What Is the Difference Between Pork Loin and Pork Tenderloin?

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Most people assume that pork loin and tenderloin are interchangeable. After all, it’s only pork, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, pork is not just pork. Different cuts of pork need different cooking techniques and timeframes.

pig loin and tenderloin are two distinct pig cuts. In fact, they are so dissimilar that there is a disagreement about whether cut of pork is superior.

However, before we get into the topic, let’s take a closer look at each cut of pork.

What Is Pork Loin?

The loin muscle is used to make pork loin. The loin muscle is a central muscle that runs from the pig’s shoulder to the tail.

To put it another way, pork loin is cut from the area between the ribs and the back fat.

This slim, broad rectangular cut is thick and wide. Because of its thick and delicious fat cap, pork loin is readily identified.

pig loin is often sold as a boneless roast and is also known as center loin roast or pig center rib roast. It is offered as a roast because it is simpler to slice a cooked roast.

Pork loin may also be cut into steaks similar to pork chops.

What is Pork Tenderloin? 

Tenderloin de porc is a long, thin cut of pork. In length and form, it is comparable to beef tenderloin.

meat tenderloin, on the other hand, is meat and has a deep crimson hue. Pork tenderloin is reddish in hue and made from pork.

Boneless pork tenderloin is also known as pork fillet or pork tender. Tenderloin of pork weights just one pound. As a result, they are sometimes marketed as a two-for-one bargain.

There is very little fat in pork tenderloin. It lacks a fat cap and marbling.

Pork Loin vs. Tenderloin

There are as many purists of pork loin as there are of pork tenderloin. Both slices are delectable in their own right.

However, each cut differs significantly, so let’s compare and contrast these pork slices to find which one is best.


The pork loin vs. pork tenderloin dispute is similar to the prime rib vs. ribeye discussion, particularly in terms of where each cut is located.

Pork loin is derived from the pig’s back.Pork shoulder, on the other hand, is made from the loin.Tenderloin is derived from the rear section of the pig loin.


When sold whole, pork loin appears broad and rounded. It may, however, be sliced into thick pork chops like steaks.

This does not imply that they can be prepared in the same manner as pork chops.Proceed with care since loin meat is harder than pork chops.

Pork tenderloin, on the other hand, has a round shape. It is, however, more thinner and longer than pork loin.

The flesh on one end of the pig tenderloin is thicker, while the meat on the other side tapers to a point resembling the tip of a tri-tip. To keep the tapered end from drying out, fold it in on itself.

Pork tenderloin is more substantial than pork tenderloin. Tenderloin of pork may weigh 4-5 pounds. Pork tenderloin, on the other hand, weights one pound.

In general, the color of both slices of pork may range from pale pink to dark pink. If the pork is deeper in color, this does not mean it is rotten or substandard.

It simply indicates that the pork has more myoglobin. Myoglobin is the chemical that gives the pig its pink hue.

More myoglobin provides more powerful taste and juicier texture in the pork.

Nonetheless, pig loin is light pink in hue, and pork tenderloin is dark pink and reddish in color.


Tenderloin of pork originates from an underutilized section. As a result, it is the most delicate cut of pork available.

Even the flesh in the shoulder becomes soft after hours of cooking; pig tenderloin is inherently tender.

Tenderloin, on the other hand, is a lean cut of pig. It has a somewhat harder texture than pork tenderloin. In terms of texture, pork tenderloin triumphs.


Pork tenderloin and loin cannot compete with the taste of pork shoulder. They just lack the fat that gives pig its juicy, wonderful taste.

Pork loin, on the other hand, is much more delicious than tenderloin. They receive a bit more activity since the loin is closer to the rear of the pig.

During the pig’s life, the tenderloin is seldom utilized. As a result, it’s soft and somewhat bland.

Nonetheless, this allows you to experiment with various spices. To enhance the taste of the port tenderloin, marinade it for 2-4 hours.

To marinade the meat, you may use spices such as paprika or cayenne pepper, herbs such as rosemary or thyme, and olive oil, or you can use a BBQ rub if you want a richer, more powerful taste.

However, do not marinate the pork tenderloin for an extended period of time, since this might cause the flesh to become mushy.

Furthermore, mustard-based sauces complement pig well, so don’t be afraid to combine it with a creamy mustard sauce or honey mustard sauce.

Cooking Methods

The loin of pork is a versatile cut of meat. It may be roasted or broiled in the oven, braised on the stovetop, or smoked in an electric smoker. You may even cook the pork loin steaks on your natural gas barbecue if you chop it into steaks.

Nonetheless, braising pig loin remains the most favored technique of cooking. If you’re going to braise the loin, avoid using too much liquid.

Cook it in a tiny amount of apple juice, apple cider, chicken broth, or water. Braising the loin in less liquid keeps the delicate meat from overcooking.

Tenderloin, on the other hand, may be pan-seared in a hot cast-iron skillet before finishing in a hot oven or grilling. Pork loin wins in the cooking category because it is more adaptable.

Cook Time

Because pork tenderloin is bigger than pork tenderloin, it will take longer to cook.Pork tenderloin, on the other hand, is leaner and thinner, so it cooks more quicker.

