Can you air fry pork tenderloin (AKA pork fillet)? You bet! You’re going to love my bacon wrapped pork tenderloin air fryer recipe. It’s the best way to cook pork tenderloin while keeping it juicy and moist. Read on to learn how long it takes to cook pork tenderloin in an air fryer and what temp you should cook pork tenderloin!
A quick pork tenderloin recipe is what’s on today’s menu. Guys, I am SO excited to share this one.
We’re making pretty much the tastiest, most moist pork tenderloin ever. And we don’t even need to use a marinade or brine. It’s so EASY to put together, and cooks in a mere 30 minutes.
You know this one is going to be good because it’s inspired by the famous Bacon Explosion recipe. In that recipe, sausage and bacon is seasoned with a BBQ rub before being stuffed into more bacon. Then everything is put in the smoker, and finished with a glaze of barbecue sauce at the end. *Drool*
What I did here was make a lighter (but still freaking delicious) version. Instead of a filling of sausage and bacon, I’m using a lean pork tenderloin. We’re going to keep the bacon wrapper though; it’s the secret to keeping the pork tenderloin moist.
After making this air fryer pork tenderloin, you might never want to make this meat another way again! It’s just that tasty. (You’ve been warned!)
- 📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
- ⭐ Benefits
- 🥘 Ingredients
- 🐖 Pork Tenderloin vs Pork Loin vs Pork Sirloin
- 🧂 Seasonings for Pork Tenderloin
- 🍽 Equipment
- 🔪 How to Make Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
- ️⏲ Cooking Time and Temperature
- ️🌡️ Leftovers
- 🥗 Side Dishes
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Air Fryer Pork Recipes
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
📋 Calories, Net Carbs, Protein
One serving of this recipe for fillet of pork has 320 calories, 4 grams net carbs, and 43.5 grams protein. If you use BBQ sauce and bacon with added sugar, your macros will be different.
Why make air fryer pork fillet? Here are some reasons you might like this one:
- Keto and low carb: This recipe contains only 4 grams of net carbs per serving. It is a good fit for most very low carb diets.
- Gluten free, Paleo, Whole30: My air fryer pork tenderloin also fits a variety of other special diets, depending on the BBQ seasoning and BBQ sauce you use. This includes dairy free, gluten free, Paleo, and Whole 30 diets.
- High-quality protein: You are getting over 40 grams of filling protein with each generous serving of this recipe. If you're looking for a high protein main dish, pork tenderloin is a great choice.
- Essential nutrients: Pork is a rich source of B-complex vitamins, as well as minerals such as zinc. If you don’t eat grains (such as on some of the diets mentioned above) pork is another way to get vitamin B1, B2, and B3.
- Keeps the pork moist: The circulating heat in the air fryer can really dry out lean proteins if they’re cooked improperly. This recipe does a wonderful job keeping lean pork tenderloin moist. Call it the magic of a little bacon. Haha
- SO scrumptious: This is hands down one of the best ways to cook pork tenderloin I’ve ever tried. I’m so glad I get to share it with you!
What do you need to make air fryer pork tenderloin? Believe it or not, all you need is four simple ingredients!
- 1½-lb (680 grams) Pork Tenderloin
- No Sugar Bacon (not thick-cut bacon)
- Barbeque Seasoning Rub (I LOVE the Classic BBQ Seasoning by Noble Made)
- Sugar-Free BBQ sauce
For the best results, choose a pork tenderloin that is evenly thick from the middle to the ends. Sometimes the ends of a piece of pork tenderloin have a smaller diameter than the middle. This can result in uneven cooking, so try to get one with uniform thickness if possible.
In the U.S., you can find inexpensive pork tenderloin at Costco and Trader Joe’s. The one I’m using is from a local supermarket chain.
Pork tenderloins typically run from 1-1½ lbs. (454-680 grams). You want one that is on the upper end of this range for this air fryer recipe.
I’m recommending both bacon and BBQ sauce without added sugar. This isn’t because they are a bit healthier (though that’s not a bad reason). You should go with sugar-free bacon and BBQ sauce here because there’s less risk they’ll burn in the air fryer.
I used a whole pack of bacon (9 strips) for this recipe. You might want a little more or less bacon depending on the length of the pork tenderloin you’re wrapping.
🐖 Pork Tenderloin vs Pork Loin vs Pork Sirloin
Are pork loin and pork tenderloin the same thing? What about pork sirloin? There’s a big difference between pork tenderloin and pork loin in size. They CANNOT be used interchangeably in this recipe.
According to The Kitchn, pork loin is typically a 2-5 lbs. (0.9-2.3 kg) roast cut from the back of the pig. It can be boneless or bone-in. It’s wide enough to be cut into steaks.
Pork tenderloin is long, thin, and much smaller- often 1-1½ lbs. (454-680 grams) in size. It’s a boneless cut from a muscle that runs along the spine of the pig. In line with its name, tenderloin is the most tender cut of pork.
