Why go through the hassle of cooking the whole turkey when you can make this simple turkey tenderloin recipe instead? While you can make it any time of the year, this dish is especially fitting for a small Thanksgiving dinner or any special occasion where you aim to impress your guests. We’re covering everything you need to know below, so keep reading for all the details.
To make this recipe for turkey tenderloin, you’ll need a handful of simple ingredients: dried oregano, dried thyme, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, black pepper, and olive oil. You’ll also need two turkey tenderloins, around 4 ounces (~113 gr.) each.
Though some turkey brands are seasonal, Jennie O and Butterball turkey tenderloin should be available at your local grocery store throughout the year. While they may differ in weight, the process of cooking your turkey tenderloins should not change. However, you may have to adjust the time of baking accordingly.
Additionally, it is good to know that some brands refer to this piece of meat as turkey medallion, turkey fillet, turkey breast loin, and turkey breast tenders. While the verbiage might be confusing, they are essentially the same thing.
How to Season?
Wondering how to season turkey tenderloin? Taking cues from my Turkey Rub Seasoning, I prepared my turkey medallions recipe with a mix of oregano, thyme, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper.
However, there are countless ways to make a mouthwatering seasoning for turkey tenderloins:
- Italian turkey tenderloin recipe: For an Italian take on my classic seasoning mix, use 1½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning instead of thyme, paprika, and sage.
- Chili powder: Want to give your turkey irresistible depth? Give your baked turkey tenderloin recipe a smoky twist using chili powder instead of paprika.
- Turkey Tenderloin Marinade: Ever tried making turkey tenderloin marinade with soy sauce? My marinade for turkey breast tenderloin will infuse every bite with a savory flavor. You only need the following marinade ingredients: olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, onion powder, paprika, thyme, sage, black pepper, and garlic.
- Finish with fresh herbs: After cooking turkey tenderloin in the oven, herbs are just the thing to brighten your recipe. Give your turkey garden-fresh flavor by topping it with thyme, rosemary, or parsley.
How to Cook Turkey Tenderloins in the Oven
Want to know how to prepare turkey tenderloin while keeping your meat as juicy and flavorful as possible? My 2-part method—part stovetop and part oven—is the best way to cook turkey tenderloin without drying out the meat.
- Heat the oven: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Prepare the turkey tenderloin rub: In a small bowl, mix the sage, thyme, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and black pepper. Set the seasoning aside.
- Dry the turkey fillet: Use paper towels to pat dry both sides of the tenderloins.
- Oil the turkey loins: Drizzle the turkey tenderloins with a tablespoon of olive oil, and rub the oil over both sides of the meat.
- Coat with the spice rub: Sprinkle the entire turkey with the prepared seasoning mixture, covering both sides.
- Heat the oil: Add the remaining olive oil to a large stainless steel skillet or cast iron skillet and turn the stove on high. Heat the oil until it turns shimmering hot.
- Sear the turkey breast fillet: Place turkey tenderloins in the heated skillet and cook for 1 minute on each side until the meat lightly browns.
- Bake the pan-seared turkey tenderloin: Place the skillet in the oven. Roast until the internal temperature of turkey tenderloin registers 155 degrees F. (about 15 minutes). Be sure to insert your meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat.
- Let the turkey rest: Remove the roasted turkey loin from the oven, cover it with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes. As it rests, the turkey loin temperature should reach 165 degrees F.
- Serve: Slice the now-rested oven roasted turkey tenderloin and garnish with fresh herbs if using. Serve.
What to Serve With Turkey Tenderloin
Wondering what to do with turkey tenderloins? I served my baked turkey breast tenderloin recipe with Garlic Butter Green Beans and Garlic and Rosemary Mashed Potatoes. However, the options are endless!
- Use in place of chicken: You can make dozens of healthy turkey tenderloin recipes by using turkey tenderloin anywhere you use leftover chicken. Serve a delicious turkey dinner by adding this tasty meat to your favorite sandwiches, soups, and pasta dishes.
- Healthy Thanksgiving Sides: Preparing a five-star Thanksgiving meal? These are some of my favorite side dish recipes to make with roasted turkey tenderloin. Air Fried Green Beans, Roasted Asparagus, and Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes are rich, green sides the whole family will love. You can also whip up Baked Acorn Squash, Stuffed Acorn Squash, and Maple Roasted Carrots for a Thanksgiving dinner no one will forget. And if you are more of a traditionalist, serve it with my Cranberry Sauce with Maple Syrup.
