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Tender Baked Turkey Tenderloin

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Simple oven-baked turkey tenderloin with garlic and herbs, this delicious turkey breast recipe is made with only a few ingredients and is ready in no time.

sliced turkey tenderloin close up on foil with melted butter.

These juicy and tender turkey tenderloins are bursting with butter and garlic flavor. They are super easy to make and are baked in foil in less than 40 minutes. An excellent idea for an easy weeknight meal, yet fancy enough to serve as a holiday meal or for another special occasion.

This delicious turkey dinner is also a great alternative to a whole turkey on Thanksgiving. A whole bird like the Red Wine Turkey is fantastic, but it would be too much for a small gathering. So why not try something simpler?

And if you are looking for more turkey breast recipe ideas, check out the Boneless, Skinless Turkey Breast, Slow-Roasted Turkey Breast, Blueberry Turkey, Turkey Chop Recipe, or Dutch Oven Turkey Breast.

Recipe ingredients

two raw turkey tenderloins, seasoning, butter, garlic and oil in bowls.

Turkey breast tenderloins: Two pieces, each weighing about 1 lb/ 450 g.

What is a turkey tenderloin?

  • The tenderloin is a boneless, skinless portion of the turkey breast, not the breast itself. It’s a particularly tender, lean cut of white meat.
  • It’s usually sold in 2-piece packs, one piece weighing more or less 1 lb/ 450 g.

Garlic: About 2 tablespoons of grated garlic. That was about one whole small garlic bulb (7-8 cloves).

Italian seasoning or another herby seasoning you like (for instance, Herbs de Provence). Or try your favorite poultry dry rub mixed with garlic.

  • You can substitute the store-bought seasoning mix with a mixture of dried herbs of your choice. Try oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley, etc. Add some chili flakes to taste. You should have a total of two tablespoons of mixed spices.

Butter: 2 pats of cold butter, which you will cut into 4-5 pieces each. 2 pats of butter weigh about 2 oz/ 60 g, more or less 4 tablespoons of butter.

Olive oil or vegetable oil like canola for searing the tenderloins in the skillet.

How to cook turkey tenderloins?

  • Prepare everything. Preheat the oven and cut a large piece of aluminum foil. Place it on a baking sheet (See Expert Tips).
  • Seasoning: Grate the garlic and mix it with the Italian seasoning.
  • Pat the fillets dry with a paper towel and season turkey with fine sea salt and ground black pepper all over (1).
two raw turkey tenderloins on a small white plate.
  • Sear: Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet or frying pan. Sear the pieces on medium-high heat on both sides until they are deeply golden (2,3). Using tongs, place turkey tenderloins onto the prepared baking sheet.
collage of two pictures of searing two turkey breast pieces in a pan.
  • Assemble: Cover them with the seasoning mixture and place the butter pats on top (4). Wrap the foil over the meat and seal the edges (5).
collage of two pictures of topping turkey pieces with butter and wrapping in foil.
  • Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until the internal temperature measured with an instant-meat thermometer reaches 160°F/ 72°C, almost the internal temperature recommended by the USDA.
  • Rest for 5 to 10 minutes. During this time, the internal temperature will reach the safety level of 165°F/ 74°C.
juicy baked turkey tenderloins in a pool of golden seasoned melted butter.

How to serve?

Slice the baked turkey tenderloins against the grain, place the pieces on a warm serving platter and spoon all the buttery pan juices on top. Don’t skip this step; the juices have a fantastic flavor, and they will make the meat even juicier. Serve immediately.

We served them with Truffle Oil Mashed Potatoes and Caramelized Brussels Sprouts this time (recipes coming soon).

However, you can serve them with any other side dishes you like. Try some Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes, Garlic Smashed Potatoes, Sauteed Sweet Potatoes, Simple Buttered Rice with Garlic, or Garlic Butter Noodles with Parmesan.

Make French-Style Green Beans, Buttered Leeks, or learn How to Cook Sweetheart Cabbage. And make some Canned Cranberry Sauce on the side.