(That said, preparation is key. It’s possible to make other cuts of pork just about as tender as a tenderloin with the right cooking method.)
Pork sirloin roasts are taken from the end of the pork loin. Like pork tenderloin, pork sirloin is lean, but tends to be a bit less tender.
🧂 Seasonings for Pork Tenderloin
How to season pork tenderloin? If you don’t like the BBQ seasoning I’m using here, try one of these:
- Crushed garlic cloves or garlic powder
- Chili powder
- Ground mustard
- Cayenne pepper
- Smoked paprika
- Steak seasoning
- Cajun spice
- Jerk seasoning
- Salt and black pepper
To make bacon wrapped pork tenderloin in the air fryer, you need (you guessed it!) an air fryer. I also recommend having kitchen twine and a brush for brushing on the BBQ sauce. A meat thermometer is important when air frying pork to ensure it is properly cooked.
A large air fryer is best for this recipe. The bacon wrapped pork tenderloin may not be able to fit into a small air fryer basket. I use a 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven.
You may be able to make this recipe with the Ninja Foodi, Cuisinart, Philips, Power Air Fryer, Pampered Chef Air Fryer, Actifry, Cosori, Nuwave, Instant Vortex, etc. However, the pork tenderloin will need to fit!
If your air fryer is small, you could experiment with cutting the pork tenderloin in half and making two small air fryer tenderloins. You may need to adjust the cooking times if you try this.
🔪 How to Make Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
Let’s learn how to make bacon wrapped pork tenderloin in the air fryer! I think you’re going to enjoy this little tutorial on how to air fry pork fillet. It’s a fun one!
If your pork tenderloin has silver skin (a silvery membrane), it's best to use a knife to remove it before beginning recipe. It shouldn’t ruin the dish if you skip this step, but there’s a risk the cooked pork tenderloin may curl. (In full disclosure, I tend to be lazy about silver skin removal, but it’s good to do...)
Start by laying five pieces of raw bacon parallel to each other on a clean surface. Now take four pieces of bacon and weave them into the five pieces of bacon perpendicularly.
What you’re doing essentially is creating a woven mat of bacon. A raw bacon placemat, if you will. Heh heh
(I feel like it’s easier to see this whole bacon weaving thing than explain. So, definitely check out the recipe video below!)
Next, season your pork tenderloin on all sides with the BBQ seasoning. I like to generously rub it on there because it is some seriously good stuff!
Carefully roll your bacon mat around the seasoned tenderloin. The pork tenderloin should be covered all along its length with the bacon mat. If you have a particularly long tenderloin, you could always add more slices of bacon to the ends.
Don’t worry if you can see some pork tenderloin through holes in the mat. The bacon shrinks when cooking, so there will be exposed tenderloin by the end either way.
Secure the bacon to the pork tenderloin with kitchen twine. I ended up tying the bacon to the pork tenderloin in 5 places. (Again, the recipe video is great for visuals here.)
️⏲ Cooking Time and Temperature
How long to cook pork tenderloin in an air fryer? Bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin takes a total of 30 minutes in an air fryer set to 400F (200C).
Put the pork tenderloin on an air fryer tray in the middle of the air fryer oven. (This is the lower rack position in my oven.) Begin by air frying for 20 minutes at 400F (200C), flipping the pork tenderloin over after 10 minutes.
Now remove the pork tenderloin from the air fryer and flip it again. Generously brush the top and sides with the BBQ sauce. Return the BBQ pork tenderloin to the middle of the air fryer. Air fry an additional 10 minutes at 400F (200C).
Check the thickest part of the air fried pork tenderloin with a meat thermometer. If it hasn’t reached the minimum safe internal temperature of 145F (63C), you should air fry it for a few minutes longer.
BTW, if you’re wondering, “Can you overcook pork tenderloin?” the answer is yes. In this case, our bacon “shield” affords a little extra protection to help keep the pork tenderloin from drying out. However, I’d still watch it carefully if you need to go past the 30 minutes air frying time.
After air frying, let your bacon pork tenderloin rest for 5-10 minutes. Then you can clip the twine, slice the tenderloin, and enjoy!
What can you do with leftover pork tenderloin? Use slices in sandwiches or chop it up and add it to salads, soups, and casseroles. It’s also yummy in pork fried rice, hash, and tacos.
Air fried pork tenderloin will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge; however, the bacon will lose its crispness. Store it in a covered container to help keep it from drying out.
🥗 Side Dishes
What to serve with air fryer pork tenderloin? Here are some ideas for side dishes that go with pork tenderloin:
- Smoked Mac and Cheese
- Air Fryer Frozen Sweet Potato Fries
- Air Fryer Frozen French Fries
- Kale Apple Slaw
- Air Fryer Radishes (Keto alternative to loaded potatoes)
And maybe try this Sugar-Free Apple Crisp for dessert! 🙂
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). Any recipe wrapped in bacon and based on the bacon explosion probably isn’t going to be the lightest dish! I’m thinking there’s no surprises here that this one is a level 3.
