If you’re looking for a quick and delicious way to cook pork tenderloin then look no further! My simple step by step instructions will show you how to Air Fry Pork Fillet to perfection. By air frying, you’ll achieve a perfectly even cook on this lean and tender but still juicy cut of pork.
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Pork fillet isn’t a cut that I buy terribly often but since developing this recipe I’ll be buying it more. In fact I already have another in the freezer ready to go.
Fans of lean meat will obviously only see the low fat and marbling content of a pork fillet as a positive. But on the whole I’m a fatty pork belly or pork chop kind of girly so I’ve tended to avoid it. But I was wrong, even without the fat, the meat can stay soft and juicy. Plus it has much more flavour than I expected. Using really good quality pork will only increase that great flavour.
Air frying is definitely one of the reasons that I’ve enjoyed eating the tenderloin so much. With the air circulating, the pork cooks super evenly. This is much harder to achieve in an oven and way harder in a pan on the stove. It’s a speedy cook too and pretty hands off which can only be a good thing!
How to Serve Air Fried Whole Pork Fillet
It is important to allow the cooked fillet to rest for a few minutes before slicing or serving. This gives it time to relax – the meat will be more tender to eat and less of the moist juices will be lost as you carve it.
I almost always slice the fillet before serving. I slice at around 1cm/half inch thick which is how I find it most enjoyable to eat. You should always slice into rounds which is across the grain of the meat and never down the length of the tenderloin.
I’ve always tended to associate a fillet with “fine dining” type meals but really it’s just as versatile as any other cut of pork. I’ve served it here with vegetable fries, spicy corn and vine tomatoes with some rocket salad for freshness.
- You can add a sauce to the sliced fillet and serve with Plain Egg Fried Rice and Ginger & Chilli Courgettes.
- Make a mini roast dinner with Roast Potatoes, steamed or boiled greens, Vichy Carrots and a little gravy.
Pork fillet is the common name for this cut in the UK but is more usually known as pork tenderloin in the US. So I use the terms interchangeably. It can also be known as pork eye fillet.
Beef tenderloin or fillet is a very expensive cut of beef and whilst pork tenderloin isn’t the cheapest cut of pork available, it really isn’t especially premium in price either so don’t let that put you off.
Most fillets available to buy pre-packaged are around 450-500g (16-18oz). You might find that they are available in larger sizes from butchers. I usually allow half a fillet (around 225-250g or 8-9oz) per person so bear this in mind when purchasing.
It doesn’t matter how lean or fatty the cut of meat is, I always add a fat to whatever I’m air frying. It helps promote caramelisation on the outside and give the seasoning a way to evenly distribute and stick to the meat. I do use slightly more oil with a lean meat like this pork tenderloin but it really still is minimal, around 1 tsp for the whole fillet.
I use vegetable oil as a neutral flavoured oil most of this time. But you can also use a more heavily flavoured oil like olive oil or even melted butter if that works with the other flavours you’re planning to season with or serve with.
I’ve left the recipe very vague with what seasonings you should use. These instructions are as simple as I can make them so you can flavour and serve the pork however you like. I’ve used a 50/50 mix of garlic salt and paprika but you can use any homemade or bought seasoning mix you like.
Whatever you use, please make sure it contains a good amount of salt as this is essential for it to be well seasoned.
You can also season only with salt and then add a glaze near the end of the cooking time. Don’t add it too early or it will catch and burn. Add it too late and you risk overcooking the pork. Around 3 minutes is usually about right. You can also add flavour by serving in a sauce after cooking.
This how to air fry pork fillet recipe is free from egg, dairy, gluten and nuts.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above and any variations suggested have not been tested unless otherwise stated. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
How Long to Air Fry Whole Pork Fillet
The perfect cooking time for a 450g/1lb pork fillet is 13 minutes. This just leaves a slight blush of pink in the very centre of the fillets. For zero pink, add another 2 minutes.
Just like with an oven you will need to learn how your air fryer cooks. If you find it tends to cook quicker than most recipes suggest, reduce the cooking time slightly. If you find the opposite is true, you may need to cook a little longer.
You will need to make the same sort of sensible adjustments if your fillet or half fillets are significantly bigger or smaller than standard.