Expert Tips

The piece of aluminum foil should be about double as long as the baking sheet, as you will have to wrap it over the meat.

The foil helps keep the meat moist and juicy. All the buttery pan juices will accumulate in the foil, and you can easily pour them over the sliced meat.

Recipe FAQ

How long does it take to bake the tenderloins?

The baking time depends very much on the thickness of the pieces and your oven. For best results, I strongly recommend using an instant-read thermometer to avoid undercooked or overcooked pieces of meat (Amazon affiliate link).
I’ve seen many recipes instructing you to cook turkey tenderloin for as long as 50 minutes. Please start checking way before that; I’ve cooked this recipe 6-7 times using tenderloins that were sometimes thinner and sometimes thicker, and it never took longer than 35 minutes.

When is the tenderloin done?

When the internal temperature measured into the thickest part of the meat reaches 165°F/74°C. However, it’s preferable to stop cooking the turkey when the instant thermometer reads 160°F/ 71°C. The pieces of meat will need 5-10 minutes of resting time to allow the meat to reabsorb the juices, and during this time, the internal temperature will continue to rise, reaching the desired degree.

Can I use chicken breast instead?

Yes, but you will need very large chicken breasts. If they are smaller, start checking if they are done sooner.

How to store and reheat?

Refrigerate leftover turkey in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Freeze leftovers in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 2 months. Defrost in the refrigerator.
Reheat in the preheated oven at 350°F/180°C wrapped in foil for about 15 minutes or until hot. Keep in mind that the meat slices will be a bit dryer after reheating.

close up of a plate with turkey slices, mashed potatoes and sprouts.

More Thanksgiving dinner ideas

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close up one turkey breast tenderloin crusted with Italian seasoning.

Tender Baked Turkey Tenderloin

Simple oven-baked turkey tenderloin with garlic and herbs, this delicious turkey breast recipe is made with only a few ingredients and is ready in no time.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Poultry
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 -6
Calories: 427kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 2 turkey tenderloins each 1 lb/450 g
  • 2 tablespoons oil like canola or olive oil
  • 1 small bulb of garlic 2 tablespoons grated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning Note 1
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 thick slices of butter about 4 tablespoons/ 2 oz/ 60 g

Instructions

  • Preparations: Preheat the oven to 350°F/ 180°C. Place a long piece of aluminum foil on a baking sheet; it should be about double as long as the baking sheet, as you will have to wrap it over the turkey tenderloins.
  • Seasoning: Dry the meat with kitchen towels and rub them with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Mix: Grate the garlic. Place it in a small bowl, add the Italian seasoning and mix well. Set aside.
  • Sear: Heat the oil in a large skillet. Brown the tenderloins for about 2 minutes on each side or until deeply golden. Lift them with tongs and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Top: Divide the seasoning mixture between the two pieces of turkey and press the seasoning all over their upper side. Cut the butter into smaller parts, about 8-10 pieces. Place them on top of the turkey fillets.
  • Bake: Wrap the turkey in foil. Bake until the turkey breast reaches an internal temperature of 160°F/ 72°C – this will take about 30-35 minutes, but check after 25 minutes already. Check with an instant-read thermometer (Note 2).
  • Rest the meat for 5 to 10 minutes, loosely wrapped in the foil. During this time, the internal temperature will reach 165°F/ 75°C, which is the recommended internal temperature for turkey.
  • Slice the meat, place the pieces on a warm serving platter and spoon all the buttery pan juices on top. Don’t skip this step; the juices have a fantastic flavor, and they will make the meat even juicier. Serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Substitute Italian seasoning with another herby seasoning mixture you like.
  2. The baking time depends very much on the thickness of the pieces and your oven. I strongly recommend using an instant-read thermometer to avoid undercooked or overcooked pieces of meat.

Nutrition

Calories: 427kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 53g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 133mg | Sodium: 839mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 419IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 1mg
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