Spice Crusted Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Spice-crusted pork tenderloin on a cutting board.

This easy grilled pork tenderloin recipe is tender and flavorful thanks to this simple pork dry rub recipe.  The pork rub seasoning is an eye-popping mix of whole coriander, fennel seed and crushed red pepper flakes with fresh rosemary and garlic. The longer the seasoning marinates on the pork, the more flavorful the finished dish. I’ve also got tips on how long to cook the crusted pork tenderloin on the grill for your perfect doneness. This healthy, gluten-free, paleo-friendly, keto recipe is easy enough for beginners and flavorful enough for foodies.

whole spices in a mortar and pestle

Pork tenderloin is one of the leanest and healthiest cuts of pork. I love it because it cooks quickly and it’s always moist and tender. Dry rubs are my secret weapon for a healthy way to season this lean cut without adding a lot of fat and calories. A blend of fresh herbs and whole dried spices, make all the difference. I use a mortar and pestle to crush the whole spices and release their flavors and aromas, but you can also use a spice grinder for this pork dry rub recipe.

Pork rub seasoning ingredients

  •  Coriander seed
  • Fennel seed
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh garlic
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
pork rub seasoning in a small bowl.

This dry rub is versatile

Feel free to use this easy pork dry rub recipe on other cuts as well. Obviously,  it’s great crusted on pork loins and chops, but it’s equally tasty on chicken or beef. The fresh garlic and rosemary really penetrate the meat and the coriander, fennel and crushed red pepper add a lively tingle to the blend.

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We love that you can actually see the spices in this dry rub, unlike commercially available ones that are little more than a powder. Plus you can add more or less of the ingredients, according to your own tastes. No one trick pony here.

coating pork tenderloin in pork dry rub recipe.

How to crust the pork tenderloin with dry rub

  • Dry the pork tenderloin with paper towels.
  • Drizzle the olive oil over the pork and rub it in with your fingers.
  • Sprinkle the pork rub seasoning over the tenderloin and massage it in with your fingers so that it’s completely coated and the pork dry rub clings to the meat.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, but preferably longer (up to 8 hours). Remember, the longer the marinating, the more flavor penetrates the pork.
Pressing pork rub seasoning into the meat to give it a good crust.


Remove the crusted pork tenderloin from the refrigerator about half an hour before you plan to grill it, so it can come closer to room temperature and cooks evenly when you put it on the hot grill.

Cooking tenderloin with dry rub on a gas grill

  1. Heat the grill to medium high, so that the temperature is between 400°-450° F (200°-230° celsius).
  2. Grill the spice crusted pork tenderloin over direct heat for 4-6 minutes per side or to your desired doneness.
  3. Use a good instant read thermometer to be certain of doneness. Guide below.

Grilling crusted pork tenderloin a kettle or charcoal grill

  1. Set up the charcoal for direct grilling, by lighting the coals in a chimney starter. When the embers are glowing spread them out over the lower grill grate  and place the upper grate into place.
  2. Check to see if they’re hot enough by using the “hand test”. Holding your hand about 4″ above the grate, count “one Mississippi, two Mississippi” up to 4 or 5.” That’s a pretty good indication that the coals will cook at about 400° – 450°F.
  3. Place the crusted pork tenderloin directly over the coals and cook on each side 4- 6 minutes or until you’ve achieved your desired doneness. I recommend a good instant read thermometer for this.
crusted pork tenderloin resting on a carving board after grilling.

Some people are good at the touch test to determine whether their meats are cooked to their liking. If you’re one of those wizards, go for it. For the rest of us mere mortals, here’s a handy temperature guide to see if your crusted pork tenderloin is in the optimum range… You can pin this infographic and save it to your “Grilling” or “Meat” boards on Pinterest.

infographic of how to tell when pork is cooked the way you like it.

How to take a pigs temperature…

The most effective way to know if pork is done is to take a reading with an instant read thermometer. I recommend Thermapen One. It’s the Cadillac of instant read thermometers.  I’d previously owned four other inexpensive instant reads that failed within the first 6 months. I realized that it was wiser to invest in a good one, rather than continue to throw good money after bad on the cheap models. {Full disclosure, I am a Thermapen affiliate because its a brand I believe in. If you buy through my affiliate link, I’ll make a little commission and you’ll pay nothing extra. Win-win.}

Thermapen Mk4 Instant read thermometer.