How to Air Fry Pork Tenderloin from Frozen
Pork tenderloin cooks in the same amount of time from frozen as it does from fresh. I can’t explain the science of this because all sense would suggest that it needs cooking longer from frozen. But don’t panic. Stick to the given cooking times and you can always put it back in if it is under cooked when you check.
To cook from frozen I usually rinse the fillet under some water to remove any surface ice crystals. Dry it thoroughly and then add the oil and seasoning as normal. Alternatively you can add oil and seasoning before freezing so it is totally ready to go.
Leftovers – Storage & Reheating
Cooked pork fillet can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. It can also be well wrapped and frozen. I would recommend storing the cooked tenderloin whole and reheating it before slicing as this will help it retain the most juice.
To reheat in the air fryer, I use the rule of cooking for around 1/3 of the cooking time at the same temperature. So the tenderloin will reheat in around 6 minutes at 200c/390f. Check that it is piping hot all the way through and cook for longer if needed.
You can also reheat in the microwave or in a pan on the stove.
Common Air Fryer Questions – A Brief Guide to Air Frying
- What exactly is an air fryer?
- What are the benefits of using an air fryer?
- Are all air fryers the same?
- Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
- Do air fryers need to be pre-heated?
- What is the best temperature to air fry at?
- Can food be cooked from frozen in an air fryer?
- Can I reheat food in an air fryer?
- Are air fryer liners a good idea?
The Air Fried Feast Community
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What Exactly is an Air Fryer?
Very simply, an air fryer is a small convection (fan) oven. The benefit is that the hot air is circulated all around the food being cooked which speeds up the cooking time and cooks the food more evenly.
What are the Benefits of Using an Air Fryer?
Size, time and energy usage. Air fryers are ideal for cooking smaller quantities. Heating up a space that the food just fits into requires less energy and means that the heat source is much closer to the food. Combining these two things can speed up the cooking time.
Are all air fryers the same?
Nope! The term air fryer is now used very broadly. I consider there to be 4 main types:
Basket Air Fryers
These are what I would consider to be the most common, especially in the UK. A boxy type unit has a pull out drawer/basket. Food isn’t usually visible whilst cooking.
Some larger models have two drawers so different items can be cooked at different temperatures or for different times.
This is the type that you’ll see in the images in this recipe. I use a Corsori Lite (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal. It isn’t an overly expensive or fancy model.
Rotary Air Fryers
Round air fryers with a paddle in the centre that rotates to move the food. This is the type I’ve been using for years – the most common is a Tefal Actifry.
Rotary types are not usually good for recipes where the food is breaded, glazed, likely to break up or in a tray/container. They do however make the best chips and roasted veg.
My 2 in 1 version like the one I’ve linked does have a rotating tray for things that could be broken up by a paddle, but the height clearance with the lid isn’t deep enough to use it to cook some items like sausage rolls.
Multicookers with Air Fryer Functions
Some like Ninja 11 in 1 and some of the earlier versions with a few less functions, have an air fryer option. They mostly operate the same as a basket fryer but the basket drops in the top rather than sliding in like a drawer.
Some electric pressure cookers like Instant Pots can also air fry when used with a specific lid.
Is an air fryer always better to use than an oven?
As much as I do love air frying, the honest answer to this is no. And the more detailed answer is that it will always depend on what you’re cooking, how much of it you’re cooking and what type and size of air fryer you have.
Once you need to cook in more than 2 batches, it often makes more sense to use an oven. If you already have the oven on to cook other items, it may make more sense to throw one more item in rather than using an additional appliance.
I don’t think either method is necessarily better than the other. The important point to note is that there is absolutely no difference in the finished product.
Do Air Fryers Need to Be Pre-Heated?
The answer to this is rather annoying – it depends. It depends entirely on your model and type of air fryer. The best advice I can offer is to check your manual and follow their guidance. My Cosori model has a preheat function. I press a button and it heats at 205c for 4 minutes.
It’s also worth noting that regardless of whether you are supposed to pre-heat or not, if you are cooking in batches, it is quite likely that anything after the first batch will cook a little quicker because of the retained heat. It is best to check on them before the cooking time is completed.
What is the best temperature to Air Fry at?
It will always depend on what you are cooking and from what state. All of my air fryer recipes don’t use temperatures above 200c because many of the most common fryers in the UK don’t go above this. Mine goes to 230c and I use this temperature a lot but it is no help for me to share recipes which most people can’t use.
