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Candied pecan-coated pork tenderloin is perfect for the holidays

My family knows how to do holidays. Every Christmas Eve, my mom makes three stunning entrées, at least 12 appetizers and side dishes and more than 2,400 Christmas cookies. This year, instead of the normal ham or roast, we’re going to adorn our holiday feasting table with this amazing pecan, dried cranberry and fresh herb pork tenderloin. Festive and delicious, what’s better than that?

I don’t know what’s tastier, the actual pork tenderloin or the sweet, crispy, candy crust. Paired with a sweet and melted honey-butter sauce, this sweet and salty main dish will be a huge hit with your family or friends this holiday season. Or if you want, you can make this for yourself and not share with anyone (I wouldn’t judge — every party needs a Scrooge, after all).

Candied pecan-coated pork tenderloin with honey-butter sauce recipe

This festive pork tenderloin is the perfect holiday dinner idea. Not only is it great for enjoying the season on weekdays, but it’s also perfect for any holiday party or family get-together. Sub in your favorite nuts, herbs and fruit for your own rendition.

Serves 8

Prep time: 10 minutes | Inactive time: 6 hours 15 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour | Total time: 7 hours 25 minutes


For the pork

  • 1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • Additional fresh herbs for garnish (I used an assortment of rosemary, thyme and sage)

For the candied nuts

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

For the honey-butter sauce

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons pure clove honey
  • Dash salt and pepper


  1. Liberally salt and pepper the pork, and place it into a large Ziploc bag. Pour the orange juice over the pork, and toss in the chopped thyme. Chill the pork for about 6 hours.
  2. Once the pork has chilled, discard the marinade.
  3. In a large and shallow bowl (or pan), mix together the nuts, cranberries and two sugars. Wearing gloves, roll the pork into the nuts liberally so you get a nice, thick crust around all of the pork.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the pork into a greased roasting pan. Roast for about 45 to 60 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the center reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from the oven, and let the pork rest for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the honey-butter sauce. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the honey, and mix until fully combined, then season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.
  6. Right before serving, drizzle the honey-butter sauce all over the pork, and garnish with fresh herbs.

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