This crispy pork tenderloin sandwich recipe is sure to become a family favorite! It’s loaded with so many layers of flavors and textures which is the secret to satisfying, flavorful meals. While this breaded pork tenderloin sandwich may sound gourmet, I’m sharing exactly how to serve this to young kiddos below. Yes, this works for the whole family.
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Table of Contents
- What Is a Pork Tenderloin Sandwich?
- Crispy Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Video
- What You’ll Love About This Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
- Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Ingredients
- How to Make a Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Storage Instructions
- How to Serve Breaded Tenderloin Sandwiches to the Whole Family
- Substitutes + Nutrition
- What to Serve with Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
- More Easy Sandwich Recipes
- Helpful Tools to Make Air Fryer Pork Cutlets
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What Is a Pork Tenderloin Sandwich?
Traditional Midwest pork tenderloin sandwiches consist of a pork loin that is thinly sliced and then flattened with a meat tenderizer. It’s then breaded and deep fried and served on a hamburger bun with classic condiments like ketchup, yellow mustard, pickle slices, and lettuce. It’s a popular sandwich in the Midwest!
My take on the Iowa pork tenderloin sandwich consists of a breaded pork tenderloin cutlet served on a brioche bun with a pickle aioli and bright lemon arugula.
Crispy Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Video
What You’ll Love About This Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
- Crispy slices of pork cutlets
- Multiple layers of flavors
- Tastes gourmet, but weeknight friendly
- A satisfying, hearty sandwich
- Change of pace from chicken dinners
- Made with simple ingredients found at any grocery store
- Comes together in 30 minutes
Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich Ingredients
There are a few components to this tenderloin sandwich. They each serve their own purpose and add flavor and dimension to the sandwich, but are all simple and basic ingredients that you can find at any grocery store:
For the pickle aoili:
- Mayonnaise – Use your favorite mayonnaise, though Miracle whip is not recommended.
- Dill pickles – Use your favorite dill pickles. Kosher work well!
- Green onion
- Hot sauce – Use any hot sauce you like. It’s less for flavor and more to add some depth to the sauce.
For the fried pork tenderloin:
- Pork tenderloin – If your store carries it, I recommend regular pork tenderloin vs. extra-lean pork tenderloin (which is as lean as a chicken breast!) for more flavor. Extra lean pork tenderloin will also work, so go with your preference.
- Panko bread crumbs – Panko bread crumbs are flakier than traditional bread crumbs and help give the breading amazing crunch.
- Seasoning salt – Use your favorite seasoning salt or use a mixture of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Flour – Use an all-purpose flour.
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
For the sandwich:
- Brioche hamburger buns – You can also use regular hamburger buns, but most stores carry brioche buns and they are delicious.
- Arugula – Look for fresh arugula that is deep green in color and not yellowing.
- Lemon – Use fresh lemon juice, not jarred.
- Freshly cracked pepper
How to Make a Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
While the ingredient list may look longer than most of my dinner recipes, this meal still comes together pretty quickly. Let me show you how to cook this pork tenderloin sandwich!
- Make pickle aioli. In a small food processor or blender, blend together mayonnaise, pickles, pickle juice, green onion, and hot sauce until smooth.
- Prep breading station. Place flour on one plate or shallow bowl. Mix panko bread crumbs and seasoning salt on another plate or shallow dish. Whisk together eggs in a third bowl.
- Prep pork tenderloin. Slice pork tenderloin into 4-6 oz. pieces. Place pork cutlets into a stasher bag or in between sheets of plastic wrap and use a meat tenderizer and pound out piece of pork tenderloin to about 1/2 inch thick.
TIP: Divide your tenderloin weight by 5-6 to determine how many pieces to cut it into.
- Bread pork tenderloin. Dust slice of pork tenderloin into flour, egg mixture, and panko so that it’s evenly coated.
- Cook pork tenderloin. Cook slices of pork tenderloin in the air fryer for 5 minutes, flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until it reaches 145 degrees F. Place on paper towel lined wire rack and sprinkle with salt.
TIP: You may need to cook the pork cutlets in batches.
- Season arugula. In a medium bowl, toss together arugula and lemon juice.
- Toast buns. This step is optional, but a little crunch on the bun is nice. Do this in a hot nonstick skillet or lightly broil.
- Assemble sandwiches. Spread pickle aioli onto buns and top with fried cutlets. Top with lemon arugula and the top bun. DIG IN.
TIP: If you’re serving this breaded pork tenderloin sandwich to the whole family, see my tips on serving it to kids below!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a pork tenderloin sandwich made of?
This breaded pork tenderloin sandwich is made up of a breaded pork tenderloin slice (similar to wiener schnitzel, but a pork version and not veal!), a pickle aioli, and a bright lemon arugula topping.
Who invented the tenderloin sandwich?