- Fall Salad Recipes: You don’t have to wonder what to eat with turkey tenderloin when you have these nutritious recipes. Add brilliant color to your fall spread with Butternut Squash Salad or Acorn Squash Salad. Or, give your menu a bright, delicate flavor with my Shredded Brussel Sprout Salad or Brussel Sprout Kale Salad.
- Whole Grains: Some of my favorite turkey tenderloin dinner ideas come with a hearty side. Serve your turkey breast tenders alongside Wild Rice Pilaf with Vegetables, Wild Rice Stuffing, or Lemon Quinoa for a menu as flavorful as it is filling.
How to Store, Reheat, and Freeze
Say goodbye to stressful meal prep and hello to easy weeknight meals with this easy turkey tenderloin recipe. Here is how I store, reheat and freeze the leftovers.
- Storage instructions: When ready to store this turkey loin recipe, let your turkey cool completely. Then, transfer the meat to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Reheating instructions: You have two options for reheating your turkey loin roast. Firstly, you can place your turkey on a microwave-safe plate and microwave it on high for 30-60 seconds or until it is heated thoroughly. You can also reheat it in a 350-degree F. oven. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray, add your tenderloin, and cover it with tin foil. Then, bake the turkey for 10-15 minutes or until its center is warm.
- Freezing instructions: To freeze this turkey tenders recipe, let your meat cool completely. Then, transfer the tenderloin to a Ziplock bag and remove as much air as possible. Your turkey will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Here are a few things I learned as I was tasting the recipe. I am sharing them with you to help you make the best turkey tenderloin recipe you’ve ever tasted:
- The temperature of the turkey tenders: I cooked my turkey tenders immediately after taking them out of the fridge. However, you could also let them reach room temperature before beginning the cooking process. Whichever method you choose, just be sure to dry each breast loin before cooking.
- Size matters: When baking turkey tenderloin, remember that the size of your fillet will impact its cooking time. Each of my turkey loins was 4 oz. and took 15 minutes to reach the desired internal temperature. However, bigger loins will need more time to reach 165 degrees F. If you own a meat thermometer (this is the one I own and love – affiliate link), be sure to use it.
- Two-part cooking method: Want to make your tasty turkey tenderloin recipe extra tender? The key is searing your meat in a stainless steel (or cast iron) skillet for one minute on each side before putting it in the oven. This extra step creates a gorgeous golden exterior while also locking in flavorful juices. However, make sure that your skillet is very hot before searing the loins, as the high temperature is key to properly seared turkey tenders.
- Roast at low heat: During our recipe testings, we learned that the two-part cooking process combined with a low-heat oven, taking it out before it was fully baked, and letting it rest to reach the ideal internal temperature was the secret to the juiciest melt in your mouth turkey tenderloins.
- Let your turkey rest: To get this turkey breast fillet recipe as succulent as possible, let it rest, covered, for 10 minutes after cooking. In addition to reaching 165 degrees F of internal temperature, this resting time will allow the turkey loin to relax and redistribute its juices, yielding moist and flavorful meat.
Turkey breast tenderloin is the boneless, skinless, thick strip of meat found between turkey breasts. Many regard the tenderloin as the most tender cut of turkey.
Though similar, turkey tenderloin and turkey breast are not the same. Turkey tenderloin comes from the meat between the turkey breasts, so it tends to be smaller and more tender than turkey breast.
I recommend cooking a turkey tenderloin in the oven at 325-350 degrees F., depending on the loin’s size. In general, though, I’ve found that roasting turkey tenderloin at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time yields juicier, more tender meat.
Turkey tenderloin cook time varies depending on the size of your tenderloin. However, I’ve found that 15 minutes is enough time in the oven to cook 4-oz. fillets—provided that you lightly sear them first and let them rest under tin foil for 10 minutes after. Remember that turkey tenders can go from perfectly moist to overcooked in very little time.
No. Instead, I recommend baking your turkey breast tenderloin uncovered and removing it from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 155 degrees F. Then, cover your turkey with tin foil for another 10-15 minutes until it reaches 165 degrees F.
