Turkey Tenderloin Recipe


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This simple turkey tenderloin recipe is oven baked and ready in under an hour! The turkey tenderloin marinade is packed with flavor from the garlic, herbs, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar.

Turkey Tenderloin Recipe

Oh my goodness, the marinade for these melt in your mouth turkey tenderloins is incredible. It’s a beautiful mixture of savory herbs, fresh garlic, apple cider vinegar, and just a hint of sweetness from the brown sugar.

The baked turkey tenderloins soak up all of that flavor, and then crisp up beautifully and caramelize just a bit when they’re seared before baking.

I love baking it at a high heat after it’s pan fried because it locks all of those juices in. Flavorful and juicy turkey is what we’re after, and this recipe does not disappoint! Once they finish resting after baking you won’t believe how juicy and flavorful they are. This recipe is such an easy and simple way to prepare a delicious holiday main dish. 

Try slicing it into medallions and serving it with gravy (like this Turkey Gravy without Drippings), cranberry sauce (or this easy homemade Cranberry Relish), creamy mashed potatoes, and vegetables. The combination makes a quick and easy Thanksgiving dinner that’s so delicious!


Turkey Tenderloin Marinade: A combination of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, light brown sugar, fresh garlic, dried thyme, dried oregano, paprika, fine sea salt, and ground black pepper makes the most delicious marinade!

It has an amazing herby flavor that really pops with the hints of brown sugar and apple cider vinegar. The combination of flavors in this marinade almost makes it taste glazed.

If you love garlic as much as I do, feel free to double up on the amount. I’m one of those people that thinks there can never be too much garlic, and I often add more to this recipe.

Turkey: We’re using turkey tenderloins in this recipe. I used turkey loins that are about 1/2 pound each, but you can use turkey tenderloins that are up to 1 pound each.

Oil: I used olive oil to sear the turkey in the skillet. Feel free to use your favorite neutral tasting cooking oil.

The labeled ingredients for turkey tenderloin.

How To Cook Turkey Tenderloin

Start by adding all of the marinade ingredients to a bowl and mixing them together. (See the recipe card below for the full written instructions.)

Creating the marinade by mixing together spice ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Add the turkey tenderloins to the bowl and coat them in the marinade. Cover the bowl and let it rest in the refrigerator while the turkey marinates.

Covering the marinated tenderloins with plastic wrap before resting.

Heat an oven safe skillet, then add the olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Transfer the marinated turkey to the skillet.

An image showing oil and tenderloins being added to a hot skillet.

Sear the turkey tenderloins on both sides, then transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake the turkey until it’s cooked through. Carefully remove the turkey from the oven (the skillet will be HOT) and tent the skillet with aluminum foil to allow the turkey to rest before serving. Check the internal temperature of the turkey with an instant read meat thermometer after it rests to make sure that it has reached at least 165F at the thickest part. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.

Before and after searing tenderloins on a hot skillet.

Is Turkey Tenderloin The Same As Turkey Breast?

No. The turkey tenderloin is the cut of meat underneath the turkey breast. It’s a boneless and skinless cut of meat, while the turkey breast is often sold bone-in and skin-on.

Are Turkey Tenderloins Tender?

Yes! Because turkey tenderloins are a muscle that aren’t weight bearing and don’t get as much of a workout as the other muscles in the turkey, they’re not as tough as other cuts of turkey. That means that it’s the part of the turkey that’s the most tender.

A side image of sliced turkey tenderloin on a large cast iron skillet.

How Long To Cook Turkey Tenderloin

Turkey tenderloin cooking time depends on the size of the tenderloin and the temperature you cook it at. I normally cook 1/2 pound tenderloins at 400F, so they bake quickly (they only take 17 minutes in the oven). If you cook 1 pound tenderloins, they’ll take closer to 25-30 minutes. They’ll take even longer if you decide to bake it at a lower temperature, like 350F.

Can Turkey Be Prepared The Night Before?

Yes! If you want to speed up your prep time on Thanksgiving, you can prep and marinate this the night before. Then all you have to do is sear it and bake it the next day. It gives the turkey extra time to soak up the flavor of the marinade, so I highly recommend doing this for an extra delicious dinner.

Finished turkey tenderloins served on a plate with baked potato and broccoli.

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A Pinterest pin image with a picture of turkey tenderloin, with title text at the top.

Thanksgiving Recipes

If you’re looking for more inspiration for the holiday, be sure to check out all of our Thanksgiving recipes! Our side dishes are especially popular. Some reader favorites are:

Yield: 2 servings

BEST Garlic Herb Turkey Tenderloin Recipe

The best turkey tenderloin recipe.

