How to Cook a Turkey Tenderloin in the Oven and a Simple Recipe to Try

You can cook turkey tenderloin in the oven for an easy and tasty protein option.
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One of the best ways to cook turkey tenderloin is to bake it in the oven the juicy perfection. The best part is, you don't have to wait for a special holiday to enjoy it.

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Even better, there's so little fuss involved when you bake turkey tenderloin in the oven compared to preparing the whole bird. Just make sure you cook turkey tenderloin in a way that preserves the juices and moisture.

Below, we share a simple recipe with tips on how to cook turkey tenderloin so it's juicy, tender and flavorful.

Warning

Turkey tenderloin should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the USDA. Eating poultry cooked to temperatures below this puts you at risk for foodborne illness.

Insert your meat thermometer into the thickest part of the turkey tenderloin to check the internal temperature.

What Is Turkey Tenderloin?

Turkey tenderloin is a boneless and skinless cut of white meat from the inside center of the turkey breast. You can purchase it fresh or frozen, either plain or seasoned with herbs such as rosemary, lemon and garlic.

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Turkey Breast vs. Turkey Tenderloin

Different from a turkey breast, which is usually bone-in, skin-on, turkey tenderloin is a smaller part of the turkey bread that is boneless and skinless.

Even though it's extremely tender, as dark meat usually is, turkey tenderloin is considered white meat because it's from the turkey breast.

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There are several ways to cook turkey tenderloin. Grilling it is a popular option, and so is baking turkey tenderloin in the oven.

How to Bake Turkey Tenderloin in the Oven

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2- to 1-pound turkey tenderloin

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

  • Salt and pepper

  • Baking dish

  • Meat thermometer

1. Heat the Oven

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit — a safe turkey tenderloin temperature for baking.

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Turkey should be baked at a minimum temperature of 325 degrees to be safe, according to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

2. Prepare a Safe Cooking Area

Make sure to prepare your turkey tenderloin on a clean cutting board or another surface that will not come into contact with anything after it's been used. This will help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.

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3. Brush With Oil

Brush each turkey tenderloin generously with olive oil and then season to taste with salt, ground black pepper and any other dried herbs or seasonings you like.

The olive oil will help the seasonings adhere to the tenderloin and gives it a crisp, brown coating while cooking. It will also keep the turkey tenderloin from drying out.

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4. Place Turkey in a Baking Dish

Arrange the seasoned turkey tenderloin in a large baking dish.

Pour 1 cup of reduced-sodium chicken broth around the bottom of the meat, taking care not to wash off the seasonings.

5. Bake the Tenderloins

Roast the turkey tenderloins in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 to 40 minutes.

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The exact cooking time varies by how many tenderloins you're cooking at one time. Check your turkey tenderloins after 20 minutes at five-minute intervals for doneness.

6. Check the Temp

You'll need to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of turkey tenderloins to be sure they're safe to eat. The center of the turkey tenderloins should reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, per the USDA.

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You can also cut through one of the tenderloins in the center to see if it is done. The meat should look white (not pink) and the juices should run clear.

7. Remove and Serve

Remove the pan from the oven and set aside. Allow the turkey tenderloins to rest for 10 minutes. Use a sharp knife to slice the tenderloins into 1/2-inch thick medallions.

Place the meat on a platter and serve.

Other Tips for Cooking Turkey Tenderloin

For more flavor options, use different types of seasonings and liquids to spice up your turkey. Try rosemary, garlic, lemon pepper or sliced shallots. You can even substitute dry white cooking wine or barbecue sauce for the chicken broth.

Adding more nutrients to your original recipe is easy. In fact, you can prepare an entire meal in one pan by adding sliced carrots and potatoes to the baking dish with the tenderloin. Baking them together will roast the veggies along with the seasonings and juices from the turkey for a flavor you'll love.

How to Store and Save Turkey Tenderloin

Leftover turkey tenderloin can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. You can also freeze turkey tenderloin that's already been cooked and keep it for up to 3 months.

Make sure to slice your turkey tenderloin before freezing it. Then, wrap it in foil and put it in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container and reheat it in the oven when you're ready to eat it.

What to Serve With Turkey Tenderloin

Turkey tenderloin makes a great protein option for your dinner plate, and you can round things out nutritionally by adding some type of grain or carb along with a heaping pile of veggies. Luckily, turkey tenderloin is pretty versatile so you can pair it with different flavors and side dishes.

When a juicy, tender turkey tenderloin is on the menu, try serving it with:

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