According to USDA Food Safety Guidelines, the internal temp. of turkey tenderloin should reach 165 degrees F. before consuming it. However, I recommend removing your tenderloin from the oven when it reaches 155 degrees F. and covering it with tin foil to prevent it from drying and ensure maximum juiciness.
Other Turkey Recipes You Might Also Like
Hungry for even more succulent turkey recipes? If you liked this turkey breast loin recipe, you won’t be able to resist these delicious turkey dishes.
- My go-to Turkey Meatloaf Recipe
- Three Bean Turkey Chili
- Air Fryer Turkey Bacon
- Baked Turkey Bacon
- Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
If you try this Turkey Tenderloin Recipe or any other recipe on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.
Turkey Tenderloin Recipe
- 2 turkey tenderloins* – 4 oz or ~113 grams each
For the Tenderloin Rub:
- ¼ teaspoon rubbed sage or dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika or sweet paprika would also work
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- Preheat the oven: Set your oven to 325 degrees F.
- Make the rub: Mix together sage, thyme, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Set it aside.
- Dry the tenderloins: Pat dry turkey tenderloins with paper towels on both sides.
- Coat with oil: Drizzle them with a tablespoon of olive oil and coat them on both sides.
- Add the rub: Sprinkle them with the prepared turkey tenderloin rub on both sides.
- Heat the oil: Heat the remaining oil in a large stainless steel skillet (or a cast iron skillet) until shimmering hot.
- Sear: Sear turkey tenderloins for 1 minute on each side until lightly browned.
- Bake: Place the skillet in the oven and roast tenderloins until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the tenderloin registers 155 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Rest: Take it out of the oven and cover it with aluminum foil and let it rest for 10 minutes. As it sits, it should come to 165 degrees (the safe temperature for turkey) without drying.
- Serve: Slice and serve.
- The temperature of the raw meat: I cooked my turkey tenders immediately after taking them out of the fridge. However, you could also let them reach room temperature before beginning the cooking process. Whichever method you choose, just be sure to dry the breast loin before cooking.
- Size of the turkey tenderloin matters: When baking turkey tenderloin, remember that the size of your fillet will impact its cooking time. Each of my turkey loins was around 4 ounces and took 15 minutes to reach the desired internal temperature, which is 165 degrees F. Depending on the size of your turkey tenderloins, it might take a bit shorter or longer. If you own a meat thermometer (this is the one I own and love), be sure to use it for accurate testing.
- Two-part cooking method: If you’ve ever cooked turkey tenderloins, you know that it can go from perfectly moist to not-so-appetizing dry in an instant. During our tests, we found that the secret to success starts with searing your meat in a stainless steel (or cast iron) skillet for one minute on each side before putting it in the oven. This extra step creates a gorgeous golden exterior while also locking in flavorful juices. However, make sure that your skillet is very hot before searing the loins, as the high temperature is key to properly seared turkey tenders.
- Storage instructions: Let your turkey cool completely. Then, transfer the meat to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Reheating instructions: You have two options here: Firstly, you can place your turkey on a microwave-safe plate and microwave it on high for 30-60 seconds or until it is heated thoroughly. Secondly, you can reheat it in a 350-degree F. oven. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray, add your tenderloin, and cover it with tin foil. Then, bake the turkey for 10-15 minutes or until its center is warm.
- Freezing instructions: To freeze, let your meat cool completely. Then, transfer the tenderloin to a Ziplock bag and remove as much air as possible. Your turkey will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight, and follow the instructions above for reheating.
This turkey was scrumptious! I also used a 24 oz package of two tenderloins, so I doubled the seasonings just in case; but, as Valerie said, the rub and oil amount in your recipe was spot on! Since we are not big fans of thyme, I split it with rosemary. When I removed the tenderloins from the oven, I put them on a plate and covered it with tin foil so I could deglaze the pan with just a little bit of water and sherry and let it reduce. We used that little bit of juice for mashed potatoes. We could not believe the tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. I’m glad I have extra seasoning because we have another tenderloin in the freezer. Thank you, Aysegul!
This is music to my ears Brenda. I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed this turkey tenderloin recipe.
Thanks for coming by and taking the time to leave a review.
Best turkey ever! I used a 1.5 lb package of tenderloin (two were in the package) and kept the rub and oil amount the same and it was spot on!
This is music to my ears Valerie. Thanks for taking the time to leave a rating. Happy holidays to you and yours.