This simple turkey tenderloin recipe is oven baked and ready in under an hour! The turkey tenderloin marinade is packed with flavor from the garlic, herbs, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 26 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 1 minute


Turkey Tenderloin Marinade:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 medium cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 2 (1/2 pound) turkey tenderloins (see notes for cooking times for larger tenderloins)*
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil


  1. To a medium bowl, add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, minced garlic, thyme, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine. Place the turkey tenderloins in the bowl, and entirely coat the tenderloins in the marinade. Cover the bowl and transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. (I marinated the tenderloins in the photos for 1 hour.)
  2. Once the tenderloins have finished marinating, preheat the oven to 400F (204C).
  3. Heat a medium cast iron skillet (or any heavy bottomed oven safe skillet)** over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Use tongs to transfer the marinated turkey to the skillet and sear until browned. Then flip to sear the other side (about 2-3 minutes per side). Don't move the tenderloins while they are searing.
  4. Place the skillet into the preheated oven and bake for 17 minutes (see notes for larger tenderloins cooking times)*. Carefully remove the skillet from the oven using oven mitts (be careful because the skillet will be HOT). Use an instant read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature in the thickest part of the tenderloin - it should read 160F.  Carefully tent with aluminum foil and let it rest for 10 minutes (the turkey will continue cooking to the recommended internal temperature of 165F as it rests covered in foil). Check the internal temperature again after it has rested to make sure that it reaches 165F.
  5. After the turkey has finished resting, slice it and serve with desired sides.


*I baked my 1/2 pound turkey tenderloins for 17 minutes. If your tenderloins are larger you will need extra baking time. I would recommend baking 1 pound turkey tenderloins for 25-30 minutes at 400F, then using an instant read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the thickest part. The temperature should read 160F because it will continue to cook to 165F as it rests under the tented foil. If the turkey has not reached 160F, place it back in the oven and bake it for another 4 minutes until the 160F temperature has been reached. Pay close attention to the temperature at this point. It can overbake quickly, which causes dry turkey. Once the turkey reads 160F on the instant read meat thermometer, remove it from the oven, tent it with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes.

** If you don't have an oven safe skillet, use a Dutch oven. If you don’t have a Dutch oven, sear the tenderloins in a nonstick skillet then transfer them to an oven safe dish.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 22.4gCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0.7gSugar: 6.8gProtein: 43g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.


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If you’re looking for a simple turkey recipe for Thanksgiving, try this dish! It’s the best turkey tenderloin recipe.

The best turkey tenderloin recipe.

17 thoughts on “Turkey Tenderloin Recipe”

  1. This was my first time making a turkey tenderloin and I was a little bit apprehensive. No one likes dry turkey! I went to make the marinade and realized that I was out of apple cider vinegar so I used white wine vinegar instead (googled substitutions ). The original plan was to cook the tenderloin that evening. Well, life happened and it marinaded for 3 days!! Again, apprehensive thinking I ruined it. Absolutely not. Followed the cooking instructions and it turned out perfect. Highly recommend. My husband was going crazy over it and he’s not a turkey fan. Will 100% make again. Thank you!

  2. This is absolutely the best turkey recipe I’ve ever tried. Will be using the marinade for pork loin and chicken …

  3. This is crazy amazing. I made it with parsnips in the pan and it hits the spot. I’m on a cutting phase and so Turkey and chicken are my staple. I cut back the sugar and oil and it is just wow.

    • Hi Laurette, Yes! The turkey tenderloins can be frozen raw in an airtight container in the marinade for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to eat them, thaw them overnight in the fridge, then follow the baking instructions. Just be sure not to refreeze them once you thaw them. Hope that helps! -Alexa

      • Oh Great!

        Thank you for replying so quickly.

        I honestly thought it would be fine, but I was only leaving them in freezer bags.

        I will get the containers for what is ready to be frozen.

        I’m marinating some for Thanksgiving and then freezing the others for Christmas.

        I can’t wait to eat them with all the other goodies.

        Enjoy your holiday season.

  4. Searched high & low for a recipe using 1/2 lb. tenderloins & yours is the only one. Love the simple marinade using dry not fresh herbs and garlic. And the cooking time seems perfect, others way too long. Will make tomorrow with confidence that this is the best recipe. Will also look at many more of yours. Thanking you.

  5. I mistakenly bought turkey tenderloins instead of pork tenderloins while on a shopping trip in northern Sweden last month and had no idea how to prepare them. (We are living and working in the arctic of Norway and at times reading and understanding food labels can be challenging in Norwegian let alone in Swedish.) I was skeptical about this recipe fearing dry, tough turkey, but since I had all the ingredients I decided to give the recipe a try. I only marinated the tenderloins for two hours and followed the instructions for browning and baking as per the recipe. It was very easy to prepare. What an unexpected surprise we were in for! They came out tender and moist and so wonderfully flavorful. My husband was in turkey heaven! In fact these were better than pork tenderloins which use to be his favorite. We just made another trip yesterday to Sweden to grocery shop and this time purposely bought turkey tenderloins. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  6. EXCELLENT, easy recipe. I made this last night, and it was a hit! Seared, and cooked in the oven using a cast iron skillet yielded a moist, flavorful meal.

  7. A forever marinade keeper for me.

    I use it for chicken thighs and it it amazing from seering in the cast iron skillet to the oven.


  8. Absolutely delicious! Flavorful turkey! Simple to make. I’m making it a second time with mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy and quinoa salad

  9. I made this tonight. It was so moist & flavorful! I will be making this often! Thank you for a delicious, easy to follow recipe!


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