Pork Loin Roast

December 20, 2020

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A savory Pork Loin that’s pan seared, coated with herbs and garlic then oven baked at a lower temperature for a tender, juicy end result. And then it’s finished with a delicious, simple gravy for extra flavor.

Do you have a pork tenderloin instead of the loin? Try my tasty baked Pork Tenderloin recipe instead.

Pork Loin Roast served on a white platter with fresh herbs. Pork is shown sliced at the forefront.

Easy Pork Loin Roast

A simple method and recipe for pork loin that’s perfect for weekends and holidays!

Pork loin is inexpensive and easy to prepare. It has a light flavor and it adapts well to so many seasonings.

One of my favorites is with fresh herbs and garlic like we use here.

It roasts up beautifully. And personally I think finishing it with a little gravy made with the pan drippings is the only way to go. It just adds that much more flavor.

Just be sure to monitor the temperature of the roast and let rest before carving so the moisture is retained in the meat.

Pork loin shown cooked and sliced with gravy atop. Shown on a brown plate with a side of roasted vegetables and apples.

Difference Between Pork Loin, Pork Tenderloin and Pork Shoulder

Pork Loin:

  • This a wider and thicker cut than a tenderloin.
  • It is cut from the pigs back.
  • You can buy it boneless or bone-in. Here we use boneless.
  • There is a fat cap covering the length of one side (which should remain during cooking to help moisten the meat).
  • The remainder of the meat is fairly lean.
  • It has a mild flavor.
  • When cooked properly it should be tender. It is best seared then cooked low and slow for most tenderness.

Pork Tenderlion:

  • One of the biggest differences is that a pork tenderloin is a smaller, thinner and more narrow.
  • This cut cooks faster and can be cooked over higher temperatures.
  • It is the muscle that runs along the backbone of a pig and is cut from the loin.
  • It’s of the most tender cut of pork and also has a mild flavor.
  • Pork tenderloin has a silverskin that should be trimmed before cooking.
  • This cut is also fairly lean so be careful not to overcook.

Pork Shoulder:

  • This is cut right from the upper portion of the shoulder of a pig.
  • It is a generally wider, larger cut, rather than longer like the other two.
  • This portion is more flavorful than the loin portions.
  • It’s well marbled with fat throughout and has a lot of connective tissue.
  • It is best cooked low and slow since it is tougher.

Note that the three cuts of pork should never be used interchangeably.

Pork loin being seared and browned in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop.

Pork Loin Recipe Ingredients

  • Pork Loin: You can use a 3 – 4 lb loin here. 3 lbs will bake closer to the lesser time the 4 lb closer to the greater time.
  • Olive oil: You’ll need this to sear the roast and coat the garlic and herbs.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper: Table salt or kosher salt work well. I like a fair amount of pepper with pork.
  • Thyme, rosemary and sage: Fresh are best but dried will work fine too. You can look for a package of fresh poultry herbs which should have a blend of the three herbs.
  • Garlic: Use fresh garlic for best flavor.
  • Lemon zest or orange zest: This is an optional ingredient for a little extra flavor.
  • Butter: Olive oil will work fine too. This is just used to make the roux for the gravy.
  • Flour: This helps thicken the gravy.
  • Low-sodium chicken broth: Needed for base for the gravy to add some extra flavor and moisture to the pork. Don’t sub water.
  • Heavy cream: This is completely optional. It just adds some extra creaminess to the gravy.

Scroll below for recipe with ingredient amounts and print option.

Rubbing herbs and garlic over pork loin in a roasting pan.

How to Prepare and Bake Pork Loin Roast

  1. Heat oven and skillet: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat (I like to use cast iron for nice browning).
  2. Dry exterior of roast: Dab pork loin dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Sear in oiled skillet: Heat 1 Tbsp oil in skillet and brown pork on all sides, about 2 minutes per side (8 minutes total).
  4. Place pork in roasting pan: Transfer pork to a roasting pan. Let cool a few minutes so it’s not too hot to handle.
  5. Mix seasonings and oil: Meanwhile in a small bowl stir together remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil with thyme, rosemary, sage, garlic and lemon zest.
  6. Coat roast with garlic-herb mixture: Using hands, spread mixture over roast (on all sides, note it doesn’t stick perfectly well and that’s ok if some falls from the sides, just sneak it under the roast to season it). Roast should be fat side up for baking.
  7. Insert oven thermometer: Insert an oven probe thermometer (I love this one) into center of middle area pork loin (if you don’t have one use a standard probe thermometer to test temperature occasionally).
  8. Bake until cooked through: Cook pork in preheated oven until center of mid area registers 145 degrees on thermometer, about 50 – 70 minutes.
  9. Rest before carving: Remove from oven, transfer to carving board. Tent roast with foil and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Pork loin shown in roasting pan in the oven with an oven probe thermometer inserted into center.

How to Make the Gravy

  1. Make roux in saucepan: In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook 1 1/2 minutes, whisking constantly.
  2. Add broth and drippings: While whisking slowly pour in chicken broth and drippings from roasting pan (you should have a few tablespoons, scrape up browned bits). Let cook until thickened, stirring frequently.
  3. Season and add cream: Season with salt and pepper as needed. Stir heavy cream in at the end if using.
  4. Spoon gravy over slices.

