How Much Pork Tenderloin Per Person (Group Cooking Guide)

We all know how tough it is, planning to cook for a big event, family holiday feast, or anything similar.

Cook too little and it’s an immediate bad reflection on the cook.

Cook too much, and a tremendous amount of food then has to be saved or thrown away and wasted (or devoured by yours truly).

Finding the right balance is the ideal goal, reducing work but still making everyone happy. And when you’re dealing with a luxurious cut like pork tenderloin, things can be even more challenging.

While many people might think a pork tenderloin comes from the leg, in fact, its origination is on the back or spine of the hog.

It has the dual benefit of being extremely lean, but also very tender as not being an overworked muscle like the thigh or calf muscle.

Despite having minimal fat, comparable to beef tenderloin on a cow, pork tenderloin can be a delicacy when cooked correctly. And, with the lower fat content, it’s a lot healthier for the same indulgence.

That said, fat is the source of rich flavor, and without it, even the best meats come out mild-tasting. This is where rubs, marinades, or a simple seasoning makes a big difference.

Size-wise, pork tenderloin isn’t a big cut to work with. Most pieces weigh in at about one to three pounds at most.

Once you know how many pounds of pork tenderloin you’re going to need, you can source it from the local butcher, or find it in single or double packs from a grocery store.

How Much Pork Tenderloin Should You Serve Per Person?

Pork is very much a filling meat, comparable to beef. However, that doesn’t stop people from eating far more than their fill.

When it’s cooked right, pork tenderloin, or pork loin, can definitely be consumed pretty quickly and in large portions.

For this reason, you don’t want to be serving piddly little portions. You want to serve a handsome amount, but without going overboard too.

How much pork tenderloin you should serve comes down to whether it’s the main course and what else you are serving with it.

It’s also important to note that pork can reduce up to a third of its weight over the cooking process.

Accounting for this weight reduction over the cooking period, the typical amount of pork tenderloin you need per person is:

  • As the main course with one or two sides: Prepare for one pound of raw pork tenderloin per person. This is enough to serve at least half a pound of cooked pork tenderloin per person.


  • With three or more sides or as an entrée: Prepare half a pound of raw pork tenderloin per person, enough to serve at least a quarter of a pound of cooked tenderloin per person.

How Much Pork Tenderloin Do You Need For 10 People

No matter how many people you’re serving, portions are always important. If you are preparing pork tenderloin for a group of ten people you’ll need:

  • Main Meal, With 1-2 Sides: Prepare 10 pounds of raw pork tenderloin, enough to serve at least half a pound of cooked pork tenderloin per person.

  • With 3+ Sides, Or As An Entrée: You’ll only need about half. Preparing 5 pounds of raw pork tenderloin will be enough for 10 guests.

How Much Pork Tenderloin Do You Need For 20 People

To be sure you have enough pork tenderloin to go around for a gathering of 20 people, you’ll want to prepare:

  • Main Meal, With 1-2 Sides: At least 20 pounds of pork tenderloin (raw weight). This is enough for half a pound of cooked pork per person. 

  • With 3+ Sides, Or As An Entrée: You’ll still need to prepare at least 10 pounds of raw pork tenderloin. Certainty a bit more manageable. 

How Much Pork Tenderloin Do You Need For 50 People

Cooking pork tenderloin for 50 people? Now we’re talking! 

  • Main Meal, With 1-2 Sides: You’ll need to prepare 50 pounds of raw pork tenderloin in total to serve 50 guests as the main meal.

  • With 3+ Sides, Or As An Entrée: As a smaller serving, you’ll only need to prepare 25 pounds of raw pork tenderloin for 50 people.

How Much Pork Tenderloin Do You Need For 100 People

Cooking for 100 people is an incredible achievement. Start off right by preparing:

  • Main Meal, With 1-2 Sides: Prepare 100 pounds of raw pork tenderloin. I know that’s a lot of pork tenderloin, but any less than 80 pounds and you risk not serving enough! 

  • With 3+ Sides, Or As An Entrée: As a much smaller portion, it’s a bit more reasonable. Simply prepare 50 pounds of raw pork tenderloin and you’ll find it’s enough for 100 people.

Other Considerations For How Much Pork Tenderloin You’ll Need

No matter how many people you’re cooking for, there are a few other factors that play a part in how much you’re going to want to be serving everyone. These are:

  1. The cooking method
  2. the time of day for the meal
  3. The type of event
  4. The number of other foods served

Cooking Method

It’s absolutely natural for a piece of meat to lose some of its moisture over the cooking process. This is the main attributing factor that explains the weight loss between a raw piece of pork tenderloin and a cooked piece of pork tenderloin.

But, the overall moisture and weight loss actually vary on which cooking method you’re using.

Typically, searing or grilling a pork tenderloin leads to the most moisture loss.

Roasting pork in the oven preserves a bit more moisture.

Cooking your pork loin in a crock pot or instant pot tends to help it retain the most moisture.

Time Of Day

People tend to eat less during the day at lunch and far more at dinner, at least in the U.S.

So, you should adjust the portions of pork tenderloin accordingly.

Simply serve a little less if you’re hosting a brunch or lunch, and serve a little more if you’re preparing a dinner feast!


For very formal events, like a wedding for example, people generally eat much less. Probably as they are wearing tight clothes and don’t want to make a mess of themselves!

For less formal events, like birthday parties or general backyard parties and holidays, one can expect a lot more to be eaten over a much longer dinner session.

Side Dishes/Other Foods Served

People can only fit so much food into themselves at any given time.

So, you’ll want to adjust how much pork tenderloin you’re going to serve depending on how many sides you’re serving or courses in the meal.

Consider what types of other foods are served too. Are you serving heavy sides like potatoes or bread, or light sides salads or vegetables?

