Dinner/ meat/ Thanksgiving

Baked turkey tenderloin

14 April 2021 By Aleksandra

This is absolutely the best recipe for baked turkey tenderloin! The meat is baked with aromatic butter mixed with herbs, garlic, and orange zest. It comes out tender, melt-in-your-mouth, so juicy. It’s perfectly spiced, fragrant, and baked to perfection.

Baked turkey tenderloin cut into slices on a white plate. Herbs in the background.

Turkey tenderloin

Turkey tenderloin is a tender and very lean piece of turkey. It is an underused muscle so it’s very tender – more than a main part of the turkey breast! Since it’s a very lean meat it doesn’t have much flavor on its own so you’ll need to add some fat to the meat (we’re adding butter that is slowly basting the meat as it melts) and lots of aromatic spices to make it taste amazing.

Is turkey tenderloin the same as turkey breast? No, turkey tenderloin is a small part of the whole turkey breast, it’s boneless and skinless (it’s found beneath the main part of the turkey breast).

Slices of baked turkey tenderloin on a white plate. Mashed potatoes and fresh herbs on the side.

Ingredients:

Here’s what you need to make baked turkey tenderloin:

  • Turkey tenderloin, obviously!
  • Butter
  • Fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme, and sage – they are often sold together in packages as ‘poultry seasoning’. You can also use dry herbs but I would chop dried rosemary very finely (or crush it using a pestle and mortar, you can also use a spice grinder) because it is very hard and can be unpleasant to eat. You will get a better flavor if you use fresh herbs. I would also recommend marinating the meat with the herb butter overnight in the fridge to soften dried herbs (and also make the meat more tender and tasty!).
  • Orange zest – it can not be omitted! It adds so much flavor and it literally perfumes the whole dish. It is something that takes a simple herb butter to another level.
  • Fresh garlic
  • Lemon juice (I forgot to show it in the photo!) – adds a nice tang and makes the meat more tender, especially if you leave it to marinate.
Labeled ingredients for baked turkey tenderloin.

Step by step instructions

Herb garlic butter in a small bowl. Turkey tenderloin with herb butter in a white baking dish.

STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C/Gas Mark 4 (if you have a convection oven, reduce the temperature by about 20° or follow the manufacturer’s instructions).

Prepare a baking dish, it should be just a little bit bigger than your piece of meat (so that the butter won’t burn at the bottom and be spoonable after baking, creating a sauce that you can drizzle over your turkey).

STEP 2: Make herb garlic orange butter: Mix the butter with finely chopped herbs, grated orange zest, and pressed clove garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

STEP 3: Spread the butter over turkey tenderloin: Pour the lemon juice all over turkey tenderloin, season it with salt and pepper on both sides, then spread the butter all over it (the butter won’t stick very good to the meat because of the lemon juice, but it doesn’t matter, just spread it as good as you can on all sides).

If you have time, leave the meat to marinate for 1 hour (or longer, overnight). Take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before you plan on baking it.

STEP 4: Bake for about 37-42 minutes depending on the size of the meat (37 minutes for 12 oz/350g tenderloin and 42 minutes for 15 oz/425g tenderloin).

Let it rest for 10 minutes then cut into slices and serve. Pour the aromatic butter from the baking dish over the meat.

Enjoy!

How to know if the meat is cooked through

To be sure that the meat is cooked through, check its internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the meat.

If you don’t have a thermometer (but you should, it’s super cheap and comes in handy when preparing so many dishes!), cut the meat in half in the thickest part – it should be white and the juices should run clean.

What temp should turkey tenderloin be cooked to? The temperature should be 165°F/74°C. I’m baking my meat to 158°F/70°C and after the resting time, it should come to the safe temperature of 165°F/74°C.

I love to use a grill thermometer for that (the one that has a probe connected to a long cable) – you can stick the probe into the meat before baking it, put the meat with the probe in the oven, and the thermometer that is outside (a thin cable goes through the closed oven door) will show you live the temperature inside your meat, so you know exactly when to take it out of the oven!

Please bear in mind, that the baking time may vary depending on the oven!

What to serve it with

How to make it different

We love this recipe but you could also prepare it differently:

Storage:

You can store baked turkey tenderloin for up to 3-4 days in the fridge. Reheat in an 320°F (160°C) oven, in a microwave or gently steam it (this is the best method for reheating lean poultry meat, without drying it out).

You can store unbaked turkey tenderloin for up to 2 days in the fridge. Butter will become solid and won’t look like a paste anymore, but this is fine. Take it out of the fridge 30-60 minutes before baking it.

You can freeze unbaked and baked tenderloin. Thaw before using and reheating.

Baked turkey tenderloin in a white baking dish.
Herb garlic orange butter smells insanely!

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Baked turkey tenderloin

Amazing turkey tenderloin slowly baked in the oven. The meat is baked with aromatic butter mixed with herbs, garlic, and orange zest. The meat comes out so tender, juicy, and flavorful!
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Baked turkey tenderloin on a white plate. Mashed potatoes and fresh herbs in the background.
Print Recipe
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Calories 323kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

  • 1 turkey tenderloin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter soft
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1 clove garlic pressed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C/Gas Mark 4 (if you have a convection oven, reduce the temperature by about 20° or follow the manufacturer's instructions).
  • Mix the butter with finely chopped herbs, grated orange zest, and pressed clove garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Prepare a baking dish, it should be just a little bit bigger than your piece of meat (so that the butter won’t burn at the bottom and be spoonable after baking, creating a sauce that you can drizzle over your turkey).
  • Pour the lemon juice all over turkey tenderloin, season it with salt and pepper on both sides, then spread the butter all over it (the butter won’t stick very good to the meat because of the lemon juice, but it doesn’t matter, just spread it as good as you can on all sides). If you have time, leave the meat to marinate for 1 hour (or longer, overnight). Take it out of the fridge 30 minutes before you plan on baking it.
  • Bake for about 37-42 minutes depending on the size of the meat (37 minutes for 12 oz/350g tenderloin and 42 minutes for 15 oz/425g tenderloin). To be sure that the meat is cooked through, check its internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the meat, the temperature should be 158°F/70°C (after the resting time it should come to the safe temperature of 165°F/74°C). The baking time may vary depending on the oven.
  • Let it rest for 10 minutes then cut into slices and serve. Pour the aromatic butter from the baking dish over the meat.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • You can also use dry herbs but I would chop dried rosemary very finely (or crush it using a pestle and mortar, you can also use a spice grinder) because it is very hard and can be unpleasant to eat. You will get a better flavor if you use fresh herbs. I would also recommend marinating the meat with the herb butter overnight in the fridge to soften dried herbs (and also make the meat more tender and tasty!).
  • Calories = 1 serving (1/2 o the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword baked turkey tenderloin, herb garlic turkey tenderloin

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