Bacon aside, some cuts of pork (including pork tenderloin) are actually lean proteins. In fact, pork tenderloin is about as lean as chicken breast! Chicken breast provides 3.6 grams fat per 100 grams, while pork tenderloin has 3.5 grams fat per 100 grams.
Pork tenderloin is so lean that the dry heat of an air fryer can overcook it quickly. (This is actually an issue with air frying a lot of thicker cuts of lean meats.) If you aren’t careful, the outer surfaces of the pork loin will overcook while waiting for the inside to finish cooking.
My delicious solution to prevent this problem was to wrap the pork tenderloin in bacon. The bacon, of course, negates the leanness of the entrée. (I’m totally willing to go this route for the flavor factor alone.)
If you wanted to keep your pork tenderloin low fat and low calorie, you do have a few options without bacon. You could try marinating or brining pork tenderloin before air frying. This should help to keep the pork moist and juicy while it cooks.
You could also serve the pork tenderloin with a fruit sauce or salsa that adds moisture. I love pork with this slow cooker applesauce, though pear cranberry salsa or cherry peach salsa is also wonderful.
Of course, if you were going to make the bacon explosion and then you made this instead, you’ve already lightened up your meal. (It’s all relative, see? Haha)
It’s possible to make air fryer frozen pork tenderloin, but you need to be careful to prevent overcooking. Try cooking at 325F (163C) for 30-40 minutes, just until it reaches the minimum safe internal temp of 145F (63C). Spray with oil or brush with marinade or sauce as it thaws to prevent it from drying out.
There are lots of recipes out there for oven-baked pork tenderloin. This Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Mustard Sauce looks particularly amazing, and is definitely on my to-do list.
If you’re slow cooking a pork butt, yes, longer cooking times can make it more tender. For lean pork chops and pork tenderloin, prolonged cooking times will dry them out. Marinating or brining your pork tenderloin can help keep it tender.
Maybe, since the color of pork isn’t necessarily a good indicator of doneness. The minimum safe internal temperature for pork roasts is 145F (63C). For ground pork, it is 160F (71C) and for leftover pork in mixed dishes it is 165F (74C).
Yes, you can make air fryer rotisserie pork tenderloin. If your air fryer spit doesn’t have a spike on the end, you’d need to secure the tenderloin to the spit with kitchen twine.
Yes! Most of the recipes I’ve seen for Instant Pot pork tenderloin use a glaze, sauce, or gravy to keep it moist. As always, you want to ensure it gets to the safe minimum temperature without overcooking it.
👩🏻🍳 Other Air Fryer Pork Recipes
What are some other ways to cook pork in an air fryer? Check out these air fryer recipes using pork next:
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin (Air Fryer Pork Fillet)
- 1½ lbs pork tenderloin (680 grams; unseasoned and even thickness throughout the length)
- 9 strips bacon (not thick-cut bacon; choose one with no added sugar)
- BBQ seasoning (I like this one)
- 4 tablespoons BBQ sauce with no added sugar (may need a little more or less depending on the thickness of the sauce)
- Let the pork tenderloin rest at room temperature for one hour if you have time. If your pork tenderloin has silver skin (a silvery membrane), use a knife to remove it before beginning recipe. (Full disclosure: I never do this, but you're supposed to when making tenderloin.)
- Lay five pieces of raw bacon parallel to each other on a clean surface. Take the remaining four pieces of bacon and weave them into the five pieces of bacon to make a bacon mat. (Check out the recipe video below for visuals!)
- Season the pork tenderloin generously on all sides with the BBQ seasoning.
- Carefully roll your bacon mat around the seasoned tenderloin. The pork tenderloin should be covered all along its length with the bacon mat. If you have a particularly long tenderloin, you could always add more slices of bacon to the ends.
- Tie the bacon to the pork tenderloin with kitchen twine. Secure it in five places.
- Put the pork tenderloin on an air fryer tray in the middle of the air fryer oven. (This is the lower rack position in my oven.) Air fry for 20 minutes at 400°F (200°C), flipping the pork tenderloin over after 10 minutes.
- Remove the pork tenderloin from the air fryer and flip it again. Generously brush the top and sides with the BBQ sauce using a pastry brush. Return the pork tenderloin to the middle of the air fryer. Air fry an additional 10 minutes at 400°F (200°C).
- Check the thickest part of the pork tenderloin with a meat thermometer to ensure it reached a minimum safe internal temperature of 145°F (63°C).
- Let the pork tenderloin rest for 5-10 minutes before clipping the twine and cutting it into slices.