Pork Tenderloin: Preparation Tips

Preparing pork tenderloin isn’t complicated, but it doesn’t mean you can just take it out of its packet raw and start cooking it.

Instead, there are a few key steps to preparing your pork tenderloin that really go a long way toward the overall glory of the end result.

These essential steps are trimming, seasoning or marinating, and preparing the cook.

Trimming Pork Tenderloin

Like with most full cuts of meats, some trimming work is often needed when preparing pork tenderloin.

Simply take a boning knife or chef’s knife and trim off any large chunks of fat, especially those that often hang directly off the tenderloin!

Next, trim off the silverskin. This is the whitish part running lengthwise down the cut.

Some butchers will do this before packaging the pork tenderloin, some will not.

It’s not essential to remove this, but it does create a more tender end product.

Lastly, if your pork tenderloin gets excessively thin toward one end of the meat, you can consider trying to all up in a truss with kitchen twine for more even cooking.

Seasoning Or Marinating

Seasoning depends on your taste in flavors, and both marinades and rubs can work just as well.

With marinades, you need time for things to soak in. If you are marinating your pork tenderloin it’s best to leave it for at least a few hours or even overnight for maximum flavor penetration.

If you’re on a tight schedule, a rub tends to work better.

Focus on coating the meat thoroughly with any seasoning.

Depending on your cooking method, you can also baste your pork in sauce towards the end of the cook so it proceeds to caramelize and set on your pork.

Preparing The Cook

Whether roasting, grilling, or frying, it’s an absolute must to preheat your cooker first.

You don’t want to risk your pork getting dry and tough, so usually, you want to cook it hot and fast.

However, depending on how many people you’re cooking for, you might want to adjust your method.

For smaller groups, you can easily fire up the grill or prepare to sear your pork in a pan.

For larger groups, it’s much easier to cook all your pork tenderloins in the oven as a roast.

Best Method to Cook Pork Tenderloin for Large Groups

It’s quite alright to cook pork tenderloin on a grill or stovetop when you’re cooking for small groups. But, when you start needing to cook for 20 or more people, grills and stoves can quickly get crowded, and things can be a bit harder to manage.

So, if you need to cook pork tenderloin for large crowds, it’s best to use an oven! There is far more control of the preparation, cooking, timing, and delivery when using an oven.

Cook your pork tenderloin in a preheated oven at 400°F, for 15-20 minutes.

Expect to rotate the meat every four to five minutes. This speeds up the cooking process, ensures even coloring on each side, and evens out the heat distribution.

When you think things are done, don’t guess or eyeball it. Use a meat thermometer to confirm the inside has reached at least the food-safe temperature of 145 degrees.

At this point, the pork is considered medium rare, but you can adjust your doneness according to your or your guest’s preferences. Remember, your pork’s internal temperature may continue to rise as much as 5°F during the resting process! 

Pork Tenderloin: Serving Tips

Take a deep breath. The hard yards are over. All you need to do now is serve up your pork tenderloin and watch the feast unfold.

But, you don’t want to serve out your pork willy-nilly, no, no.

Be sure you slice your pork tenderloin correctly, plate it properly, and serve it hot, not reheated!

Slicing Pork Tenderloin Correctly

After your pork tenderloin has rested and you’ve got all the other ingredients ready to plate, then it’s time to slice your tenderloin.

Do not slice lengthways into long strips. You want to slice against the grain, which makes the pork much more tender in the mouth.

Instead, with a sharp knife, slice your pork tenderloin into quarter-inch to half-inch thick medallions.

Plating Pork Tenderloin

Plating is simple enough. Just place two to four medallions on one side of the place depending on your serving size.

You can place any side dishes over the other side of the plate, and lather any gravy or sauce over the top if desired.

Serve It Hot (Not Reheated)

A popular method of serving meat to a large crowd is the rest and reheat method. This involves precooking all the meat and simply reheating it just before serving.

This method works well when you’re cooking pulled pork for a crowd, or other meats like shredded chicken.

However, with pork tenderloin, this method is not recommended, as it unnecessarily dries out and toughens up what should otherwise be a very tender cut of meat.

For this reason, it’s highly recommended to simply cook, rest, and then serve your pork tenderloin still hot!

Keeping Pork Tenderloin Warm Before Serving

One of the most common methods of holding cooked pork before serving is resting it.

Usually, when removed from a grill or oven, the meat cools down to room temperature in about ten minutes at most. Then it either needs to be served or refrigerated to stay safe.

However, this often doesn’t leave the cook enough time to plate everything else up before serving!

It also doesn’t leave as much time for the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

So, by resting your pork tenderloin in butcher paper or aluminum paper (either in a cooler box or in a warm oven) you can keep your pork resting for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

Best Side Dishes For Pork Tenderloin

Although the star of the dish will be the pork tenderloin, there’s no reason you can’t jazz up the other sides too!

That said, pork tenderloin does match really well with some classic sides too.

The most popular side dishes for pork tenderloin are:

  • Mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Roasted vegetables
  • Grilled sliced zucchini or yellow squash 
  • Caramelized onions
  • Corn on the cob
  • Fruity salads
  • Polenta
  • Cauliflower


Pork tenderloin as a main course meal for a big party can be challenging, but it’s also extremely rewarding, and an absolute fan favorite when done correctly.

The most important rule: prepare enough meat so no one is cut short in servings.

Remember, you’ll need to prepare between half a pound and a pound of raw pork tenderloin per person depending on how many sides you are serving and what the event actually is.

Cook it right, and always use a reliable thermometer to be certain of your serving temperatures.

Match it with a strong-tasting vegetable or mashed potatoes or both.

If there’s anything left, get it in the refrigerator right away to secure your tasty leftovers.

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