Can Food Be Cooked From Frozen In An Air Fryer?
Absolutely! To cook from frozen you usually will need to reduce the cooking temperature and increase the time to make sure your food is cooked right through to the middle.
It is best to check my individual recipes for cooking from frozen advice as some items are a little different.
Can I Reheat Food In An Air Fryer?
Yes. As a general rule I reheat food for roughly 1/3 of the original cooking time at the same temperature. Or at 10 degrees lower for half the time for larger items.
Are Air Fryer Liners a Good Idea?
Unless otherwise stated, I do not use liners when air frying. Basket and rotary type air fryers are designed to be used without liners. Mini oven types will generally require some kind of tray like with a regular large oven although some come with crisper racks to use.
There are many air fryer liners available including quite thick silicone ones. These will affect the cooking times and possibly temperatures of your cooking/baking. I also don’t like how cooking juices are prevented from dripping through the basket rack. This can stop food from crisping all the way around.
If you do prefer to use them, once you have got a feel for how they affect your cooking and baking, you may need to make adjustments to the recipe accordingly.
More Air Fryer Recipes
All my recipes with instructions for how to cook or bake them in the air fryer can be found in my Air Fryer Recipe Index.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
Simple! Just contact me and I will do my best to help as quickly as I am able. Head over to my Contact Me page, any of my social media channels or post a comment at the bottom of this page and I’ll see what I can do.
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How to Air Fry Pork Fillet (Whole Tenderloin)
- 1 Pork Fillet (Tenderloin) - around 450g/18oz each
- 1 tsp Oil - see notes
- ½ tsp Seasoning - see notes
- If your air fryer requires pre-heating, start this setting now.
- Thoroughly dry 1 Pork Fillet (Tenderloin).
- If you need to, cut the fillet in half or thirds so it will fit into your air fryer comfortably.
- Drizzle over 1 tsp Oil and ½ tsp Seasoning and toss to thoroughly coat the pork.
- Place the tenderloin into the air fryer basket. Leave a little space between each piece so the air can circulate.
- Cook for 13 minutes at 200c/390f.
- If you want to turn it after 8 minutes, you can do – I don't need to using the rack in my air fryer.
- Check the pork is cooked through, you can see this by making a cut and checking that the meat is nearly white in the centre of the thickest part. Unlike chicken, pork can be eaten with a slight pink blush but if you prefer it more cooked, put it back in for 2 minutes at a time.
- Allow to rest for at least 3 to 4 minutes. You can just allow it to sit in the basket or covered in foil on a board.
- Use a sharp knife to slice into rounds then tuck in. Spoon over juices that have collected in the bottom of the air fryer for extra flavour.
To Cook From Frozen
- Cook for 13 minutes at 200c/390f.
- Check that the pork is sufficiently cooked in exactly the same way as if cooking from fresh!
- Oil – Choose your oil to match your flavouring. For example use garlic, salt and rosemary with olive oil or for a more neutral flavour, sea salt and black pepper with vegetable oil.
- Seasoning – Choose any seasoning mix, spices or dried/fresh herbs. Make sure that salt is included in the mix. You can also add a little citrus juice.
- I used vegetable oil with a 50/50 mix of garlic salt and paprika.
- The air fryer version of this recipe is tested in a Corsori Lite (CAF-LI401S) with a 3.8 litre capacity. The square(ish) shaped basket is 21cm x 21cm and 24cm on the diagonal.
- Not all models advise preheating is required. Please follow the recommended instructions for your model. Mine has a specific preheat setting which is 4 minutes at 205c.
- For this recipe, I can just fit 1 whole fillet cut in half in the basket at a time. This gives plenty of room to allow air to circulate. I could likely fit 2 whole fillets each cut in half although the air would circulate less and I would likely need to turn them during cooking.
- As all air fryer models are a little different, you may find that you can fit more or less in at a time. Some models include stacking shelves which will increase capacity.
- Required cooking times and temperatures can also vary between models and brands. If you know that your air fryer runs a little hotter than most recipes suggest, use a lower temperature. And vice versa. Equally if you find that food cooks more quickly in your machine than instructions usually state, reduce the cooking time (or check it earlier) and vice versa.