colourful, too! I get my pork at an organic farm close by and I can’t wait to taste this. I love cranberry sauce and I keep forgetting that we can use it throughout the year, lol.
Thanks for a fabulous recipe!
Thanks Robyn. And so true! I eat cranberry sauce year round. I love it on sandwiches :)
What a lovely recipe, Jennifer! I love pork tenderloin and you are absolutely right about cranberries. I often get so annoyed with strictly “seasonal” recipes! I have cranberries in my freezer the whole year! Delicious!
Thanks Julia and yes, I have cranberries in my freezer year round as well. They are great for baking, too!
Oh wow Jennifer this pork tenderloin sounds amazing!! The combination of balsamic and cranberries with that juicy meat is making my mouth water!
Thanks Linda. This dish never disappoints. So simply but full of flavour!
What a fantastic meal, so pretty and the flavors are out of this world, I can almost smell the deliciousness from here.
Thanks Diane. Definitely eating my colours here :)
I love these flavors, what a great looking meal! And that side of sweet potatoes and spinach is calling my name!
Thanks Laura. Sweet potatoes are one of my favourite easy sides. Just cut and roast. And so yummy!
Oh my goodness Jennifer, I wish I was coming to your house for dinner to enjoy this dish! Perfect with the sweet potatoes and wilted spinach! A win-win-win!!
Thanks so much, Mary Ann :)
You are the queen of comfort food, Jennifer — just reading about the cranberries and balsamic vinegar has my mouth watering — sharing and pinning!
Thanks Sue. I cook meals like this more for my husband, than myself. This is MY version of “meat and potatoes” though ;)
Uhm… dream come true recipe right here. I love all your posts!!! I am always game for pork tenderloin with some sort of sweet chutney type sauce. Looks perfect for the end of winter! And perfect for this weekend :)
Thanks so much, Sarah. I love pork tenderloin, so I have tons of ways to cook it. It’s a nice change from all the chicken :)
I must put this on my list – it sounds and looks perfectly moist and tender. Love those special finds in the bottom of the freezer – kind of like dumpster diving! I’ve started a spring cleaning of my freezer(s) with a feeling of urgency over all the frozen treasurers that are getting to the “age” of no return. Have a great weekend!
Thanks Tricia and yes, I found some great things in the freezer and so glad I caught them before it was too late :)
Outstanding ! I wouldn’t change a thing . You’ve got to make this.
Thanks so much, Jayne :)