This perfectly balanced Easy Pork Tenderloin Marinade is a simple way to infuse delicious flavor into your grilled pork!

Marinades are liquids with an acid and seasonings that will tenderize as well as create a moist, tasty dish! 

Slices of grilled pork tenderloin with a green salad and a red handled fork on a white ceramic plate.


Why You Must Make

  • It complements the pork perfectly with a combination of sweet and savory flavors.
  • Grilling adds a bonus of smoky nuances.
  • The pork is fork-tender since the lemon juice in the marinade acts as a tenderizer.
Easy Pork Tenderloin Marinade Ingredients on a sheet pan with labels.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Olive Oil, Brown Sugar, Kosher Salt, Freshly Ground Black Pepper, Soy Sauce, Garlic
  • Pork tenderloin – Have your butcher remove any silverskin which is tough or you can do it at home with a sharp knife. Just slide your knife right beneath the layer to pull the edge up, then pull off.
  • Dijon Mustard – I use Grey Poupon
  • Lemon Juice – Always freshly squeezed, never bottled. You can keep the leftover lemon juice in the freezer for future recipes. I use a small Rubbermaid container.
  • Fresh Thyme – In a pinch, you can use dried herbs in place of fresh herbs. Use 1 teaspoon for each tablespoon.

How to Make

Sliced pork tenderloin on a white tray grilled with an easy pork marinade.

Expert Tips

  • PRO-Tip: Marinate in either a gallon Ziploc bag or a non-reactive dish (glass, Pyrex, or ceramic). The acid in the marinade can react with metal so avoid using a metal pan to marinate.
  • Pork can be marinated for up to 12 hours. Marinating for 24+ hours could possibly break down the muscle fibers and make the meat mushy, dry or tough.
  • PRO-Tip: Marinate in the refrigerator, but the pork should be brought out and kept at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before grilling. This will help for more even cooking.
  • Grill to at least 135°, then cover with foil to rest for 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute and the internal temperature to rise another 10° to 145°, the FDA’s recommendation for safety.
  • The brown sugar and oil in the marinade may flare up during grilling, so having a water bottle nearby helps to minimize unwanted charring.
  • If you can’t grill this pork, you can roast it in the oven. Just check the temperature with a meat thermometer for doneness.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Flavors Complement Pork?

When seasoning pork or putting together a marinade, the flavors from garlic, mustard, and ginger go great with pork. Also, consider herbs like thyme, oregano, rosemary, and sage along with celery seed which also pair well with pork.

What Side Dishes Can You Serve with Grilled Pork?

A classic pairing is pork and apples, so saute some apples in butter with just a light sprinkle of sugar or make homemade applesauce to serve with your pork dish. Roasted potatoes, twice-baked potatoes, a green salad, and roasted vegetables are excellent options to round out your meal.

How Long Should You Marinate Pork?

To get the most flavor from your marinade, pork should marinate 3-12 hours. Check out my post with loads of marinade recipes and tips for more details.

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Tenderloin slices on a white plate with salad

Easy Pork Tenderloin Marinade

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Additional Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 25 minutes
Yield 6 servings

A well balanced sweet and savory marinade adds delicious flavor to pork tenderloin.


  • 2 pork tenderloins, should total 2-2½ pounds, trimmed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced


  1. In a large Pyrex measuring cup or mixing bowl, whisk together all the marinade ingredients.
  2. Place the pork in a large Ziploc bag or a Pyrex casserole dish.
  3. Add the marinade to the bag or dish, turning the pork so that all sides are coated with marinade.
  4. If using a dish, cover it with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for up to 12 hours, turning 2 or 3 times.
  5. Grill until the internal temperature reaches 135°. Place the pork on a platter, cover with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  6. Toss the marinade. It's not safe to reuse.


This recipe is adapted from Dinner at the Zoo.

If you don't have fresh thyme, you may use 1 teaspoon of dried thyme for the 1 tablespoon of fresh.

Covering the pork with foil and letting it rest will allow the internal temperature to rise to 145°, the FDA's recommended serving temperature.

Never reuse the marinade as it's contaminated with raw meat juices.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 151Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 711mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 8g occasionally offers nutritional information for recipes contained on this site. This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe. Also, many recipes on recommend toppings, which may or may not be listed as optional and nutritional information for these added toppings is not listed. Other factors may change the nutritional information such as when the salt amount is listed “to taste,” it is not calculated into the recipe as the amount will vary. Also, different online calculators can provide different results. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information obtained is accurate.


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