Pork tenderloin medallions cook much quicker if sliced into medallions. You’ll be devouring those scrumptious tiny medallions in a matter of minutes, so pork tenderloin wins this category.


If saving money is a top priority, pork loin outperforms its cousin.Tenderloin of pork may cost more than $10 per pound.

2 pence per pound.While $10 per pound may not seem to be much, pork tenderloin is just a pound. So, if you’re cooking for ten people, you’ll need at least one.

This will need 5 pounds of pork tenderloin, which may cost $50 or more.

2 pounds for each individual. As a result, if you wanted to serve 10 people, a pound of pork loin would cost $15 at $3.Pork loin, on the other hand, may be purchased for as low as $3 per pound.You will need 1

That’s a $35 save. You could probably spend the balance of the money to buy ingredients for side dishes like potatoes, rice, corn, or green beans to go with the pork loin.

Which Is Better, Pork Loin or Pork Tenderloin?

It is up to you to decide which cut of pork is best. Tenderloin is the most tender pig cut, so if softness is a top requirement, tenderloin may be the best choice.

However, tenderloin is pricey, so if money is a concern or you need to serve a large group, pork loin is the best option. Furthermore, pig loin can only be cooked in a few ways.

So, if you want something more adaptable or something that needs less work to prepare, the loin is the preferable choice.

If you want to have supper on the table as soon as possible, the tenderloin is the greatest option since it cooks rapidly.

Can You Substitute Pork Loin for Pork Tenderloin?

No, you cannot substitute pork loin for pork tenderloin. Both slices originate from the loin, although they are quite different.

They have various cooking times and procedures, so you’ll almost certainly end up with a ruined dish.

If you’re looking for a pork loin alternative, beef loin is your best bet. Beef tenderloin, on the other hand, is the finest replacement for pig loin.

Yes, both alternatives are from different animals, but they will provide greater outcomes than mixing the two cuts.

You will also need to alter the cooking time of the recipe since beef cooks quicker than pork.

Final Thoughts 

Pork tenderloin and loin are both derived from the same section of the pig. They are both low in fat and absorb marinades nicely, but they are not the same.

They vary in terms of cooking techniques, appearance, and cooking times.

However, the ideal cut of pork depends on your tastes. Both slices are equally excellent when cooked correctly.

As a result, you will be able to try each of these delectable slices before making your pick.

You might also be interested in:

  • Pork Shoulder Vs. Pork Butt
  • Pork Belly Vs. Bacon
  • Pork Loin Vs. Pork Shoulder
  • St Louis Ribs Vs. Baby Back Ribs
  • Baby Back Ribs Vs. Spare Ribs


Can I substitute pork loin for tenderloin?

Is it possible to substitute pork loin for pork tenderloin? No. Pork tenderloin and pork loin are not simply interchangeable in recipes—if you want to prepare a pork tenderloin dish, the time and heat indicators for a pork loin will be incorrect, and vice versa.

Do you cook pork loin and pork tenderloin the same?

The Primary Distinction

Pork tenderloin is best cooked fast over high heat, but pork loin lends itself nicely to prolonged roasting or grilling.

Is pork tenderloin cheaper than pork loin?

Tenderloin meat is darker in color than loin meat and has a milder, leaner taste. It is also more costly than pork loin, ranging from $2.99 to $3.99 per pound. Keep in mind that this is a very lean cut that might quickly overcook.

How do I know if I have a pork loin or pork tenderloin?

The size difference between pork loin and pork tenderloin is the most evident. The pork loin is broad and thick, with a substantial fat cap running along the top. In contrast, pork tenderloin is narrow and thin, with little to no visible fat.

Which is healthier pork loin or pork tenderloin?

Although pork tenderloin is the leanest cut, loin cuts such as pork chops and roasts are the next leanest with 147 calories and slightly more than 5 grams of fat per 3-ounce serving.

Why is my pork loin so tough?

Because pork chops are such a lean cut, they cook quickly and are prone to overcooking. When cooked for even a few minutes too long, whether in the oven, on the stovetop, or on the grill, they quickly dry up and become rough, chewy, and less than attractive.

Is it better to cook pork tenderloin fast or slow?

Tenderloins are ideal for cooking fast over high heat because to their size and structure. You want to be able to brown the exterior while keeping the interior a bit pink.

Which is bigger pork loin or pork tenderloin?

Size: Pork loin is a larger cut than pork tenderloin. A pig loin weighs around four to five pounds, whereas a pork tenderloin is about one pound. 4. Bones: pig loin cuts may be bone-in or boneless, while pig tenderloin is boneless.

Why does pork tenderloin come in two pieces?

4 pounds to 1 pound. Together, they are ideal for a family of four. It’s no coincidence that the tenderloins are wrapped in this manner.Pork tenderloins are especially appealing to tiny households due to their size. Tenderloins are often sold in packages of two, with each piece weighing three ounces.

Which pork loin is best?

What it is: If you love pork chops, pork tenderloin is the cut of meat for you. This is the most delicate cut of pork, taken from the loin. It readily absorbs flavors from marinades, rubs, and spices.

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