We definitely prefer on the medium rare side. It’s juicy, tender and flavorful, but I have friends who won’t touch it if it’s even got a hint of pink. To each his own… Since this is your herb crusted grilled pork, you get to choose.

sliced spice crusted pork tenderloin on a cutting board.

Incidentally, aside from being a delicious main course, this tender, flavor-packed pork tenderloin is Paleo-friendly, Keto-friendly gluten-free, sugar-free, approved on Phase I of the South Beach Diet and a generally healthy source of protein. Score!

Serving grilled pork tenderloin from the cutting board.

More healthy grilled meat and seafood:

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4.67 from 3 votes

Spice Crusted Grilled Pork Tenderloin

This amazing spice rub is loaded with flavor — and it works equally well on pork chicken or beef and adds no fat or calories to the meat. Great for paleo and keto diets or for a healthy lifestyle. 
Author: Lisa Lotts
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword grilling, pork tenderloin, spice rub
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4


  • ¾ teaspoon whole coriander seed
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon whole fennel seed
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh rosemary minced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb pork tenderloin


  • In a mortar and pestle, combine coriander, fennel and red pepper flakes. Use the pestle to crack and grind the spices in the mortar, until the spices are crushed and fragrant.
  • In a small bowl, add the rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and crushed spices. Stir to combine.
  • Place the pork on a baking sheet. With your hands, rub the olive oil over the pork. Sprinkle spice mixture over the pork and rub it in with your hands. There should be enough spice to liberally cover the entire tenderloin.
  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or up to 8 hours.
  • Heat your grill to a medium high heat (about 400°-450°). Grill pork, over direct heat. Don’t flip the meat until it’s seared and ready to release from the grates. Turn the pork after 4-6 minutes, depending on how well you like it cooked. Continue to cook the spice crusted pork tenderloin until the desired temperature is achieved (use your instant read thermometer to check).


To roast pork in an oven, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place pork on a baking sheet and roast for 18-20 minutes, until desired doneness is achieved.


Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 936mg | Potassium: 465mg | Vitamin A: 95IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1.3mg

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  1. April (@theaprilnoelle) says:

    We don’t eat a lot of pork here, but this is a recipe worth saving.

    1. 5 stars
      We probably should eat less pork, but pork tenderloin is a very lean cut, so I can’t feel too guilty!

  2. My mouth is watering… I love anything slathered in herbs! Cooking meat intimidates me, but this recipe looks ridiculously yummy and easy.

    1. Do not be intimidated by cooking meat. Preheat your oven and follow the instructions. If you like it less done, cook it a few minutes less. If you prefer more — add a minute or two. EASY!

  3. My mouth is watering over this recipe & your photos!!!

    1. I’m glad you like it Sofia. It’s pretty simple, so we do this a lot!

  4. Sam | Ahead of Thyme says:

    Yum!! This would have been perfect for dinner! I wish I saw this earlier!!

    1. It’s easy enough to have any night of the week.

  5. Ilona @ Ilona's Passion says:

    I am always looking for new ideas to marinate my pork. Yummy dinner!

  6. This looks really delicious and I love all those herbs in your rub!

    1. Sometimes simple is the best, don’t you think, Shelby?

  7. Wandercooks says:

    Um, yes please! Wow that dry rub sounds (and looks) divine and you’ve cooked the pork to perfection. Dinner at your place next weekend? Haha 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  8. This looks delicious! I’m crazy about dry rubs! So flavorful and full of antioxidants and flavor without adding extra calories!

  9. Georgina Ingham | Culinary Travels says:

    Oh my word! Just look at how juicy that pork is! Porcine perfection 🙂

    1. Glad you like it Georgina! We just had the last of it on top of a kale salad!

  10. OK, that rub seriously needs to be slathered on everything! We love pork tenderloin in our family, it’s so easy and so luscious 🙂