As with any food invention, there are a lot of opinions when it comes to where the pork tenderloin sandwich originated, but it’s definitely the Midwest. Breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches are popular in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri but are said to have started at a restaurant called Nick’s Kitchen in Indiana, so perhaps it should be called the Indiana pork tenderloin sandwich. No matter what, it’s classic American cuisine.
How do you tenderize pork tenderloin?
We’re using a meat tenderizer to flatten and tenderize the pork slices before cooking.
What temperature should pork tenderloin be cooked at?
The breaded pork tenderloin should be cooked over medium to medium-high heat, but more importantly, until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Use an instant read meat thermometer for the most accurate way to tell when it’s done cooking.
Can I pan fry the pork?
Yes, if you don’t have an air fryer, or prefer to pan fry it, heat 1 tablespoon avocado (or vegetable) oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick pan. Cook pork for 2-4 minutes per side, until golden brown with an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
Store leftover sandwich components separately in the refrigerator for 1-2 days. If you know you’ll have leftovers, I recommend not tossing the arugula with lemon juice until right before serving.
How to reheat
The best way to reheat a pork tenderloin sandwich is to reheat the pork cutlet in a skillet over medium heat until heated through.
How to Serve Breaded Tenderloin Sandwiches to the Whole Family
I get it, feeding kids can be tough! But following the Division of Responsibility and knowing your job and your child’s job makes it SO much more enjoyable. You’ll be able to feed your kids any meal, which will help ensure that they are eating a variety of nutritious foods – with plenty of play food sprinkled in. 😉
This breaded pork tenderloin sandwich is a perfect example of how you can serve ANYTHING to your kids.
I would recommend serving the sandwich components separately. One reason is that sandwiches are hard to eat for kids and they can get frustrated. Another reason is that they may not like food mixed (totally normal!). So serve everything separate and family style.
Spread buns with butter if desired and serve with pieces of breaded pork with the option to add pickle aioli and arugula. Serve it with a fruit and milk on the side.
Substitutes + Nutrition
The full nutrition stats can be found below the recipe card. The calories in a pork tenderloin sandwich will vary based on recipe, restaurant, and ingredients, but an estimate is 793 calories.
What to Serve with Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
Wondering what the best sides for pork tenderloin sandwiches are? Here are a few side dish ideas:
- Lemon Arugula Salad
- Napa Cabbage Slaw
- Lemon Kale Salad
- Haricots Verts
- Air Fryer Broccoli
- Raw veggies with Dill Veggie Dip
- Potato chips
More Easy Sandwich Recipes
If you like this breaded pork tenderloin sandwich recipe, you might also like some of these other sandwich recipes:
- Greek Beef Pita Sandwich
- Chicken Salad with Apples and Grapes
- Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sliders
- Turkey Sliders
Menu Plans by My Everyday Table can help you out.
The plan addresses three major issues when it comes to weeknight dinners: having a plan, time, and one family meal.
You’ll save time, save money, waste less food, and feel calm when 5pm hits because your dinner is already planned.
Helpful Tools to Make Air Fryer Pork Cutlets
- Immersion Blender – No need to pull out the food processor, just use the attachment. It’s the perfect size.
- Meat Tenderizer – Also known as a meat mallet, this helps to tenderize your pork cutlet.
- Instant Read Meat Thermometer – This is the best way to tell when your air fryer pork cutlet is perfectly cooked.
This breaded pork tenderloin sandwich recipe features a crispy pork cutlet, a pickle aioli, and a bright arugula topping on a brioche bun.
For the pickle aioli:
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup diced pickles
- 1 Tbsp. pickle juice
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- splash of hot sauce (like tabasco)
For the pork tenderloin sandwiches:
Make pickle aioli:
- In a small food processor or blender, combine mayonnaise, diced pickles, pickle juice, sliced green onion, and splash of hot sauce. Pulse or blend until mixture is smooth.
Make pork tenderloin sandwiches:
- Slice pork tenderloin into 4-6 pieces and flatten pork with a meat tenderizer into 1/2 inch slices.
- Set up breading station. Place flour on a dinner plate. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Mix together panko bread crumbs and seasoning salt on a dinner plate.
- Dust pork slices into flour mixture so that it coats both sides, shaking off any excess. Dip pork slices into egg wash and let any excess egg drip off. Lay pork tenderloin pieces into panko mixture and lightly press bread crumbs onto both sides.
- Preheat air fryer to 360 degrees F. Cook for 5 minutes, flip over, and cook for another 3-4 min or until it reaches 145 degrees F.
- Transfer pork to a paper-towel lined plate and sprinkle with sea salt.
- While pork cooks, toss together arugula and lemon juice from 1/2 lemon into a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Assemble sandwiches. Toast buns lightly if desired. Spread with pickle aioli and top with pork tenderloin and a handful of lemon arugula.
Keywords: pork tenderloin sandwich recipe, pork tenderloin sandwich, breaded pork tenderloin sandwich
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