Pork Loin Slow Cooker Method

  • You could also cook this in a slow cooker instead of the oven.
  • Instead of rubbing pork roast with herbs just add the browned pork, 1 cup chicken broth, herbs, garlic, zest and also 1 Tbsp lemon juice to a 6 quart slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on low heat 7 to 8 hours until tender.
  • Use 1 cup broth from slow cooker to make the gravy.

Pork loin roast shown at a side angle.

Safe Temperature for Pork Loin

  • A pork loin should be cooked to 145 degrees in the center of the loin.
  • A slightly pink color is fine with pork as long as it has been cooked to the proper temperature.

Helpful Tips

  • Don’t skip searing the pork loin for that extra added layer of flavor. It also seasons the drippings.
  • Also it’s helpful to dry first with paper towels to remove extra moisture from exterior so it browns better.
  • Test temperature with a thermometer for doneness rather than guessing or basing it off color.
  • Careful not to over-cook or it starts to dry.
  • Let rest before carving to allow juices to evenly distribute so they don’t just end up on the carving board.

What to Serve with Pork Loin

 

Pork loin shown cooked and thinly sliced on a white oval serving platter over a purple cloth.

More Delicious Pork Recipes to Try

 

Pork Loin Roast served on a white platter with fresh herbs. Pork is shown sliced at the forefront.
5 from 4 votes

Pork Loin Roast

A savory Pork Loin that's pan seared, coated with herbs and garlic then oven baked at a lower temperature for a tender, juicy end result. And then it's finished with a simple gravy for extra flavor.
Servings: 9 - 12

Ingredients

Roast

  • 3 - 4 lb pork loin*
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (or 3/4 tsp dried)
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 3/4 tsp dried)
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh sage (or 3/4 tsp dried)
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest or orange zest (optional)

Gravy

  • 2 Tbsp butter or olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • Pan drippings from roasting pan
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat (I like to use cast iron for nice browning).
  • Dab pork loin dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp oil in skillet and brown pork on all sides, about 2 minutes per side (8 minutes total).
  • Transfer pork to a roasting pan. Let cool a few minutes so it's not too hot to handle.
  • Meanwhile in a small bowl stir together remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil with thyme, rosemary, sage, garlic and lemon zest.
  • Using hands spread mixture over roast (on all sides, note it doesn't stick perfectly well and that's ok if some falls from the sides, just sneak it under the roast to season it). Roast should be fat side up for baking.
  • Insert an oven probe thermometer into center of middle area of pork loin (if you don't have one use a standard probe thermometer to test temperature occasionally).
  • Bake pork in preheated oven until center registers 145 degrees on thermometer, about 50 - 70 minutes.
  • Remove from oven, transfer to carving board. Tent roast with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile prepare gravy.

For the gravy

  • In a medium saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook 1 1/2 minutes, whisking constantly.
  • While whisking slowly pour in chicken broth and drippings from roasting pan (you should have a few tablespoons, scrape up browned bits). Let cook until thickened, stirring frequently.
  • Season with salt and pepper as needed. Stir heavy cream in at the end if using.
  • Slice roast to desired thickness (I like to slice somewhat thin). Serve with gravy atop slices.

Notes

  • *Pork loin shouldn't be any longer than about 11-inches or you won't fit it in the skillet. If needed trim of an end and freeze for a pork chop later.
  • *Optionally you can tie pork loin with kitchen twine about every 1-inch through the length. This is completely optional and just helps it hold it's round shape a little better.
Nutrition Facts
Pork Loin Roast
Amount Per Serving
Calories 273 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 107mg36%
Sodium 154mg7%
Potassium 602mg17%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 35g70%
Vitamin A 212IU4%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 22mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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16 Comments

  • Jo Kidd

    I like this recipe but I cannot locate the video for it. Is there one and how
    do I get it on your website ?
    Thank you.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I love to hear it turned out well for you Christin! I appreciate you leaving a review!

  • Kathy Richmond

    LOOKS like a GREAT recipe by reading it. As one who cooks a fair amount, I can usually get a good idea by reading the ingredients and process.
    One basic question: Do you bake yours covered, uncovered, or a combo of both? So many recipes don’t say and some meat recipes do best uncovered and others covered and others a combination of both!!
    Thanks, I look forward to your response! AND PLEASE DON’T SELL MY EMAIL ADDRESS :)) :))

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Bake uncovered. Unless a recipe lists bake/cook “covered” it always to leave as is – uncovered. Enjoy! And of course I would never sale email addresses. It’s illegal and I hate spam as well :).

  • Jana

    Is there a reason not to cook the roast in the oven in the iron skillet used to brown it?

  • Doris

    Hello Jaclyn:
    A Merry Christmas to you and yours. I am so glad to have seen this recipe above as my son expressed a desire for roast pork for Christmas dinner. I have one in my freezer now so I do plan on making this. Sounds wonderful! Going to make rice pilaf with dried cranberries and pistachios (also mashed roasted garlic potatoes ) and petite peas. I know this will be a keeper recipe from your site. Stay well and blessed!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      You’re side dish sounds delicious! I hope you love this recipe Doris! Merry Christmas!

  • Katherine

    Love it! Looks so delicious. like the homemade gravy. so simple recipe. I’ve never try cooking this meat. hope I can someday. thank you for sharing.